Question About Debt That Has Been Paid Off

Updated on January 11, 2011
L.R. asks from Philadelphia, PA
11 answers

About 15min ago I checked my credit report and I still see 3 things on my report that has been paid off. It says that it's charged off/paid but should it still be there? If not, how do I go about having the information removed. Thank you in advance.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone so far for the helpful information. My next question is eventhough it will remain on my report for 7yrs does it still affect my credit score? I also wanted to add that I paid off the debt, it didn't say anything about being charged off. Also, there's mainly hospital bills that is causing my bad credit*I don't own any credit cards*.

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answers from Houston on

You have to contact the company, there are 3, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Contact them all, b/c chances are if it's on one it will be on the others.

Sometimes they won't remove paid debts until a certain time limit has passed, it depends on how long they were delinquent, how much they were for, but it has to meet that 7 year mark.

Here is a good site explaining how to contact them without falling prey to scammers:,1607,7-164-34739_20942-11101...

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answers from Tulsa on

Leah is right. 7 years is how long it is supposed to be there from the date is closed and paid off. I still have things from much longer on mine. You can appeal to each of the 3 credit bureaus if it has been over seven years. You must do it in writing, but you can find the addresses online. You can check your own report as often as you like without it affecting your FICO score.




Under state law, consumers in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont already have free access to their credit reports.

Correcting Errors
Under the FCRA, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider.

Step One
Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the one below. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This free report does not count as your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The credit reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

If you ask, the credit reporting company must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the credit reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the credit reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.

Step Two
Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a credit reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.

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answers from Kansas City on

For your "so what happened?" Part of your credit score is history, so yes, even if has been paid, if it was negative, it WILL at least partially impact your scores until it is dropped off which could be upwards of 10 years or more.

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answers from Dallas on

I know I already responded to your other question, but also in our efforts we came across this. You can file a dispute with the credit bureau for any inaccurate info -- they are very quick and generally resolve it for you with no additional effort beyond your dispute. But, if the info is accurate (i.e. shows correctly htat you had the debt, the dates aren't incorrect & correctly reflects it paid off) they will not remove it.

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answers from Philadelphia on

As others have said, yes, it will affect your credit score. Responding to part of what Kay B. said, ALL consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report once a year and you can get it at All those other "free" credit report offers require you be enrolled in their program for a monthly fee. Suze Orman suggests getting your report from one of the 3 credit reporting agencies every 4 months so you can keep an eye on your credit all year round. Unfortunately, there is no way to get a free credit score report, but if you are getting ready to find a new job, buy a house or car, or rent a home you should pay to get a copy of your credit score. You can get that with any of the 3 credit bureaus, or through Also, if you are going to be getting a new job or buying a home or car, you can ask the company which of the 3 credit bureaus they use so you can save some $$$ and only buy that credit bureau's FICO score (credit score) for you. Good luck with it all!

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answers from New York on

I have items on my credit report that are 20 years old. The accounts are shown as "closed".

If your referring to a credit card, it will remain there until the account is closed, and may stay there for many years. If it's some type of loan, like a car loan, I believe it's 7 years.

Unless the information is inaccurate, you can not have it removed. If the information is not correct, write a letter to the credit reporting agency and be sure to include documentation.

Sorry didn't read the update....
Yes, it will effect your score. Depending on the situation that could be a good or bad thing.

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answers from Chicago on

If it was for a collections item, you can request they remove it. For credt items, you actually want it to be there showing that you have paid your bills.

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answers from San Francisco on

Yes, it will still negatively affect your credit score.

And aside from affecting your score, it also tells the lender you have not always paid your debts reliably.

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answers from Norfolk on

for your second question about it affecting your score. It does in a way but the people who are looking at the score will scan down and see how much is actually owned or your stuff. They do take that amount (even if zero) into consideration.

So if they saw a $3000.00 left owed then they think...can this person afford another account but if the dollar amount owe is zero then they know your chances of being able to pay them off is good.

They like to see that you have paid off other things it shows you are a good consumer.

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answers from Hartford on

Even if the account has been paid off it will still show on your credit report for 7 years, regardless of if it is good or bad. So there is nothing you can do unless the activity has happened over 7 years ago. If the debt was from 10 years ago, but you just paid it off 5 years ago, then it would still show for another 2 years.

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answers from Atlanta on

Each piece of information and each company will report things as they happen. Apparently your accounts were charged off/written off before you paid them. That will show negatively and may or may not show that you have paid them. They may show paid by another company that might have bought your account from the original debt holder. I managed a credit card company for 15 years and things in the finance arena are always done in a particular order but not necessarily so that the debtor can understand them.

Talk to the company and see if they can notate your file or if they will show it paid in full. Some will and some won't. The bigger the company, the harder they will be to deal with. Remember, good credit is only needed if you intend to use it again. Being in the credit industry as long as I was, I have no desire to ever have any credit again. It's a dirty business and I'm glad I'm out of it. There was a time when it was there to assist someone in it is simply there to make money and the fine print can cut your throat quickly.

Sorry I can't share good news with you.


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