Are you one of many Americans who have collection accounts on your credit report? If so, you unquestionably want it to just go away. This is a pivotal part of credit repair but raising your credit score back up to a favorable status is much easier said than done. That’s because according to U.S. law, collection accounts can be reported in your credit history for seven-and-a-half years from the original date you fall behind on payments.
Yikes! Seven-and-a-half years. That’s a long time a bad record can weigh down your FICO score. Even worse, it’s possible that you can settle your debt with a collection agency and the record will still weigh down your credit score. Why? Because collection agencies are required to report information that is both accurate and complete and that includes this negative aspect of your credit history. So now that you know why collection agencies won’t wipe a record clean, even after you’ve settled your debt, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do? I mean, 7.5 years is a long time to wait out a bad record. The good news is that there are some things you can do to wipe bad records from your report early, thereby allowing you to advance and repair credit. The bad news is these things are not sure-fire. Here’s a look at a few credit tips for working with collection agencies on this matter:
- First, pull your credit history so you know what’s being reported. There’s a chance you might find an inaccuracy within the report, which can lead to a favorable outcome, as collection agencies aren’t legally allowed to report inaccurate or incomplete information.
- Negotiate a “pay for removal” debt management deal: If you haven’t settled any debt yet, contact the collection agency and see if they will remove your record should you settle the debt. Many will likely respond and say that they’re unable to remove the record, as credit reporting agencies frown upon this policy. But it’s worth a shot.
- Build new, positive credit: Part of your credit score is based on any new credit you’re building. So if you’re striking out with getting records removed from your credit report, it may just be best to cut your losses and focus on building new credit. As time goes on, these negative records will have less of an impact on your overall score, as long as your finances and credit history are headed in the right direction.