Did you know that you probably have incorrect, outdated or incomplete information that appears on your report that can lower your credit scores? I know it’s a bit disturbing but it’s just the sad reality 🙁 The reason for this is generally due to human error such as someone keying in your name wrong in a credit application or a creditor not updating your account like they should be. Errors can often have a negative impact on your FICO score which is used to obtain loans, credit cards, mortgages, rental property, cell phone accounts and more. You can take your credit history into your own hands without help from expensive credit repair companies.
If you are ready to embark on your own quest for FICO bliss, take a deep breath and be prepared for unpleasant surprises…
1. Obtain a credit report. You can generally get one free copy a year from the three major bureaus which are Transunion, Experian and Equifax. Creditors may report to one or all three of them.
2. Print a copy and circle any item that is incorrect. Pay close attention to personal information, account balances, account status, duplicate accounts and inquiries.
3. Follow the bureaus instructions on disputing errors. If you have supporting paperwork, you may want to fax or snail mail that to them. Do not send originals.
4. Wait 30-45 days for the bureau to investigate. Request e-mail notification of the results if possible.
5. Understand your rights. Read up on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This may not be the most exciting read, but is vital information and will be your greatest weapon in winning the battle against removing errors on your reports.
If all goes well, you will receive a report from the bureaus stating the outcome of their investigation and incorrect notations should be deleted and will fall off your credit report shortly and boost your FICO accordingly. If something was not deleted that should have been, you will want to send a letter to the original creditor asking for validation of the debt via certified mail. If they can not provide proof of the account and they are still reporting incorrect information to the bureaus then you could be in for a nice payday because this is considered a violation per the FCRA and can be enforced in small claims. Each state has varying laws regarding the process, so you will want to check with your local courthouse about what type of actions you can take.
Persistence and knowing your rights is the formula for guaranteed success and your path to Credit Nirvana!