If you know you had a credit account on your credit reports (such as a credit card account, student loan, or collection account) and it suddenly disappeared, the reason for its removal might not be obvious.
Accounts can disappear for a variety of reasons—whether intentionally or as outright mistakes. We’ll cover the most likely explanations for why your account was deleted and what its removal means for your credit.
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Top 5 reasons why accounts get removed from credit reports
The underlying cause of an account’s removal from your credit report depends on several factors, such as the age, validity, and status of the account.
Here are the most common reasons that accounts get deleted from consumer credit reports.
1. The account was closed years ago
If the account that disappeared from your credit report was closed (inactive), the most likely explanation is that it simply reached its credit-reporting age limit.
Credit accounts don’t fall off your report automatically once they’re closed, but after they’ve been inactive for several years, the credit bureaus delete them automatically.
How long do closed accounts stay on credit reports?
The time it takes for a closed account to be removed from your credit report depends on whether the account was in good standing when it was closed (i.e., whether it was all paid up and you closed it voluntarily, or whether you missed payments on it and your creditor closed it punitively).
As shown in the table below, accounts that are closed in good standing remain on your credit for 10 years, whereas delinquent accounts are removed after 7 years (like most other negative marks that can appear on your credit report). 1 2 3 4
When Are Closed Accounts Removed from Your Credit Report?
|Type of Account||Characteristics||When It’s Deleted||Who Decides|
|Positive account||Labeled as “in good standing” or “paid as agreed”||10 years||The credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian)|
|Negative account||Associated with late payments, charge-offs, debt settlement, or other derogatory items||7 years||The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)|
Note that paying off a delinquent account after your creditor closes it won’t turn it into an account in good standing. However, you should still pay off closed accounts on your credit report to avoid legal trouble over your outstanding debts in the future.
2. Your creditor changed names
If one of your creditors changed their name or you have an account that was transferred to a different company, then it may seem as though the account has completely disappeared from your credit report.
In reality, your account will probably start showing up under a new name. The rest of the account details should be the same (balance, open date, payment date, etc.).
There may be a gap in between when the account disappears and when it reappears on your credit report. Additionally, it might appear on different credit reports, since not all lenders provide data to the same credit bureaus.
To be sure that your credit reports are complete and accurate, check all three of them with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at AnnualCreditReport.com.
3. The account was an error
Mistakes happen all the time in the credit-reporting industry. If you filed a credit dispute with the credit reporting agencies or a lender that was reporting information about one of your credit accounts, the credit bureaus might have accepted your dispute and deleted the account.
It’s also possible that the credit bureaus noticed the mistake themselves and removed the account without receiving a formal dispute notice from you, but this is less likely.
4. Your lender decided to stop reporting the account
If a legitimate account in good standing suddenly vanished from your credit reports, one possibility is that your creditor simply decided to stop reporting it to one or all of the credit bureaus.
Credit reporting is technically a voluntary practice, and lenders aren’t legally required to furnish any information to the credit reporting agencies. It isn’t particularly likely that they’ll choose to stop reporting to one or all of them out of the blue, but it’s possible.
5. The account was removed by mistake
If you’ve got an active auto loan or student loan, credit card account, or another open account that you believe shouldn’t have been removed from your credit report and you’ve ruled out all other explanations, the account may have been deleted by mistake.
To get to the bottom of who made the error, contact the credit reporting agency you got your credit report from (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian) and the creditor associated with the account.
Of course, if the account that disappeared was delinquent or in collections, you’re better off without it on your credit report, and you might want to simply leave well enough alone.
Can a deleted account be put back on your credit report?
Yes, deleted items can be reinserted into your credit report under certain circumstances.
This most commonly happens if you disputed the account and the data furnishing company (your creditor or debt collection agency) took more than 30 days to respond to your dispute. The credit bureaus are required to remove a disputed item if the company reporting the information doesn’t provide evidence proving that the account belongs to you within 30–45 days. 6
However, the information can be reinserted if the creditor comes up with this evidence after the 30-day mark.
Note that if the deleted account was originally removed because it had been closed or inactive for 7 or 10 years or because you managed to remove a negative item yourself using pay for delete, then it’s likely been reinserted by mistake. If you want, you can submit a credit dispute to have it redeleted.
Is it good or bad when a deleted account reappears on your credit report?
It’s not an inherently good or bad thing when a credit account reappears on your credit report after an absence.
As you’ll see in the section below, if the account was in good standing, then it’ll probably be a good thing for your credit when it reappears. On the other hand, if the account was delinquent, then your credit report (and credit score) will be better off without it, and you might want to take steps to get it removed again.
How credit account removals can affect your credit score
As mentioned, having an account removed from your credit reports can be either a good or a bad thing for your credit score (and the same applies to reinsertion).
Whether an account removal will cause a rise or drop in your credit score depends on how the account was affecting your score in the first place.
For instance, collection accounts are negative marks that hurt your score. Naturally, if you remove a collection account from your credit report, your score will probably improve.
On the other hand, if an old credit card that you closed in good standing falls off your credit report after reaching the 10-year reporting limit, your score will probably drop due to a reduction in the length of your credit history and the loss of the payment history on that account.
To understand exactly what having an account removed from your credit report means for your credit score, take the time to read about how credit scores are calculated, how credit works, and what factors affect your credit score.