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How to Get Negative Items Off Your Credit Report

You’ll likely have to wait up to seven years to get negative marks off your credit report. You can dispute errors, though.
July 3, 2019
Credit Cards, Credit Score, Personal Finance
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To get most negative marks off your credit report, you’ll likely have to wait until the clock runs out, which for most things is around seven years.

The exception is errors on your credit report, which you can dispute with the credit bureaus.

Know where your credit stands

Check your credit report for free and see your free score, too. Your info updates every week to help you track changes.

When negative marks will fall off

Most negative marks on your credit will automatically fall off after the expiration date.

Here’s how long various negative marks will last on your credit report:

  • Missed payment, student loan delinquency: 7 years
  • Account charged off, account sent to collections: 7 years
  • Repossession, foreclosure: 7 years
  • Bankruptcy: 7 years for Chapter 13, and 10 years for Chapter 7

For late payments, you can appeal to your creditors with a “goodwill letter.” However, this approach is rarely granted and may only happen if you have a long history of on-time payments with this creditor.

If the negative item is an error

Dispute it with the credit reporting agency

If there’s a mistake or outdated information on your credit, you can dispute your credit report with the credit bureau showing the wrong info.

It’s smart to get your free annual credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies every year. Check them for mistakes that could be lowering your score.

Ask the company directly to remove it

If you find an incorrect negative item, you can ask the company that furnished the information to the credit bureaus to remove it from your credit reports. You’ll have to provide evidence that the item wasn’t reported accurately, but the company will update all three credit bureaus if you successfully make your case.

If all else fails, take it to the CFPB

If you’re sure the item on your report is incorrect, but the credit bureaus and company refuse to remove it within 30 days, it’s time to take it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Explain what you’re disputing and provide proof when you submit it to the CFPB.

Continue to pursue this until the error is fixed, and then watch your credit reports to make sure no other discrepancies occur.