Credit report

Removing negative items from your credit report – a complete guide on how to dispute and remove them

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If you have negative remarks on your credit reports, it may be difficult to meet your financial needs. It can also hamper your applications for loans such as mortgages, credit cards, or sometimes even insurance, as you will most likely have a low credit score. In fact, having negative items on your credit report may actually prevent you from being hired by certain companies. But don’t worry, there is something you can do about it! Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the legal right to challenge any inaccurate information about your credit. Credit bureaus and lenders are legally required to ensure that credit reports are accurate and truthful.

However, it is important to note that if certain negative elements of your report are correct and valid, you will not be able to have them removed. Instead, you’ll need to repair your credit over time, which includes making on-time payments and reducing your overall debt.

So you know that you are allowed to remove items that negatively affect your report based on false information. But how do you do that? In this final article in our credit repair series, we’ll discuss how to remove negative items from your credit report. Continue reading!

How long do negative items stay on your credit report?

This is a common concern that people have when it comes to their credit reports. The answer may vary depending on the type of negative account information reported and the credit bureau involved.

Generally speaking, most negative items will remain on your report for seven years. This includes bankruptcies, judgments, liens and late payments. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, unpaid tax liens can stay on your credit report for up to 15 years. This Youtube video has a detailed overview of the different lead times you can expect.

How much higher will your score be if you remove the negative items?

This is honestly a difficult question to answer, as it depends on various factors, such as your credit score before the negative items were added and how many of the negative items are removed. Typically, removing one or two of these items from your credit report can cause your credit score to increase by 20 to 30 points.

However, if you have a lot of negative accounts on your credit report, it’s likely that deleting them won’t lead to a significant increase in your credit score. Either way, you should definitely try to remove negative credit report items from your report if possible in order to improve your credit.

What is the best way to remove negative accounts on my credit information?

There is no single answer to this question because everyone’s situation is different. Here are some general tips you can follow when disputing negative accounts on your credit report. Check them:

Get a copy of your free credit report.

The first step to removing negative credit report entries from your profile is to request a copy of your report. You can get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months. To order your credit reports, you can visit AnnualCreditReport.com and register.

Other ways to get a free copy of your credit report are:

  • Telephone – (877) 322-8228
  • Mail – Fill out a application form and send a mail to

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta

AG 30348-5281

In addition to the free annual credit report, you can also request a free copy if:

  • You have been denied credit, insurance, or failed a job application based on your credit in the past 60 days.
  • You are a victim of credit fraud or identity theft.
  • Your credit report is inaccurate due to fraud.
  • You live in a state that requires free resident credit reports.
  • You are on public assistance.
  • The credit reporting agency must give you a free copy if it takes more than 30 days to correct an inaccuracy in your credit report after you dispute it.

We should mention, however, that although you can get a free credit report, it will not contain a free credit score. So, for FICO or Vantage score monitoring, you will need to request a copy of your reports directly from these credit bureaus:

Review the items to remove and check for credit report errors.

Once you have your credit report, take a look at it and identify any negatives that need to be disputed. Besides negative accounts, you should also look for credit report errors.

  • Look for inaccurate information – the credit bureaus aren’t perfect!
  • Credit bureaus make mistakes. Sometimes they accidentally include incorrect information on credit reports. It can be something as simple as an incorrect credit score or credit limit, or something more serious, like a debt that isn’t yours.

It is important to carefully review your credit report and identify any inaccurate information. Indeed, the credit bureaus are not perfect and sometimes make mistakes. So if you find inaccurate information on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit reporting agency. Here’s how.

Complete the credit dispute form.

To remove items from your credit file, you will need to complete a dispute form. This is a short form that asks for basic information such as your name and contact details, as well as details about the specific item you are disputing.

You can usually find the credit bureau dispute form on their website. Just search Google for “dispute form” + “[name of credit bureau]”. For example, if you are disputing an item with Experian, you would search for “dispute form” + “Experian”.

Submit your dispute to the credit reporting agency.

Once you have completed the dispute form, you will need to submit it to the credit agency. This can usually be done online or by mail.

Online filing

You can file your dispute online using each of the offices’ online dispute forms and follow the process they have in place for submitting disputes.

filing by mail

If you choose to file your dispute by mail, you will need to print the Credit Bureau Dispute Form and send it with all your supporting documents. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), you should attach a copy of your report highlighting the error or inconsistencies you found.

Some of the documents you may need to include are:

  • Credit card
  • Bank statements
  • Copies of checks
  • Certification of lenders
  • payslips
  • W-2 forms
  • Utility bills
  • Proof of identity (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, for example)
  • Police reports (in case of identity theft)

When you send the dispute letter, be sure to ask for an acknowledgment of receipt so that you have a document proving that the reporting agency received your letter.

Send your dispute letter to:

Equifax Information Services, LLC

PO Box 740256

Atlanta, Georgia 30374

Include this dispute form with your letter.

Experian

Box 4500

Allen, Texas 75013

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

Consumer Dispute Center

Box 2000

Chester, Pennsylvania 19016

Credit bureaus usually have a dispute handling process, so be sure to read their guidelines carefully. In most cases, the credit reporting agency will investigate your dispute and then update your credit report with their findings.

Submit your dispute to the lenders.

If your dispute with the credit bureaus has failed, you can have it removed from your credit report by contacting the creditor directly. You will need to discuss and dispute the accounts that you have found to be invalid with their help. This is because credit bureaus usually only have limited information about a debt or other negative item on your credit report.

The creditor may be able to provide more detailed information about the debt or credit accounts, which could help your litigation succeed.

You can submit a dispute to the creditor by mail or by e-mail.

Mail

Send your letter to the creditor’s address for disputes. You can find this information on your credit report or by doing a Google search for “[name of creditor] address for disputes”.

E-mail

If you choose to dispute the negative item on your credit report via email, be sure to include all of your contact information and a copy of your credit report.

Here is an example of what your email might look like:

Subject: Accounts Payable Dispute

Hello,

I am writing to you regarding credit account number XXXXXXXX. I dispute the account because it is not mine. Could you please provide me with more information on this credit account?

Thank you,

Your name

Your email address

The creditor should investigate your dispute and then update your credit report with their findings. If they are able to verify that the negative item is correct, they may not be willing to remove it from your credit report. However, you can continue to negotiate with the creditor to have the item removed.

Stay patient while the credit bureaus check every part of your case.

Disputing negative items on your credit report can be a slow process. They review tons of accounts daily, so be patient and give the credit agency plenty of time to investigate your dispute. In most cases, they’ll update your credit report with their findings within 30-45 days.

Conclusion

If you are unable to have the negative item removed after disputing it with both the credit reporting agency and the creditor, there are a few other steps you can take.

You can try to have the credit account removed from your credit report by taking legal action. You can also try to get the credit reporting agency to remove the item by filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Although it is a more complicated route that not all of us have time to take.

It involves tedious work and tons of patience. If you think credit repair is too much of a responsibility for you, there are credit repair companies that walk you through every step until you reach your credit goals. However, it is important that you deal with legitimate companies offering credit repair services, so that you don’t fall for credit repair scams by checking out the other article in this series that covers this topic. Here’s a comprehensive list of everything we’ve covered so far in our credit repair series here at the Trussville Tribune: