Dream Cheeky will help you know How To Fix Credit For Free 2022: Should Read
Step 1: Get a copy of your report
First, you need to get your report from the reporting agencies. There are three credit bureaus in the U.S. – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each maintains their own proprietary copy of your report. So, you actually have three reports instead of just one.
You can download one, two or all three reports through a federally-mandated free website: annualcreditreport.com. If you’ve never checked your credit report, it’s best to do all three at first to make sure your profile is as clean as possible. However, if you repair your credit regularly, you may choose to do just one at a time.
To get your reports, you just need to answer a few security questions to verify your identity. Then the portal will direct you to the right place to download your reports from each bureau. You can complete this step in about 15 minutes.
If you prefer hard copies, you can send a letter or request it by phone:
Mail to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 Phone: 877-322-8228
Step 2: Review your report for errors
Next, you need to review your reports to make sure all the information is accurate. For the most part, you want to focus on any errors that appear as negative items in your report. However, other discrepancies may occur, too.
This is everything you want to look for:
- Mistakes in personal information, including aliases and name variations that you don’t use; also verify your Social Security number and previous addresses.
- Payment history errors that indicate that you missed payments when you actually made them on time.
- Inaccurate balances and outdated account statuses that show that you have more debt or delinquent debt that’s really current.
- Negative items that already expired, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, judgements or liens that should have been removed from your file.
- Hard credit inquiries that you did not authorize. There are two types of inquiries listed in your report, but you must authorize hard inquiries, and they can affect your score.
- Duplicate accounts, where your report lists an account like a mortgage more than once. This is bad for your debt-to-income ratio, because it makes it seem like you have more debt than you do.
Write any mistakes you find down in a list. You can use a table like this or download the PDF at the bottom of this page for a printable worksheet.
It’s important to note that some negative items listed in your report may be legitimate. If so, you can’t change them. Luckily, the penalties will eventually expire.
Step 3: Disputing mistakes
This step is the most labor-intensive and the most important. In order to get mistakes removed, you must make disputes correctly. Otherwise, your dispute may be rejected, which would mean the negative item remains on your report.
All complaints should be submitted in writing to the credit bureau, although you may decide to call the original creditor before you make the formal dispute if you want to attempt to quickly resolve the issue.
If that doesn’t work, the Federal Trade Commission offers a sample letter you can use as a template to make disputes. Include copies of any documents that support your dispute (always keep the originals for yourself). State only the facts in your letter and concisely express why you are making the dispute. Send the letter by certified mail with “return receipt requested: to verify when the bureau received your dispute.
Once received, the bureau has 30 days to respond. They will contact the original creditor or issuer of the information to ask them to verify the item. If it can’t be verified, then it must be removed. If that happens, the credit bureau will provide a free copy of your report so you can confirm the item no longer appears. You can also request the credit bureau to notify anyone who inquired about your credit in the past six months. And, you can ask them to send a copy to any employers who checked your report within the past two years.
If the dispute is not resolved in your favor, you have the right to add a 100-word statement to your file explaining the issue. This is called a consumer statement. This may not be very helpful, however, since many creditor’s either won’t see or won’t read the statement. You may be better off hiring a consumer law attorney or contacting the Federal Trade Commission.
Step 4: Repeat as needed
If you have a number of mistakes that appear in your report, you may want to only include a few disputes at a time. We recommend a maximum of five disputes in a one ltter. This means that you may need to go through several rounds of disputes if you’ve never repaired your credit before. If you do this process regularly, then it typically takes one round, at most.
In addition, it’s important to note that you must make disputes with each credit bureau individually. They do not share corrections, since errors may or may not occur across all three reports. So, if the same error appears in all three reports you have, you must go through the dispute process three times.
Always keep a log of disputes you make and where they stand. Keep any correspondence you receive, in case you run into any trouble.