There are many options available if you need to repair your credit. Credit repair companies will help you, but they do charge a fee. Some of these companies really do a good job, but many do not.
The good news is that repairing your own credit is entirely possible. If you're persistent and organized, you can do just as well as any company that's available for hire. Follow these steps!
1Get Copies Of Your Credit Reports
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three big credit-reporting firms. You should obtain all three reports. You can get a free copy once a year from each of these companies online at the Annual Credit Report.
If you've recently been denied credit or a job for having poor credit, you can also get a free copy of your reports. This works even if it has been less than a year since you got a copy. Find out what these companies are saying about your creditworthiness.
2Find Any Errors
Once you obtain your credit reports, look for any negative information. Do this even if it's not true. Nearly everyone has at least one error on his or her credit report.
Remember that the credit bureaus just report information. They don't take the time to verify it. Make a list of everything that you want to dispute.
3Dispute All The Negative Items
While it won't do any good to dispute actual items still carrying a balance, everything else is fair game. Items with a balance will just reappear the following month anyway. All disputed items should be documented in writing. Do not use the forms that are available online on the credit bureau's website. That just makes everything too easy for them.
There are many forms or letters online that you can use for your dispute. You basically just want to say that you question the items and wish to have them verified. The credit bureau has 30 days to go back to the creditor and verify the accuracy of the item; otherwise, that specific item must be removed from your credit report. This applies if they fail to accomplish this task in time for any reason. It's the law!
Be sure to send all of your correspondence by registered mail or some equivalent way. You want to be able to prove that the item was received by the credit bureau. If they don't verify the details in time, remind them of the law and demand that the items in question be expunged from your records.
4Don't Give Up
Persistence and being organized are the keys to success. You must send your letters, follow up, and document everything. Keep copies of your messages and their responses. You just might need all of this information at a later date.
5Realize The Situation
Credit bureaus make money by selling credit reports, not by responding to your inquiries. The last thing that they want to do is spend their time and resources on you. If you're a pain in the neck, you might eventually get what you want.
6Don't Be Afraid To Use The Court System
Taking the credit bureaus to court and suing them can sometimes be the best solution. Anytime you have a mistake on your credit report that the credit bureau refuses to remove, there is a $1,000 fine. The same $1,000 penalty applies for any item that they fail to verify and refuse to remove.
Credit bureaus have a long history of caving in at the last minute and giving the consumer everything they want. Don't hesitate to file a lawsuit with your local small claims court. You might have to actually show up in court before they are willing to deal. But these credit bureaus don't want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in fines, especially when they have nothing to gain. Give it a try.
Do-it-yourself credit repair is something that anyone can do. It's really very simple and effective. It can take months to see any real improvement.
But it's much faster than just waiting for the items to fall off the list naturally, which may take many years. Boost your credit and make your life better. You'll be happy you did!
Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."