Can I Get A Charge-Off Removed From My Credit Report?
By Tonya L Andrews
Many people mistakenly think when a debt has been charged-off that it’s been cancelled by the creditor. This is not true. You are still responsible for paying off the debt. However, you will not be able to use your credit card to make purchases.
Companies, including creditors and lenders, have profits and losses every year. They make money from profits and lose money from losses. When a creditor charges-off your account, it’s declaring your debt as a loss for the company.
Even though the creditor has acknowledged your debt as a loss in its financial records, you don’t get away free. Your creditor will add a negative entry (a charge-off) to your credit report and continue to attempt to collect on the debt.
An account is usually charged off after 180 days, or six months, of less-than-minimum payments. The charge-off will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date it was charged-off. If you pay the debt, it will be updated with a status of “Charged-Off Paid” or “Charged-Off Settled.” Either is better than a simple “charge-off” status, but are still undesirable.
One way to remove a charge-off from your credit report is to wait the seven-year period. Another is to dispute the item, or you can negotiate with the creditor to have it removed after you pay the account in full. It’s important to remove charge-offs for your financial health and improving your credit score.
It’s important to understand how a charge-off can affect your credit score. First and foremost, they don’t look good on your credit score. Being that your credit score in an indication of how responsible a person you are, charge-offs can be a direct reflection of your level of responsibility, even if you are a responsible person in general. Charge-offs can not only pull your credit score down in the short term and long term, they can be very costly to you in the long run. Lenders today do not like charge offs because they are negative credit. Lenders may still lend you money, but they will charge a significantly higher interest rate than if you didn’t have any charge offs. In addition, they charge you substantially more in a down payment for a loan.
The goods news is that you can remove charge-offs from your credit report. If you know the right steps to take, removing charge offs from your credit score can actually be relatively easy. To start, get a copy of all the credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You have a right to one free credit report every year. You need these so that you can see exactly what is on each of them and if the charge off is on each one.
Once you know which reports have the charge-offs on them, you can do research about how to specifically get them removed. You can open a dispute, write dispute letters and get them removed in this fashion. You can do it all yourself but keep in mind it will take time. You’ll need to put in the hours required to research the proper format for dispute letters, and to also write them, send them, and track the progress.
In addition to doing the work yourself to get charge offs removed from your credit score, you can also hire a reputable credit restoration company to do the work for you. Again, writing the dispute letters yourself does take a significant amount of time, but if you are going to do it, remember to track your progress on your credit report. It’s important that the dispute letters be properly formatted. Otherwise the credit bureaus will ignore them. You will want to review the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You want to find the section in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that states your rights as the consumer to open a dispute and catch the attention of the credit bureaus so they will take action in removing the charge off.
Many people start the process of trying to get negative items, like charge offs, removed from their credit. After starting the process they realize they don’t get the results where hoping for. They simply give up or they find they can use a credit restoration company to help them in the process. If you’d like to hire a credit restoration company to do the work for you, you want to choose a company that delivers concrete results. Do your due diligence and know who you are hiring. Your credit score is too important to leave in the hands of amateurs so make sure the company you are hiring has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau and client success stories to back it up.
Tonya Andrews is a Sales Director with Financial Education Services, a company dedicated to helping individuals achieve and maintain financial health. The FES Credit Restoration Division, United Credit, is backed by a 10 year track record of success and an A+ Rating with the BBB. For more information visit http://www.MyScoreRestore.com.
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