So, you’ve paid your student loans in full, but they are showing up on my report with 120 days or more late, and garnishments. You’re probably wondering how it can be fixed. There are a couple of options that can help you resolve this.
Paid student loans should report with a $0 balance and state “Paid” on your credit reports. Unfortunately, the default and negative notations can remain (including the past late payment history and garnishment) for 7 years from the original delinquency date. If your student loans became delinquent less than seven years ago, they still can still appear in your history.
You can write a dispute letter directly to the student loan lender requesting that the account be updated to paid, and include in your letter a request for the past negative information be deleted. While they are not obligated to delete accurate negative information it doesn’t hurt to request a “goodwill” deletion of the negative history on the account since it is now paid in full.
There may be a chance, if the accounts have not been updated, that a dispute with the credit bureaus could result in a deletion of the negative history. But that all depends on whether or not the lender responds within 30 days of the dispute with the credit bureaus.
Your best strategy is more likely requesting a goodwill deletion of the negative information. Or you can explore student loan rehabilitation. Student loan rehabilitation can really help in cleaning up your credit once monthly payments become consistent. Under rehabilitation the default notations and late payments are removed from your credit reports once you’ve made consistent payments. More information on student rehabilitation can be found here.
In the meantime, build your credit scores by making on-time payments with your current credit accounts. If you have credit cards not only will on-time payments make a difference in credit scores but make sure you keep credit card balances low relative to your credit limit (less than 30%, or ideally, less than 10%). Also, monitor all three of your credit reports to ensure there are no errors or inaccurate information. You are entitled to free credit reports once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
I would recommend picking up a copy of our Flawless Credit Guide to start writing your goodwill letter. You can find it here.