Having a delinquency on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to obtain future credit. If you have a delinquency that you want to remove from your credit report, there are a few ways to go about doing so.
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Request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus.
The first step to removing any adverse information from your credit report is to obtain copies of your reports from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months, so take advantage of this benefit and request your reports as soon as you suspect there may be an error.
Once you have your reports in hand, review them carefully to identify any negative entries that you believe to be incorrect. If you find errors, write a dispute letter to the credit bureau explaining why you believe the entry is inaccurate and request that it be removed. Include any supporting documentation and send your letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested.
If the credit bureau does not remove the entry after investigating your dispute, you may have the option of including a statement in your file explaining your side of the story. This will not remove the negative information from your report, but it can provide some context for future lenders who review your file.
In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with your creditors to have late payments or other negative information removed from your report in exchange for bringing your account current. This is generally only an option if you have a history of timely payments with that creditor and if the delinquency is relatively small.
If you have been the victim of identity theft or fraud, you may be able to have negative information removed from your credit report by filing a police report and submitting a copy of the report to the credit bureau.
It is important to keep in mind that negative information will remain on your credit report for seven years (with the exception of bankruptcy, which stays on for 10 years). While this may seem like a long time, keep in mind that each time you make on-time payments, creditors will update their records and this will help offset any negative entries.
Identify any negative items on your report, such as late payments or collections.
The first step to removing a delinquency from your credit report is to identify any negative items, such as late payments or collections. You can order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — or you can get a free copy of your report through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Once you have your reports, look through them carefully to identify any negative items. If you find anything that isn’t accurate, you can dispute it with the credit bureau. If the item is accurate but you have extenuating circumstances, you can try writing a goodwill letter to the creditor explaining why you missed the payment.
If there are delinquencies on your report that you can’t remove, don’t despair. As time goes by, these items will slowly lose their impact on your score. The further in the past an item is, the less it will affect your score. So if you have a delinquency from five years ago, it won’t have as much of an impact as one from last year.
Contact the creditor to dispute the delinquency.
If you find a delinquency on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate, your first step should be to contact the creditor and dispute the information.
The creditor may be able to provide documentation to show that the delinquency is accurate. If they cannot, then they will have to remove the delinquency from your credit report.
It’s important to note that even if the creditor does not remove the delinquency, it will eventually fall off of your credit report after seven years.
Follow up with the credit bureau to ensure the item is removed from your report.
If you have successfully removed a delinquency from your credit report, congratulations! But your work is not quite done yet. You should always follow up with the credit bureau to make sure that the item has been removed from your report.
To do this, simply send a letter to the credit bureau (either by mail or online) asking them to confirm that the delinquency has been removed. Be sure to include your name, address, and credit report number. You should also include a copy of any documentation you have that proves the delinquency has been removed, such as a letter from the creditor or a copy of your updated credit report.
Once the credit bureau receives your letter, they should investigate and get back to you within 30 days. If they find that the item has indeed been removed from your report, they will send you a written confirmation. If not, they will send you a letter explaining why.
At this point, you can either accept their decision or dispute it further. If you do dispute it, you will need to provide additional documentation to support your claim. But if you follow these steps carefully, you should be able to get any negative items removed from your credit report and improve your credit score!