Collections, Credit Report

Steps to Remove Collections From Your Credit Report

When you decide to improve your credit, having accounts in collections is a huge setback. They can tank your credit score, make other lenders and landlords avoid doing business with you, and stay on your report for seven years. Getting collections off of your credit report can lead to a significant increase in your score—but how do you get started?

Our team of debt consolidation and bankruptcy attorneys in Mobile, AL can help. Call Padgett & Robertson at 251-336-3695 to set up a time to talk to our team.


Pull Your Credit Reports

First, you have to know what you’re working with. Pull your credit report from each of the credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It may seem unnecessary to pull a report from all three, but some lenders only report to one or two bureaus. You don’t want to miss out on any collections accounts.


Figure Out Your Options

Your options depend largely on how correct your credit report is. For example, if an account isn’t yours or is reported incorrectly, you may be able to dispute it. If you want to pay the account off, you can request that the collection account be removed from your credit report. Perhaps an account is already paid off and you’d like to get it off your credit report. We’ll explore those options below.


Dispute the Account…

If you find something on your credit report doesn’t look quite right, you might want to dispute it. While most creditors use Social Security numbers and other information to ensure that accounts don’t end up on the wrong credit reports, mistakes do happen. You could end up with a family member’s listing, a listing for someone with the same name as you, or a listing caused by a mistyped SSN. If a debt is not yours, dispute it.


…or Ask Them to Validate the Debt

Not sure about an account? The creditor is required to prove that the debt is valid and is yours. When you write to the creditor, you can ask them to validate the debt by providing the name and address of the original creditor, the due date of the debt and when you fell behind, how much is owed, and what type of account it is, and any contracts proving the validity of the debt.


Send a Pay-for-Delete Letter

If you just pay off a collections account, your credit score will go up slightly—but the fact that you had an account in collections will still be listed on your credit report, and it will continue to hurt your credit until it falls off after seven years. This may give you some leverage when it comes to negotiating with the collection agency.

They want the debt paid, and if you are able to pay it, you can send a pay-for-delete letter. If they agree, they remove the account from your credit report upon receiving your payment. If you go this route, do not submit a payment until you have their agreement in writing.


Talk to the Agency About a Goodwill Deletion

Perhaps you’ve already paid the account off and it’s just sitting there on your credit report, dragging your score down. While you don’t have any leverage to demand a deletion from the creditor—after all, they already have your money—they may be willing to do it if you ask nicely. You can write a letter asking for a goodwill deletion, which explains that you paid off the debt and have been more responsible with your credit usage. They may say yes or they may say no, but it doesn’t hurt to try.


Wait It Out

If nothing else works, you can just wait it out. The account will only stay on your report for seven years, so as those accounts fall off, your score will steadily improve.


Trying to Improve Your Credit? Call Padgett & Robertson Now

If you’re trying to get your debt under control in Mobile, AL, it’s time to talk to the team at Padgett & Robertson. We understand the enormous pressure and stress that financial issues can put on a family, and we want to help. Call us at 251-336-3695 or reach out online to set up a consultation now.

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