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How Long Does A Charge Off Stay On Credit Report – If you want to remove a closed account from your credit report, you have a few options: dispute the error, wait for it to fall off your report, request it by writing a goodwill letter, or a pay-for-deletion. By writing a letter. Because closed accounts with negative marks remain part of your credit history for seven years, you may want to remove them from your credit report. Accounts in good standing, however, stay on your report for 10 years, so keeping them on your credit history can be a positive.
If you want to remove closed accounts from your credit report, this article gives you all the details on how to remove them, including which ones to consider removing.
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If you’ve closed an account in good standing — meaning you’ve made payments on time and satisfied the terms of the agreement with your creditor — it will help your credit by staying on your credit report. Keeping a positive account open can add additional benefits to your credit. Because the length of your credit history counts for 15% of your FICO® score. So the longer it stays open, the deeper your credit history will be.
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When accounts with missed payments or other derogatory information are removed from your credit report, you can benefit because your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score.
Your accounts may be closed for a variety of reasons. In some cases, you may choose to close your account. In other cases, a credit card company may close your account with or without notice. These examples give you an idea why some accounts may be closed by your lender:
If your lender closes your account for this reason, your credit score may be negatively affected. Missed payments and non-payments will hurt your score because your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® score. A closed credit card account can increase your credit utilization and potentially your credit mix, both of which can negatively impact your score. So you can try to remove them from your credit history. In the upcoming section, we provide four ways to be able to remove a closed account with a negative mark from your credit report.
An account in “good standing” refers to accounts for which you have paid on time and satisfied the terms of your agreement with your creditor. Because the credit bureaus will put such good standing accounts on your credit report that have been closed for 10 years, they should help your credit score. Since payment history affects your FICO® score the most, making timely payments to these closed revolving accounts on your report can have a positive impact on your score.
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Voluntarily closing your credit card account with a zero balance may sound like a good idea. However, you may consider keeping such an account open. Doing so can have a positive impact on your credit score:
If you want to remove a closed account from your credit report, there are four ways you can consider doing so, depending on your situation.
Credit bureaus must remove inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Includes types of errors that may occur on your credit report
For example, if you know you’ve made all of your student loan or mortgage payments on time as agreed, but your credit report shows you missed a payment, you can dispute the inaccurate information with the credit reporting agencies. If you pay off your car loan in full, but the lender shows a balance, you can dispute that too.
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First, find out what your credit report shows. You can check your credit report for errors by ordering a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. Then if you find incorrect information, you can dispute it by contacting the credit bureaus via mail, phone or online. The three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — each have an online page you can use to file a dispute. You should include your contact information, the account number where the error was made, the nature of the error and why you are disputing it, and documentation supporting your position.
If you’ve missed a lot of payments on a credit card account that’s been closed and still has a balance on it, it might be a good time to write a pay-for-write-off letter. In essence, you are offering to pay your creditor or debt collector in exchange for removing the negative mark from your credit report, if the account is charged-off.
Debt collectors are not required to accept a pay-for-deletion offer and may even take your money without removing the negative mark as requested. If they accept your offer, you can ask for confirmation in writing before submitting the payment they made and remove the negative information from your credit report once you honor your repayment plan.
If you’ve made late payments but your credit history is unblemished, a goodwill letter may be an option to consider. In a goodwill letter, you write to a creditor and ask to remove a negative mark from your credit report.
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Your letter should explain that you have a good reason for missing payments, such as an unexpected illness or temporary job loss. It should also be noted that missed payments were not typical in light of your overall payment history. You can then outline the steps you will take to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Creditors may or may not accept your goodwill letter, but a polite letter from someone with a good reason and otherwise a strong payment history can be successful.
If you don’t want to take specific steps to remove negative items from your credit history, you can wait for them to fall off your credit report. Various negative marks remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, depending on the negative mark:
Fortunately, as negative accounts age on your credit report, they will have less impact on your credit score over time.
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A positive closed account stays on your report longer than a negative account. It can remain there for up to 10 years from the date of account closure. Experian says it keeps positive accounts on a credit report longer to encourage people to pay responsibly with credit.
Generally speaking, a long credit history has a positive impact on your credit score, but the length of your credit history is dependent on multiple accounts. Credit scores take into account the average age of your account, the age of your oldest account, and how long ago you opened your new account.
Even if you close an account, it can remain on your credit history for up to 7 or even 10 years. The two factors that can most affect a closed account include:
For example, if you have an aggregate available credit limit of $10,000 on three credit cards and use $2,000 on two cards, your CUR amount is 20%. If you decide to close one of these accounts and it has a $0 balance and a $2,000 credit limit, your level of available credit will decrease ($8,000), thereby increasing your CUR by 25%.
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Experts recommend keeping your CUR below 30% and say the best credit is for those with a CUR below 10%. Therefore closing the account reduces your available credit and can increase your CUR and negatively impact your credit score.
Regardless of whether you have a negative mark on your credit report, you can still improve your credit by moving forward. You can use these steps to build good credit over time and improve your overall personal finances:
It’s a good idea to remove closed accounts from your credit report if they have negative information and it’s possible to do so. But there is one possible step you can take in a broader approach to building and maintaining good credit in the long term.
Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, MBA, AFC® is a Certified Financial Consultant® and a bilingual personal finance writer and educator dedicated to helping populations in need of financial literacy and counseling. His informative articles have appeared in various news outlets and websites, including Huffington Post, Fidelity, Fox Business News, MSN and Yahoo Finance. She also founded the personal finance and motivational site www.AcetheJourney.com and Katherine B. Hauer, translated CFP’s book Financial Advice for Blue Collar America into Spanish. Ana teaches personal finance courses in Spanish or English on behalf of the W!SE (Working In Support of Education) program, teaches workshops for nonprofits in NYC.
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