Home & Mortgage
I?ve spoken to thousands of people over the years about their credit. I?m often asked to explain the steps that should be taken to remove errors from credit reports. Here is a step by step guide that will produce results if followed carefully. The content of your credit report has a major impact on the quality of your financial life. The efforts that you make to improve your credit will pay significant dividends. Good luck!
Get Copies of Your Credit Reports
I strongly suggest that you get individual copies of your three credit reports rather than a tri-merged report which combines all three. This will make the tasks that follow considerably easier. You will be addressing your communications to the three individual bureaus and it is essential that you remain organized. Your credit reports can be obtained for free from annualcreditreport.com one time per year. If you have done this within the past twelve months and must purchase your reports please make sure to purchase them individually.
Organize Your Effort
Once you have your three reports it is time to get organized. Make three individual files and label them clearly with the names of each credit bureau. You will need to follow the directions below for each bureau individually. It is important that you keep copies of all of your correspondence with the bureaus in the proper files so that you can monitor the results and take follow up action as necessary. Time to get to work!
Look for Derogatory Information
Review each report for the presence of derogatory information. Make a note of anything that you see that is questionable. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. If you see a late payment that you don?t remember, or an account that you don?t recognize, it is important that you not assume that the credit report is right. Credit reports are notoriously inaccurate. You need to look out for yourself. You will be disputing every single thing that does not ring true.
Look over Neutral Information
This is a step that most people ignore. And yet the neutral information on your report can have as much of an impact on your credit scores as the more obvious derogatory information. Neutral information includes the initial reporting dates for each account, high credit limits for each account, current balances, duplicate accounts, and unrecognized inquiries. These items are crucial. An understated high credit limit, for example, might cost you 20 points on your credit score.
Start Your Disputes
It is time to start writing letters to the bureaus to dispute every questionable item. Take the time to do this right and you will have success with your credit repair efforts. These tips can make all of the difference. First of all, type your dispute letters. Second, keep it simple; just say what you need to say and not a word more! And third, don?t dispute more than three things at a time. Follow these instructions and you will be thrilled with the results.
There is a very high probability that the first response that you get from the bureaus will indicate that they have checked the item in question and it was verified by the creditor to be correct. Don?t worry. This response is built into the system. After all, the reason the error is on your report is that the creditor is reporting it. So now it?s time to dispute again. This second dispute must clearly indicate that you are not satisfied and that you would like the issue to be researched. If you don?t get satisfaction after the second dispute don?t be afraid to dispute a third time; this is the final and most effective step in credit repair. This time you must demand that they provide documentation. If the reported item is incorrect it will be now be removed.
Other Useful Tips
If your credit is limited you would be well advised to open one or more new accounts. If your credit keeps you from being approved by traditional credit card providers then you should apply for a secured credit card. These require a small saving deposit to be made as collateral. It is also effective to be added to a friend or relative?s existing credit card as an additional cardholder. Of course they have to be willing to help you in this way, but once this is done your credit score will benefit from the presence of the item on your report.
This process takes some stamina, but if you follow these instructions you will have success. Don?t be intimidated. Credit repair is your right.
Copyright ? 2007 James W. Kemish. All Content. All Rights Reserved.
Jim Kemish is the president and founder of Power Mortgage, a Florida mortgage broker based in Delray Beach, Florida. Power Mortgage Corp was established in 1989 and serves the states of Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Jim is also the President of Sky Blue Credit, a national credit repair business. For great mortgage and credit tips visit the Florida Mortgage Blog.
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