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I live in the U.S. and have two scenarios:

  1. On my credit report (doesn't matter which bureau), I have one account that I was never late on, paid on time each month, and is now finally paid off in full and "closed"; also
  2. On the same report, I have another account that I was late on several times, but is now finally paid off in full and "closed" (no settlement; paid in full)

I would like to remove both of these accounts from my credit report. Is this possible to do? Why/why not? I understand its not possible to do while the account is still open/unpaid, but these are paid off in full.

  • 2
    Not sure how the US bureaus work, but in Germany (at least that's what they say), a paid off account isn't a bad thing, because it shows that you fulfilled your contractual obligation and are a reliable contract partner. So it wouldn't actually be a bad thing to have those in the report. But they are also automatically deleted after a few years here. – dunni Nov 7 at 9:34
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    Why do you want to remove the first of those? AIUI, you want your credit report to show that you're a good risk; having borrowed money and then paid it all back on time is a good thing, surely? – gidds Nov 7 at 10:09
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    Sounds liek an XY problem. What is your final goal? – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Nov 7 at 19:40
  • @Oct18isdayofsilenceonSE: totally agree, was about to ask the OP the same question. Why would one want to remove a good credit history? – jmoreno Nov 8 at 12:35
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Assuming since you paid them off that these are legitimate debts (i.e. you are not disputing the fact that you incurred them in the first place) and that you have just recently paid them off, you can't remove them. The point of a credit report is to show your history of credit usage not just the current accounts you have active. Removing accounts once they are paid off would defeat that.

Accounts should be removed from your credit report some number of years after they are closed (7-10 years). Over that time, those accounts will have less and less impact on your credit score (a late payment 5 years ago is a much smaller penalty than a late payment last month for example).

  • Thanks @Justin (+1) so I think I'm hearing that I could request for them to be removed 7 years after my last + final payment, correct? Thanks again! – hotmeatballsoup Nov 6 at 21:13
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    @hotmeatballsoup - Depending on the type of account, the period would be 7-10 years. I assume that would be from the date the creditor reported the account closed which I would expect to be shortly after your last payment though it wouldn't shock me if there was a lag of a month or two in some case. You shouldn't need to request anything, though, they should fall off automatically. If you pull your report in a decade and the account is still there, you can point out that it should have been removed automatically and ask for it to be removed. – Justin Cave Nov 6 at 21:16
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    @hotmeatballsoup You don't request, after 7 years most things drop off even if you don't want them to. Bankruptcy shows up for 10 years before it drops off. – Loren Pechtel Nov 6 at 23:33
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    @hotmeatballsoup: It'll probably disappear 7-8 years after the account was paid off, but it will stop hurting you earlier (7 years after the last time you were late). Between those two times it will bizarrely show up as "Paid as agreed; never late" because the last few payments are still on the report, and the missed/late ones have aged off. – Ben Voigt Nov 7 at 15:23
  • @LorenPechtel Chapter 13 bankruptcy goes away after seven. – ceejayoz Nov 7 at 16:01
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In general, no. Your credit report is intended to show history, not just a current status. Closed accounts will fall off of your report automatically over time.

Some people successfully negotiate a "pay for delete" scenario wherein by agreeing to pay off a delinquent account the owner of the debt deletes the account from their report. That is increasingly rare and under newest credit scoring models is mostly irrelevant. On a closed account that is paid in full there would be no reason for them to entertain the notion of deleting it.

The other context in which you'd request an account be removed is if an account that you did not own/authorize appears on your credit report.

5

You can't remove adverse marks

If you were previously late, you cannot remove that mark merely by paying off the debt. This constantly blind-sides people with old debt: they think they can pay the debt and remove the mark. That would be extortion, and that's not what credit reports are for.

However, creditors almost never report lateness less than 30 days late, and sometimes longer.

Also, the creditor can remove the adverse mark simply by not reporting it anymore. They won't do that easily! You can convince them to stop if you give them a good reason to do so, and make a written agreement to that effect. This is not easy, but I've done it. Much easier if you still owe money on the debt, because you can include "no credit reporting" as a term of settlement. I've even included "no IRS reporting (1099)" as a condition, but that was when a debt was truly disputable.

You don't need to remove non-adverse marks

There really isn't any motivation to remove an "Account closed / paid on time" mark. These are 100% routine, and may mean nothing more than that you shopped at a store which later had a PCI-DSS data breach. Obviously those are not your fault and nobody scores those against you.

In fact, past successful credit history is very valuable. Creditors want to see a lush activity of borrowing and paying on-time/in-full, not a "blank slate". Wiping out positive past credit history is like deleting relevant work history off your resumé - it would be an act of madness.

If you really feel the need to remove it, probably the best place to start would be the creditor itself - ask them to stop reporting it to the bureaus.

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