It’s time to clean up your credit report, but first you have to get a copy of it. You can get a copy if you were denied credit by a company that you applied to. You can also request free copies of your credit report once a year, and the easiest way to do that is with that great little invention called the internet. In less than 5 minutes you will have that report right in front of you to review.
Print it out and let’s begin.
Go to: http://www.equifax.com
Start by circling whatever you feel is in error or inaccurate. Info that is inaccurate can be disputed with the creditor or the credit reporting agency. Dispute with the agency based on whatever report contained the error. Once the dispute is filed, the agency will begin the investigation by contacting your creditor. The whole process takes about 30 days, and if the error you disputed is in fact an error, your credit report will be updated. If you have the same errors on all three reports, you will have to contact each agency separately. There is no charge for disputing errors. Also if there is really old info on the report, try to get that removed.
Some people may have gone thru some hard times and were late on payments to a certain creditor. They might have lost their job or had medical problems. In this case they could add a personal statement to each of their reports. The personal statement should be 100 words or less telling why they were late and for what reason. Anyone who pulls the report will also see this statement of explanation.
If some payments to creditors have been consistently late, call those creditors, maybe another payment plan can be implemented that will allow you to be on time with your payments. Also most people don’t know that if they fail to pay a doctor or medical bill, or some utility, cable or phone service bill and it ends up in a collection agencie’s lap, they can also report to the credit bureau. So keep an eye out for these on your report and negotiate with them as well.
Many creditors are understanding of financial difficulties and are willing to help. In negotiations you could ask for a payment plan with no extra interest or a lower rate of interest. You could ask for late fees to be waived, you could ask for a loan extension, or maybe even a lower balance due on the loan. If something is agreed upon, get it in writing and ask them how this will effect your credit report in the future.
These steps will slowly but surely remedy the situation and build you a better credit report. If you’re looking to buy a house in the future, get copies of your report now, and start clearing them up, This could essentially help later on with the mortgage process and getting a good interest rate on other credit as well.
While clearing up these reports and negotiating with creditors you will learn from any past credit mistakes and avoid problems in the future. Get those free reports annually and keep tabs on them.