There is no real easy way to do this other than to pay someone outrageous fees to do it for you. What you can do is to do it the exact same way the expensive companies do, but saving all of that money that, well quite honestly you can’t afford or you wouldn’t be in this mess.
Cleaning up your credit takes time, understanding and most importantly patience. In order to start taking the steps to clean things up, let’s understand what makes up your credit report.
Quite simply, your credit report is a listing of all open forms of credit you have or have had over the past 7-10 years. This will include anything you have co-signed as well. That is something to really keep in mind. If you think co-signing helps put a friend, it may, but at a cost to your credit rating as it counts towards what you can ultimately be responsible for.
There are also three key credit reporting firms that can be researched when companies pull your credit. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They are three individual companies. This is important because they often have three different ratings, include different information from one to the other, and have to be negotiated with individually as well. Not all credit card companies report to all three agencies and not all companies request credit reports from all three agencies.
Your credit reporting listings will be comprised of some very important details. Such details as, when you opened your account, how much your total credit you have, how much is last reported that you owe, when and how often there have been delinquencies, what level of delinquency there was (30, 60, 90 days or more), and the current status of the account. All of these items factored together are what make up your credit score.
Since this is not the point of this article we will over simplify how your credit score is derived by example. If creditors have given you a high amount of credit it does help, especially if you are not currently utilizing a high percentage of the allowable credit line. If you have shown little or no delinquencies and if any they have been held to less than 30 days, this will keep your score high as well. Increasingly important these days is how long you have held accounts open and in good standing. An account that has been current for 3 or more years with a single 30 day delinquency will still be held more credible than an account less than a year with no delinquencies.
Now what to do is quite simple. Review each of your credit bureau reports. Cross off everything that is in good standing and is in no harm to your credit. Everything left at this point you are going to challenge.
The reason why you are to challenge everything is also quite simple. Each and every item that is challenged, the credit bureau has no choice but to forward the challenge to the respective company that provides or provided you credit. That company then has 30 days to respond. If they are unable to or simply fail to in the allotted time, the credit listing item is removed.
It is quite difficult to remove anything such as a bankruptcy or charge-off but you can sometime have comments added allowing all future viewers of your credit report to also see the comments. In most cases, you will simply be surprised as to what is inaccurate in your credit report or how easy it is to get many things removed.
Anything that does get responded to by the respective credit company is considered “verified” and will remain on your credit report. However, you don’t have to give up there. You may and should send a second notice, but this time including any information or evidence you have that a payment was made on time, etc. This will start the process again but providing a bit more information for the credit company to have to “verify” and dispute.
The process does take time. The process does take patience. However, what you will have at the end is an accurate credit report, a more consistent report amongst all three credit bureaus, and a feeling of empowerment that you are in control or your credit.
For more details on how to write a letter to the credit bureaus and where to send them, stay tuned for our next article detailing this information as well.