Negative credit accounts, such as charge-off accounts or collections, have a limited amount of time that they can appear on your credit report. After seven years, most negative accounts are automatically deleted from your credit report, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Certain types of accounts take longer to drop off of your report, such as bankruptcies or judgments, which take 10 years. If the old negative accounts do not fall off of your report after the seven-year mark, you can dispute the account to get it removed -- unless it's a negative account, which is reported for 10 years. Dispute negative credit accounts directly with credit reporting agencies reporting the negative account. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, the three primary credit bureaus, offer an online dispute process for removal of negative information.
Open your Internet browser and navigate to TransUnion's credit dispute center.
Log in to your TransUnion account. If you have ever used TransUnion's credit monitoring, credit report request, or free annual credit report request features, you will already have a TransUnion account. Otherwise, click "First Time, Click Here?" and register for a useraccount.
Click the "Credit Report" tab. Choose "Report Inaccuracy." Click "Submit Dispute." Scroll through the list of accounts and click "Request Investigation." Choose the reason for investigation as "Account too old." Click "Submit" to submit the item for investigation.
Open your Web browser and navigate to Experian's online dispute Web page.
Order a credit report from Experian. You can use any of the credit report options from the Experian page, but the company does require a recent report from the last 90 days to start your dispute. You can get a free copy of your Experian credit report if you are denied credit or if you have not yet requested your free annual credit report.
Click "Yes, I have a credit report number" if you have a recent Experian credit report or click "Log in" to use your credit monitoring account.
Enter your report number, state, social security number and zip code in the fields provided. Check all boxes below these fields and click "Submit."
Click "potentially negative" items. Click the name of the item that needs to be removed from your credit report. Click "Dispute this item." Choose "Other Reason" and type that the negative account is older than seven years and needs to be removed from your report. Click "Submit Your Dispute."
Open your browser and navigate to Equifax's online dispute page.
Input your 10-digit credit report number if you have a recent credit report from Equifax. Enter your name, social security number, birth date, address, your last address if you moved within the past two years and your email address. Enter the security code and click "Submit." Answer the identification questions to confirm your identity. Click "Submit."
Click "Start a new dispute."
Click "Negative Information" in the sidebar of your credit report from Equifax.
Click "Dispute this item" next to the item that is older than seven years. Type that the account is past its reporting date in the text box. Click "Add Dispute."
- TransUnion: Credit Dispute Process
- FTC: Building a Better Credit Report
- Equifax: How the Equifax dispute process works
- Experian: FAQ
- Federal Trade Commission. "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act," Pages 1-3. Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Free Credit Reports." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Credit Reports Are Now Free, Every Week." Accessed Oct. 29. 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "If a Credit Reporting Error Is Corrected, How Long Will It Take Before I Find Out the Results?" Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Fair Credit Reporting Act," Page 70. Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Fair Credit Reporting Act," Page 52. Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Consumer Reports: What Information Furnishers Need to Know." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Reserve. "Credit Reports and Credit Scores," Page 1214. Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Disputing Errors on Credit Reports." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.