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So my wife and I are trying to improve our credit scores in preparation to buy a house. I don't have any adverse things on my report, but my wife has one. She had a US Bank account a few years ago with a savings account, checking account, and a credit card. She rarely used the credit card, and even when she did, she always paid it off within a few days of getting the charge. However, in February of 2012, she left the country (LDS service mission to the Philippines) for 18 months, leaving almost everything at home. She ended up using the card a few times in the Philippines, resulting in a small charge. Because the address was set at her old home and her parents moved, she ended up never getting the statements. When she got home in August 2013, she noticed the charge, immediately paid it off, and closed the account. Unfortunately, it's still there on her credit report. We just got her annual credit report from TransUnion. We went through the dispute process and ended up with a confusing response. The account is still listed on her report, the only change is that now, under Remarks, it says "ACCT INFO DISPUTED BY CONSUMR"

Is there anything we can do to get this account completely removed?

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    The purpose of a credit report is to report one's credit history. Closing the account doesn't change the history, so there's no reason why it should remove the account from the record. It sounds to me like the report is accurate - she did indeed fail to make the payments when they were due. – Nate Eldredge Oct 2 '15 at 18:54
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Unfortunately you wife was late in paying her bill, and based on your question she was very late. Those are the things that the companies that extend credit need to report. While you wife does have a sympathetic excuse the fact still remains the bill was overdue.

When you apply for the loan, the lender will want all hiccups explained. They may decide that the excuse is valid enough to overlook the situation, but it is up to them.

The adverse information will remain on the credit report for years. Closing the account doesn't make it go away.

Regarding sympathy: The credit agency doesn't consider sympathy. The lender might. They could decide that your history with them, plus the rest of the credit history may allow them to overlook the issue. The fact that you failed to make arrangements to pay the bill while overseas is not a valid excuse.

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    It may not be such a sympathetic excuse, either, from the point of view of a lender. The consumer does have a responsibility to keep their address up to date, so that they receive bills and other communications. And since she made charges on the account, they will say she should have known that a balance was due, and made sure it was paid even if she didn't get the statement. – Nate Eldredge Oct 2 '15 at 18:56
  • Isn't there some sort of stipulation for "Didn't receive statement" or something? And I guess that makes sense, we're just trying to clean up her credit as much as possible. How long do things like this (on the order of a few $100) stay on a credit report? – Carrot Oct 2 '15 at 20:23
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    +1 - She went out of the country in 2012. Electronic billing and banking services have been around for far longer than that. If she had no access to the Internet in the Philippines, she should've made arrangements with someone at home to pay her bills (by providing access to her accounts to her parents, for example). I think adverse items like this last for 7 years or so. The only way to really improve her credit score is having clean credit for a long time. – Rick Goldstein Oct 2 '15 at 21:57
  • Makes sense. We'll call up US bank and see if there's anything they can do. If not, it'll be alright. It's really too bad since she's much better with money than I am. And she had money in another account with USbank, it just didn't get transferred over to pay off the credit card. Thanks for the help! – Carrot Oct 2 '15 at 22:52
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    The Lender would also be worried that in future also someone may visit outside and simply forget to make arrangements to pay or not keep the address upto date. – Dheer Oct 3 '15 at 4:11
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If this is the only negative thing on your credit reports then don't even worry about it. Just put together a good explanation letter that doesn't try and excuse the behavior but accept the behavior and that you've learned from it.

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Ask the bank to remove it? They reported it, and have the option to contact the credit bureaus and remove it from their history.

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