If you’re one of the millions of Americans with student loan debt, you may be wondering how to get it off your credit report. While it’s not easy, it is possible. Here’s what you need to know.
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Check your credit report
The first step to getting your student loans off your credit report is to check your credit report. You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus every year. You can get your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
When you review your credit report, look for any mention of your student loans. If you see any errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureau.
If everything looks correct, you can move on to the next step: negotiating with your lender.
Find the loans on your credit report
The first step is to get a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You’re entitled to one free report from each bureau every twelve months. You can get your reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Once you have your reports, go through them carefully and circle or highlight any mention of your student loans. Make a list of the loans, including the lender’s name and address, the loan type (e.g., federal or private), and the account number.
Request a “Goodwill Adjustment” from the lender
If you have a history of good payments with a lender, you can request what’s called a “goodwill adjustment” to have late payments removed from your credit report.
First, draft a goodwill letter to the collection agency or original lender. In the letter, explain why you believe the late payments were an error. If you have extenuating circumstances that led to the late payments (a job loss, for example), be sure to mention them.
It’s always best to send your goodwill letter via certified mail so you have proof it was received. You should also make a copy of the letter for your records. Once the company receives your letter, it will investigate your claim and decide whether or not to remove the late payments from your credit report.
If the “Goodwill Adjustment” is not an option, negotiate a “Pay for Delete” agreement
If you can’t get the lender to agree to a “Goodwill Adjustment,” your next best option is to try to negotiate a “Pay for Delete” agreement. With this type of agreement, you agree to make a lump sum payment to the lender in exchange for the lender agreeing to remove the negative item from your credit report.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to get the agreement in writing before you make any payments. And, even if you do get the agreement, there’s no guarantee that the lender will actually follow through and remove the negative item from your credit report. So, this isn’t an ideal solution, but it is an option worth considering if you can’t get the lender to agree to a “Goodwill Adjustment.”
Create a plan to pay off the loan
Student loans can have a major impact on your credit report and credit score. If you have defaulted on a student loan, it will stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Even if you have been making regular payments on time, the loan will still show up on your report and could impact your score. Borrowers who are current on their payments but struggling to repay their loans may benefit from creating a plan to pay off the loan.
There are a few things you can do to get started:
-Call your lender and explain your financial situation. Many lenders are willing to work with borrowers who are struggling to make payments. You may be able to negotiate a new payment plan that fits your budget.
-Consider consolidating your loans. This can help you get a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments.
-Make extra payments when you can. Even if you can only afford to make a small payment, it will help reduce the overall balance of the loan.
Paying off your student loans can be a major financial goal, but it is important to remember that it will take time and effort. By creating a plan and staying disciplined, you can eventually get the loan off your credit report and improve your credit score.