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How to Remove Collections From Your Credit Report

Having collections on your credit report can have a significant impact on your financial worthiness. However, the good news is that it is possible to remove collections from your report. In this article, we will provide you with ways to remove collections and prevent new ones from being reported, helping to improve your credit score. So, let’s get started!

Understanding Collections

What is a collection?

A collection occurs when a creditor or a debt collection agency is unable to collect payment for a debt that you owe on your delinquent account. If you fail to make payments on a loan or a credit card for an extended period (late payments), your account may be handed over to a debt collector for them to collect on the unpaid debt. This agency then reports the debt to the major credit bureaus, resulting in a negative entry on your report.

Collections can include various types of debts such as unpaid medical bills, credit card debts, utility bills, or even student loans.

Credit Report and Score Impact

Like any negative items, the presence of unpaid collections on your report can lead to a decrease in your credit score, which can make it difficult for you to obtain new credit or loans in the future. Lenders may see you as a risky borrower and may be hesitant to extend credit to you.

The impact on the report will depend on whether the collection account is paid or unpaid. If the collection account is paid, the latest version of the FICO credit scoring model (FICO Score 9) does not report paid collections. However, earlier versions of the model or different companies credit scoring models do typically include paid collections, which could result in a lower credit score if a lender uses an earlier model.

Statutory Reporting Period

In addition to a lower score, collections can also stay on your report for up to seven years. This means that even if you have improved your financial situation and have begun making consistent payments, the collection will still be visible to lenders.

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How to Remove Collections

Dispute Errors

Before you dispute, review your report for inaccuracies. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) once per year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to request your reports.

Carefully go through each section of your report and identify any collections that may be inaccurate or belong to someone else. Pay attention to the name of the collection company, the amount owed, and the date it was reported.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute any information that you believe is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. You can dispute inaccurate information yourself by sending the credit bureaus a letter with your dispute dispute details or you can utilize a disputing service to handle the disputes for you. Oftentimes, dispute services send the disputes electronically or incur the mailing costs for you.

Validate the Collection

Once you have filed a dispute with the bureau(s), it is important to also reach out to the company collecting the debt directly. Sending a letter to the collection company requesting validation of the debt can help in the removal process.

In your letter, ask the them to provide proof that the debt belongs to you and that they have the legal right to collect it. They should provide you with details about the original creditor, the amount owed, and any relevant documents supporting the validity of the debt.

Keep Records and Complete Follow-ups

Make sure to keep detailed records of any correspondence with both the bureaus and the debt collector. Keep copies of your dispute letters, certified mail receipts, and any responses you receive. This will be helpful if you need to escalate the issue or provide evidence in the future.

If the bureau or debt collection agencies responds to your dispute or validation request, carefully review their response. If they fail to provide sufficient evidence to prove the debt’s validity, you can respond and request that the collection be removed from your report.

Negotiate a Pay-for-Delete Agreement

If there is an owing balance on the collection and you have identified that it is in fact your collection, one option to remove the reporting from your report is to negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement with the company collecting the debt. In this agreement, you offer to pay the debt in full or settle it for a lower amount in exchange for the company removing the negative information from your report.

It’s important to approach this negotiation process in a strategic manner.

  1. Start by contacting the company trying to collect the debt and explaining your intention to resolve the debt. Emphasize your financial situation and the efforts you are making to improve it.
  2. Propose a payment plan or settlement offer that you can afford.
  3. Make sure to request that they agree to remove the collection from your report once you have fulfilled your payment obligations. Get this agreement in writing before making any payments.
  4. Start by gathering all the necessary information about the debt, including the original amount owed, any interest or fees that have been added, and the current status of the debt. This will help you understand the extent of your financial obligation and give you a starting point for negotiations.

Once you have fulfilled your end of the agreement by making the agreed-upon payment, double-check your report to ensure that the collection has been removed. It may take some time for the bureaus to update their records, so be patient and monitor your report regularly.

Ask for a Goodwill Removal

When it comes to removing collections from your report, another option to consider is asking for a goodwill removal. A goodwill letter is used to request that the debt collection agencies or original creditor removes the negative information from your report as an act of goodwill.

This approach tends to work best if you have a good relationship with the creditor or collection company and if the collection is a one-time event or a rare occurrence on your credit report. It’s worth noting that not all creditors will agree to a goodwill removal, but it’s still worth a try.

Here’s how you can request a goodwill removal:

  1. Start by gathering any documents that support your case. This could include evidence of your consistent on-time payments, financial hardship that led to the collection, or any other relevant information that helps explain your situation.
  1. Write a formal letter to the original creditor or debt collector explaining your request for a goodwill removal. Make sure to include the following information in your letter:
  • Clearly state your request for a goodwill removal of the collection from your report.
  • Explain the circumstances that led to the collection, being honest and transparent about any financial difficulties you may have faced.
  • Highlight any positive information about your payment history or creditworthiness, such as consistent on-time payments or improved financial stability.

Prevent New Collections

While working to remove existing collections from your report, it’s also crucial to take steps to prevent new collections from appearing. Here are some strategies you can implement:

  1. Pay your bills on time: Timely payment of your bills is the key to avoiding collections. Set reminders or sign up for automatic payments to ensure that you never miss a due date. Late or missed payments can lead to accounts being handed over to collection agencies.
  1. Create a budget: Developing a budget allows you to manage your finances better and ensures that you allocate enough funds to cover your expenses. By sticking to a budget, you can avoid overspending and reduce the chances of falling behind on your bills.
  1. Negotiate payment arrangements: If you’re struggling to pay your debts, reach out to your creditors to discuss possible payment arrangements. They may be willing to work with you to develop a plan that suits your financial situation, such as a reduced payment or a longer repayment term.
  1. Save an emergency fund: Having an emergency fund can provide you with a financial cushion during unexpected situations, preventing you from relying on credit or falling behind on payments. Aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a separate emergency fund that you can tap into when needed.

It is important that you monitor your credit report to quickly identify any inaccuracies in the reporting and be aware of what creditors may see when viewing your report. Dovly can assist you in monitoring your report and alerting you to any changes that happen. In addition, if you identify inaccuracies in the reporting, you can dispute with Dovly as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dovly Free Credit Repair?

No. We do much more than free credit repair. Dovly is a comprehensive AI credit solutions engine that monitors, (re)builds, and protects your credit. It offers a range of tools and services to assist you in achieving better financial health.

How is Dovly different?
We never sleep! Dovly is a holistic approach to credit management. We don’t just diagnose you with a credit score or problem; we’re committed to addressing and resolving your credit issues. Our AI engine finds the quickest, most effective route to boost your score so you can enjoy financial peace of mind. No more juggling multiple solutions – Dovly is your all-in-one solution for credit management.
Can I trust Dovly?

Yes, you can trust Dovly. Not only do we work with national banks, reputable businesses, and personal finance companies, we also have executive leaders who are accomplished and respected by industry peers. But more than anything our customers can attest to our value and service. Our Database is also encrypted and all personal information is stored on a segregated network to provide an additional layer of security.

How many points can I expect my score to go up?

Dovly Free members see an average score improvement of 37 points, while Premium members see a 69 point score improvement on average. Our data shows that members who are more engaged and log into Dovly regularly see significantly better results.

Tedis Baboumian

Tedis Baboumian is Dovly’s Co-Founder and Chief Credit Officer. With over 20 years of experience in the consumer credit industry, Tedis is an authority on the credit industry and has cultivated dee… Read More