Credit Repair – How to remove black marks from your credit report

Find out how credit repair works and whether enlisting a credit repair company will work for you.

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Bad credit is a common concern for many people, especially when applying for credit. Lenders look at your credit report to assess your ability to repay a new loan, so any black marks on it could reduce your chances of getting approved.

If you do have bad credit, there are ways to improve your credit position through credit repair. You can do this yourself or through a credit repair company. Find out what you need to know in this guide.

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How to repair your credit report in 3 steps

Step 1. Order a copy of your credit report

The first thing to do is to see what is actually on your credit report. You can check your credit report and credit score (provided by Experian) for free with finder and revisit it at any time in your finder account. We'll also send you updates if anything on your credit report changes.

If you prefer to order your credit report directly from the credit bureau, you also have that option. You are entitled to one free credit report per year and it takes around 10 working days to receive. You can order it from Experian, Equifax or Illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet).

Step 2. Identify the black marks and defaults

Once you’ve received a copy of your credit report, you can start looking through your history to identify any black marks or defaults.

These “black marks” refers to any information on your credit report that may indicate you have had issues repaying any credit including:

  • Missed payments. Your credit report retains repayment history information from the past two years. This means that any missed payments on your mortgage, personal loans, or credit card accounts during the last two years will show up your credit report, lowering your credit score and hurting your chances of obtaining new credit.
  • Overdue accounts or payment defaults. Overdue amounts of $150 and above are recorded once they are 60 days overdue. Defaults can be extremely damaging to your credit reputation as they indicate that you are unlikely to repay your debts on time and may default on payments altogether. These listings remain on file for five years.
  • Clearouts or serious credit infringements. These are overdue accounts or payment defaults where the credit provider has not been able to contact you. These types of listings indicate that you may default on payment and skip town after that. Clearouts and serious credit infringements stay on your report for seven years if they remain unpaid. If paid, these listings only remain on your report for five years and are defined as “payment defaults”.
  • Writs and summons. These listings relate to instances where you have been summoned to court to settle a debt. They stay on record for five years.
  • Court judgments. Court judgements including bankruptcies, personal insolvencies or debt agreements can stay on file for five years or longer, depending on when the case is officially resolved. For instance, bankruptcy goes off record two years from your date of discharge or five years from your date of bankruptcy, whichever is later.
  • Credit enquiries. Applications for any form of credit (including personal loans, mortgages and even utilities) can remain on your credit report for up to five years, regardless of whether they are approved. That’s why it’s important to only apply for credit you have a high change of being approved for, and to space out your applications over time.

Step 3. Remove the black marks and defaults

Credit repair is the process of removing incorrect black marks from your credit file. It applies to black marks that may not belong on your credit history (i.e. errors), as well as listings that have outstayed their rightful duration.

Since the law surrounding credit reporting is complex and, in practice, not stringently enforced, lenders sometimes list defaults or missed payments without proper legal adherence. The first step in all cases is to request that a listing be removed from the credit bureau or credit provider directly. If this fails, you also have the option of enlisting the help of a credit report agency.

Credit repair agencies are experts at spotting these errors and may be more effective at repairing your report than you might be. But these companies can be costly to use, so the following steps will help if you decide to attempt DIY repairs on your credit file.

Do you qualify for credit repair?

Answer these four simple questions to find out.

1. Have you had finance rejected recently?
2. Were you seeking finance for a property or home?
3. Do you have savings/deposit?
4. Is there a possibility you have a black mark on your credit file?


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Important points to consider before calling a credit repair specialist

  • Expenses. Weigh up the costs of enlisting the help of a credit repair agency against the possible value of it. For example, work out how much credit repair will cost and if it's worth paying that or if you should just wait for the listing to be removed from your report.
  • No guarantees. The agency will investigate your listings but cannot offer any certainty of removing them.
  • Time factor. When looking at your negative listings, also take note of when they will come off your report. Most black marks disappear from your credit report after five years, so in some cases it may be worth waiting it out. If a payment default was listed on your report more than three years ago, it may disappear soon. If you can hold off your loan application for a few more months, you can do away with the whole credit repair hassle.

You can call a credit repair company for a consultation at any time, but remember that credit repair can only remove incorrect or illegitimate listings. There’s no guarantee that credit repair will work for you, and you may ultimately still have to wait for some black marks to naturally expire. But now that you understand how credit history and credit repairs work, you can make an informed decision about these options based on your individual circumstances and goals.

Want to consider debt consolidation?

Unfortunately, Fox Symes won't be able to help you at this stage. For more information on improving your credit learn more here.

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41 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BennetApril 2, 2019

    How can I update my personal details?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiApril 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Bennet,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder! To update your personal details in your credit report, you must contact the credit bureau where your details are not updated and you can find their contact details directly from their website.

      Hope this helps!


  2. Default Gravatar
    JeremyMarch 21, 2019

    How do I remove a blacklisted for life?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 23, 2019Staff

      Hi Jeremy,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Please note that your credit report retains black marks like repayment history information from the past two years then defaults of up to five years. If you find that there’s an error on your credit history, you need to contact your credit provider directly to help you sort that out. In the event that you need further assistance on removing black marks, you may search for a credit repair company who will be assisting your on removing black marks on your credit history. Please note that credit repair agencies can sometimes charge large amounts to review and make corrections to your credit report. Ensure that the agency you choose charges reasonable fees to fix problems with your credit file.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  3. Default Gravatar
    CraigDecember 3, 2018

    Just a quick query, the default that is on mine was paid in full in 2012. So just wondering why it’s on the report 4 years later?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniDecember 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Craig,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Please note that a default listing will remain on your credit file for five years while a serious credit infringement will remain there for seven years.

      I suggest that you check first with the credit provider you had this default with if they have updated your listing. If they do, you may contact the our provider – Experian, to correct this.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  4. Default Gravatar
    SharlieNovember 6, 2018

    A year ago I wanted to complete a balance transfer of my 20000 credit card I was declined by the multiple banks I applied for but couldn’t understand why so applied for a few more then got my credit report which had 2 fraudulent overdue electricity accounts under my name, these were removed off my credit report as fraud but now Ive got multiple credit card applications on my credit file due to the fraud, can these be removed due to the circumstances that there was 2 fraudulent debts affecting my credit account? thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Sharlie,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, you are correct that a credit report correction can be made since the credit card application have been made through fraud. You would need to contact the credit bureaus directly to start the process of having a credit report correction made. Hope this helps!


  5. Default Gravatar
    AssadullahSeptember 28, 2018

    Hi how can I remove my credit fault and black mark, and how much have cost?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiSeptember 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Assadullah,

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      As per the information above, credit repair agencies are experts at spotting these errors and may be more effective at repairing your report than you might be. But these companies can be costly to engage, so the following steps above will help if you decide to attempt DIY repairs on your credit file.

      Also, the costs are dependent on every situation and if you go for credit repair agencies, it will cost more. You may read the “Important points to consider before calling a credit repair specialist” to help you minimise expenses.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message again should you have further questions.


  6. Default Gravatar
    AdamSeptember 5, 2018

    I have a mark on my credit file from panthera credit recovery from electricity company I haven’t used I have told them but was told pretty much just to pay it it has seriously affected my credit file and r over them please help adam

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnSeptember 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Adam,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Since you mentioned that the mark on your credit file may have been a mistake or requires correction. You may contact need to contact Experian directly or you may also visit credit repair companies to help you in this process. Hope this helps!


  7. Default Gravatar
    MartinJune 1, 2018

    In November 2012, I got a loan but through illness from work I didn’t pay it. The citizens advice service said they make them an offer etc. Anyway I heard nothing more. I have since paid a reduced sum on Sept 2014 to clear the debt. However, I have just looked at my credit report and it says I defaulted on 09/05/2013 a full year and a half after I stopped paying the loan. Why is it stating this a year and a half later?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Martin,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As you know, a default is any consumer credit account that is overdue by more than 60 days where you owe more than $150. Credit providers do not automatically list a default at the end of the 60-day period. There’s a process that credit providers must follow in order to have the default listed on your credit file. The credit provider needs to send you two separate notices to your last known address (physical or email address) before it can give a credit reporting body details regarding a default. The address the provider will use should be how it usually contacts you.

      If you pay the full defaulted amount, the credit provider needs to inform the credit reporting body who will update the listing to “paid”. I suggest that you seek professional help from credit repair agencies who are experts at spotting these errors and may be more effective at repairing your report. To help you improve your borrowing ability by correcting errors in your credit file, please check out this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


  8. Default Gravatar
    johnMay 31, 2018

    I have had bad credit in the pass over $500 under $2,000 which was more then 7 years ago will this show up on my credit report or will there just be a blank there as I’m looking to buy a car.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiMay 31, 2018Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      While we can provide you with general information, please note that we do not represent any company we feature on our site. We’re here to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product/service that is rightfully fit for you.

      We don’t have any visibility if this credit will show up your report. It would be fitting to check your credit score before applying for a car loan byusing this page.

      For any clarifications, feel free to message us again.

      Best regards,


  9. Default Gravatar
    florinDecember 17, 2017

    Hi. Couple of years ago I took a personal loan, an credit card and overdraft from HSBC. After one year of regular payments I lost my job and I was not able to pay for them anymore. This yeas my debts were sold to a financial institution and now I am paying a certain amount of money for my debts every month. When I checked my credit report I saw that those mentioned above are still showing DEFAULT on my report. If all of my debts were sold and now I am paying regular payments for them I think that they should be removed from my credit report. Is that the case or not. Thank you

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldDecember 22, 2017

      Hi Florin,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      Generally, defaults are a type of black marks that refers to any account with a payment that is overdue for 60 days or more. Overdue amounts of $150 and above are recorded once they are 60 days overdue.

      In your case, these defaults will still be visible on your report for five years even if you already have settled the payments. Moving forward, it would be best to be on top of your payments to offset these defaults on your report. Lenders will look beyond the defaults if they see that you’ve improved on managing your expenses.

      Hope this information helps


  10. Default Gravatar
    leeDecember 4, 2017

    I have 2 paid defaults under $500 each and want to apply for a home loan I have a good credit history with the bank and so does my partner
    We have 20% deposit, what are our chances of getting approved

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneDecember 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Lee,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If your defaults have been paid they will still show up as paid defaults on your file for up to five years. The success of your loan will depend on the lender’s policy.

      If you have defaults listed on your credit report, here are some things you can do to improve your chances of being approved for a home loan.
      *You can write a letter for your default explaining how it occurred
      *Provide evidence to support your explanation
      *Pay off any unpaid defaults and ask the credit provider to change your listing to a paid default instead of an unpaid default
      *Save as much money as you can as a larger deposit will go in your favour
      *Search for a lender that is more likely to approve your application, despite your defaults

      You can read further and compare lenders on this page. In addition to that, as you have mentioned a 20% deposit on hand, you may also want to view this page as this will display lenders that require just at least 5% deposit. A higher deposit may increase the chance of getting approved for a loan. Alternatively, you can speak with a mortgage broker to discuss your options.


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