A bad credit score can work against you in more than one way. When you have poor credit, are approved for new loans, or Credit lines can be difficult. If you qualify, you could end up paying a higher interest rate to borrow. A low credit score can also result in the payment of higher security deposits for utilities or cell phones.
In these scenarios, you may want to consider a tactic known as “pay for deletion”, in which you pay to have negative information removed from your credit report. While this may sound tempting, it is not necessarily a quick fix for better credit.
Key points to remember
- “Pay to delete” is an agreement with a creditor to pay off all or part of an unpaid balance in exchange for that creditor removing derogatory information from your credit report.
- Credit reporting laws require that accurate information remain about your credit history for seven years.
- Credit repair involves paying a business to contact the credit bureau and flag anything that is incorrect or false on your report and then request that it be removed.
- You can do your own credit repair at no cost, but it can be labor intensive and time consuming.
Pay for defined deletion
First, it helps to understand what it means to pay to delete bad credit report information. According to Paul T. Joseph, lawyer, CPA and founder of Tax and payroll Joseph & Joseph in Williamston, Michigan, “Paying for deletion is essentially when you are contacted by, or contact your creditor, and you agree to pay some or all of the outstanding balance with an agreement that the creditor will contact the creditor. credit Company and remove any derogatory comments or indication of late payment on the account. ”
How to request payment for deletion
To request payment for deletion, you will need to send a written letter to the creditor or collection agency. A letter of payment for deletion must include:
- Your name and address
- The creditor or Recovering agency name and address
- The name and account number you are referring to
- A written statement stating how much you agree to pay and what you expect in return from the creditor removing negative information
You are essentially asking the creditor to take up any negative remarks they may have added to your credit report relating to late or missed payments or a collection account. By paying some or all of the outstanding balance, you hope that the creditor will show goodwill and remove the negative information from your credit report for that account.
Generally, specific information cannot be removed from a credit report.
Is payment for deletion legal?
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs credit reporting laws and guidelines. Anything a debt collector, creditor or credit bureau does regarding a credit report will be based on the FCRA, says Joseph P. McClelland, a consumer credit counseling based in Decatur, Ga.
Credit bureaus are required to produce accurate credit reports, and consumers have the right to sue creditors and credit bureaus in certain cases. Specifically, this includes inaccurate information that continues to be reported after a consumer initiates a dispute that the credit bureau has not investigated.
Technically, payment for deletion is not expressly prohibited by the FCRA, but it should not be viewed as a general card without prison. “The only things you can remove from your credit report are the ones that are inaccurate and incomplete,” says McClelland. “Anything else will be at the discretion of the creditor or the collector.”
If you spot a credit report error or inaccuracy, you will need to file a dispute with the credit bureau that reports the information to have it corrected or deleted.
Removing collection accounts from a credit report
The success of your removal payment attempts may depend on whether you are dealing with the original creditor or a debt collection agency. “As for the debt collector, you can ask him or her to pay for the removal,” McClelland says. “It’s completely legal under the FCRA. If you go this route, you will need to get it in writing, so that you can apply it after the fact. ”
What you need to keep in mind, however, is that paying for the removal with a debt collector may not remove the negative information about your credit history reported by the original creditor. The creditor may claim that their contract with the collection agency prevents them from changing the information they have provided to the credit bureaus on the account. That said, some debt collection agencies are taking the initiative and requesting that negative account information be removed for customers who have successfully paid their collection accounts in full.
Before taking this step, think about the impact that collection accounts can have on your credit score. the FICO 9 The credit scoring model, for example, does not take into account paid collection accounts in credit score calculations. So if you have paid a collection account or are planning to do so, you may not need to continue with the payment for deletion if your only goal is to improve your credit score.
If you wait for a debt to become prescribed. that is, beyond the limitation period in which collection actions can be applied, it is important to avoid restarting the clock that can occur if you make a promise to pay.
Remove Bad Credit History With Credit Repair
Hire a credit repair cabinet is another option to pay to remove bad credit information. “Credit repair agencies basically do the job for you by contacting the credit reporting agencies and objecting to errors in the report or requesting that items that are false or incorrect be removed from the report,” explains McClelland. In this case, you don’t necessarily pay the outstanding balances. However, you will pay a fee to the credit repair company to act on your behalf by removing negative information.
$ 30 to $ 100
Typical monthly fees for a credit repair business
The fees charged by a credit repair company can vary. Typically, there are two types of charges: an initial setup charge and a monthly service charge. Upfront fees can range from $ 10 to $ 100, while monthly fees are typically between $ 30 and $ 100 per month, although some companies charge more.
When considering fees, it’s important to weigh what you’re getting in return. According to Federal Trade CommissionThere is nothing legally credit repair companies can do for you that you can’t do for yourself. You just need to be prepared to spend the time reviewing your credit reports for negative or inaccurate information, contacting the credit bureaus to dispute that information, and following up on those disputes to make sure they are doing the right thing. under investigation.
If you decide that the time saving aspect of working with a credit repair company is worth your money, do a thorough research on the companies you are considering to make sure that you will be working with one of the following. best credit repair companies available. Joseph says that most credit repair agencies are legitimate, but if you come across one that makes promises that sound too good to be true or that uses credit repair methods that are not covered by FCRA, that is ‘is a red flag that the company could be a scam.
Also think about the timing before pursuing credit repair services. “After several years of writing your report, the negative impact on your credit score is probably over,” says McClelland. This is because, eventually, negative information can automatically fall off your credit report.
Late payments and collection accounts can stay on your credit history for up to seven years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years.
Fix bad credit yourself
If you’d rather not pay to delete or pay for a credit repair business, there are a few steps to follow to start getting your credit back on track.
- Examine your credit reports to look for inaccurate negative information. Initiate a dispute of inaccuracies or errors online with the credit bureau reporting the information.
- Consider asking someone you know with a strong credit history to add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized user. This can transplant that person’s positive account history into your credit report.
- Search for credit creating credits and secured credit cards as additional credit building options.
- Make a habit of paying your bills on time every month. Payment history has the most significant impact on credit scores.
- Weigh the pros and cons of debt settlement to resolve collection accounts or chargebacks. Debt settlement allows you to pay off your debts for less than what is owed.
- Focus on paying off any balances from any credit card or loan account you have opened to improve your credit utilization ratio.
You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year through AnnualCreditReport.com.
The bottom line
Bad credit doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. There are things you can do, including paying for deletion, to help get your credit back. Paying to get bad credit removed can be effective, but it’s worth exploring other options if you don’t have the money to pay off an outstanding balance or to cover the high costs that a repair company does. credit can charge.