How do I remove negative items from my credit?

There are multiple methods for removing a negative item on your credit.

  • Submit a dispute to the credit bureau: if the negative item is inaccurate, you can submit a dispute to the credit bureau who provided the credit report, either online or through the mail. To submit a dispute online, you need a recently-obtained copy of your credit report. For a mailed dispute, you must include a letter describing your credit report, along with any supporting documentation.
  • Submit a dispute to the business that reported to the credit bureau: additionally, you can send your dispute in writing to the company that reported the negative item. When disputes are made, businesses are required to investigate the claim.
  • Send a pay for delete offer to the credit bureau: if there is a delinquent or past due item on your report that is accurate. you can offer to pay off the full amount in exchange for having the negative item removed. While there is no guarantee that this will be effective, some creditors may take you up on the offer.
  • Request a goodwill deletion: if you've already paid off the account and don't have a payment to bargain with, you might try asking for a goodwill deletion. In this case, you will write a letter to the credit bureau asking for the negative reporting to be amended, describing why you were late and how you’ve since made consistently on-time payments. As with a pay for delete offer, creditors are not required to amend your report, although some may.
  • Wait for the time limit to expire: if none of the above methods work, you can simply wait for the negative items to fall off your credit report. This will take some patience, though — most negative items are on your report for seven years (except for bankruptcies, which last for ten years). Fortunately, negative items carry less weight as time goes on and other, positive items are added to your report.

For more helpful tips on improving your credit, check out our post How to Strengthen Your Credit Score.

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