How Do I Get Charge Offs Removed From My Credit Report?

By Joseph Crutchfield

Wondering how to remove charge offs from your credit report? If this sounds like you, then you have probably had trouble with your finances not too long ago. You have probably had difficulty making full payments for many months. And today, you may even have several collection agencies pestering you by mail and telephone. Does this sound about right?

Well, don’t worry. Even though you may have been a bit undisciplined with your finances in the past, you can improve your credit, remove charge offs from your report, and yes … get a second chance you want at a good credit score. In this article, we will take a close look at what a charge off is and show you two proven ways you can have them removed from your credit report altogether…

What Exactly Is A Charge Off?

A charge off is one of the more detrimental negative credit listings you can have on your credit report. Charge offs are losses claimed by your creditor after approximately 180 days of unsuccessful attempts at receiving full payment from you. Late payments of 30,60, or 90 days are common, but, after 6 months without a payment, your creditor will most likely count your account as a loss, turn it over to a collection agency, and place a ‘charge off’ entry on your credit report.

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Removing these charge offs should be a priority to you, as potential lenders make it a point to look for these negative indicators on your report specifically.

So, How Can I Eliminate These Charge Offs?

First of all, you need to find the date that the charge off was reported in your credit report and take note of the last activity on the account. If it’s an older record between 7-15 years past, then chances are the statute of limitations has expired on collecting that debt. To determine the expiration date, you’ll need to do a little investigating in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For example, a credit card charge off may stay on your record for 7 years, while a bankruptcy can remain for 10 years. What that means is, writing a simple letter to the credit bureaus and notifying them of the expiration date may be enough to get the charge off erased from your records.

You will need to take a few extra steps though if your charge off happens to be more recent. Talk with your original creditor and make an offer. Basically, you’ll want to make an offer of payment to your creditor in return for their removal of the charge off they placed in your records, often referred to as a ‘pay for delete.’

But there’s no sugar coating this, it won’t be easy. Many creditors, like credit card companies for example are obligated to report negative information to the credit agencies. Therefore, they may not be willing to remove your charge off completely and instead, change your account status to ‘closed.’ That’s more favorable than a ‘charge off paid’ indicator, but still not an entire removal. So, the choice soon becomes to either reject their counter-offer or to make the compromise. The decision is yours.

You should take into consideration the importance your credit rating is going to have on qualifying for a better job or a good loan in the near future before you decide though. Just make absolutely sure you get your pay-to-delete agreement in writing before you make payment and check your credit file for the alteration after the creditor accepts your terms. Be certain they change or remove it from your report.

So, Where Do I Start?

Two things you will want to do first is to read and learn the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act first before jumping into disputing your credit report entries. Get a good understanding of your rights as a U.S. citizen and how you can use them to your benefit. Next, you should realize that every state has it’s own laws concerning debt. You want to find your state’s precise statute of limitations on debt collection.

Make sure you keep yourself well informed on credit repair in general, as federal laws change quite frequently. And finally, realize that removing a charge off is only one small step in the entire process of repairing and maintaining your credit. You also need good repayment strategies, a disciplined monthly credit limit usage, and an aggressive credit building goal to really improve your scores.

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