How To Remove Collections From Your Credit Report
It is not easy to remove collections from your credit report. DoNotPay can help.
Sometimes things happen in life that prevent us from paying our bills. Once the bill has been unpaid for 120 days, it is usually referred to a collections agency, which immediately reports to the three credit agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. The longer a collection item remains on your credit report, the greater its negative impact on your credit score.
Since a simple collection item can drastically affect your credit report, you will want to look into removing collections from your report. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Another factor that can affect your credit score is the number of inquiries on your report. Every time that you apply for credit, an inquiry is noted on your report. Too many inquiries become a red flag for other potential credit providers and can carry almost as much weight as an account that has been sent to collections.
Credit reports are used to help a creditor estimate the chances that you will pay your debt should that creditor open a new financial pathway, such as a credit card, mortgage, or other types of installment loan. An inquiry is considered a hard inquiry for something that you are applying for, such as a car loan, credit card, student loan, or mortgage. A soft inquiry is for a potential offer like a pre-approved card or when you are looking up your own credit score.
How Do Collections Items Affect Your Credit Report?
Having collections items on your credit report can damage your credit score for years.
Collections on your credit report will bring your score down. Depending on the total amount of the debt, it could be more than 100 points. If you want to improve your credit score, you need to get your collections under control. If you are able, you should make regular payments to these past due bills to improve your status. Of course, first of all, you need to make sure that each item is a legitimate debt. Collection items remain on your credit report for a period of seven years. The only way to fix your credit score is to dispute those collection items that do not belong to you.
How To Dispute a Collection Item
Usually, the most effective first step in removing a collections item from your credit report is disputing the item with the company reporting the data to the credit agencies.
When you want to dispute an item on your credit report, you can go about it by either contacting the collections agency or disputing the item through the credit agency. The first thing you will need to do is to write a dispute letter explaining what it is about the collections item that does not belong on your report. In your dispute letter, you will want to request a debt validation letter from the creditor or collections agency.
Collections items will show not only that you owe money, but will also show any late payments to the account from when the account was active. If possible, you will want to attempt to remove the records of late payments from the report.
What Types of Collections Items Should You Dispute
Some disputes will be easier than others.
You should review your credit report carefully for errors. If you find something that is inaccurate, then you need to have it corrected. You can file a dispute with a credit agency for many different reasons, including:
- Incorrect information on a collection item, such as dates, names, etc.
- Late payments when you know you paid on time.
- Inaccurate account balance, loan amount, or credit limit
- Inaccurate creditor
- Inaccurate account status, such as showing an account as past due when it is open and actively still being paid for.
- Accounts that do not belong to you.
- Inaccurate identifying information such as a misspelled name or an address where you never resided.
Things That You Cannot Dispute on a Credit Report
Personally, identifiable information cannot be disputed and cannot be removed from a credit report.
Information that is indisputable on a credit report includes:
- Your correct legal name
- Mailing addresses, both current and former
- Date of birth
- Credit inquiries
- Your credit scores
Information appearing on your credit report that is incorrect can be a sign of identity theft.
What Are My Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, is composed of our legal rights that are under the oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Federal FCRA is in place to protect your rights regarding the privacy of information held by consumer reporting agencies.
- You have the right to know what is in your file.
- You must be informed if any information in your file has been used against you.
- You have the right to know your credit score.
- You have the right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. Any inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected within 30 days. However, if the agency verifies that information as accurate, they will continue to report it.
- Consumer reporting agencies cannot report outdated negative information. This includes bankruptcies that are over ten years old and negative information over seven years old.
- Access to your file is limited. Only those who are confirmed to have a valid need.
- You must give your written consent for reports to be provided to employers or potential employers.
- You have the right to place a security freeze or a fraud alert on your credit report.
- You have the right to seek damages from anyone who violates these rights.
If you are the victim of identity theft or are active-duty military personnel, you have additional rights under FCRA.
How to Clean Up Your Credit Report On Your Own
If you want to clean up your credit report on your own, you need to make sure that you carefully inspect all of the items on your credit report.
To clean up your credit report on your own, do the following:
- Obtain a current copy of your credit report.
- Confirm that all of your personally identifiable information is correct.
- Review all of the credit card accounts listed to confirm that they are yours.
- Review all of the loans listed on your account to confirm accuracy, including car loans, home loans, and student loans
- Review all collections
- File a dispute if the information on your collection is inaccurate.
- Contact the original creditor by sending them a credit dispute letter that requests validation of your debt.
- If the creditor does not respond or is uncooperative with your complaint, file a dispute letter with each of the three credit agencies, which are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
- Take the creditor to small claims court for damages.
- Wait out the seven years for your negative collection items to drop off your report.
- Continuously monitor your credit report for signs of fraud.
- Pay your bills on time to avoid further collections.
Cleaning up your credit report on your own can be time-consuming, frustrating, and tedious.
Next Steps for Cleaning Up Your Credit Report When You Can't Do It On Your Own
If you cannot clean up your credit report on your own, you have a few other options:
|Hire an expensive credit repair firm||Credit repair firms work with the main credit bureaus on your behalf to remove bad information such as charge-offs, late payments, debt collections, and bankruptcies that are affecting your credit score.|
|File for bankruptcy and wait even longer for clean credit||For seven to ten years, all bankruptcy-related accounts will stay on your credit record and damage your credit score, albeit their impact will diminish with time.|
|Use DoNotPay for the fastest and easiest way to clean up your credit report||DoNotPay can help you solve cleaning up your record in just a few simple steps. This method works faster and more efficiently.|
You can start removing collections from your credit report with the click of a button.
Clean Up Your Credit Report With the Help of DoNotPay
If you want to clean up your credit report but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 3 easy steps:
- Search Clean Credit Report on DoNotPay.
- Prepare a recent copy of your credit report that you can use as a reference.
- Let us guide you through the 4 potential options:
- If you've already paid off your debt, we'll help you file a Goodwill Removal Request to get it removed.
- If you notice any errors in your report (we have a list of common errors you can use!), we'll help you file a credit dispute to the creditor or major credit bureaus.
- If there are no errors, we'll check if you're still eligible to file a debt validation request. If they can't validate your debt, they're required to remove it from your report and they can't collect it!
- Lastly, if none of the above options work, we'll help you file a pay-to-delete negotiation letter. You can customize the amount you are willing to pay in exchange for getting the item removed.
You can also check out our other credit products, including Credit Limit Increase, Get My Credit Report, Keep Unused Cards Active, and more!
Why Use DoNotPay to Clean Up Your Credit Report
When you use DoNotPay, you can rest assured that you are getting help the right way. DoNotPay is:
- Fast. With just a few minutes of your time answering some simple questions, DoNotPay can help you solve your problems.
- Easy. What could be easier than starting the process with a click of a button?
- Successful. With DoNotPay, you will always be successful.
To see what else DoNotPay can do for you, keep reading!
DoNotPay Can Assist You With A Variety of Services Across All Areas
DoNotPay offers a wide array of financial services as mentioned above. They can also help you with things such as :
- How to cancel subscriptions
- Write financial aid appeal letters
- Get help with bills
- Payday loan consolidation
- Find missing money
- DMV appointments
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Visit DoNotPay today to find out what else they can do for you!