Getting a closed account off your credit report is a little challenging, but with the right knowledge and strategy in place, it’s definitely doable. Credit bureaus are for-profit companies that maintain records about your credit history. This includes any accounts opened in your name as well as information about any negative items on your report.
Lenders and other entities use this data to evaluate your creditworthiness. When an account is closed or in default, it can have a negative impact on your credit score and have long-term implications for getting loans or renting an apartment. Closed accounts stay on your report for seven years from the original delinquency date, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of them before the seven-year period ends.
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How to remove an account from your credit report
You can attempt to remove the closed account in a few ways. Take a look at some of the most common methods.
File a dispute
First, you’ll want to review all of the information in each of your reports from the major credit bureaus (Equifax Inc., Experian, TransUnion). Check to make sure everything is accurate and up to date. If you notice any errors in one of these reports regarding a closed account, you’ll need to dispute them with the bureau and provide supporting documentation, such as proof of payment or letters from creditors stating that the debt has been paid in full. Although you can sometimes dispute accounts online, you’ll want to make this request in writing.
Ask for a removal
If there aren’t any errors with the closed accounts, you can contact the creditor directly to ask for a “goodwill” deletion or removal since the account isn’t active any longer. Explain the circumstances and any hardships that led you to fall behind on the payments.
If that doesn’t work, try to negotiate a “pay-for-delete” arrangement in which you exchange money for the account removal. Make sure you get any deal you reach in writing. It’s also important to adhere to the terms of the agreement. If you don’t, the statute of limitations for debt collection can restart and the closed account could stay on your credit report even longer.
The good news is that delinquent closed accounts fall off your credit report on their own after seven years. If you do nothing but wait, the account will eventually be deleted automatically from your credit report. In the event that it isn’t, you’ll definitely want to contact the credit bureaus to dispute the account based on the error. Positive closed accounts remain on your credit report for 10 years. This can actually help your score.
Do late payments on closed accounts affect your credit score?
Late payments on a closed account are still reported to the credit bureaus and can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Any late payments that were ever made on the account before it was closed will also show up for seven years. The account closure doesn’t delete the payment history. Although missing a payment date won’t increase the balance due on your closed account like it would on an open one, it can still wind up hurting you in the long run.
How closed accounts can affect your credit score
Accounts that were closed because of delinquency likely accumulated a few late or missed payments before the creditor decided to close the account. In this case, not only will the poor payment history hurt your score, but having the closed account and the balance owed appear will count against you, too.
What to know about removing a closed account from your credit report
Some key things you’ll want to know about removing closed accounts before you decide to proceed are outlined below.
Only remove accounts with negative payment history
All closed accounts aren’t bad for your credit. You don’t have to worry about removing an account you paid off or closed voluntarily.
Don’t remove accounts in good standing
If you closed the account and had a history of timely payments, removing that account would also delete that positive payment record — and that can cause your score to drop.
Focus on other ways to improve your credit
If you can’t remove the account before the seven years is up, all hope isn’t lost. Focus on boosting your score in other ways. You could work on paying down an open credit card balance to lower your credit utilization. It’s also important to make all your payments on time and avoid any new accounts going to collections. Positive credit habits can help offset the closed account.
Don’t let the debt keep you down
If you have a closed account on your credit report that you’d like to remove, you can dispute the account with the credit bureaus or attempt to work directly with the creditor to get it removed. If these options don’t work, the account will fall off in seven years from the date of delinquency. With a little effort, you can improve your credit score despite the closed account.
Should you pay off closed accounts on your credit report?
Paying off a closed account doesn’t immediately boost your score, but it’ll show up as paid. Future lenders and creditors will see you made the effort to resolve the delinquency. In some cases, you can even negotiate to have the account deleted in exchange for your payment.
How many years until closed accounts fall off a credit report?
A delinquent closed account will fall off in seven years. A closed account in good standing remains for 10 years.
Do closed accounts affect buying a house?
Closed accounts can potentially affect buying a home, depending on the lender’s specific eligibility criteria.