Unpaid collections can remain on your credit report for years and cause incredible damage to your FICO score, but not irreparable damage. In time and with the right tactics, there are ways to have these records removed from your credit report and turn your bad credit around. How, you ask?
Relentlessly Research and Verify
Knowledge is power in any situation you find yourself in, particularly when it comes to your personal finances. As such, a good first step if you want to remove debt collections from your credit report is to get all of your facts straight. In order to contest anything that a debt collector has added to your credit report, you should do a deep dive in your own records for info, such as:
- Account numbers
- Account statuses
- Account balances and payment history
- Dates that debts went delinquent
What you’re looking for if you want to remove the collection from your records is an inaccuracy or anomaly. Aside from familiarizing yourself with your own credit history, with that knowledge, you’ll have the information to back you up when you take your next action.
Dispute Errors on your Credit Report
Now that you’ve done your homework and checked what you believed to be accurate information on your credit report, it’s up to the credit bureaus and collections to validate the debt. When your account is sold to another collection agency, for example, that’s a great time to dispute errors as the burden of proof will be on them to validate your old data. If you find an auto loan or outstanding medical bill on your report that is incorrect in any way, for example, you can also request that the collector validates the debt. Don’t forget that you have 30 days from when a collector first reached out to you about a debt to question its validity. Speaking of time, a delinquent account on your credit report should fall off your credit profile seven years after they were deemed to be so. If you find collection accounts on your report that go further back than seven years, you can file a dispute with a credit bureau to have it nixed.
Request a Goodwill Deletion
A more direct approach to take if you want to easily remove debt collections from your credit report is actually to just ask collection agencies to get rid of them. This process is known as a goodwill deletion and works best with a good credit score and equally impressive letter template. Mention a few extenuating circumstances that you went through, and out of the goodness of their heart, a collector may remove it from your report. For peace of mind, send the letter to collectors as certified mail. That way, you’ll definitely know it’s been received when you follow up after. Requesting a goodwill deletion is also a better idea than any “pay for delete” scenario you may be considering, as that would involve creditors just not reporting your account in exchange for the debt amount. You don’t want to go down that path.
All We Need is Just a Little Patience
We fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves back up. That goes for your credit rating as well, though, with these tips, you may have an easier time getting back on your feet.