First Things First
Do you need to repair bad credit? Perhaps you’re getting ready to purchase a home? Or maybe you plan to get a loan for a car? Regardless, before you do these things, you have to repair your credit so that your score is at least 600, if not significantly higher. There are two ways to repair your credit. The easy way is to simply hire a reputable credit repair company to handle it for you. The more complex DIY approach requires taking the following steps.
Step 1: Order Credit Reports
Order credit reports from all three top credit bureaus, which are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. It’s important that you get a copy from each agency because the reports can differ in small ways. Once you receive them, analyze each report carefully. Keep an eye open for anything from typing errors to outdated information, incomplete information and erroneous account histories. Make sure you make a note of every discrepancy.
Step 2: Submit Dispute Letters
Write and send dispute letters to the top credit bureaus. Dispute letters should list all the things you want to have removed from your record: tax liens, collections accounts, late payments, charge-offs, repossessions, etc. It’s important that you include copies of any documents that support your claims. You also need to mention the reason for the dispute. In other words, state why you think the items should be removed. You might also consider making a copy of your credit reports and circling all the mistakes you find.
Step 3: Enter a Personal Statement
If the credit bureaus approve your dispute, they will update your credit reports and send you copies of them. However, if the bureaus disagree, they will simply update the reports and give you the opportunity to augment them with a personal statement. If this occurs, make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to state your case in the personal statement, because creditors and banks do sometimes manually review consumer credit reports.
Step 4: Handle Your Accounts
From here on out, avoid doing anything that might harm your credit score further. Things to do include getting current on past-due accounts, paying off charged-off balances, taking care of all collections and lowering the balances on maxed-out accounts. Also, don’t close any accounts. When it comes to credit scores, it’s better to have an unused account than a closed one.
Step 5: Don’t Screw Up Again
Repairing bad credit can take from several months to several years. It depends on the extent of the damage. While you’re waiting, the first thing to do is deal with items already included on your credit report. Next, deal with current accounts. And last but not least, refrain from the spending habits that led to this situation, and make every possible effort to spend responsibly.