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Credit Report Removal 101: How To Remove Negative Items

Removing negative items from your credit report can make a huge difference in your credit score.

If you are hoping to raise your score and erase late payments, bankruptcies, hard inquiries, collections, repossessions, foreclosures and charge-offs from your credit history, then please, read on.

We will be sharing with you 5 credit report removal methods to get rid of negative marks on your record and finally get you approved for the line of credit you’ve been needing!

1. File a dispute with the credit bureau in question

File A Dispute With The Credit Bureau: Credit Report Removal
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If you see an error on your credit report, whether that be the date of your late payment or a dollar amount, the first thing you should consider doing is to submit a dispute to the credit bureau in question.

It’s important to pull all three of your credit reports from the major bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). This can be done once a year, for free through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Click here to read our instructions on how to pull your free credit reports each year through online portals like AnnualCreditReport.com and Credit Karma.

Once you have your reports in front of you, scan them for errors. If you found something questionable, start by writing a letter to the credit bureaus using this template (which is recommended by the Federal Trade Commission).

Once you have written your letter, make sure to include your credit report with the mistake on it and any sort of documentation that will support your dispute (payment records, receipts, credit statements)

When you send your letter, pay for tracking so you can confirm it has been received. Once the credit bureau has received the letter, they must legally get back to you within 30 days and let you know if the credit report removal is approved or not.

2. Send a dispute letter directly to your creditor

Send A Dispute Letter Directly To Your Creditor: Credit Report Removal
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If the credit bureau does not approve your requested credit report removal, then you’ll have to send a similar letter to the creditor.

Use this template to explain why you want the credit report removal and the negative item(s) on your report you would like to be removed.

Follow the same steps as you did when you sent the dispute to the credit bureau. Include your credit report and any documentation to prove that the negative item is a mistake.

If you have convinced them it is a mistake and the credit report removal is approved, they will alert the credit bureaus and get the negative item removed as soon as possible.

You will be able to see a change in your credit score soon after.

3. Send a “pay-for-delete” letter to your creditor

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A “pay-for-delete” letter is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a request you send into your creditor asking if they could remove the negative items “if” you pay off the account in full.

This type of arrangement is technically illegal as creditors are obligated to immediately report any delinquencies to the credit bureaus. However, the world of finance isn’t always run 100% legally. There is always a small chance that your creditor will agree to erase the item in exchange for money.

There are some debt collectors out there who can send “pay-for-delete” letters on your behalf to your creditor. They guarantee that the item will be wiped, which may or may not be true. Just remember that after you pay off the account, it will be classified as a “paid collection” on your credit report. So…another negative item you have to worry about.

Depending on your situation, a pay-for-delete letter may or may not be worthwhile.

4. Send a goodwill letter to your creditor

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Depending on your credit history, a goodwill letter might be just the thing you need to get your credit report removal approved.

A goodwill letter is essentially an explanation of the circumstances that kept you from paying off your credit on time.

It could be that you were sick, or there was a death in the family, or you were out of the country and did not have access to wifi. The possibilities are endless, and there are credit repair companies out there who will write and send a goodwill letter on your behalf, making sure that the reason is communicated in a convincing way.

If you don’t want to use a goodwill letter service from a credit repair company, then there are lots of goodwill request for deletion letter samples online you can check out and model your own letter after.

Just note that goodwill letters usually only work if you only have one or two items to remove. If you usually have a good credit record, then the creditor will most likely cut you a break and delete the item. If you are trying to remove multiple late payments or delinquencies, then you might need a more multi-pronged approach.

5. Use a credit repair company

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For stubborn items that just won’t go away, or a colorful credit history that needs fixing, enlisting the help from a credit repair company could be a really great idea.

Click here to read our reviews of the best credit repair companies of 2022.

Credit repair companies can tackle your credit report removal from all different angles. They will assess your credit report and then get to work in filling disputes, sending letters and get the credit report removal process on the road.

Credit repair companies can provide services like creditor interventions, goodwill letters, score assistance, debt validation, challenges to all three credit bureaus, credit rebuilding services and more.

It’s reported that 79% of credit scores have at least one error on them and credit repair companies are experts in taking care of these mistakes, even if it’s a bit of a grey area whether it’s supposed to be on there or not.

Definitely consider using a credit repair service if your credir report removal efforts have warranted thin results.

Takeaways on Credit Report Removal 101: How To Remove Negative Items

There are multiple ways to get your negative items removed from your credit report. It’s all a matter of choosing the credit report removal method that suits your situation best.

If your negative item is a rarity, then a goodwill letter might be all you need to get rid of it.

If you have several negative items that need removal, the help of a credit repair service might be required.

Whether you decide to remove the items yourself or with the help of a professional, there are all kinds of options out there to get your credit report back on track.

Before you start contacting the credit bureaus, read our instructions on how to download your credit reports for free.

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