The information in your credit report indicates how likely you are to repay a loan. Even if you have less than perfect credit, time allows you the opportunity to make a start fresh. Collection accounts, late payments and judgments fall off your credit report after seven years. Bankruptcy can stick around for up to 10 years. In most cases, credit reports automatically renew. It is always wise to make sure the information in your credit report is accurate and current.
Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you can request a free report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Review the information in your credit report to ensure there are no errors. Because some companies may not report to all bureaus, it is not uncommon for the reports to differ.
Look at the account balances for current and delinquent accounts. If the balances are not accurate, prepare to provide documentation, such as your last statement or a payment receipt, to show the error.
File a dispute if the report contains errors, discrepancies or accounts that are not yours. Notify the bureau reporting the information that you want to dispute the information. You can file a dispute online or through the mail. The credit bureau is required to investigate the dispute, typically within 30 days.
Wait for a response when the investigation is complete. If inaccuracies are found, the information must be corrected or deleted. All three credit bureaus will be notified if a change is made. You will receive a free copy of your updated report in the mail.
- Delinquency information, including late payments and collections, can only remain on your report for seven years. If you have a charge-off, it can remain for seven years plus an additional 180 days from the date it was reported to the credit bureau. A foreclosure stays for seven years. For a judgment, it is seven years from the date of filing.