Your credit report as reported by the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) is like a report card for lenders of your credit history.
If you receive a public judgment from a court regarding one of your debts, you can end up with an entry on your credit report.
These entries are extraordinarily difficult to get rid of, and they can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, severely damaging your personal finances.
If you are curious about how to remove a public record from your credit report, check out our full article to find out what to do for different types of public records.
What is a Public Record?
Public record information is judgments that are published by the court that can be accessed by PACER or Public Access to Court Electronic Records.
Your credit report will only record public records that pertain to outstanding debt or delinquency, and you will always receive a notification when your name and information are part of a public record.
Depending on the type of public record, they can end up on your credit report for as long as ten years.
Public records can be created in a number of ways. The court will create a public record for bankruptcies, foreclosure, or failure to pay taxes resulting in federal tax liens.
A public record can also be created if a lawsuit names you, and the court issues a judgment for you to pay damages.
Certain kinds of public records won’t end up on your credit reports, such as divorce or probate records.
How to Remove a Public Record From Your Credit Report
Unfortunately, removing a public record from your credit report isn’t always easy or in some cases even possible.
Depending on the type of public record, it may be on your credit report for as much as seven years.
For example, chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on for seven years and Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay for ten years.
Oftentimes, the credit bureaus will only remove public records if the entry contains inaccurate information.
If you see an error on your credit report due to identity theft or inaccuracies, you should dispute the entry with the credit bureau so that they can investigate and remove it.
Here is the breakdown of different types of public records from your credit report.
If you are reading this article because you want to remove a bankruptcy from your credit report, I have some bad news for you.
There is no way to remove bankruptcy from your credit report, assuming that the entry is not there by mistake.
If it is, you can take the proper steps to dispute that with the three major credit bureaus.
Even if you have a bankruptcy on your credit report, the effects won’t last forever. In the United States, bankruptcy will drop your credit score by as much as 200 points, which is devastating to your score.
The impact on your credit score will lessen as the bankruptcy ages off your report.
You can also take steps to improve your credit score so that the bankruptcy’s effect is minimized.
Foreclosures, much like bankruptcies, are difficult to remove from your credit report. If the entry is accurate, it will remain on your credit report for up to seven years and can have a significant impact on your score.
However, there are things that you can do to prevent foreclosure before it happens.
You can always explore the possibilities of a short sale if you are facing foreclosure. A short sale is when you sell your house for less than you owe.
In some cases, the bank will accept the short sale to prevent having to foreclose on the house and get nothing in return.
If you decide that you would like to pursue a short sale, make sure to negotiate with the bank ahead of time.
You should request that they list the account as ‘paid’ rather than as a short sale. The bank may not agree to do this, but this is still a better option than having to foreclose on a house.
- Consequences of Foreclosure
- Foreclosure vs. Short Sale
- How To Remove a Foreclosure From Your Credit Report
If you owe money on your taxes, this is another form of public record that can end up on your credit report.
An unpaid tax lien can remain on your credit score for 15 years or indefinitely. A paid tax lien, however, should be removed from your credit report within seven years of payment.
The major credit bureaus have decided not to report tax liens, which means that they will no longer appear on your credit report.
However, this does not mean that the IRS or state tax authority may still file one against you.
You may be able to have tax liens removed from your record by paying the debt and then requesting the revenue department to release the lien.
You can qualify for lien withdrawal if you sign up for autopay and follow a payment plan on your tax debt.
However, you must meet the requirements of the lien withdrawal program for this to apply.
The three credit reporting agencies entered into an agreement with over 30 state attorneys general stating they would change the methods of reporting on public records called the NCAP.
Following the NCAP (National Consumer Assistance Plan), the major credit bureaus removed all satisfied civil judgments from consumer credit reports.
The NCAP also requires any public record must contain your social security number, name, birth date and address to be added before it can appear on your credit report.
This means that you don’t have to worry about these ending up on your report or affecting your score
Once you pay the judgment, it’s considered ‘satisfied.’
If a judgment was filed in error, you may be able to have the judgment vacated.
This involves speaking with a lawyer and appealing the judgment, but it can be worth it if you believe that you were served improperly.
Once the judgment is vacated, it’s like the whole thing never happened.
Removing a Public Record From Your Credit Report
The only time you truly can’t remove a public record from your credit report is if you have a bankruptcy.
Tax liens and judgments can be removed from credit reports if you pay the debt and request a withdrawal.
As of now, nothing in the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA (the federal law that regulates credit reporting) prevents them from changing their minds.
Otherwise, they can remain on your credit report for up to ten years.
Even if you have a public record that can’t be removed, you can take steps to minimize the impact of the entry.
Because payment history makes up about 35% of your FICO score (a popular scoring model), it is essential that you pay all of your bills on time. Late payments on credit cards or any other debt can tank your score.
You’re entitled to an annual free credit report by the United States government. It’s a great free tool to monitor any negative information that may pop up.
You can also work with a credit repair company to help repair and rebuild your credit.
We recommend Lexington Law due to its outstanding track record and impeccable customer service.