How to Fix a Negative Line of Credit


A negative line of credit is a credit account with late payments. The negative payment information is listed on your credit report and with the creditor. The negative credit information may prompt the creditor to reduce your credit line or even close the account. Fixing this problem is simple, but it may take some time. The Federal Trade Commission suggests that you can do this yourself by working directly with your creditor. The agency advises against using credit repair firms, because some have been known for shady business practices.

Order a copy of your credit report from the Annual Credit Report website. It's the only site specifically authorized by the federal government to offer free credit reports under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. View and print the report from the website (see Resource).

Review information on your credit report about the line of credit. Make special note of late payments listed on the report. Check your records to confirm that the payments were indeed late. Use your bank records or canceled checks to make the determination. Write a letter to your creditor if any of the information is wrong, and ask that the late payments in question be removed. Send the letter to the creditor at its address listed on your billing statement.

Contact the creditor to ask that your account be "re-aged" to eliminate the late payments from showing on your credit report. Some lenders will agree to delete late payments if you promise to make a number of consecutive on-time payments, according to MSN Money. For example, your creditor may agree to erase your negative credit information if you pay on time for a year. Although that seems like a long time, it is not unusual for legal and ethical credit repair to require patience, the Federal Trade Commission points out.

Request details of any agreement with your creditor in writing. Also, make more than the minimum payments on your line of credit to reduce the balance. You should keep your balance to less than 30 percent of your credit line, MSN Money advises.

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