Can You Really Erase Bad Credit?

There are still a number of companies which send out emails, promising you a quick fix to repair bad credit. Some even go so far as to imply they can ‘erase bad credit’. These type of companies charge a significant fee and can’t accomplish anything you can do yourself. So, you may ask, what are the three ways to erase bad credit?

The first is the easiest. If you have debts showing on your credit report that are not your debts, write the creditor and ask for proof that the debt is yours. They may have mistakenly attached Mary H. Doe’s debt to your report – and you’re Mary J. Doe. Should the creditor fail to provide proof that you own the debt, within 30 days, the law prescribes a remedy: the illegitimate debt must be wiped off your credit report.

The second way doesn’t really erase bad credit, but it does correct your credit picture. If you have a debt you own, but didn’t pay, pay it off if it’s small enough. If the debt is larger, contact the creditor and make a payment arrangement you can fulfill and pay it off over time. Each timely payment serves to incrementally improve your credit score and also demonstrates new  financial responsibility.

The third way to erase bad credit? Well, this method takes a long time – seven years, to be exact. Seven years from the date you incurred the debt, the entry is dropped from your credit history and report. Until then, that black mark sticks with you and looks bad!

Most people with bad credit didn’t earn that rating intentionally, by simply opting to skate out on their debts. For example, if you lose your job or suffer some other financial catastrophe, the last debt you’re going to worry about paying is on a canceled credit card or perhaps a doctor’s bill. You’re going to be worried about maintaining the credit that’s still viable until your finances improve. Nonetheless, those bad debts sit on your credit report, bringing your credit score down and gradually excluding you from future loans or credit you may need.

Give your budget a very close look. Choose just a single legitimate bad debt showing up on your credit report and start paying it off. Cut luxury expenditures to the bone to improve your cash flow. When one debt is paid off, move right on to the next, until all old debt is paid, while your current active credit is maintained on a timely basis. While this strategy may sound painful, the austerity route can be surprisingly satisfying, as you see your credit get cleaned up and your credit score improve.

The bottom line is that the only bad credit you can effectively ‘erase’ are debts that aren’t yours. Those promises to ‘erase bad credit‘? It’s a myth. Do it right.