Here’s an Easy Way to Improve Your Credit, Boost Your Score

derogatory account

Late payments happen. So do missed payments. While most borrowers have the best of intentions, sometimes debts become overwhelming and payments are forgotten.

Essentially, accounts with a perfect payment history help your credit, while a derogatory account (with late or missed payments) hurts your credit score and interest rates when applying for new credit.

If you have an old, derogatory account in your credit history, you may be wondering how to remove items from your credit report.

While it’s not always easy, it is possible to have negative information removed if you take the right steps.

Here’s how to get something off your credit report, and how the process works.

How to get something off your credit report

Look for negative information in your credit history

You may not even know if you have a derogatory account in your credit history. So you should start by getting your free credit report.

You can get your credit report from many different services. But by law, each of the three major reporting bureaus has to give you a free credit report each year. AnnualCreditReport.com is the official U.S. government website where you can get yours.

When you open your credit report, you can find a list of all derogatory accounts. These include any account with a late or missed payment.

The screenshot below is from a credit card account that has a 30-day late payment in July 2011. You can see that it is a derogatory item from the color – look for yellow and red boxes – and we know that it is a 30-day late payment because the box says “30” in it.

Look through your credit report and make a list of all negative information. Then compare to your records to make sure everything there is accurate.

If it’s not accurate, getting it removed is imperative. And if it’s accurate, it is harder to remove, but still possible.

Dispute derogatory account or incorrect negative information

If you find a derogatory account that is incorrect, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau to have it removed.

In 2009, I found such an item on my credit report and filed an online dispute with TransUnion. That was the credit bureau that furnished the report with incorrect information.

I filled out a short online form explaining the error and a few days later got a response that they had contacted the institution, verified the information, and it was removed. Talk about a piece of cake.

You can file a dispute from a link provided in your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Or, through any of the links below.

Keep in mind, you may need to create an account with the credit bureau to complete the process.

You can also file disputes by mail. However, the online dispute process is much easier for anyone comfortable using a web browser.

The reporting bureaus are required by law to handle disputes in a timely manner. Removing inaccurate negative information from your credit report is one of the fastest ways to quickly improve your credit score.

How to remove items from credit report

So what happens if the negative information on your account is real? Removing that information is much harder, but not impossible.

Negative information typically lives on your credit report for seven years for old credit accounts. Bankruptcies last even longer, with a ten year period before they fall off your credit report.

You can always wait seven years until the information goes away, but you can try to get it removed sooner. The method to have negative information removed from old accounts is simple: call and ask.

If you call and ask a creditor to remove a late payment or other negative information from your history, remember that they are under no obligation to do so. Essentially, they’re doing you a favor if they do.

Ask very nicely, and consider using a few points below to get sympathy from the call center representative you speak with.

  • Explain that you were going through a tough financial time and have since made all on-time payments
  • Tell them that you learned your lesson, changed your ways and always make payments on time now
  • Discuss how your credit mistakes from years ago are holding you back even though you are currently making on-time payments

They may still say no, in which case your best bet is to ask for a supervisor and repeat what you told the first person.

Some success stories say that supervisors are much more likely to approve this type of request than the first person that answers the phone.

Sometimes you just have to wait it out

There are times when a company simply won’t make the change. That means you’re ultimately stuck waiting it out.

Fortunately for older accounts, a lot of time has already passed and seven years may not be all that far away. After seven years, the late payment history will be removed automatically.

Remember, always make on-time payments 100 percent of the time going forward to avoid situations like this from recurring. Understand how your credit score is calculated and use your credit to enhance your life in the future once the negative information stops holding you back.

You are solely responsible for your credit history. So make sure you take ownership and commit to handling your borrowing and credit accounts perfectly in the future. Eventually, you’ll have good credit and access to the best credit cards, mortgages, and interest rates available.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print, understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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