How to Remove Old Negative Credit from Your Credit Report

by Contributor ; Updated July 27, 2017

Items you will need

  • Updated credit report
  • Contact information of creditors
  • Removal request letters

There is no way to remove accurate negative reporting from your credit report. However, there is a time limit on how long that negative credit can remain on your report. For most bad debts the limit is seven years, though a bankruptcy may remain on your report for as long as 10 years, and a judgment against you that has not been paid can stay on your report for up to seven years or your state's statute of limitations, whichever is longer.

Step 1

Request a copy of your credit report from the three reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian . By law, everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report annually from each agency. It is important to check all three as they may include different information.

Step 2

Review the reports carefully for any negative reporting that exceeds the applicable time limit. Make a note of which credit report(s) it showed up on and what creditor or collection agency provided the information to the agency.

Step 3

Find the contact information for each of these creditors provided on the report. Send them a letter to request that the item be removed promptly from the report. Be sure to note that the item has exceeded the time required by law for removal.

Step 4

Dispute the same items online with the credit reporting agencies as well. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the reporting agency and the credit provider have an obligation to correct inaccurate information.

Tips

  • Keep copies of all correspondence with the creditors. The FTC suggests that you may want to send copies of reports, with the disputed items circled, to your creditors.

Warnings

  • Some companies promise to improve your credit score, for a fee, by getting bad items removed. Only inaccurate or old negatives can be removed from your report, and you can usually do that yourself.