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Your Top Credit Questions: Cosigner/Son Ruined My Credit

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We get a lot of credit questions here at Credit.com. In this series of posts, I am answering some of the most frequently asked credit questions we receive.

I was a cosigner for my son’s car. He paid it late, and I didn’t even find that out until I tried to refinance our mortgage. I didn’t qualify for the lowest rate because of those late payments. How can I get them off my credit reports?

You’re not going to like this answer, but there’s a good chance that you can’t do anything to remove those late payments from your credit reports. When you cosign a loan, you agree to be responsible for the debt. If the loan appears on your credit reports it will be treated as if it were your own loan—which, technically it is. In fact, by law, if a creditor reports an account to the credit reporting agencies, it must also report the account under the name of any cosigner as well.

You may be able to persuade the lender to remove the late payments from your credit reports if you bring the account current. That’s called “re-aging” the account. There is no guarantee they will work with you, but it may be worth a try since your ability to get a low mortgage rate is at stake. If you do ask them to work with you, remember to be very polite (they are doing you a favor, after all) but persistent. And also remember that if your son continues to pay this car loan late, those late payments will continue to hurt your credit. So insist that your son let you keep close tabs on the account until it is paid off.

[Your Top Credit Questions: Old Debt, How Many Cards is Too Many, Late Spouse’s Debt]

Do you have a credit question? Ask our experts by emailing us at creditexperts (at) Credit.com. We will answer relevant questions in upcoming posts. (We always remove personal information first to maintain your privacy.)

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  • Donna Smith

    My husband Michael G Smith & I had hardships cases with medical problems. We have not had new debt payment problems since 2007. The state we are in Nebraska should have written off old debts by now because it has been four years. Is it necessary to file something for this to be done. How soon after will our credit reports be repaired? Thanks

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