How to Remove Derogatory Items from Your Credit Report
If you have derogatory items on your credit report, you may be wondering how to remove them. Here are a few options to help you improve your credit score.
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Pull Your Credit Report
The first step to removing derogatory items from your credit report is to pull your report from all three credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You are entitled to one free report from each bureau per year, which you can request at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Once you have your reports in hand, go through each one carefully and look for any negative items that may be dragging down your score. These can include late payments, collections, charge-offs, foreclosures, and more.
If you find any errors on your report, dispute them with the credit bureau right away. You can do this online, and you will need to provide supporting documentation to back up your claim.
Once you have disputed any errors, it’s time to start working on the derogatory items that are accurate. If you have any late payments, try contacting the creditor and asking them to remove the late payment from your report in exchange for bringing your account current. This is known as a “goodwill adjustment” and it is not guaranteed to work, but it’s worth a try.
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Identify the Derogatory Item
The first step is to identify the derogatory item on your report. Once you know what is dragging your score down, you can take steps to remove it. The item may be an accurate reflection of your credit history, in which case you’ll need to take steps to improve your credit in order to get it removed. Or, the item may be inaccurate, in which case you can dispute it and have it removed from your report.
If you find derogatory items on your credit report, the first step is to gather any documentation you may have that proves the information is inaccurate. This could be a bill, letter, or other document that shows you made payments on time or disputes the debt. If you don’t have any documentation, try to get in touch with someone who does, such as a family member or friend.
Once you have your documentation, reach out to the credit bureau and request an investigation. The bureau has 30 days to respond and must correct any inaccuracies they find. If they don’t, the derogatory item will be removed from your report.
In some cases, you may also need to contact the creditor directly. If the creditor agrees that the information is inaccurate, they will notify the credit bureau and the item will be removed from your report.
If you’re having trouble getting a derogatory item removed from your credit report, you can also file a dispute with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Submit a Goodwill Letter
If you have negative items on your credit report that are accurate, but don’t reflect your current ability to pay your bills on time, you can try to remove them by submitting a goodwill letter.
A goodwill letter is a formal request to a creditor asking them to remove a negative entry from your credit report. In the letter, you explain why the negative entry is inaccurate and why you deserve to have it removed.
Goodwill letters can be effective, but they’re no guarantee that the creditor will agree to remove the negative entry. And, even if the creditor does agree to remove the entry, it will only be temporary. The negative entry will reappear on your credit report if you miss a payment in the future.
To increase your chances of getting a positive response, make sure to:
-Keep your letter short and to the point
-Politely request that the negative item be removed from your credit report
-Include any relevant supporting documentation
-Avoid making any promises that you can’t keep (such as promising to make future payments on time)
Wait for a Response
The credit bureau will investigate each item you dispute. They will contact the creditor and ask them to verify the debt. The creditor has 30 days to respond. If they do not respond, the derogatory item will be removed from your credit report.
Dispute the Derogatory Item
If you find a derogatory item on your credit report, dispute it with the credit bureau. You can do this online, by mail or by phone. The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute and must correct any errors it finds. If it agrees that the item is incorrect, it will remove it from your credit report and notify all three credit reporting agencies so they can update their records.