I get so tired of ads proclaiming there is some magic to credit repair, and they charge an arm and a leg. Or how about the ads that claim they can get you a new alternative number to use in place of your social security number. That’s just illegal to use to apply for credit.
Despite what the ads and salespeople want you to believe, there is no hidden secret to credit repair. It’s about asking the credit bureaus to remove inaccurate information from your credit report.
But don’t get confused, removing accurate but negative information is not smart. Doing so and then using that credit report makes you subject to credit fraud charges.
All legal credit repair is the removal of inaccurate information that hurts your credit score. That’s it.
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Suppose you have negative items on your credit report about your payment history, and they are accurate. In that case, they should remain and automatically be removed from your consumer credit report seven years from when they were first reported.
Think about your credit report as a school report card, and it listed classes you did not take. Therefore, they should not be there.
If you got a D in a class, you took, just because you got a bad grade does not mean the class is removed from a report card.
But in my experience, it is not the negative and accurate items that hold people back. It is the fact they don’t have new good credit being reported about them. It’s the new good credit and time that helps to neutralize the old harmful items on a credit report. If you have bad credit now but need good credit to bring your credit score up, look at getting at least one Visa or MasterCard secured card that reports to all three major credit bureaus.
It’s Time to Erase Your Bad Credit
You will need copies of all three of your credit reports. There are two ways to go about getting them.
3 Bureau Consolidated Credit Report
I prefer a three-bureau consolidated credit report which combines all three major credit bureau reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax into one color-coded report. Of course, there is a fee for these. But, the value is that this format makes it so much easier to spot errors and mistakes you will need to correct, and it will include your credit score from each credit bureau and advice about why your score is what it is. From my experience, it’s worth the price.
Free Credit Report
Some people want to take the less expensive way out and not pay for what I think is the better-consolidated credit report. No problem. In that case, then go to AnnualCreditReport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228, and you can get one free individual credit report from each credit report from each credit bureau. The credit report you get for free will NOT include your credit score. The credit reports you get for free will also be in different formats and make it harder to compare them.
Carefully look over your credit reports. The consolidated credit report will make it easy to spot errors. However, you’ll need to spend extra time with the individual ones. You might want to have a highlighter handy to mark the errors you find on your paper copy of the credit report.
Each credit bureau has its policy to dispute items on your credit report that are inaccurate. To best deal with the error, please supply the credit bureaus with as much supporting documentation as possible to make it clear the information is incorrect.
The credit reports will contain instructions on how to dispute inaccurate items, but here are the individual dispute links for each credit bureau.
If you submit a dispute to a nationwide consumer credit reporting company, the company may make changes to your credit report based on the documents and information you provided.
Otherwise, they will contact the business reporting the disputed information, supply them all relevant information and any documents you provide with your dispute, instruct them to investigate your dispute, and:
- Review all information you provided about your dispute
- Verify the accuracy of the information they are reporting to the credit reporting company
- Provide the credit reporting company with a response to your dispute, including any changes to the information reported
- Update their records and systems as necessary
- The credit reporting company will then notify you of the results of the investigation
It generally takes 30 to 45 days for the investigation of a dispute to be completed.
You can also go directly to the creditor reporting the inaccurate information and send them a letter requesting they correct their records and report the updated information to the credit bureau they reported it to.
Seriously, that’s all there is to legal credit repair. But, see, it could not be any easier.
Save your money. Do it yourself.
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