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How To Remove Closed Accounts From Your Credit Report

How Will You Attack Your Settled Account

How to Remove Closed Accounts From a Credit Report

You know what a settled account is and how it can affect your credit score.

If the account affects your credit score negatively and causing it to drop, its time to start thinking about ways to remove the account from your report.

How to remove settled accounts from credit reports may seem like a long and grueling process, but once the account has been removed you wont be a high risk for financial institutions.

As we have stated, if the account appears to just be hanging out and not affecting your score in a positive or negative way, its best to just let it on your report.

To be honest, showing this payment history can help your credit score as long as you were on time.

Now its time to decide if you will let the settled account stay on your report or if you will take steps to remove it.

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What Happens When You Remove A Closed Account From Your Credit Report

In general, if your request is approved your credit score will reflect the change in about 30 days. However, there are some scenarios where deleted credit report items reappear after a dispute has been filed. This typically happens if the information claimed was not verified by the credit agency in a timely manner or if the information is incorrect altogether.

If this situation happens to you, simply contact the credit reporting agencies as you did before to follow up on the status of your claim.

Send A Goodwill Letter

If youre trying to delete an account thats not associated with any outstanding debts , then you may be able to persuade your creditor to delete it out of kindness by sending them a goodwill letter, which you can create with this goodwill letter template.

In your letter, truthfully explain your situation and why you want the closed account removed. Be polite and remember that your creditor has no obligation to fulfill your request.

Should you delete closed accounts with a goodwill letter?

Generally speaking, although deleting a closed account with a goodwill letter can work, its not a very good idea. Thats because it mainly works on accounts that you closed in good standing, which dont hurt your creditin fact, they benefit it.

In other words, the circumstances in which this method is most effective are also the ones where it makes no sense to try to delete a closed account in the first place.

That said, you can also use a goodwill letter with a debt collection agency to ask them to remove a closed collection account that youve paid off. However, your odds of success arent very goodyoull probably have more luck removing collections from your credit report if theyre still unpaid.

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What Is A Pay

A pay-for-delete letter is when you offer to settle a balance on a negative account in exchange for the debt being deleted from your credit report. The creditor or debt collector is not obligated to agree to your request, but it may be worth sending the request. If you’re sending the request to a collection agency, you’ll need to offer enough for it to be profitable for them to settle. There’s no way to know how much that is, though. If you’re close to the seven-year mark for the item to fall off your credit report, it may not be worth sending a pay-for-delete letter.

Removing Collection Accounts From A Credit Report

How To Remove Closed Accounts Off Your Credit Report

Whether your attempts to pay for delete are successful can depend on whether youre dealing with the original creditor or a debt collection agency. As to the debt collector, you can ask them to pay for delete, says McClelland. This is completely legal under the FCRA. If going this route, you will need to get that in writing, so you can enforce it after the fact.

What to keep in mind, however, is that pay for delete with a debt collector may not remove negative information on your credit history that was reported by the original creditor. The creditor may claim that its contract with the debt collection agency prevents it from changing any information that it reported to the credit bureaus for the account. That said, some debt collection agencies take the initiative and request that negative account information be deleted for customers who have successfully paid their collection accounts in full.

Before taking this step, consider how collection accounts may be impacting your credit score. The FICO 9 credit scoring model, for instance, doesnt factor paid collection accounts into credit score calculations. So if youve paid off or plan to pay off a collection account, then you may not need to pursue pay for delete if your only goal is improving your credit score.

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Closed Accounts May Stay On Your Credit Reports For Up To 10 Years

One of the factors used to calculate your credit scores is length of credit history the longer the better. Old accounts in good standing remain on your credit reports for up to 10 years, which may increase the average age of your accounts and improve your scores.

But when the account falls off after 10 years, the length of your credit history may decrease, which could cause a temporary drop in your scores.

On the flip side, if you have a closed account with a negative history, such as delinquencies, the derogatory information in many cases will remain on your reports for seven years. While its there, it will negatively affect your credit history, but the impact on your scores can diminish over time.

Review The Claim Results

Reporting agencies and lenders usually take around 30 days to investigate disputes. Once they make a decision, they must notify you within five days of completing their review. The notice will inform you if the disputed item was found to be inaccurate or not.

If the disputed information was, in fact, inaccurate, the bureau must update or delete the item. They should include a free copy of your file if the dispute results in a change.

If the bureau or lender considers the disputed information isn’t a mistake, you can file an additional claim. Review your initial claim for any errors and correct those. If possible, you should include additional documents to support your request as this can help the bureau evaluate any data it might have missed the first time around.

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Common Credit Report Errors To Look Out For

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, these are the most common errors consumers find on their credit history:

Mistaken identity

  • Wrong name, address or phone number
  • Accounts from someone with a similar name
  • New credit accounts opened by someone who stole your identity

Incorrect account status

  • Accounts wrongfully labeled as open, past due or delinquent
  • Accounts that wrongfully listed you as the owner instead of authorized user
  • Wrong date for the last payment received, date the account was opened or delinquency status
  • Same debt listed multiple times

Data management

  • Information that is not removed, despite already being disputed and corrected
  • Accounts that are listed multiple times, with different creditors


  • Incorrect credit limit

A Sample Letter Template


Chicago, IL 60018

To Whom It May Concern:

The credit information currently on my credit report contains an entry showing a late payment for March 2018 for my closed XYZ credit card account #02-44575.

I acknowledge that I was unable to fulfill the terms of the account agreement by failing to properly adhere to the monthly payments. In late February 2018, I was involved in a serious bicycle accident that resulted in my inability to work for several months.

During the period of my recovery, I struggled to maintain my financial obligations and had late payments. I have since been carefully budgeting and satisfying all of my monetary responsibilities and payments to improve my credit score.

It would assist me tremendously if you could make a goodwill adjustment that removes this negative payment entry from my three credit bureau reports. This is a closed account that represents a past failure that I am hopeful will not continue to hinder my future.

Thank you for your consideration.


John Smith

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What Is A 609 Letter

The Fair Credit Reporting Act contains Section 609, which explains how consumers have a right to obtain copies of their credit file reports and related information. Section 609 requires credit agencies to disclose sources of information and other details that impact credit scores.

A 609 Credit Dispute Letter is a term forged by credit repair and credit score improvement companies describing a strategy that attempts to force a credit reporting agency to remove negative information.

The FCRA does not actually reference any 609 dispute letter or delete letters.

Oddly, the strategy is more closely based on Section 611 that allows for disputing credit report entries based on whether they are verifiable or substantiated. A 609 letter challenges the credit reporting agency, lender, or collector to produce documentation proving the validity of the debt.

A credit repair company will often market these dispute letter templates to consumers with bad credit or offer to send them on behalf of the consumer at a cost. Most 609 letters request original source information such as the initial signed contract or other documentation.

The 609-dispute letter strategy has traditionally produced mixed results in removing negative information. The likelihood of success may increase if the original creditor has sold the debt to a third-party debt collector that is less likely to have much of the original documentation on file.

When To Write A Goodwill Letter Instead

A goodwill letter is a request that asks a lender or creditor to remove derogatory information from your credit report. Unlike a dispute, the creditor has no obligation to take any action in response to a goodwill letter or assist your credit repair efforts.

Goodwill letters are most effective when consumers had some temporary difficulty that resulted in failing to make timely payments. For example, your goodwill letter may explain that you suffered a severe injury or illness that prevented you from working and created struggles with paying bills.

The effectiveness of a goodwill letter that cites extenuating circumstances is further increased when the account has since been back into good standing. Accounts that have been forwarded to a collection agency and left unpaid are less likely to be successful using a goodwill letter.

Keep in mind that some goodwill letters involving unpaid accounts may be open to a compromise. The creditor might respond to the goodwill letter stating they will consider removing the negative credit entry if the debt is paid however, these arrangements should always be first put in writing.

The pay-for-delete option has risks because the organization is not legally obligated to remove the entry from your credit report regardless of whether the debt is paid. Also, if the debt was sold to a third-party collector the original creditors negative entry may remain and affect your credit score.

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How Long Do Closed Accounts Usually Stay On Your Credit Report

As we said, closed accounts continue to affect your credit score as long as they remain on your credit report. The table below shows how long closed accounts stay on your report in different situations:

How Long Closed Accounts Remain in Your Credit File

Type of Account
The Fair Credit Reporting Act

When It Comes To Your Credit Score Dont Sweat The Small Stuff

How to Remove Closed Accounts from a Credit Report: 13 Steps

Remember that credit bureaus consider the entirety of your situation when determining your score, and not just which old accounts are still listed on your reports.

Further, the most important factors of your FICO score are your payment history and how much debt you owe. For that reason, you should focus most of your efforts on making sure your bills are paid on time and maintaining a credit utilization rate thats on the lower end of the spectrum, and preferably under 30%. Other ways to improve your credit score include refraining from opening or closing too many accounts and having a few different types of accounts on your reports on any given time.

Good credit is built slowly over the years, and youll have the best results if you focus on areas where you can have significant impact. Old accounts on your report may be inconsequential, but how you treat your credit now can impact your score for years to come.

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Wait For Accounts To Drop Off

If you choose not to take steps to remove closed accounts, you’ll be happy to hear that these closed accounts won’t stay on your credit report forever. Depending on the age and status of the account, it may be nearing the credit-reporting time limit for when it will drop off your credit report for good. If that’s the case, all you might have to do is wait a few months for the account to fall off your credit report, and then for your credit report to update.

Most negative information can only be listed on your credit report for seven years from the first date of deliquency.

If the closed account includes negative information that’s older than seven years, you can use the credit report dispute process to remove the account from your credit report.

No law requires credit bureaus to remove a closed account that’s accurately reported and verifiable and doesn’t contain any old, negative information. Instead, the account will likely remain on your credit report for ten years or whatever time period the credit bureau has set for reporting closed accounts. Don’t worrythese types of accounts typically don’t hurt your credit score as long as they have a zero balance.

When A Collection Agency Steps In

Charge-offs dont end your obligation to repay the debt.

Even if your original creditor no longer owns the account, youll still owe the debt to the collection agency that acquired it. Charge-offs and other negative account history, such as late or missed payments, can stay on your for up to seven years.

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What Happens When You Close An Account

When you close an account, it’s no longer available for new transactions, but you’re still required to pay off any balance outstanding by paying at least the minimum owed each month by the due date.

After the account is closed, the account status on your credit report gets updated to show that the account has been closed. For accounts closed with a balance, the creditor continues to update account details with the credit bureaus each month. Your credit report will show the most recently reported balance, your last payment, and your monthly payment history.

Politely Ask For The Information To Be Removed


If you dont necessarily have any incorrect information to dispute but you still want a closed account removed from your credit reports, you can also write the credit bureaus a goodwill letter. This type of formal request could lead to having an account removed out of goodwill, yet there are no guarantees.

Either way, you can ask and all they can say is no. You can find out how to contact all three credit bureaus using the links below:

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How To Get A Closed Account Off Your Credit Report

Many people close credit accounts they no longer want, thinking that doing so removes the account from their credit report. The Fair Credit Report Actthe law that guides credit reportingallows credit bureaus to include all accurate and timely information on your credit report. Information can only be removed from your credit report if it’s inaccurate or outdated, or the creditor agrees to remove it.

Should You Remove Closed Accounts From Your Credit Report

You should attempt to remove closed accounts that contain inaccurate information or negativeitems that are eligible for removal. Otherwise, there is generally no need to remove closed accounts from your credit report. Inaccurate information could be pulling down your credit score and should be addressed, but older accounts with a good history may be helping your score.

Even after closing an accountlike a personal loan or credit cardthe information related to your balances and payment history stays on your for many years. In fact, both accounts closed in good standing and negative items or collection accounts may remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years.

Your credit score is calculated based on five main factors: payment history , credit utilization , length of credit history , different types of credit and new credit .

Because a credit report includes both open and closed accounts, some of these credit factors can be affected by a closed account being removed from your report. For example, if you made payments on a personal loan for a number of years and that account is removed from your report, yourlength of credit history could decrease.

Having a closed account removed from your report may not affect your score, but in many cases, it is wise to leave accounts in good standing on your report, as they could have a positive impact overall.

Read on to learn how to get rid of closed accounts from your credit report.

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You Close The Account

Here are three reasons someone might be tempted to close a credit card account.

1. You no longer use the card

Let’s say you signed up for a credit card your first year of college, and have now jettisoned it for a travel rewards card that helps cover the cost of an annual getaway with friends. Closing the older account you signed up for in college may seem to make sense. After all, you never plan to use it again. Still, closing an unused credit card can have consequences.

2. You’re tired of paying the annual fee

Maybe you were tempted by a credit card with a fantastic signup bonus, and ignored that the card charges you an annual fee. Long after you’ve moved on to another card that better meets your needs, you call the credit card issuer of the first card and ask them to drop the annual fee, but they deny the request. Again, you believe it makes sense to cancel that card, and there are ways to close an unused credit card without hurting your credit.

3. You’re in debt and worried you’ll never get out

Perhaps you sat down one day to pay bills and came face-to-face with how much you owe in credit card debt. You wanted nothing more than to rid yourself of the debt — and rid yourself of the temptation of the credit card.


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