Unfortunately, when you pay a debt that has been sent to collections, your credit score does not improve. Even though you have satisfied your obligations to the debt, it will remain on your credit record until the seven-year federal reporting period expires. Because you no longer owe money to the collection agency, you have lost any leverage you may have had to demand that the entry be removed in exchange for payment. Luckily, there are still options available to you to remove a paid collection from your credit report.
Pull your credit report, and examine the entry from the original creditor of the debt. Look for the “date of last activity” on the account. It should be located either below the name of the creditor or in the top left of the entry.
Calculate the amount of time that has passed since the date of last activity. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that a collection debt can only be reported on your account for seven years from this date.
Highlight the entry for the original creditor and the collection account on your credit report.
Mail a copy of your credit report to the credit reporting agency that is currently reporting the expired information. Include a letter explaining that the federal reporting period for the debt has expired and that it must be immediately removed from your credit record.
Pull your credit report again in 30 days to verify that the paid collection account has, in fact, been removed by the credit bureau.
Write a letter to each credit bureau that is reporting the paid collection requesting an investigation into the account. The FCRA requires the credit reporting agencies to comply with all consumer investigation requests.
Highlight the entry for the paid collection on your credit report.
Mail a copy of your credit report and the investigation request to each credit bureau that is currently reporting the paid collection.
Wait 30 days for a response from each credit bureau. The FCRA states that credit reporting agencies have no longer than 30 days to conduct a full investigation into the debt and attempt to validate it with the creditor. If the paid collection is not properly validated, it must be immediately removed from your credit report. A creditor has no financial incentive to validate an account that has already been paid.
When requesting an investigation, do not claim that the account does not belong to you. This limits the amount of information the credit bureau must request from the creditor and increases the likelihood that the collection account will be validated.
- When requesting an investigation, do not claim that the account does not belong to you. This limits the amount of information the credit bureau must request from the creditor and increases the likelihood that the collection account will be validated.
Ciele Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been a consumer advocate and credit specialist for more than 10 years. She currently works in the real-estate industry as a consumer credit and debt specialist. Edwards has experience working with collections, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, loans and credit law.