||Ask Dr. Don
Cleaning up my credit report
Dear Dr. Don,
We have some accounts that have a zero balance, but they show up
on our credit reports. How can I have these removed? I've actually
closed some of the accounts that are showing a zero balance.
The only things that you can request be removed from your credit
report is erroneous information. Negative information about your
payment history stays on your credit report for seven years with
the exception of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which stays on your
credit report for 10 years. Favorable items can stay on your report
Closing an account doesn't take the account off your
credit report. That's because the payment history on that account
is still relevant to lenders. When you close an account, you should
request, in writing, that the creditor state that the account was
closed at the customer's request. That makes it clear to firms reviewing
your credit report that the company didn't revoke your account.
The dispute provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting
Act provide the framework for you to get errors removed from your
credit reports. This Bankrate
feature will help guide you through a dispute.
It's a good idea to review your credit report at least
once a year because the burden of proof to correct mistakes falls
to you and because there is a two-year statute of limitations for
legal action that starts from the date of the FCRA violation and
not the date the violation was discovered.
-- Posted: Nov. 1, 2002