If you have a negative item on your credit report, it is supposed to be wiped from your credit report after a certain amount of time, which is typically seven years. This rule holds true for virtually any type of delinquent or unpaid debt you may have. Bankruptcies are the only financial items that will stay around longer, usually up to 10 years. The fact is that there are many negative items that can hang around much longer than the allotted seven years. If this has happened to you, you may have to take a proactive stance. You will have to initiate the removal process. This is essential in order to restore your credit score.
Tips for Removing Old Debt
If you are trying to remove old items from your credit report, there is a process you will have to go through. Use the following tips to work through the process:
- Verify the accounts age: If you are 100 percent confident that your debt should be removed, but has not, you should ensure that the reported date is correct. If you have had judgments or bankruptcy related to the debt, then verifying the date of the debt will be quite easy. However, if there were sporadic payments made, this may be more difficult.
- Ensure that old delinquent accounts are not reported as new debts when they are sold to other collection agencies. This is a common problem. If this occurs, you should dispute the claim to have it corrected.
- Collaborate with all three credit reporting agencies. You need to obtain your free credit report from all three credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. They will not all have the same information. If a debt is on one, you should ensure that it is removed; this is your responsibility if it is older than seven years.
- Gather your evidence. If you do not have the proof of a judgment or bankruptcy, you will need to find old bills, and other documents to verify your claim. You can also send a letter to the credit bureau that has the old debt present.
- Write your letters. You will write a letter to the credit reporting agencies, as well as the creditor who is concerned. This will help you remove the debt more efficiently.
- Always follow up. If you receive no response, you should continue sending letters until the issue is resolved to your satisfaction, or the removal of the negative debt.
- Enlist help. If all of your attempts to remove the old debt fail, you should seek legal guidance. You do not necessarily have to file a lawsuit; however a letter from an attorney will typically grab someone’s attention.
It is important that you take action in cases of old debt remaining on your credit report. If it is not automatically removed, chances are it will remain, negatively impacting your score indefinitely. This is why it is so important to check your credit reports each year and go over the information carefully to ensure that you are not being impacted by something that should be removed.