“If I could turn back the hands of time…” went the refrain of a popular soul song from the 1960s.
While the singer was lamenting a lost love in that classic tune, lots of people have similar feelings about past decisions they made that now affect their eligibility for loans. This circumstance might lead one to ask: Can you erase your credit history?
Yes, sort of — but no, not really.
Here, let us explain.
File a Dispute
Mistakes happen, people steal, and data sometimes paints an inaccurate picture of reality. This is why it’s important to review your credit report on an annual basis to ensure the information it contains is accurate.
You’re entitled to one free copy of yours from each of the three American credit agencies once a year. Take advantage of this and look it over carefully to be certain everything there is a result of your actions. File a dispute with the reporting creditor If you find erroneous information.
Pay for Delete
You’ll need to contact the creditor filing the complaint because information on your credit report can only be removed by the reporting entity. In other words, the creditor responsible for the information must request its removal and you must make a formal request for this to be considered.
They sometimes agree to drop the grievance out of goodwill.
However, this is pretty rare.
What happens more often is a situation in which you’ll offer to pay the account in full if they agree to remove the negative information. Many creditors have agreed to this, so always make the request. Similarly, if you enroll in a debt relief program, ask your agent to include this request with all of your settlement offers.
Wait it Out
Another alternative is to give it time to drop off of your report. Negative entries can only be reflected for seven years. Yes, this is a long time, but if you don’t have the money, maybe you can spend the time.
A benefit of this approach is the opportunity it presents to straighten things out on your own in the interim. That negative entry will have less impact as time goes by if you keep your record clean. Pay your accounts on time and keep your balances low relative to the limits imposed by the creditor while you’re waiting. You’ll have a strong score once that bad apple falls off your tree.
While it’s true bankruptcy protection can free you of most types of debt, the fact you filed stays on your credit report for 10 years. So now, in addition to the negative report — regardless of how it got there — you’ll have a bankruptcy showing too.
The good news is you’re still likely to find creditors willing to work with you. The bad news is they’ll want stratospheric interest payments in exchange for doing so.
All in all, bankruptcy should be your last resort.
Credit Repair Companies
Keeping it 100, we have to say you can do anything a credit repair company can do. With research and tenacity, you can accomplish everything one of these companies can.
However, that’s all they do — all day every day.
As a result, they will probably be more efficient at it. If you consider going this route, be careful to contract a company with a solid reputation based upon track results you can verify.
So Can You Erase Your Credit History?
With all of that said, there is no legal way to erase your credit history altogether. However, if you follow the tips above, you can do everything possible to ensure it represents you in the best light possible.