Do It Yourself Credit Repair

October 24, 2009

As you peruse this blog, you’ll find multiple strategies for repairing your credit and I will share all of them that I know.

The oldest and most common method that you will read about is probably the “Dispute Process”.

You see, according to the FCRA (the Fair Credit Reporting Act), you have the legal right to dispute negative entries on your credit report and fix your own credit — and the big 3 credit bureaus are OBLIGATED to investigate your disputes.

Not only that, but they are required by the FCRA to complete their investigation within 30 days and report back to you on their findings, letting you know what the results are.

Basically what you’ll be doing here (after you have attained your Free Credit Score with reports) is researching your 3 credit reports and doing a side by side comparison to see what negative entries you have in all 3 reports.

You should list these negative entries down for yourself — or even use a spreadsheet with a column for each of the big 3 credit bureaus, such as this one so that it is easy to keep track of which negative entries each bureau has on you.

You might be surprised to find that one bureau reports no negative entries whereas the other 2 DO report them.  Trust me when I tell you that these companies are by no means perfect!

Using a spreadsheet will help you keep track of those entries, and you can even add a couple columns to track when you do your disputes(this will be important later).

So, once you have all your negatives entries listed out it’s time to begin disputing those entries.

Some pointers here…

1) Disputing entire accounts could weaken your credit score so if you have an account with one 30 day late, rather than dispute the entire account (or tradeline) just dispute the 30 day late entry

2) Don’t dispute using the online dispute process at any of the bureaus — use a physical letter so you can send it certified mail for tracking purposed and make sure you get your reply back from the bureaus within the required 30 days.

3) You CAN dispute ANY negative entry on your credit report to fix your credit.

4) Don’t dispute all of your negative entries at one time.  To do that might be considered frivolous by the credit bureaus and will likely result in a standard ‘frivolous’ letter back from the bureaus with no actions taken.

5) Provide a reason for your dispute of each negative entry but don’t be very specific.  If you have a collection account with a specific amount showing as owed and you paid it off, don’t say, “I only owed X dollars and I paid this.”  Instead, try something along the lines of “This entry is not accurate.”

This should help get you started with the standard Dispute Process.  If you don’t have a dispute letter you can send them, try using this text below:

Today’s Date

Name of Bureau
Address
City, State, Zip Code

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently obtained a copy of my credit report, which contains inaccurate or outdated information reported by your company.

I request that you investigate the following items and respond to me within 30 days of your receipt of this letter, in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC section 1681i. For your reference, I am enclosing a copy of my recently obtained report and other documentation that supports my request.

*Fill in the appropriate information indicated in parentheses below*

The following account does not belong on my credit report:
(creditor name, account#, reason why the account should be removed)

The following account is described erroneously and needs to be corrected:
(creditor name, account#, description of what is wrong and how it should be corrected)

When your company has corrected the inaccurate information described above, please send a corrected report to me and to anyone else who has requested a copy of my credit file within the last six months.

In the event that your company does not respond to my request within 30 days, I will assume that you are unable to verify the information, which means you must immediately remove or correct the items in question.

Sincerely,

Sign Here

Your Printed Name

And yes… if the bureau cannot verify the negative information within 30 days they MUST delete it.  So, make sure you’re keeping track of when you send those letters:)

I’ll share more tips for improving your credit soon — but this should be a great start for you.

To your good credit!

Amanda Layne

What You Need To Consider To Raise Your Credit Score

October 14, 2009

Before you begin the process of repairing your credit, you need to understand how your score is determined by the “Big 3″ credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

So just what exactly is your credit score? Your credit score is an number calculated using a specific formula that lenders will use to rank the risk you run them as a borrower.

It is the most important factor they consider when deciding whether or not they want to loan you money.

Lenders make money off interest rates. They make money off people like you taking out loans and paying them back over a long period of time. So it makes sense for lenders to determine whether or not you will be able to keep your balance up over this period of time because if you can’t, you are no longer an investment. You become a liability, and they want nothing to do with you at that point.

Most people don’t know this, but your credit score is actually broken down into five categories, each with a different weight or importance in your overall score. The five categories are:

•    Payment History – 35%
•    Total Amounts Owed – 30%
•    Length of Credit History – 15%
•    New Credit – 10%
•    Type of Credit in Use – 10%

So as you can see, the majority of your credit score comes from your payment history and the total amount of money you owe in debt. In these two categories, it is late payments and high balances that are going to get you in the most amount of trouble.

Obviously this means that timely payments are VERY important.  All payments that are over 30 days late show up on your credit report at the three big credit bureaus and lenders will see this and make note of it. This could manifest itself in the form of you not being able to get credit when you need it most.

And if you think that these marks will note just go away on their own.  If you do have late payments (negative entries) then they will not come off unless they have already been on your report for 7 years (in some cases longer), or if you have successfully disputed them off your reports.

Since Total Amount Owed is also a huge factor in your score, if you can pay down your debts somehow, then you can quickly increase your score with that alone.

However, most people in this situation would not be in this situation if they had the money to pay off their debts to begin with.

Now that you know how your score is determined, you can begin laying out the framework for repairing your credit — fixing your credit so that you can get loans, credit cards, etc.

We’ll begin discussing this “framework” or gameplan next time.

Till then,

Amanda Layne

You CAN Repair Your Own Credit

October 13, 2009

Have you ever applied for a charge account, personal loan, insurance or job?

Chances are you have. If you have, they have a file on you. This file includes a bunch of personal and financial information about you. It includes where you live, work, how you pay your bills, whether you’ve been sued, arrested or ever gone bankrupt. And just who are “they”?

They are the Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs), small companies across the map that get this information about you and sell it to other companies for a profit.

The CRAs sell this information about you to Credit Reporting Bureaus (CRBs). There are three Credit Reporting Bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. What they sell is basically what is called a consumer credit report. You already know that a consumer credit report is used to evaluate how worthy you are financially to receive a loan of any sort.

What’s staggering about all this is how wrong most of these reports that the CRAs sell are. Over 75% of all credit reports contain some sort of error that will affect your ability to get the loan, mortgage or lease or a car you need.

Surveys show that almost all consumers have at some point or another in their lives have a problem with inaccuracies on their credit report. 25% of all credit reports contain an error so great that it will prevent a consumer from getting credit easily.

There are certain rights that all consumers have that very few people know about. It’s my intention to inform you of them now becuase regardless of what anyone tells you, you CAN repair your own credit!

In fact, anyone who has a credit report has a right to dispute anything that appears on your report. Once an item is disputed, the credit bureau must prove that it is true, or they must remove it.

More often than not, what happens is that credit bureaus can’t prove the information they have, and they are forced to remove the information.

The first step is always to get your report so you can see what information the bureaus have on you. As I said previously, there are three of them. It’s more than likely that more than one of the bureaus has information about you, so you should contact all three and get each report.

You can get all 3 reports with a free score at Free Credit Score.

I’ll share some steps to begin removing negative entries off your credit report in my next post.

To your good credit!

Amanda Layne