How to Remove Inaccurate Late Payment Information from Your Credit Report
Learning about inaccurate information on your credit report is never fun, particularly when a potential creditor, or landlord learns about it before you do. Fortunately, there is a process to remove inaccurate late payment information so that your ability to get credit, or rent an apartment isn't compromised.
Here is what you need to do to remove inaccurate information from your credit report:
- Request your credit report. Federal law gives you the right to at least one free credit report in a 12 month period from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). Additional credit reports are typically inexpensive, and you can usually purchase and view your reports online. Many credit experts advise regularly monitoring your credit reports so that you can spot problems before others do.
- Identify inaccurate information. Look for inaccurate information on each of your reports, such as late payments, charged-off accounts and judgments.
- Request removal of inaccuracies. If a credit bureau can't verify the accuracy of information on your credit report, it must remove the information. Federal and state laws give you the right to challenge inaccurate information, and the information that you need to request removal is included on your credit reports. In many cases, you can challenge inaccurate information online.
- Negotiate with creditors. If the information on your reports is accurate, you are up for a bit of a challenge. Legally, accurate negative information on your credit reports can remain there for seven years or more. Some creditors may be inclined, however, to remove late payment information in exchange for payment in full or even a partial settlement of your debt. If you can persuade a creditor to remove negative information in exchange for payment, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
- Follow up. Don't assume that negative information has been removed from your reports. Request new copies of your credit reports and check for yourself.