How to Delete a Charge Off From Your Credit Report

By Chris Shore

  • Overview

    Many of us have had a credit account closed due to nonpayment. It could have been a small debt that we didn't realize we had, or a major account that we know we didn't pay. Whatever the reason, when the credit company decides you have no intention to pay, they report the account to the credit bureaus as a charge-off. These charge-offs do terrible damage to a credit score. But if you are willing put in a little time, and possibly money, you may be able to get these charge-offs removed.
    • Step 1

      Pay it off. If you skip this step, there is a good chance that, even if you get the charge-off removed by following the rest of this article, it will reappear before long. If the amount is small, simply pay the bill. If the amount is large, you can probably settle for less than the face amount of the debt. The longer it has been since the account was charged off, the less the company is willing to take. Don't be misled: You will still need to pay the majority of the debt, but 60 percent is better than 100 percent.
    • Step 2

      Get a copy of your credit reports. Federal law allows you to get a free copy from each of the three major credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion and Experian---each year, or after being denied credit.

    • Step 3

      Contest the account. Each bureau's contestation rules are different, but they will be presented either on the company's website or in the envelope your report came in, depending on how you requested your copy.
    • Step 4

      Wait 30 days. By law, the reporting company has that long to respond to any contested account.
    • Step 5

      Follow up. The credit bureaus are huge companies. Follow up to make sure the company has responded within the 30 days. If not, ask again to have the information removed.
    • Skill: Easy
    • Tip: Get any agreement with a credit company in writing before paying.
    • Tip: If you can, have the company agree to ignore the inquiry they will receive from the credit bureau as a condition if payment. This way, you can almost guarantee that the negative information will be removed.
    • Warning:
    • Do not contest every account at once. The credit bureaus will see this as a scam to get a temporary repair. Target a few at a time, even if it takes a little while.

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