How to Remove Closed Accounts From Credit Report

Written by
How to Remove Closed Accounts From Credit Report

Your credit history is a continuous reflection of your credit activity and responsible management of debt. Regardless of why they were closed, an account typically stays on your credit history for seven to 10 years. But sometimes you don’t want it to stay there that long. Whether it’s an account that was delinquent and therefore closed or a credit card from college you no longer needed, you can sometimes get these removed earlier. Learn how to remove closed accounts from credit reports and strategies that can improve credit in the process. 

Can you remove closed accounts from your credit report?

Normally, a closed account can only be removed from your credit report if it is an error. For example, suppose an account was closed because the information was listed incorrectly or the account wasn’t yours. 

In that case, you can file a dispute to have it removed. You can also negotiate with the credit bureaus to remove a closed account, but it is not guaranteed. 

How closed accounts affect your credit score

Closed accounts with negative histories, such as delinquent accounts or accounts with many late payments, can adversely affect your credit score for seven years. These are the accounts that you may want to have removed from your credit report. Other accounts can help your credit score. 

Closing or removing closed accounts may harm your credit score by reducing your credit history or increasing your credit utilization ratio. Credit history, usually measured by your oldest account, makes up 15% of your credit score. If you close the credit card you opened at age 18 or it was one of your first accounts, you might see a drop in your credit score.

Likewise, loans that were paid off can continue to help your credit score by diversifying your credit mix. Credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score, so removing a loan paid off on time could hurt your credit score. 

If you need to consolidate debt, MoneyLion can help. MoneyLion offers a service to help you find personal loan offers. Based on the info you provide, you can get matched with offers for up to $50,000 from top providers. You can compare rates, terms, and fees from different lenders and choose the best offer for you. 

Credit utilization, as the amount owed, accounts for 30% of your credit score, making a noticeable impact on your score. Even if an account was closed correctly, closing a revolving credit account like a credit card lowers your total available credit compared to the credit used, increasing your credit utilization ratio.

In these cases, maintaining the account in good standing will help your credit score more than closing and removing them. But removing it from your credit report could boost your credit score if the closed account had many late payments. Likewise, removing yourself from a joint bank account with negative marks can help your credit score.  

Should you remove a closed account from your credit report?

You only need to consider removing a closed account if it has an adverse payment history. You might not like having a closed account on your credit report, but trying to remove it is only occasionally necessary. Otherwise, an account that is in good standing is generally OK to leave. It shows future lenders that you can pay off a loan and make payments on time, contributing to a longer, more diversified credit history. Learn more about removing settled accounts

Ways to remove closed accounts from your credit report

Here are a few simple ways to have a closed account removed. 

1. Review your credit report

It is vital to ensure the information on your credit report is valid, including the closed account. Get a copy of your credit report and ensure the debt is a mistake. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion — at Many banks and credit card issuers also give you access to your credit report and credit score to monitor your credit report regularly. You may also want to remove old addresses, repossessions, or charge-offs.

2. Gather relevant information 

Having the relevant information available is essential when it comes time to have a charge disputed or negotiate to remove a closed account. You will need to gather all the critical information about the closed account to provide to the creditor. 

Information such as the date the account was closed, balance at the time of closing, and date of last payment. It helps the decision-makers determine what they can do and enables you to ensure you have all the essential information. 

3. File a dispute

You can file a dispute if there are any credit report errors, including information about the closed account. Disputes are filed through the appropriate credit bureau that has the error on your account. Contact the credit bureau and complete the proper dispute form

All three credit bureaus offer online, phone, and by-mail options, making it easy to file a dispute. If the error is on all three reports, you must file a dispute with each one. The forms are similar. Keep a record of all information you’ve sent and anyone you speak to with dates for your records. 

4. Negotiate with the credit bureau

If the closed account is accurate, you can still request to have it removed from your report. You can send a letter, typically called a goodwill letter, requesting that the closed account be removed from your report.

Creditors are not obligated to remove accurate marks from your credit report, so there are no guarantees of results, but it is worth a shot. There’s a chance you will have someone hear you out and remove the account information.

5. Wait until the information falls off your credit report

A closed account does not stay on your account forever. While it might feel like forever, a closed account remains on your credit for up to seven years if it is a negative mark. You can still work on improving your credit during that time by managing other debts effectively, such as paying them on time and keeping utilization low. As time passes, the impact of the closed account reduces until it eventually falls off. 

How to negotiate with credit bureaus

Negotiating with credit bureaus might sound like an enormous task, but with persistence and clarity, it’s possible. Here are a few tips to start: 

1. Pay for delete 

If you’re carrying a debt on the account in question, you can try to negotiate to pay and ask them to delete the negative market. This strategy, called pay for delete, is a standard negotiation tool in the credit world. Pay for delete tends to be helpful with smaller debts, but it doesn’t hurt to try, no matter the amount or situation. 

To use this method, you will write a letter to the creditor that owns that charged-off account and ask them to remove the derogatory mark on your credit in exchange for payment. Before writing the letter, determine whether it’s best to pay the total amount or a portion in the letter to the creditor. Remember to only ask for what you can handle so you don’t fall back on your terms. 

2. Consider a credit counseling agency

Credit counseling agencies can be an excellent option for negotiating with credit bureaus and working to make sure your negotiations are accepted. While they are not doing anything you can’t do yourself, hiring an agency gives you the free time to focus on other things. 

This comes with a scam warning: Some companies claim to be credit counseling agencies but really intend to steal your personal information. Research the company before you use it to make sure it is legitimate. Read reviews and check its history and track record.  

3. Get everything in writing

Get everything in writing throughout the negotiation process to ensure it will be upheld and that any agreements are clear for both parties.  

Once you and the creditor agree to the terms, get them in writing so you have documentation of how much you are expected to pay and that they have decided to remove the closed account from your credit report.

How to improve your credit moving forward

Regardless of whether you can remove closed accounts from your credit report, you can work to improve your credit score. Below are the main factors to consider and how each impacts your credit score.

1. Reduce your debt

Debt is one of the largest drivers of your credit score. The amount owed accounts for 30% of your credit history. Paying off debt will reduce your credit utilization ratio and improve your credit score. Lenders look for borrowers who can responsibly pay off debt.

Whether you choose the snowball method (paying off the smallest debt first) or the avalanche method (paying off high-interest debt first), prioritizing debt repayment can build a strong credit score. 

2. Build positive credit history

Positive credit history means paying all accounts on time and keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30%. While this doesn’t happen overnight, you can ensure you never miss a credit card or loan payment by setting up automatic payments for the account minimums. Over time, this positive credit behavior can build credit history.

If you want to build positive credit history faster, consider using a rent reporting company to report up to two years of past on-time rent and utilities payments. You could also become an authorized user on the account of someone with a good credit score and long credit history. You can also consider secured credit cards or credit builder loans to create a positive credit history. 

If you are working on building up your credit or improving your credit score, MoneyLion is here to help! MoneyLion offers a free and convenient way to find offers from our trusted partners to help you improve your credit — such as credit monitoring, credit report disputes, and getting credit by paying bills. A good credit score can lead to lower interest rates and increased borrowing power on loans and credit cards. 

3. Avoid opening new accounts unnecessarily

Each time you apply for a new credit card, the lender will do a hard credit inquiry, leading to a temporary dip in your credit score. That means that opening several accounts within a short time can negatively affect your credit score. But if you’re carrying debt, an approved new account can lower your credit utilization ratio and increase available credit, boosting your credit score. 

Too many new accounts signal to lenders that you might be planning to take on additional debt. New credit accounts for 10% of your credit score. To maximize this portion of your credit score, avoid opening more than two to three new credit accounts per year, and only open them if really needed. 

4. Pay your debts on time

On-time payments account for 35% of your credit score. Set up automatic payments and reminders so you never miss a payment. As long as you pay the minimum due, it counts as an on-time payment. Building positive credit history starts with on-time payments.

Credit monitoring to build positive credit history

Your credit history plays a massive part in your credit score, but eventually, most accounts close. When an account closes, it can impact your credit score positively or negatively. You can work to remove negative marks. Regardless of past accounts, you can work to build a positive credit history and build your credit score from today. Check your credit report regularly, and consider disputing anything incorrect. Setting up systems to ensure on-time payments while working to pay off debt can lead to long-term credit history improvements. 

Considering a way to build your credit? Join MoneyLion WOW membership and apply for up to a $1,000 Credit Builder Loan with a competitive rate and no hard credit check.


How long do closed accounts stay on my credit report?

Closed accounts typically stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years. Generally, delinquent accounts or accounts with negative marks fall off your credit report after seven years. Closed accounts in good standing can still help your credit score and are only removed after 10 years. 

Can I dispute closed accounts that are still being reported?

Yes, you can dispute accounts being reported. You can also report and dispute inaccuracies.

Will removing closed accounts improve my chances of getting approved for credit?

Removing closed accounts can improve your chances of getting credit approval if the accounts have negative marks like delinquency or late payments.

Sign Up
Sign Up

Fast, interest-free advances anytime

Get Instacash advances up to $500 for everyday expenses or life’s surprises. There’s no credit check, no monthly fee, and no interest.

Sign Up