What Is Early Exclusion? (2023)

Early exclusion is an unofficial technique which involves requesting to have negative items removed from one’s credit report up to six months before the scheduled fall-off date.

Requests are made by contacting the credit bureaus directly.

Consumers have reported varying results, with some being unsuccessful in accelerating any such removal, whilst others achieving success by having negative tradelines removed by up to six months ahead of time.

Each credit agency has shown general patterns, but this is a voluntary request and results will vary.

When are negative tradelines removed from credit reports?

Most negative tradelines will fall off of your credit report automatically, typically around seven years after the date of the first delinquency.

There are exceptions for some bankruptcies, including Chapter 7, which can stay on for ten years.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on longer because they involve a complete liquidation of debt, while other common bankruptcies, like Chapter 13, use a repayment plan to return some funds to creditors.

A tradeline is the industry term for any item on a credit report, which can be positive or negative. Early exclusion focuses on removing the negative tradelines slightly before the seven or ten-year period expires, and typically involves items like:

In most cases, the seven or ten-year countdown starts the day of the first missed payment. Even if the account goes to a collections agency, the fall-off date does not change.

Even if they’re closed or resolved, these negative marks can hurt your credit, reduce your chances of approval for new credit, or result in less favorable terms.

Having items removed early can be helpful, especially if you’d like to apply for a major credit account, such as a mortgage.

Before asking to get a negative item removed, identify when the tradeline should automatically fall off and verify that the credit agencies have the accurate date.

When should I ask for early exclusion?

The earliest you should request early exclusion of any negative trademark is six months before the automatic fall-off date.

In some cases, you should wait until only two months before the scheduled date or not try at all.

Since early exclusion is a voluntary and unofficial adjustment, there are no strict guidelines to follow or expect.

The success rate depends on many factors, including:

  • the specific credit bureau
  • the particulars of your situation, and
  • even the individual customer service representative.

Some people are able to get items removed after making one five-minute call without a hassle.

Others are more persistent, calling three times over two weeks before getting results, seemingly at the whim of the specific representative.

The majority of consumers however, have to wait for the standard fall-off date.


People appear to have the most early exclusion success with TransUnion, with reports indicating that the credit bureau will sometimes take items off up to six months in advance.

If you are within this period, it may be worth contacting TransUnion on 1-800-916-8800. A considerate approach will likely generate the best results as this is at their discretion.


Experian has also historically removed negative marks early in some cases. Although they are typically not as accelerated as TransUnion, the best-case scenario is usually around three months in advance.

You can contact them on 1-800-493-1058 to speak with an Experian representative.


Equifax is known to be the most strict about the timeline of removal. Although the agency typically removes most negative items one month before the seven or ten-year deadline automatically, getting early exclusion at your request seems unlikely.

Limited reports show successful removal requests one extra month before the fall-off date. But many others say it’s not worth the hassle.

If you want to give it a shot, call Equifax customer service at 1-877-784-2528.

Is requesting early removal a good idea?

There is little downside to asking for early exclusion. While you should not rely on it and your experience may not match other reports, it can improve your credit report by taking harmful tradelines off.

One thing you want to avoid is filing a dispute to request early exclusion. The dispute process is to resolve inaccurate items (that do not meet FCRA requirements), not to request voluntary assistance.

Will it increase my credit score?

Having negative lines removed generally increases credit scores. There have been cases where people have had items such as major bankruptcies removed from their credit report, and consequently seeing improvements of over 100 points.

Others with less serious items like late payments or small charge-offs may only see modest jumps, sometimes as little as 10-20 points.

Another aspect is to gain more favorable credit report reviews, such as when applying to rent a property or for certain jobs.

Signs of missed payments or other delinquencies can give others room for pause, so getting them taken off your report can be beneficial.

Can removing accounts hurt my credit score?

Having negative accounts fall off your credit report can decrease your score if your credit history decreases. This is because certain calculations, such as the average age of accounts, may include closed accounts.

However, removing an item in advance simply accelerates the inevitable.

The potential drop may happen whenever the tradeline falls off, and there’s little you can do to avoid it entirely. Early exclusion gets you over this hurdle sooner.

What is the fastest way to remove items from credit reports?

Below are some other strategies you can employ to have negative lines removed faster, such as:

  • Formal dispute: Whenever credit reports show anything factually incorrect, file a formal dispute with the credit bureau. Be prepared to provide documentation proving the inaccuracy, otherwise your dispute will be denied. It can also help to contact the original creditor involved. Disputes should not be used for early exclusion as that generally does not involve incorrect information.
  • Goodwill request: You may be able to convince the debt collector or original creditor to remove the negative item by sending them a letter asking for forgiveness, explaining the situation that caused your error, and showing how you have improved your situation. This is at the mercy of the creditor or collector.
  • Pay to delete: Some creditors or collection agencies may accept an offer to remove the time by paying off the debt either in full or partially. It’s best to have this agreement in writing, live up to your end of the deal by making the payment, and then check your report to verify that it has indeed been removed.
  • Debt validation request: Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), parties must provide proof that any debt they attempt to collect is valid. For example, if your car has been towed, it cannot be sent to collections without having first followed the correct procedures. It’s a technicality that can have some items removed from your credit report if creditors or collectors are unwilling or unable to validate it.

When all else fails, the only real option is to wait out the seven or ten-year period to expire.

Once this time period passes, ensure you verify that the credit bureaus do indeed remove the tradeline as scheduled.

If items do not fall off as expected, file a dispute with the credit bureau.

When problems persist, seek the help of an attorney, contact your state’s office of the attorney general, or submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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