How to Remove Collections In Your Credit Report
When you default on a debt obligation, your original creditor will sometimes sell your debt to a debt collector or collection agency. Once your debt ends up in collections, this negative information is usually reported to the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Transunion, and Equifax—and damages your credit score.
After a certain period of time, a collection account must be taken off of your report. If you want to remove it sooner or believe it’s an error, you can take several actions to try and remove it from your credit report.
Here, we will walk you through the three steps you can take to remove collection accounts from your credit report.
1. Do Your Research & Check All Credit Reports
To get details on your collection account, review all of your credit reports. You can do this by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Normally, you can only get one free copy of each report annually. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you can check your reports from all three credit bureaus for free weekly until April 20, 2022.
Your credit report should list whether the collection is paid or unpaid, the balance you owe (if any), and the date of the account’s delinquency. If you don’t know who the original creditor is and it’s not listed on your report, ask the collection agency to give you that information.
Afterward, compare the collection details listed on the credit report against your own records for the reported account. If you haven’t kept any records, log into the account listed to view your payment history with the original creditor.
2. Determine the Account’s Legitimacy
While reviewing the collection listed on your account, make sure the debt belongs to you. If it doesn’t belong to you or you made on-time payments to pay it off, dispute the error to remove the collection from your report.
3. Choose a Plan of Action
Here are three actions you can take to attempt to remove collection accounts listed on your report.
1. Dispute Inaccurate or Incomplete Collection Accounts
If you have inaccurate or incomplete collection accounts on your credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the power to dispute this information directly with the credit bureaus or creditor. You can send a dispute using the dispute form on each credit bureau’s website. The Federal Trade Commission has sample dispute letters on its website if you need help crafting one.
After you submit your dispute, a credit reporting company has 30 days to investigate your claim. If the credit bureau finds the provided information correct, the collection account will be removed from your report. However, if it finds that the company reporting the information was correct, the collection account will stay on your report for up to seven years.
2. Ask for a Goodwill Deletion
If you have a paid collection listed on your report, you can simply ask the debt collector or original collector to remove the collection. This usually involves sending the debt collector or collection agency a goodwill deletion letter explaining your mistake, asking for its forgiveness, and showing them how your payment history has improved.
With this option, there’s no guarantee your collection will be removed from your credit report, but it’s worth a shot. If the account is removed, it may help you qualify for better terms on personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
3. Wait Until It Falls Off
When the debt in question is legitimate and you can’t convince the debt collector to delete it from your report, your only remaining option is to wait. After seven years from the date the account first became delinquent, the collection should fall off of your credit report.
Although this means the collection will continue to impact your credit score; its impact will lessen as time passes.
How Long Do Collection Accounts Stay On Your Report?
Paid or unpaid collection accounts can legally stay on your credit reports for up to seven years after the original account first became delinquent. Once the collection account reaches the seven-year mark, the credit reporting companies should automatically delete it from your credit reports.
If your collection account doesn’t fall off of your credit report after seven years, you can file a dispute with each credit bureau that lists it on your report.
For consumer-related questions on your credit report, call us today at 718-674-1245 or message us here.