How do I go about getting old, closed-in-good-standing credit card accounts off my credit report?
While open accounts play the most important role in your credit scores, closed accounts are part of your credit history. As a result, closing an account does not cause the account to be deleted immediately. Accounts in good standing that have been closed will remain on your credit reports for up to 10 years from the closed date—and that can be a good thing for your credit scores.
Closed, Positive Accounts Remain on Your Credit Report
Experian credit reports include closed accounts with no negative information for 10 years from the date they are reported closed. In fact, positive credit information remains on your credit report longer than most negative information, such as late payments. Late payments are removed from your credit history after seven years. Retaining the positive history longer helps you rebuild your credit history if you have had financial challenges.
Even if you've never had a late payment or any other negative accounts, the length of your history is considered in scoring models. The longer you have demonstrated that you can manage credit, the more positive points for your scores. That's why you don't really want those positive accounts rushed off of your report.
Experian will remove the closed accounts automatically at the end of the 10-year retention period.
What Can I Do to Improve My Credit?
If you are looking for ways to improve your credit scores, the first thing you should do is order a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies and get your free credit score from Experian.
When you get your credit score from Experian, you will receive a list of the risk factors that are currently impacting your credit scores the most. For example, you may see a statement that your balances on revolving accounts are too high, which lets you know that paying down your credit card balances will help increase your scores.
Everyone's credit history is unique, so paying attention to your individual risk factors is key to improving your scores. However, there are also some general things that anyone can do to help improve their credit scores:
- Bring any past-due accounts current. If you have any accounts that are currently past due, including collection accounts or charge-offs, bringing those accounts current is the first step to getting your credit back on track.
- Keep your credit card balances as low as possible. Experts recommend never letting your credit card balances exceed 30%, but keeping them below 10% is best for scores. If possible, you should try to pay your credit card balances in full each month.
- Apply for credit only when you really need it. Although hard inquiries typically have only a small impact on credit scores, multiple applications for credit within a short period of time may cause a temporary dip in scores.
- Sign up for Experian Boost®ø. This free service from Experian allows you to get credit for your on-time utility, cellphone and even certain streaming service payments. Signing up is quick and easy, and Experian will provide you with an updated credit score at the end of the process so you can see how much your score has increased.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist