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Get collection entries deleted from your credit report

Never allow a collection agency tell you they cannot delete a collection account from your reports. It’s simply not true. If they put it on your credit report, they can take it off. A pay for delete is when a debt collector agrees to remove a debt from your credit report in exchange for payment. While the credit bureaus frown upon these types of agreements, collection agencies have it in their power to delete collection accounts from reports.

Why a pay for delete agreement

Paid collection entries on your credit report do nothing to increase your credit score. Paid collections hold the same negative weight as unpaid collection accounts. Once lenders begin to use the latest version of the credit scoring model, FICO 9, people with paid collections will see an improved credit score. But until then, current and older versions of the FICO credit scoring model make no difference in paid or unpaid collection accounts — both are negative.

Deleting a collection account can increase your credit scores, especially if the collection account is recent. As a collection account gets older, FICO seems to give it less weight in terms of your credit score. The older a collection account, whether paid or unpaid, the less it factors into your credit score. In fact, when a negative account reaches 48 months or older it is no longer calculated into your credit score.

When to Negotiate a Deletion

A pay for deletion is a request made by you to the creditor or collection agency to pay a debt in full or an agreed upon percentage in exchange for a deletion of the account or trade-line. Before negotiating a deletion you may want to request debt validation with the collection agency to see if they can even prove you owe the debt.

Who Can Do a Pay for Deletion

Pay for deletions can be done with original creditors or collection agencies but they are more typical with collection agencies. Debt that has been purchased by collection agencies becomes less valuable the older it gets. Many collection agencies just want to collect a debt as quickly and as easily possible making a pay for delete agreement much more likely than with an original creditor. Some collection agencies will tell you it’s illegal to delete collection entries – what they don’t tell you is there are no legal requirements to report a debt to the credit bureaus at all. Keep in mind the furnisher of information can remove what they have instructed the credit bureaus to report.

Settle Collection Agency Debt for Less

There is a possibility you can settle your debts for pennies on the dollar. See How to Settle Debt with Collection Agencies. Some collection agencies will require you pay the full amount in order for them to delete the account. But keep in mind a debt collector who purchased your debt, paid pennies on the dollar for the debt — so why not benefit and settle the debt for less. But even if you have to pay the full amount in exchange for a deletion it can be worth it.

All Negotiations Must Be in Writing

All negotiations should be done in writing and all letters mailed via certified, return receipt. You must create a paper trail. Your correspondence serves as proof if you ever need to pursue a lawsuit for resolution of the matter or if the account resurfaces on your credit reports. Payment should not be sent before you have an agreement signed by the collection agency in your hands. Get a letter on company letterhead that spells out they will remove the debt from all three major credit-reporting agencies. Sample Pay for Deletion Letter.

Multiple Attempts May be Necessary

Pay for deletes are completely optional. Collection agencies are not required to honor your request. It is entirely up to the collection agency. You may have to make multiple requests before you even get a yes or no answer. If it’s really what you desire, don’t give up. Find the name of an executive, manager or CEO of the collection agencies and address your pay for delete request directly to that person. You may have a much better chance if you can get your pay for delete request in front of the eyes of a decision-maker instead of a lower-level account representative. You may even have to make follow-up telephone calls if you do not hear from them. Just remember once you get an agreement it must be formalized in writing. Don’t pay before you get it in writing.

The bottom line in paying off obligations should be to help your credit score. Lenders use credit scores to make credit decisions, such as the interest rate you get when you apply for a loan. It’s not a good feeling being denied for credit or unable to make big purchases like an auto or home due to poor credit scores. Good credit can save you money. There is too much at stake to simply pay-off a debt and get nothing in return, request a pay for delete. Keep in mind you may have to send a few requests before getting the response you want. Don’t give up!



  1. Anthony

    November 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm


    I have a (Federal) Perkins school loan that went to collections a few years back. I paid it regularly, and on time, and it hadn’t reported to the bureaus since. I paid it off 5 months ago, and shortly after noticed my score dropped nearly 100 points! Since I paid it off, the technically “negative” trade line reported again, effectively damaging my credit score.
    The people working to collect from me have said time and time again that since it is a Federal loan, they have no control over having the collection trade line deleted. What can I do?

    Thank you!

    • Lisa Phillips

      November 10, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Oh no, 100 points…that really hurts! If you entered into a Rehabilitation Agreement with the collection agency then you would have grounds for removal of the negative information. However, if you simply made payments without a signed Rehab Agreement in place then the collection agency does not have to remove the negative information.

      Loan Rehabilitation is when you make 9 consecutive monthly payments on a defaulted Perkins Loan and the negative tradeline is removed from your credit reports. It gives the borrower a fresh start. The requirement is you must have the collection agency send you a Rehabilitation Agreement to sign and have on record in order for the negative tradeline to be removed from your credit reports.

      If you just entered into a payment arrangement but did not request Loan Rehabilitation then the collection agency does not have to remove the negative tradeline. Some collection agencies will play dumb like they don’t know about Loan Rehab. Perhaps they did not offer that option.

      The only options I can suggest are to:

      1. Communicate with the collection agency and have them retroactively send you the Rehabilitation Form in order to have the negative tradeline removed.

      2. Let the collection agency know you will be contacting the Ombudsman at the US Dept of Education to inform them you were not offered a Rehabilitation Agreement. That may get them to take some action to remove the negative tradeline. Collection agencies are under contract with the DOE and rarely want to the Ombudsman to intervene.

      3. Contact the school and let them know the loan is paid in full but you would like your credit reports cleared. Send the financial aid department something similar to a goodwill letter explaining the issues and ask if there is any way they could get the collection agency to remove the negative tradeline since it is now paid in full.

      4. Try the dispute process. Review how the negative is listed on your credit reports and if you discover any inaccurate information dispute it with the credit bureaus.

      The best of luck to you!

  2. Mimi

    October 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I have not been extremely proactive in the past about monitoring my credit score because I was honestly too afraid to know as I got into credit card debt during a rough patch in my life in 2008. I eventually was able to wake up and pay off all of my credit card debt July 2009. I am in the process of obtaining a loan to buy my first house. Everything has gone through fine until the Lender notified the bank, that I am going through, that I have a debt from a Kohls charge card from 2009 that has shown up on my credit report. The bank said that the credit report that they had pulled did not show this debt. I was completely unaware of this debt and have not been notified what-so-ever from Kohls or a collector and my phone number hasn’t changed nor address. I knew I had paid the amount, in full, back in 2009 and have found the copy of the check from 2009.

    On the credit report it says:
    Account Condition: Closed (Which I had done when I paid off the debt)
    High Balance: $559
    Monthly Payment: $0
    Account Balance: $559
    Last Reported: July 23, 2009
    Amount Past Due: $207
    Limit: $100
    Remarks: 1- Collections Account 2-Canceled by credit grantor
    Past Due 90+ Days: 0

    I am not sure what avenue I need to go. I have already paid it,I have a copy of the check to prove it was paid and do not want to have to pay it again. I have not been notified since I paid the amount in full that there was any debt lingering. I am not sure who I need to contact as I don’t want to cause my credit score to go down. The bank told me that I will have to prove to the Lender of the loan that it is a balance of 0. What do I need to do?

    Please help!

    • Lisa Phillips

      October 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      First congratulations on your first property. I know there’s a lot of paperwork but it’s still exciting. I am going to suggest (3) options:

      (1) Contact by phone a manager in the credit department at Kohl’s. Explain the issue exactly as you clearly stated here and tell them you need a resolution ASAP because you are in the process of getting a mortgage loan. Request a “Deletion” of the tradeline in full from your credit report as that is the best solution. If they will not delete in full ask for it to be updated to “Paid/Closed” and remove the “90-day late” status. Whatever the agreement get it in writing and see if they will email or fax it to you because you don’t have a lot of time for regular U.S. mail. Make sure you take good notes documenting the date, time and name of person you spoke to as well as the terms of the agreement.

      (2) This option will take longer as it involves writing a goodwill letter to Kohl’s asking that they “Delete” the tradeline. You can explain in the goodwill letter that you experienced a hardship during the economic downturn but was able to pay the account in full in 2009. Since the account is so old ask for a deletion, not a correction of the information. Write to:
      Kohl’s Credit
      Attn: Credit Administrator
      P.O. Box 3115
      Milwaukee, WI 53201-3115

      Be sure to include your phone number listed on your account and account number on the letter. Send the letter certified, return receipt and follow-up in 10 days to see if they have received the letter.

      (3) Ask your lender about “Rapid Re-scoring.” You can read more about that process here. Essentially it is a way to QUICKLY correct errors in your credit report but it’s only available to Lenders. You would need to show proof of the payment in full which you have in the form of the cancelled check. You want to listing to reflect “Paid/Closed” and the 90-day late removed.

      If after you’ve contacted Kohl’s, no correction was made to the inaccurate information make a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at: You can upload the proof of payment and submit it with your complaint. The CFPB will ask what outcome you are looking for so be sure to tell them you want a “deletion” of the inaccurate information. While Kohl’s is not required to delete, they can just correct the inaccurate information, it does not hurt to ask. The best of luck to you. Keep me posted!

  3. kjco

    September 20, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Hello Lisa,
    I have came across your site searching for ways to get Collection agency remove collection from my report. I’d appreciate any advice. I had super great credit, over 800 with multiple mortgages, CC, never late. I have a dispute with a doctor over his bill. Long story short, I believe he charged me incorrectly and intentionally out of network. He got paid by my insurance and has no right to bill me personally for more money. It escalated to the Collection agency, I talked to them, disputed with them, they reported to Credit bureaus. I disputed with Credit bureaus and my credit dropped to 715. I would like to take him to small court but he Collection agency has no desire to do that as they probably know they wouldn’t collect.. So they are doing nothing.
    What is my defense against this? I strongly believe he is a overcharging and changing ways he bills to get more money. The amount is not that huge, $2300 but for me its the principle at this point…
    I think my credit will get over 740 fairly quickly, it went up 5 points since it was reported in March. And 740 or 800 doesn’t make that much difference in getting a loan but I just don’t like having this on my report.
    I’d appreciate any advice or legal defense you can recommend.


  4. Mandi

    August 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Do you know why TransUnion would report an item that has not been reported to them in months? The date last reported was May 1 2015 and it still shows up on my TransUnion report….but NOT on Equifax?

    • Lisa Phillips

      August 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      The credit bureaus typically report when the creditor reports to them. Perhaps the creditor has not updated information since May. If that is the case, I would not worry about it, especially if it is negative information. The older it gets, the less it impacts your FICO score. Some creditors report monthly, some report quarterly…it just depends on the creditor. Transunion can maintain that information, even though it has not been updated since May, for 7 years from the date the account first went delinquent. With Equifax, not all creditors report to all bureaus at the same time, if at all. That’s why FICO scores can be very different among the 3 major credit bureaus.

    • Credit Tool

      August 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Mrs. Phillips,
      Does a 4 year old paid collection account on a credit report have grounds for deletion if the “Last Payment date” is incorrect? (receipt paid date: 02/19/2011 credit report paid date: 02/21/2011)

      credit is a tool

      • Lisa Phillips

        August 24, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        Let’s get an understanding first. A pay for delete negotiation is completely up to the collection agency; and, it occurs BEFORE the account is actually paid. Technically you don’t have any “grounds” for deletion. The error could simply be “corrected” to reflect the accurate date. A 4-year old collection account is nearing the territory where it has little to no effect on your credit scores. If you dispute based upon an 2-day error in reporting you run the risk of an old negative account being updated. What happens is the credit bureaus will seek verification which will cause the “date of last activity” to be updated. This, in turn, will cause the old collection to appear new and your credit scores may decrease. It really may not be worth the risk for a 2-day discrepancy. A less risky strategy would be to simply ask the collection agency for a “goodwill” removal. The account is paid, it’s old and and they really have no reason to continue to report it. I would take my chances asking for a “goodwill” removal rather than disputing a 2-day discrepancy. If you do seek a goodwill removal offer an explanation as to why the account ended up in collections. In other words, show a hardship and be sincere.

  5. Andrea

    August 11, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you so much for all the useful information on your website. I have recently applied for a job and will need security clearance. All should be fine except for the financial considerations part of the security clearance. My issue is that I have a couple of school loans totalling around $40K that have gone to collection and I hate to admit I did not do anything about them (I live abroad and don’t really plan on coming back to the US anytime soon). At the time I contracted the debt, I had this arrangement with my dad that he would pay for those but he passed away the same month I graduated and I defaulted on my payments the next year (2010). Now some conditions that could mitigate security concerns are: (c) the person has received or is receiving counseling for the problem and/or there are clear indications that the problem is being resolved or is under control; (d) the individual initiated a good-faith effort to repay overdue creditors or otherwise resolve debts;
    I’m hesitant to contact the collection agencies but was thinking my choices are either to make monthly payments and show my potential employer I have resumed payments (which had stopped for about 2 years) or try to negotiate pay to delete with CA. To be honest, my credit score does not really matter. It’s mostly showing a good faith effort to resolve the problem. And obviously Ive learned my lesson and this was a kick in the… to actually honour the debt so I dont plan on skipping on payments. I’m wondering given all the information you’ve given here what my best option is. I suppose having a paid status or settled will not hurt so much in this instance since the scores are not that important. I dont plan on buying a house/car or rent in the US for the next 5 years. I wonder if it is worth negotiating a pay for deletion and having to probably having to pay a lump sum 50% of that debt right away or should I just negotiate a payment plan so I can show my potential employer.
    Also, since most these debts went into delinquent status in 2010, if I resume payments or contact the agencies, will that change the date considered for the 7year deadline?
    Thanks a lot for any insights you could provide.

    • Lisa Phillips

      August 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Resuming payments or entering into a payment agreement will not restart the 7.5 year reporting period. Besides the clearance for your job entering into a payment agreement or settling debt will stop interest from accruing. I realize you are not worried about your credit score but the interest and fees are needlessly mounting. Whatever you decide get the agreement in writing. Options could be:

      (1) Pay for delete. It’s possible the collection agency will deny a pay for delete request and continue to demand payment for either the full or partial amount due — with no agreement to remove the negative notations upon payment.

      (2) An agreement to settle for less can put the debt behind you. You can move on and begin rebuilding your credit with on-time payments on any current credit obligations, keeping credit card balances low and only opening new accounts when necessary. This may be the best option if you are not planning to apply for a student loan in the future and are not too concerned about your credit rating.

      (3) Another option may be student loan rehabilitation. In order to rehabilitate the loan, you’ll need to make 9 on-time consecutive payments over a 10-month window. That process will cure your default along with removing any negative notation from your credit reports. You will also be eligible to borrow for a new student loan, if ever necessary.

  6. Alfredo Polanco

    July 25, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hello Lisa Phillips,
    My name is Alfredo Polanco and I figured I post this question . I am recently under contract for purchasing my first home . And during this process I had a really good mortage company with great rates denied me because I have a “paid in full ” 2 year old collection account in my history. I actually thought once you pay it gets cleared , any way my wife and I have really good credit besides this bump on the road . I sent out a good will letter to Citibank dispute office and my question to you is how good are my chances ? Do they clear accounts knowing it really was my debt?. I wrote a detailed , heart felt letter . Now I am preying I can get a letter or something so I can show to the mortgage underwriter that denied us. Thank you Lisa .

    • Lisa Phillips

      July 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      I really cannot say for sure what the outcome will be. I can tell you if the first goodwill letter does not work, keep trying. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting your request in front of the right decision-making eyes, such as a CEO. The CEO’s Executive Customer Service Team will probably handle the matter but it will be handled fast. As far as your mortgage lender, one mishap compared to an otherwise good credit report should not keep you from getting a good deal on mortgage rates. The fact that you paid the debt looks a lot better than an unpaid debt.

  7. Kevin

    July 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Hi. Thank you for your very informative responses in this website. I paid a $110.00 debt in full to a collection agency just over two years ago. The debt is reported as paid in full on my credit report. I have written a goodwill letter asking that the report be deleted but the debt has not been removed nor have I received a response. I had a legitimate medical reason for not paying the debt timely, and pointed this out in my goodwill letter. When I paid the debt I did not attempt to negotiate a pay for deletion of the report. Even though my debt is paid, can I legitimately offer payment to the collection agency to remove the paid debt from my credit report? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Lisa Phillips

      July 2, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      Legitimately, debt collectors who agree to remove accurate negative information are violating their contracts with the credit bureaus but that does not keep them from agreeing to pay for delete transactions. You might want to resend the goodwill letter to a CEO or VP of the collection agency. It just may be a matter of getting the request in front of the right decision-making eyes. There have been smaller collection agencies that actually have a delete fee. Give the collection agency you’re dealing with a call and see if you can offer a deletion fee. If so, make sure to get everything in writing.

      As a last resort you can always attempt to dispute the account listing by finding an error or inaccurate information. Here is a sample of factual errors you can look for when reviewing your credit report. The best of luck to you!

      • Kevin

        July 3, 2015 at 6:35 am

        Thank you, Lisa. You are giving very helpful advice.

  8. Stephanie

    June 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I made an agreement in writing with a collection agency to delete the account off my credit report. Once I paid them, I did receive a letter stating they would notify Experian to delete my account with them within 10 days. It has now been 60 days and it still remains on my credit report. Can you please tell me how I get it removed? I have the letter signed by the Presidient of the collection agency telling me it will be deleted.

    • Lisa Phillips

      July 1, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Send a letter to notify the collection agency that they are in breach of contract for not deleting the account as agreed. They are compelled to carry out the agreed upon terms or you can bring a civil lawsuit to enforce the agreement. I doubt seriously they want a lawsuit on their hands. Give them 10 days to remove. If the account is not deleted then I would file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau before you pursue legal action. Often the BBB can get a collection agency to comply with an agreement.

      I would not send the pay for delete agreement directly to credit bureaus because they have a policy that states deletions should not be made based on payment of the debt. Collections agencies have agreements with the credit bureaus not to delete a tradeline based on payment of that account. Even though the collection agency agreed to delete they do so because they do not have to give a reason. The collection agency put it on, they can take it off. But if you voluntarily send the pay for delete directly to the credit bureaus it may cause problems.

      For now deal directly with the collection agency, they have no reason not to honor their agreement because they will be in breach if they do not.

      • Stephanie

        July 2, 2015 at 7:59 am

        Is there a sample letter that I can use for reference?

      • shortstuff

        March 4, 2016 at 8:12 am

        This is the information I was looking for!

  9. Lashay Dior

    June 25, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I have like 4 apartment debts on my credit medical bills,loans,and a car on my credit.How can I begin to clean up my credit.I am a bit ashamed to be 23 and my credit is absolutely horrible. I really need help this is hindering me from getting anything what can I do?

    • Lisa Phillips

      July 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      First, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Credit strategies and tips are not usually taught. Most of us have to learn on our own through trial and error. What you need to know first is payment history constitutes 35 percent of your credit score and how much you owe on credit cards is 30 percent of your credit score. Payment History and Amounts Owed are the two most important components of credit scores. Knowing this can help you better manage your credit obligations.

      Here is what you can do to help clean up your credit:

      1. Whatever obligations you currently have that report to your credit file, make sure you pay them on-time – Never pay late.
      2. Any current credit cards you have make sure you charge no more than 30 percent of the credit limit. That means if your credit card limit is $1000 you should never charge over $300 unless you pay in full each month. In other words, keep your balances low.
      3. Contact the original medical provider about the medical debt and ask can they pull the debt back from the medical collection agency. Sometimes this can be done and you can make payment arrangements for the medical debt and the collection agency will have to remove their negative reporting.
      4. Check out the article on writing a “goodwill letter” and “disputing late payments.” These articles will give you some insight on how to tackle negative items on your credit report.
      5. Start with the lowest negative debt on your credit report and ask if you can do a payment in exchange for a deletion.
      6. Make sure you have positive information to balance the negative information. There should be at least 3 to 4 current positive accounts on your credit report that have a positive payment history. Never let negative information be the majority information on your credit reports. Even if you have to open several secured credit accounts and charge a few groceries or gas to the card, you need to have current positive information on your reports.

      Most everything involving credit repair involves reaching out to the creditors if the dispute process does not work. You can always attempt to dispute the negative items first, wait to see what comes off, then go about contacting the creditor or collection agency to work out a payment for deletion or a goodwill adjustment to remove negative information. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Good luck to you!

  10. Tammy

    June 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    Great site! I have two COs from a credit union and they still own the debt. They called recently and I asked if they would take a PFD agreement. One account I can pay in full now and the other I cannot. The rep said they “can’t”. Any advice on what to do next?
    Should I pay off the one and pay off the other in installments and try GW. Or do lose all my bargaining power once I do that? Should send the PFD to the CEO of credit union. Thanks!

    • Lisa Phillips

      June 10, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      I would definitely send a goodwill letter to the CEO/President before making any payments. If that does not work try the credit union’s Board of Directors. The board has decision-making power too. Now if these strategies do not work I would pay but ask they note your credit reports as “Paid as Agreed” then send goodwill letters. You’d be surprised, I’ve heard success stories of deletions even after a charge-off accounts have been paid.

  11. butterfly9

    May 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Can you rebuild credit while in bankruptcy?

    • Lisa Phillips

      May 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Yes, you can apply for credit cards before you get the discharge but it is unlikely credit card companies will issue you a card prior to discharge unless it is a secured card. Generally credit card companies want to see the discharge before they will issue a new credit card, but nothing prohibits you from applying. The best option is to wait until the bankruptcy has been discharged to begin rebuilding. Get tips to rebuild after discharge.

  12. Sonya

    May 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

    My husband and I have been trying since January to obtain our first FHA home Loan. We have done everything our Lender has asked us to do. We have gotten credit card balances under 20%, we have brought our utilization to under 48%. The credit Bureaus have been slow at posting correct information reported by our creditors but they finally have it right. Here is the problem, we have been running into major issues with Transunion with posting late, reporting 2xs in a month on 1 account, lying to us that our creditor hasn’t reported when clearly the other 2 bureaus show they have, removing accounts that shouldn’t be removed, and keeping collection accounts showing unpaid when they were paid less than 30 days after being placed on the file. I have sent receipts showing proof and still nothing. Every time I monitor the account , I get a score of 656 but when the Lender pulls it its 631.
    Recently the Lender told us, according to some simulator, that if we paid another credit account down to a certain amount, it would put us at a 646, where we needed to be in order for him to even start processing a loan app. At the time that he said that, that card had already been paid down and had a balance lower than what he asked for and of course, Transunion didn’t show that. The problem is no matter how much we pay, how low the balances go, Transunion never gives more than a point at a time, Please tell me this is not normal because at this rate we will never get to a 640 on the Lenders end. we are seeing a 660 right now but Im scared to actually let the Lender run the report again. Im feeling so defeated in this whole process. I do not have any issues with Equifax or Experian…just Transunion. Its almost like they are purposefully trying to keep us from getting higher scores. Our payment history is excellent for 4 consecutive years no late payments and have paid off 2 auto accounts. Please offer some advice if possible.
    Thank you…Be blessed

    • Lisa Phillips

      May 3, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I feel your pain. Dealing with credit bureaus is no walk in the park. But hang in there because the goal of owning a home is worth the frustration. At this point it seems you have done all you can do and now it’s time for an intervention. I have two suggestions:

      (1) Make a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about Transunion reporting inaccurate information, refusing to correct errors, not updating accounts and removing accounts in good standing for no known reason. The documentation you have can be submitted directly online in the complaint form to the CFPB.

      You may want to mention in the complaint that Experian and Equifax have corrected and updated the accounts and is reporting accurately but for some reason Transunion is refusing to correct errors and update your credit file. I would not mention your current credit scores because it will leave Transunion a door to mention a complicated scoring system, algorithms and a whole bunch of other useless jargon that will not resolve your situation.

      The only problem with disputing accounts is that Transunion may place a disputed notation on your credit reports and FHA does not allow an account to be “in dispute” when applying for a mortgage loan. Any dispute notations will have to be removed.

      (2) A faster alternative to making a complaint would be to ask your mortgage broker or loan officer about rapid re-scoring. From what you said it seems as though your loan officer ran a ‘what if simulator’ telling you how many points you can gain by taking certain actions. I would request they go further than a
      ‘what if simulator’ and have your Transunion credit report rapid re-scored since you have proof accounts have been paid. In fact a good loan officer should be able to negotiate a deletion with the collection agencies you have paid.

      Rapid re-scoring can help get legitimate errors corrected much faster than if you tried to dispute them yourself. It can also update Transunion to reflect the accounts you have paid down much faster. With a rapid re-score service it takes about 2-3 days to correct credit reports or update credit reports with new information. A rapid-rescore service will provide proof to the credit bureaus that the accounts are inaccurate and have your credit score recalculated to reflect the changes in as little as 72 hours. You can read more about rapid re-scoring here.
      The best of luck to you.

  13. TJ

    April 17, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I have a few recent (Less than a year) accounts on my credit report that are now in collections. I have settled for a lesser amount, and currently making monthly payments. Once I pay these account off , what can I do to see if the accounts can be deleted from my report.

    • Lisa Phillips

      April 18, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Because you paid or are paying without negotiating a deletion in exchange for payment the only action I can suggest is a goodwill letter.

      With a goodwill letter you will ask for a deletion since payment has been made. Collection agencies are in no way under any obligation to agree to delete accurate information but it does not hurt to try; and try again, until you get a deletion.

      When preparing your goodwill letter remember to include 4 very vital pieces of information:

      (1) Account number and amount paid.

      (2) The reason the account went to collections such as hardship, job loss, divorce, illness…you get the picture. Just be honest about why you could not make timely payments which eventually led to the collection account.

      (3) Stress that you learned from the experience of having an account go to collections or that you recovered from whatever hardship that led to the collection account. Also mention that the account is now paid in full.

      (4) Respectfully request a deletion of the account from the 3 major credit bureaus because…(you are trying to get a mortgage loan or car loan and having a higher credit score would go a long way in obtaining a better interest rate).

      Send the letter to the CEO of the collection agency and make sure to sign off the letter with a “Thank You” or “Respectfully Yours”.

      You see where I’m going here. Be courteous and non-threatening to see how much mileage you can get. You may have to write a few times but don’t give up. Some collection agencies will tell you they cannot legally remove accurate information but they fail to tell you there are NO LAWS that require them to report to the credit bureaus at all.

  14. D

    April 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Hi, I sent a “Pay For Delete” letter to a collection company requesting a written agreement to delete my debt. They called me and said they would delete it if I pay in full but cannot give me a letter until they receive payment. Something sounds fishy, and I do not feel comfortable paying before I receive an agreement. What are my options?

    • Lisa Phillips

      April 16, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Under no circumstances should you make the payment until you receive a signed, written acceptance of your offer. Sound’s a little “fishy” to me also. I would definitely continue to pursue the pay for delete by following up with a letter. State that you are really interested in paying the debt in exchange for a deletion but you do not feel comfortable making a payment without an agreement in hand. Research online the company reporting the debt and send the letter to the president, CEO or someone in charge at the company’s headquarters address. You may get a different kind of response from the office of the president than you do from customer service.

  15. Steven D.

    April 10, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Hello, I recently pulled my credit report in preparation of applying for a FHA home loan and realized I have three collection accounts listed on my report. So I searched the web to see what actions I should take to have them removed and came across your site. I took your advice and mailed certified “Pay For Delete” letters to all three companies asking for a written agreement on their letterhead that they will remove them from all three reports if I pay them in full. About ten days later I received two of the three responses by mail. The first sent me a 5 page “formal request for removal” document asking for all sorts of information, including one section asking me to check a box if I do not want this account reported as disputed on my credit report, and if I don’t check it will be marked as so. It also asks for all sorts of information regarding my contact info, DOB, SS# and a written explanation for removal. The second company sent me a short letter back saying they would love to come to the most favorable resolution for me possible and to contact them via phone to discuss the matter. I have yet to respond to either in fear that I will give them information they don’t already have or restart the statute of limitations. So I find myself back here, asking for your opinion. Should I respond via phone and should I send the other company back the contract/formal request? I also heard somewhere that you don’t want to have disputed accounts on your report if you’re going to apply for a home loan, so that worries me a bit too. Any information you can give me would be great. I Also took your advice and got my “true” Rico scores from and found out they are anywhere from 50-60 points higher than creditkarma and creditsesame Vantage scores. I’m currently at 609′ 620 and 634. Trying to get above the 640 mark to obtain a FHA or USDA loan in the next couple months. Also, do you know if any mortgage lenders use the Fico 8 score? That’s the one I’ve been focusing on. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Your site has helped me take the first steps to becoming a homeowner!

    • Lisa Phillips

      April 12, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      I appreciate you visiting the website and am glad the information has been helpful. Wow, a “5-page formal request for removal” – this is a first for me. I’ve never heard of such a document. Nevertheless here is what I would do:

      First Company
      Do not disclose any personal, banking, employment or financial information. They could be fishing for information. It’s not a debt collector’s right to know where you bank or to obtain your bank account number — even if you do have a past-due debt.

      But definitely check the box that you DO NOT want this account reported as disputed on my credit report. Since you are interested in applying for a mortgage loan an account marked as disputed may hinder the application process.

      As for their questionnaire — the reason you want a pay for delete is simple. You are rebuilding your credit and creating better credit management habits. You’ve got to be strategic when dealing with debt collectors. If you inform them upfront that you need a deletion to apply for a mortgage loan, you take away your negotiating power.

      Second Company
      The debt collector sounds as if they are interested in getting paid. I would not let this opportunity pass. If you are truly uncomfortable speaking on the phone then re-send your pay for delete offer to someone in charge like the CEO of the company. Their response may be more favorable; and, in writing only. Just state in your letter that phone calls are inconvenient and you prefer correspondence in writing only.

      Re-starting the SOL
      As for re-starting the statute of limitations, I am not an attorney and you may want to consult with an attorney before going forward. In most states an oral promise to pay can revive a statute of limitations, although in a few states the promise must be in writing. You’ll have to check your state’s statute of limitation on debt laws to find out for sure. But keep the communication in writing to be safe.

      Third Company
      Because the company is under no legal obligation to respond to your offer for pay for delete, wait at least 30 days to give them a chance to respond. Then send a polite, follow-up letter.

      Mortgage Loan
      Most mortgage lenders will require you have “account in dispute by consumer” notations removed prior to moving forward in the mortgage loan process.

      FICO Scores
      What a big difference in your FICO credit scores. That’s great news! But keep in mind mortgage lenders will use specialized FICO scores and most mortgage lenders are using old versions of FICO’s model that pre-date FICO 8.
      I believe mortgage lenders use the following FICO score versions:

      • Equifax Beacon® 5.0
      • Experian®/Fair Isaac Risk Model V2SM
      • TransUnion FICO® Risk Score, Classic 04

      This will cost you a bit but to see Mortgage FICO Scores you will have to purchase at the “3-Bureau Credit Monitoring” that shows Mortgage FICO scores for all credit bureaus at a cost of $24.95 a month.

      The best of luck to you in rebuilding and becoming a homeowner!

  16. RN

    April 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Hi there, I have a bunch of questions. My husband and I are 6 months post chapter 7 bankruptcy. I’m trying to clean up our credit to begin rebuilding so that we can purchase a second car and our first home in 1-2 years.
    Both of our scores are just over 600 now (Quizzle is reporting mine at 680, but I highly doubt it’s that high. Another site, Mint, reports it at 611), and we’re 6 months out of our bankruptcy. We’ve been trying super hard to not make late payments. Our perfect rental and car loan history I think is what’s keeping our credit up we also have old, but good standing creditors that weren’t included in our bankruptcy because they didn’t have a balance and/or were closed accounts that we had paid off prior to the bankruptcy. Our car loan is almost 4 years into our 7 year agreement (we kept it in our bankruptcy) and we’ve never been late or missed a payment. Our rental agreement is 1 year in and we’ve never been late there either and we just resigned it for 18 months.

    1. Is there any way we can speed up the process of getting some of our discharged accounts deleted? Some we weren’t even aware of until our lawyer pulled our credit reports (all medical and 1 utility) because we moved and they didn’t mail them to the correct new addresses. In fact, because of this we had a bunch of inaccurate addresses attached to our reports that we were able to request they be removed.
    2. Is there a way to request old accounts deleted that weren’t included in our bankruptcy because they were paid off and they were in good standing when I requested them closed. They’re all scheduled to come off in 2 years, but were closed (in good standing) over 7 years ago. I don’t think they’re helping our credit at all at this point. Or, should I leave them? If I do get them deleted, will our credit take a big dint?
    3. Is there anything else I can do to improve our scores quickly?
    4. How soon could be get a new car loan? We really need a second car and can’t afford a brand new car payment, but we need something. We can’t decide if we should try to trade in our used car and get two new, but smaller payments or just try to get a second loan on top of the one we have.
    5. Do you think we’d be able to find a lender willing to finance for a first time home buyer mortgage in say, a year and half to two years? That’d put us at 2 -3 years post bankruptcy.

    • Lisa Phillips

      April 6, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      The first thing you should do is get your true FICO scores from so you’ll have a better idea of where you stand. It is great that you have cleaned up old addresses on your credit report but before you apply for anything you should go over your credit reports for all three credit bureaus.

      Take a month or two to get your reports as clean as possible. Make sure your accounts are updated to show a zero balance and included in bankruptcy. If there are accounts that should have been included in bankruptcy but not reflected on your credit reports you should dispute them to get them updated. Basically make sure that ALL accounts that were included in bankruptcy are noted as:

      Zero Balance
      Included in Bankruptcy
      Current (not “default/derogatory” status”)

      1. All delinquent accounts are deleted seven years from the original delinquency date, which is the date the account first became delinquent and was never again current. Declaring bankruptcy does not alter the original delinquency or extend the time the account remains on the credit report or shorten the time the account remains on credit reports. However, if the account was delinquent before being included in the bankruptcy, it will probably be deleted before the bankruptcy public record because the original delinquency date is typically earlier than the bankruptcy filing date.
      2. If the older accounts are reporting accurately what would be the basis for removing them? Even if closed and paid in full, the accounts that have no late payment history can remain on your credit report for 10 years from the date closed. As long as the positive information remains, it contributes to a stronger credit history. So, removing those accounts early actually could be harmful to your credit scores. Having open credit limits can lower your credit utilization ratio which can help improve your scores. You can read more about retaining old accounts here.
      3. The most important thing you can do to rebuild your credit is to continue making on-time payments. NEVER pay late. Patience is key to rebuilding credit after bankruptcy. Avoid applying for too much new credit soon after a bankruptcy.

      If you have not already done so open a credit card account with a bankruptcy friendly company. Many have started the rebuilding process with the Credit One Bank® Platinum Card. Use your card but do not charge over 10 percent of your available credit limit. That means if your credit limit is $500 NEVER charge over $50. Pay the balance in full each month, before the due date. Establish this payment history for about 4 or 5 months then go for another credit card like the Barclaycard for average credit or the Capital One QuickSilver card. Repeat the same process with the new credit card by maintaining a low credit utilization ratio and always pay on-time or prior to the due date. If you purchase another car, paying the new auto loan on-time will help in rebuilding credit scores.

      Before applying for a mortgage loan you want your credit reports to reflect the following:

      At least 3 credit cards with two of the cards at zero balance and one card at 10 percent or less of the available credit limit.

      Installment loan (auto loan is an installment loan) with on-time monthly payments.

      This would be optimal for someone in post-bankruptcy interested in obtaining a mortgage loan. You want just enough credit accounts to show how well you now manage credit but you don’t want too much debt. Find out more about rebuilding after bankruptcy here.
      4. A few months after discharge you can qualify for a car loan. But I am concerned that you say “We really need a second car and can’t afford a brand new car payment.” You really need to evaluate your budget if you cannot afford another car. You don’t want to end up in another financial bind this soon or any time after filing bankruptcy. Check with your local credit union before going into a dealer. Dealerships will find you a loan but it may be at a high interest rate. A credit union may be able to offer you a more competitive interest rate. Some consumers have reported they’ve had success getting a car loan after bankruptcy discharge with Capital One Auto Finance. They offer auto financing for both new and used cars.
      5. In order to qualify for a mortgage loan 2 years after bankruptcy discharge you would have to go for an FHA mortgage loan. FHA requires a 2-year wait after Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge along with re-established credit unless you can demonstrate the BK was due to extenuating circumstances. In that case it can be less than 2 years, but not less than 12 months. With a bankruptcy a lender will be most concerned with the amount of debt you carry along with 2 years of on-time payment history. You will probably be asked to explain what caused the bankruptcy. You can find out more information on how to prepare your credit files for a mortgage loan here.

      • RN

        April 7, 2015 at 11:15 am

        Thanks for the great insights!
        We actually just applied and was accepted for a Credit One Platinum Card. We were approved for 1 $400 limit. I was planning to pay our utility payments online with it and turn around and pay off the credit card the same day I charged to it. Is that wise? Will it still help build our credit if I do it that way? I’d be charging about $300, but plan to pay it off as soon as it charges to the card – we want to avoid any interest charges since they’re high.

        I should clarify my question about not being able to afford a new car. What I meant was, a brand new car vs. a used car payment. We can’t afford a second brand new car. But could afford a second used car payment if we refinanced our vehicle now and were able to negotiate a good rate and payment amount. The vehicle we currently have our payments are just under $600. We were hoping to either get 2 used cars that would equal or be less than our $600 payment now, or refinance our car for a smaller payment and finance a second used car to still equal what we’re paying (comfortably) now. So that we don’t go over our budget in this area. I was just wondering what you felt would be most do-able financing wise. Could we even qualify for a refinance and a new finance, or two new finances (with a trade-in) at once? The good thing is that, we are not upside down on our vehicle loan.

        • RN

          April 7, 2015 at 11:20 am

          Also, what’s the difference between a FICO score and a “Plus Score”? We used Credit Report dot com to pull our 3 reports and it came with the “Plus Scores”. Experian 634, Equifax 635 and TransUnion 599 for me. My husband’s were similar, but higher than mine. However, when we were approved for our Credit One card, it told me my score was only 211. I feel really confused as to which is accurate. I don’t mind paying to see the true and accurate score if you can give me a reliable source for that.

          Thank you!

          • Lisa Phillips

            April 8, 2015 at 11:04 am

            Yes, I agree credit scores can be very confusing with so many companies offering credit scores to consumers. I suggest you read FICO vs. FAKO to get a better understanding of the multiple credit scores available. As I stated in a previous response “The first thing you should do is get your true FICO scores from so you’ll have a better idea of where you stand.”

            90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores when making lending decisions. While the PLUS Score is sold by a company owned by Experian, it is not an accurate credit score. This is a quote directly from the company you got the scores from…”The PLUS Score is a user-friendly credit score model developed by Experian to help you see and understand how lenders view your credit worthiness. It is not used by lenders, but it is indicative of your overall credit risk.” Just remember before you sign up to get credit scores, if it does not say FICO scores, it is not used by 90% of lenders. It is rather an “educational score” to give you kind of a snapshot of your scores but not your true scores.

            The best of luck to you!

          • RN

            April 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

            Wonderful information, Lisa. Thank you so much. My husband and I are so excited to make this journey successful and get back on our feet in the next 5 years!

        • Lisa Phillips

          April 8, 2015 at 10:50 am

          The only way you can find out if you qualify for a new or used car and a refinance is to sit down with a banker. The only suggestion I have is to start with a credit union before you go into a dealership. A credit union can often give you better rates, especially if you choose automatic payments from your checking or savings account. As far as paying your credit card in full. It really does not matter to creditors as long as the payment is on-time. The balance on your statement is what gets reported to the credit bureaus. If you want a zero balance to report to the credit bureaus you must pay in full before the statement cuts. I can’t say whether it will make your scores higher with a zero balance reporting or with a 10 percent or less balance reporting. You will have to experiment a little to see what works best for your credit scores.

  17. RIcardo Delgado Jr

    March 15, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I need help to fix my bad credit report

    • Lisa Phillips

      March 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      The website is designed to get you started rebuilding your credit. A good place to start is “How to Rebuild Credit” it gives a quick overview of where to start. How to Repair Credit tells you how to start the credit dispute process and how to dispute specific negative credit items. If you get stuck on a specific credit repair issue feel free to ask a question.

  18. nora francis

    January 25, 2015 at 8:28 am

    i have medical bills from cancer. i have been faithfully paying a monthly amount, however now in collections which dramatically lowered my credit score(815-637). they are listing accounts separately ct scan, lab, in house bed, pt, etc. although money is being paid to 1 facility. is this legal?

    • Lisa Phillips

      January 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Unfortunately you can receive separate bills from your physician, radiologist, anesthesiologist, and any other consultants or specialists that your attending physician chose to involve in your case. They can bill you directly for their services because they are not necessarily employed by the hospital where you were treated. Separate billing means you can have separate collection agencies involved. There may have been a chance to negotiate how and if these bills are listed on your credit report when you entered into a payment arrangement.

      I would advise that you try one or all of these strategies to get the collection accounts removed from your credit report:

      1. Medical Billing Advocates. Because hospital bills are often confusing and patients are over-billed, a fairly new cottage industry called “medical billing advocates” has arisen. These are private companies or individuals for hire that work with medical providers on your behalf to get your bills reduced. They help you find errors or overcharges in your medical bills, appeal coverage denials with your insurer, or negotiate lower fees with your medical provider. The first consultation should be free to see if they can help. To find medical billing advocates in your area (or by specialty), contact the Medical Billing Advocates of America at

      2. The Hospital Ombudsman. Many hospitals have special advocates or ombudspersons who help resolve billing disputes between patients and hospitals. The hospital ombudsman is a good resource. Some people have let me know their success in contacting the hospital ombudsman. In most cases they can arrange to take hospital bills back from collection agencies if you agree to pay the hospital directly. Once a medical debt is transferred back to the hospital, the collection agency will be instructed to remove the negative mark from your credit reports.

      3. Check out WhyChat’s Guide to Medical Bill Disputes. This information is available for free. It is an extensive breakdown of HIPAA laws and how to dispute medical collections to get them removed from your credit reports. It will take some work on your part but may be very well worth your time. The guide to medical disputes can be found here.

  19. lisa

    June 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I have a few questions about deletions. If I contact a collectin agency and offer to pay in exchange for a full deletion and they refuse to delete the file will that change the date for it to drop off since I made contact with them. Also, if I receive in writing confirmation that they will delete the file upon payment and they do not remove it from my file, what recourse do I have???? they would have their money, but what proof or guarantee will I receie that it will be rmoved? and then my final question is there creditors that will not delete files no matter what you pay?

  20. cassandra

    May 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    hi, I am wanting to get some things deleted off of my report and wanted to send a validation letter to the creditor but how do I know what my account number is? Also, if I send a letter to delete for payment and they decline doing that, does it changed my deletion date of my credit report. Exp. I have one coming off on 4/2012, since I contacting them does it add another 7 years?

  21. Jazmine

    April 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I recently settled two accounts in collections for less than what was due but was unaware that I should have requested to have it deleted. On my credit report it shows that i settled for less than due and I am wondering how I can now go about deleting these items from my report?

    • Lisa Phillips

      April 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      First let me thank you for visiting the website. Now, as far as removing “settled” collection accounts, the only strategy I can think of is to dispute the listing directly with the credit bureaus. Don’t kick yourself about settling the accounts without requesting a deletion, what’s done is done. Focus on disputing an inaccuracy within the paid collection listing such as an incorrect amount, wrong dates, basically anything about the listing that can be disputed as inaccurate. When you dispute inaccurate information with the credit bureaus, never give them the correct information because your goal is a deletion, not a correction of already negative information.

      A simple, to the point, dispute letter would look something like this: You are reporting an incomplete item on my credit report and I dispute [account name] and [account number] as the balance is incorrect. Please delete the account immediately.

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