While most issues will be removed from your credit report in seven years, (ten for bankruptcies) you may not have to wait that long if you do your due diligence. It doesn’t matter if it is a foreclosure, charge off, bill in collections or late payments, they all have the potential to be removed early.
Check for errors: Studies show that more than fifty percent of all credit reports contain errors of some kind. These errors might not be major, such as including details from someone else’s report, they may be smaller, and thus easier to miss. This means you are going to want to check the specifics of every entry and ensure it matches up with your personal records. You are going to want to check every credit limit balance, payment status, account status, open and close date and account
number and note any errors.
Once the errors are noted, you will then want to send a letter to each credit bureau outlining the mistakes and requesting that they are removed. You can use the letter outlined in the previous chapter and substitute in the errors you have found for the part about credit inquiries. The good part about this is that if the bureau can’t determine the accuracy of the information it will simply be removed.
Goodwill letter: If you can’t find any inaccuracies, or the bureau verified the ones you pointed out as correct, you can instead try sending what is know as a goodwill letter. You will send this letter to the collection agency or to the creditor and ask that they remove the negative entry based on goodwill. This will be most effective if you are looking to have charge offs, collections or late payments removed. In this letter, you will want to explain your situation to the agency in question and ask that they essentially help you out by removing the offending information. While this may seem like a long shot, it works a surprising amount of the time, especially with regards to late payments. This method is especially effective if you are a current customer and the organization has a reason to want to hold on to your business. A sample goodwill letter is below:
(Creditor/Collection Agency Name)
(Creditor/Collection Agency Address)
Re: Account number provided
To whom it may concern:
I am writing regarding an issue I recently came across in my credit report (list specifics) that I was hoping you could help me to rectify. I understand that making payments on time is very important and that failing to do so causes issues for your company. If you look at my file you will see that I have done so a majority of the time I have been a client of your company and that my (late/missing) payment is an exception, not a rule. I missed the payment in question do to an (unavoidable emergency real or imagined, the more detail the better) and while I tried to make the payment on time I was unable to do so.
I can guarantee that the issue won’t happen again as my (financial, physical, emotional) state has improved dramatically since (issue) and it is no longer a factor when it comes to making payments. As a courtesy, I am requesting that you make this goodwill adjustment to my record in light of
my history of on time payments. This will allow me to improve my credit score and boost my confidence in being a (company name) customer.
I appreciate your time
Pay for delete: If you are dealing with charge offs or unpaid collections, the most effective way to have them removed from your account is to negotiate with the creditor directly and offer to pay a portion of what you owe in exchange for having the negative entry DELETED from your report. If you go down this path it is important that you get the agreement in writing prior to making the payment as once the payment is made you lose all of your leverage. A sample letter outlining this process can be found below.
Collection Agency/Creditor Name
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you in reference to the above account number in an effort to settle the amount due in a way that will benefit us both. This letter should not be seen as an acknowledgement of liability to the debt in question and I shall still retain the right to request verification of the debt from your company if the terms outlined below aren’t acceptable to you. With that being said, however, I am willing to pay off (percentage of amount) of the debt as a sign of good faith based on the following
- Your company will put forth the effort to successfully remove all references to this issue from the (credit bureaus that list the issue).
- Moving forward your company will not list the debt as a settled account.
- The payment made will be considered payment in full of the debt in question.
- The debt will not be transferred or sold to a different creditor.
- This agreement will not be made public in any way, shape or form.