Most of the companies that claim they can improve your credit report are scams. For those legitimate companies that actually provide the service and charge a fee, they aren’t doing anything that you could not do yourself for little or no cost. Below you can find the steps that are needed to improve your credit report:
First you need to be aware of the basics: There are only three credit reporting agencies used by most companies to report your debt and payment history and to check on your credit. These are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Along with the information provided by your creditors, these credit reporting agencies also access to public records. This means that not only your debts but, any judgments, garnishments or bankruptcies that you have will also appear on your report. There is a time limit on how long this information can remain on your file. It is usually seven years for most debts and ten years for bankruptcies. The same information about you doesn’t necessarily have to appear on the report that each company has for you.
Now that we have the basics out of the way; we can begin to improve your credit report. Imagine first, how much information each of these companies receive each day. It is not hard to understand how there may be quite a delay in removing old information from your file. It is also not hard to understand how mistakes can be made, not only by the reporting agency, but also by your creditors. You can improve your credit report by removing the outdated information and correcting the erroneous data.
The first thing that you will need is a copy of the credit report that each agency has on you. Current law gives you the right to get one free credit report each year. The best place to go on-line to get a report from each agency is www.freecreditreport.com. This site gathers basic information from you and then will link to the individual sites. Remember your entitled to a free report. You are under no obligation to purchase any other service from these sites. You are also entitled to a free credit report if you have been denied credit within the last 60 days. For this report you would contact the agency that provided the prosepective creditor with the information.
After receiving your credit reports, look over each of them carefully. Mark clearly on the report any instance of outdated or erroneous information. Make sure all the creditors listed are indeed your creditors. Sometimes if you share a name with someone or someone has stolen your identity their bad debt becomes yours. If the creditor is a legitimate one, make sure the total amount owed agrees with your figures.
Make a list of all the items that you have marked. Most credit reports list contact information for the creditors. The next step to clearing your report is to contact all the creditors that you have listed (except the outdated ones). You first need to try and clear it up the error with them. Contact each, by mail or by phone and convey the problem to them.
For the outdated information or if you haven’t been able to resolve the uncovered errors with the company that reported it, you will need to write to the reporting agency that has that information on file for your. Write the agency a letter detailing the mistakes in your credit report. Ask them to remove them. They will then have a record on file that you have disputed a debt. They will also remove any outdated information and contact the other creditors involved to clear up the matter.
You can go further in improving your credit report, by paying off your creditors. Before you enter into any arraignment agreements, you need to look at your disposable income. Subtract from your net pay; your rent, your utilities*, the cost of food and the cost of transportation. What is left over is what you have to put on your bad debt.
You can pay off the small things first. Contact any credit card or loan companies and try to negotiate a settlement deal. This often results in a lower debt. Set up a payment schedule with your creditor. When you do this, keep in mind your disposable income. When you start paying on an old debt it becomes a new one and the seven years starts over.
Depending on how much debt you’re in, this process can take some time. But once it’s completed you are off to a fresh start.
* Make sure you pay all your utilities on time every month. This is important because future creditors want to know that you are meeting your needs before going into debt.