How to Remove Negative Items From My Credit Report 

A derogatory comment on your credit report can lower your credit score, cause you to lose out on a loan opportunity, decrease your chances of getting a credit card or raise your interest rates on credit cards, mortgages and loans. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, if you have a negative item on your credit report that shouldn’t be there, you can get it removed, following a few simple steps.

It’s not that difficult to remove incorrect items from your credit report

Check Out Your Reports

The first step in removing negative information from your credit report is to get copies of your credit reports. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the official free credit reporting website, to obtain copies of your Equifax, TransUnion and Experian credit reports. These companies are the three main credit reporting agencies. You can request a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months.

Your other option is to go to each of websites of the three credit reporting agencies (EquifaxTransUnion and Experian) and follow the steps required to obtain a free copy of your credit report. If you’ve already pulled your report this year, you’ll need to pay a fee for additional reports. If you want to see your credit report instantly, online, choose that option at each of their sites. If you want a copy of your report mailed to you, follow the instructions provided on the website of the reporting agency.

Before you start requesting your reports, gather the information you’ll need to get free copies of your credit reports. You’ll be asked for your your full name, date of birth, Social Security number and current address, so have that information ready.

Review your credit report or reports to see if there are any negative comments (known as derogatory statements). Look for any of the following negative items: late payments, missed payments, debt consolidation, bankruptcy, collections, liens and judgments. In some instances, a negative item will appear on only one or two of your reports, not all three. 

If you feel you have a derogatory statement on your report which should not be there, follow the procedures for reporting the error to each company. You will need the credit report confirmation number that appears at the top of the credit report. Make your case using objective information, including copies of any relevant documents. Avoid a he said/she said description of an incident with a company that reported you. If you see a negative item that is true, but which you believe should have an explanation, you can leave a note about the item on your report, even though it won’t be removed.

Wait 30 days for any or all of the credit reporting companies to conduct an investigation and contact you regarding the results. An investigation will include the credit company contacting the lender who has placed the derogatory statement on your record, evaluating their response, then making a decision to remove or keep the derogatory item on your report. If you disagree with the reporting company’s decision, you cannot have the item removed without filing a law suit, but you may have it marked as disputed on your report, and include an explanation.

Additional Resources

Federal Trade Commission: The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Federal Trade Commission: Disputing Errors on Credit Reports 

 Equifax: Correct Errors in Your Credit Report

TransUnion: Credit Dispute

Experian: Disputing Credit Errors – The Basics

CreditCards.com: Sample Credit Report

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