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To remove Capital One Collections from your credit report, you first need to know who currently owns the debt. In other words, has Capital One sold your unpaid credit card debt to another collection agency, or is the debt still with Capital One?

You can find out who owns your Capital One debt by requesting a copy of your credit report and checking the creditor listed on the entry. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to download copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can request a free credit report each week.

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Steps to remove Capital One Collections from your credit report

If your debt appears as a charge-off, Capital One has most likely sold your debt to a collection agency and written it off as a loss. This means you no longer owe money to Capital One. Instead, you now owe the money to a third-party debt collector.

In this case, you want to follow the steps to remove a charge-off from your credit report.

If the entry listing is a collection or delinquent, you’re more than likely going to have to pay Capital One as the debt collector.

Here are the steps you can follow to get the debt collection removed from your credit report:

  • Request a goodwill adjustment
  • Pay to delete the Capital One Collections entry
  • Dispute the collection
  • Have a professional remove it
  • Know your debt collection rights

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1. Request a goodwill adjustment

To get the collection removed from your credit report, you can contact Capital One and ask a representative to remove the collection out of goodwill.

You should write a letter stating why you were late on the account such as a job loss, and ask if the debt collector would kindly remove the negative entry from your credit reports with all three credit bureaus.

This will work only if you’ve already paid the debt and no outstanding balance is owed.

2. Pay to delete the Capital One Collections

If you can't request a goodwill adjustment because the account isn’t current and you still owe a balance, consider a pay-for-delete agreement instead.

With this kind of agreement, you pay a portion of the balance due in exchange for Capital One or the collection agency removing the negative entry from your credit report. This method works best if Capital One sold the collection account to a third-party collection agency. That said, it’s still worth trying this method if Capital One still owns your old credit card debt.

This strategy allows the credit card company or third-party debt collector to collect at least a part of your balance. Given a choice between receiving half the balance and receiving nothing, most debt collectors will accept half. They may even be willing to remove their negative entry from your credit reports in exchange for the money.

You'll have to get your pay-for-delete agreement in writing from the debt collector before sending payment or starting a repayment plan. Otherwise, you may have no proof the debt collector agreed to remove the negative items from your credit report in exchange for partial payment.

Make sure the written agreement states that all negative items related to your Capital One account, such as late fees, late payments, and missed payments, are to be removed.

If these steps are seeming like too much for you to handle on your own, we recommend seeking professional help from a trusted credit repair agency like Credit Saint, a credit restoration company.

3. Dispute the collection

In steps one and two if you legitimately owe the credit card debt that's pulling down your credit score. If you don't owe the debt to Capital One Collections because it's reported inaccurately, you need to dispute this debt.

Disputing works only if the entry has incorrect information listed on your credit report. You'll need a copy of your credit reports from all three bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — to complete this step.

Review the Capital One Collections entry on your credit report and verify that all the information is accurate. Check the account number, the balance due and the payment history. If there is anything inaccurate in the entry, you can dispute it with all three credit bureaus. The credit bureaus will investigate the dispute. If they are unable to verify the correct information, they may remove it.

This method works because the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus and lenders to report only accurate information about your credit accounts. This law, enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), protects your credit file from credit reporting errors.

4. Have a professional remove it

Professional credit repair companies remove collections from credit reports. The company mentioned above is an example of an organization dedicated to performing this type of service. Although you can try to remove it, a credit repair company saves the time and effort it usually takes an individual to do this on their own.

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5. Knowing your debt collection rights

Many people get frustrated when trying to resolve their debt. Collection agencies contact individuals quite often, which causes unnecessary stress. Luckily, you don’t have to endure these disturbances. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act limits a debt collector's behavior as it seeks to collect a debt from you all the while preparing you to negotiate with debt collectors.

Some examples of illegal actions taken by debt collectors include:

  • threaten to have you arrested
  • call you early in the morning or late at night
  • contact your friends, family members or co-workers about your debt
  • use contact information you asked the debt collector to stop using
  • threaten to increase the interest rates on your other loans or major credit cards

Let the CFPB know if a debt collector has violated your consumer rights. You can also complain to the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.

Can Capital One Collections sue you?

While collection agencies can't have you arrested, Capital One Collections or any debt collector can sue you in civil court. If you lost or settled the lawsuit, a judge would likely order you to repay the debt. At that point, Capital One could seek a wage garnishment, which means the company could claim part of your paycheck before you get paid.

Most of the time consumer debt does not reach this point because the company's legal fees could exceed your debt amount. Additionally, you have protection from legal action due to your state's statute of limitations on consumer debt. Once the statute expires, you are no longer legally responsible for repayment. In this case, you still owe the money and it can remain in your credit history, but companies can't successfully sue you for the debt collection.

Statutes of limitations vary by state throughout the U.S. Below are some examples of different state’s statute limits:

  • New York State: The statute for consumer debt expires after six years.
  • California: The statute is four years.
  • Rhode Island: The statute is 10 years.
  • Virginia: The statute is three years.

You can inadvertently restart your statute from the beginning by discussing your debt on the phone or in writing. If a debt collector calls you, you shouldn't accept responsibility for the debt unless you're certain you're paying it off.

Why you should remove Capital One credit card debt

Credit card debt lowers your credit score in the following ways:

  • Credit utilization: A credit card balance approaching or exceeding your credit limit will inflate your credit utilization ratio, which comprises 30% of your FICO score.
  • Payment history: Normally, you don't have a credit card land in collections without missing some payments along the way. These missed or late payments erode your credit score because payment history comprises 35% of your FICO score.

Getting all negative information associated with Capital One scrubbed from your credit history could help you unlock a stronger credit score. With better credit, borrowers access the best loans with low-interest rates and low fees. Highly qualified borrowers pay less to borrow money.

Getting your Capital One Collections and Capital One credit card debt removed from your credit report could restore your good standing as a borrower.

You can contact Capital One using the following details:

  • 1680 Capital One Drive
  • McLean, VA 22102
  • Phone Number: 800-955-7070

Update: This article has been updated to reflect AnnualCreditReport’s current policy and Capital One’s current contact information.

Disclaimer: This story was originally published on November 12, 2007, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning collections or credit card inquiries, please visit: https://money.com/how-to-remove-collections-from-credit-report/ or https://money.com/get-items-removed-from-credit-report/