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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.
Sept. 13, 2018
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 is around seven years from the original delinquency date. The exception is errors on your credit report, which you can dispute.

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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:

Negative itemExpiration
Missed paymentSeven years
Account charge-offSeven years
Car repossessionSeven years
CollectionsSeven years
Student loan delinquencySeven years
BankruptcySeven years for Chapter 7; 10 years for Chapter 13
ForeclosureSeven years

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: Every year, you should pull your credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies. If there’s a mistake or outdated information on one or all of these reports, you can dispute it.

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. Make a copy of your dispute letter and proof and 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.