How to Repair Your Credit
Credit repair is mostly about getting erroneous (such a fancy word) or dated information removed from your credit reports. You can’t get that information removed if you don’t know what is on your credit report in the first place. Of course, there are other steps you can take and I will go into those briefly today. Below are some steps to follow.
Credit Repair Step #1
For credit repair to work you have to know what is on your credit report in the first place. One condition of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is that consumers have a right to know what is on their credit report. So, the first thing you need to do is pull a copy of those reports. You can do that, once a year, for free from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Keep in mind that there are three main credit bureaus in the United States. They are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion (whose Board of Advisors I use to sit on). Through the above link you can get a copy of each report.
Credit Repair Step #2
Now that you have a copy of your report you will want to check it for errors. For example, does one of your trade lines (maybe your car payment) show that you had a late payment six months ago but you know for certain that you made your payment on time? If so, you will need to contest that with the appropriate credit bureau (which is likely to be all three of them).
You can do that by following contacting each of the three credit bureaus through the following links:
One note that is important. Don’t waste you time trying to have information removed that you cannot prove is inaccurate. In the above example you would want to have a copy of the check that you sent in with the date it cleared your bank account or maybe a copy of bank statement showing where the electronic payment cleared.
Credit Repair Step #3
Next up you need to focus on repairing your credit by managing your credit score more proactively. Credit scores are driven largely by the following pieces.
- Payment history — paying your bills on time is the biggest component of your credit score
- Utilization — this is another fancy word which means how much of your available credit are you using? For example, if you have a credit card that you can charge up to $10,000 on and the amount you owe is $9,000 then you have a 90% utilization. In most instances you want around a 70% utilization. Believe it or not too low of a utilization can hurt your score
- Age of trade lines — sometimes referred to length, the longer you have had active credit the better your score. This is true for your overall credit report as well as each trade line
- Credit inquiries — as a former C-level bank executive I always tried to educate people about this topic. Individual credit inquiries really don’t move your credit score that much. What does move your score is a lot of credit inquiries during a short period of time. Even worse is a lot of credit inquiries from different credit categories (auto loans, home loans, credit card loans, etc.)
Better understanding how credit scores are calculated allows you to keep your credit “repaired” and in better shape.
How Can I Help You?
Until next time, if there is anything I can help you with be sure to say reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.