It is frustrating to have paid delinquencies on your credit reports. They show you took responsibility for an old bill, yet they look bad to creditors and bring down your credit score. Sometimes they even have incorrect information like the wrong pay date or amount. You may be able to remove paid delinquencies from your credit reports, either by negotiating with your creditor or by finding and challenging mistakes in the reported item.
Negotiation with Creditors
Call your creditor before you pay off the delinquent amount and ask for an agreement to change the item on your credit reports. Many companies are willing to negotiate in order to get the money, bad-credit-advisor.com explains. Ask them to list the item as "paid as agreed," which will not hurt your credit score. You only have leverage before you send in the payment so call before sending a check.
Ask the creditor to send you a copy of your agreement in writing before you send in your payment, bad-credit-advisor.com recommends. An oral promise is not enforceable so the creditor might not follow through once you have paid the delinquency. A written agreement obligates it to hold up its end of the bargain.
Review your credit reports after you pay off the delinquency to ensure the item has been changed as agreed. You are entitled to free annual credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. They can be ordered from annualcreditreport.com. Contact the company immediately if you review your reports and find it did not follow through. Ask it to report the agreed-upon status to the credit bureaus.
Credit Report Disputes
Find an error in the paid delinquency on your credit reports. The paid delinquency itself might be valid, but creditinfocenter.com says you can challenge it if there are any errors in the information. For example, the creditor's name might be misspelled or the account number or balance might be wrong. There might even be an incorrect date, or the credit bureau might have assigned the wrong status. Any of these errors gives you valid grounds for a dispute.
Send a dispute letter to the credit bureaus asking them to remove the paid delinquency based on the error. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends using certified mail and getting a receipt to prove the date the bureaus receive it. The credit bureaus have 30 days to look into your claims. Often the creditor won't bother to respond with correct information, which means the item must be removed from your credit reports by law.
Recheck your credit reports if you are notified that your dispute has been successful. The paid delinquencies should be completely gone. Follow up with the credit bureaus if they are still showing up, asking them to follow through with the removal they promised.
Do not dispute a paid delinquency on your credit reports for a frivolous reason. The credit bureaus are not obligated by law to investigate claims they believe to be baseless. Find a valid mistake, no matter how small, and use that as the basis of your challenge.