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How I Removed Charge-Offs From My Credit Report

Posted By:  |  October 9, 2012  |  39 Comment(s)

Toward the beginning of the recession (2008) I was just setting out on my own and was completely unequipped with the knowledge of how credit works or how greatly it could impact my life. Because of this, I made stupid, uninformed mistakes that cost me a lot of time and stress. You’ll be glad to hear–as I was–that there is hope if you need to do some credit repair of your own due to charge-offs.

But what is a charge-off, exactly? If a creditor is unable to collect payment after a certain period of time (typically 180 days), they will “charge it off” so they can write the debt off as a loss against their income taxes. At this point, the debt is handed over to a collector and the negative words “charge-off” will appear on your credit report, discouraging future lenders from working with you.

Like I said, though, there is hope! Here are three ways I was able to get rid of these ugly words from my credit report and move forward with my life.

1. Request a Goodwill Removal Post-Payment

The first time I noticed a charge-off on my credit report, I panicked. Not knowing what to do, I hastily sent in payment, wrongfully thinking that this would repair my account status. Unfortunately, paying off an account after the charge-off status has already been reported to the credit bureaus does not result in its removal. I decided to call my creditor and politely request that they help me out with my credit repair process. I spoke with a manager (this is important, as regular employees do not have the same decision-making power) and graciously pled my case. In the end, he agreed to send me a “cancellation of debt” letter which I then forwarded to the credit bureaus. Within three months, the charge-off had disappeared from my report.

2. Exchange Payment for Removal

If I had known better the first time around, I would have started off with negotiation techniques before making payment on my charge-offs. This is by far the most effective way for credit repair and resolution. Again, it is very important that when you call your creditor, you speak to a manager. Also be mindful that by the time your account has reached charge-off status, it has probably been handed off to a collection agency. Do not try to negotiate with collections personnel – always contact the creditor directly. I was extremely polite and to-the-point (remember, no one wants to be on the phone with someone who is hostile or who rambles on for ten minutes about their life story). I simply offered to pay the amount in full in exchange for a removal of the charge-off status from my report. The manager agreed to contact the credit bureaus on my behalf to  remove the charge-off status completely, and I agreed to make payment upon receipt of a written, dated, and signed agreement stating that the creditor would, in fact, carry out their end of the bargain. The negative status dropped off my report within a month.

3. Dispute the Charge-Off

One of my most frustrating moments was finding a charge-off on my credit report after never receiving bills or notifications! Mistakes happen, and evidently my creditor either didn’t receive or never logged my change-of-address submission. Because of this, I never received statements or past-due notices and had no idea that I was being sent to collections. Again, I contacted the creditor and spoke with a manager to make payment. I let her know what had happened, and informed her that I would be making the payment now, but would be disputing the charge-off status with the credit bureaus. Because creditors have 30 days to respond to disputes, I requested that she not respond so that the charge-off would be removed. I had her fax me an agreement and once again, the charge-off was gone within a month.

4. Hiring an agency

Between the phone calls, wait times, and  just my impatience to deal with people, I did find it nice to finally place the burden of calling and negotiating in the hands of a capable company.  Credible credit repair agencies are similar to accounting firms: they can do the same thing you can do for yourself, just for a monthly fee. This may be an option if you don’t have time to deal with it, or are just wanting to hand it off to a team of experts.  It can be a good decision. Just make sure it’s with a credible company! Be sure you talk to one of their reps, and get full disclosure on pricing and services provided.



Best of luck on your journey toward credit repair!


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  1. User Score
    March 14th, 2014 at 3267
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Sorry to say but to the person who said start aLLC. I closed an S-Corporation and they debt from the corporation was reported as a charge off on my personal credit report by Bank of America. I now have to use an attorney to help clean it up and get it removed. You may still go through the same hassle if you can’t pay.

  2. User Score
    mrs. Yearwood -Singh
    March 14th, 2014 at 3266
    0 people found this review helpful!

    This post is very informative, didnt know that creditors are willing to listen to you and would want to help you.

  3. User Score
    December 5th, 2013 at 2867
    0 people found this review helpful!

    I’M in the same boat, I paid off two collections under the impression, if paid it would be removed from my credit report but I was obviously wrong. I also tried to contact the creditor and was told that it was going to remain on my credit for 7 yrs, I dont know if i was speaking to a manager, I guess my next step would be to write a Goodwill letter or do you have any advice.

  4. User Score
    October 27th, 2013 at 2766
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Thanks alot for this information I wish I would have know this sooner before I paid on my Debit to these the Collector. Again thanks so much.

  5. User Score
    October 26th, 2013 at 2761
    0 people found this review helpful!

    I’ve been dealing with creditors for many years and have seen some of the Grimiest cut throat things these creditors do that is just unethical. To charge off an account and then sell it to multiple agencies while just changing a few numbers in the accounts to fool people into paying for old debt that they have already negotiated and payed. You definitely have to keep track of every debt you obtain and pay off and keep records of them. So sad that we here in America bailed out these shady banks that have never been willing to help us or bail us out of anything.

  6. User Score
    Tia G
    July 24th, 2013 at 2409
    0 people found this review helpful!

    The Statute of Limitation link was very helpful and so are the comments. Thanks Everyone!

  7. User Score
    July 17th, 2013 at 2377
    0 people found this review helpful!

    After a credit card company has charged off a debt and uses it as a tax write off how can that same debt be sold(I’m assume it’s sold) to a copany who tries to get payment for the same debt. Seems like double dipping.

  8. User Score
    mike king
    May 31st, 2013 at 2143
    0 people found this review helpful!

    you have entered a ream of criminals, shady operators
    liars, cheats, including the credit agencies, who work hand in glove with anyone who can help them make a buck, legally or illegally. /these thieves will go to any length to keep phony information on a report as long as possible. The score you get won’t be the score reported to anyone wishing to give you credit. As they scrumble through your life you begin to wonder how can they both report credit and be collectors also. It’s conflict of interest and your congress gets well taken care of by the immense lobby that pushes through the consumer law which only continue the corrupt and evil system. The FTC is a joke. Sure they get a 50,000 fine once in awhile but the take, the ill gotten gains are enormous. I for one have paid once, twice, even 5 times to get a debt removed, so I COULD BUY A HOUSE. The lenders are in on it. The lower your score the more interest they can charge. I have been abused, harassed, telephoned day and night, sued without getting served on a time barred debt, I didn’t know was mine or the Duke of Windsor. If you are smart and you don’t know where the debt is coming from, file identity theft report. No one gives a good flying finger anyone. No one will investigate, if if you knows the name of the perp. I had one who not only did it and got away with it, using my name and ssn, but turned around and did it again, after he admitted it! Wait for my book. I am going to expose the whole stinking cesspool and name the gang members who are involved as well as the organized crime that may muscle someone who refuses to pay. Oh, did I mention that I’m pretty damn mad?
    Thanks to the good folks who provide this website. It’s a lot of work and appreciated much.

  9. User Score
    February 28th, 2013 at 1637
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Wonderful suggestions, I’m working on my credit repair right now! I’ve signed up with Credit Sesame and purchased my full credit report. Thanks again!

  10. User Score
    February 6th, 2013 at 1526
    0 people found this review helpful!

    This information was very very very helpful thanks for the information guys

  11. User Score
    January 18th, 2013 at 1429
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Do what most other people do. Start a small business as an LLC, a homebased business, get incorporated and start using your business and obtain credit instead of using your personal credit, but still pay your bills. I in the same situation and looking for help is still costly. The way I see it, is to pay off my debts and be let it hurt for another 3-6 months. What else can you do, but still negotiate.

  12. User Score
    January 16th, 2013 at 1417
    1 people found this review helpful!

    I have a charge off of 1000 with a major bank so that showed on my credit report once.
    Then the bank hired a collector that also put it on my report for 1000.
    Now the collector sent it back to the bank and I am trying to negotiate with them.

    Could I get one removed as a dup?
    Which one is worse?

  13. User Score
    January 14th, 2013 at 1406
    0 people found this review helpful!

    I still didn ‘t get how you can get rid of Judgements,please advise.thnx

  14. User Score
    January 4th, 2013 at 1384
    0 people found this review helpful!

    When in doubt contact an attorney. The credit reporting agencies and the original creditor does not want to get sued and will take an attorney’s dispute letter more serious than a letter from an individual. Just Google credit repair and your city to find an attorney.

  15. User Score
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1379
    0 people found this review helpful!


  16. User Score
    December 28th, 2012 at 1362
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Great info! Thanks for sharing! Insightful! I’m in the process of repair my credit. I hit abump in the road when 2 collection agencies bought the same account from Providian Bank. Is it legal for Providian to sell the same account to two different agencies? I paid one agency b/c it contacted me first and worked with me. The other agency,Asset Acceptance, contacted me after and choose to file suite against me. I provided proof to them that I paid another agency for the same bill. They are refusing to drop the lawsuit. What do I do? This information is on my credit report and obviously affecting my status.

  17. User Score
    December 20th, 2012 at 1337
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Thanks for the info. I am going to try it today.

  18. User Score
    December 16th, 2012 at 1314
    0 people found this review helpful!

    I have some charge off accounts that state date closed 7/7/2009 but that will not be removed from my account until 4/2016. In Va the statue off limitation is 5 yrs. What should I do?

  19. User Score
    December 10th, 2012 at 1281
    0 people found this review helpful!

    I had an unpaid medical bill as I left USA and got stuck in my native place due to visa problems. I got a call from a collection agency after 18 months.
    I agreed to pay them and asked if I can get a discount. She td me Yes and gave me a 10% discount and I paid the remaining amt in full
    Then next month credit report had a shock as it said collection amount not paid and in collections for the 10% amt she had given discount.
    I list 25 Pts on my report I could have as we’ll paid the 8 dollars discount I got. When I called the collection agency they told me that they are not financial advisors to inform me on that this would happen if I Take a discount. Idiots.
    Is there anyway to remove this collectionitem from my report

  20. User Score
    Michael D. Lucas
    December 8th, 2012 at 1275
    0 people found this review helpful!

    Back in 2005, I found a Federal Tax Lien of 233,340 dollars from ‘another’ person with my identical name. (NO JOKE) I couldn’t get a loan, because Experian had ‘confused me by name only’ without proper verification of social security number, and confirmation. Brazoria County refused to hear me, told me to call the I.R.S. This error was on my cred report, without my knowledge. I had to call the I.R.S. to clarify my S.S.N. and it was ‘perfect’ in their eyes, but my ‘name’ got confused with another S.S.N. that actually had the Federat Tax Lien! The I.R.S. dealt with Experian about it, and I now have to pay $12.00 a month for their “Protect My ID”. Despite all my disputes, and the fact they screwed up, I got no apology from Experian. If you feel Experian is hurting your lending options, call the Federal Trade Commission, and the I.R.S. Go Federal on Experian! I have yet to go to a bank to go over my debts ‘not’ reported on my Credit report, but shows up on my S.S.N. If You Can’t Afford Marriage, just Stay Single! :D

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