I am going to teach you how to fix your credit. I am not going to share everything that I know with you about credit scoring models or algorithms but I am going to share the process with you. I am doing this because I want you to know what you are doing when you go about fixing your credit. If you have bad credit and are a DIY type of person this article is for you. I am going to cover everything in this article from A to Z.
The first thing that you need to do is review your credit for inconsistencies. A full 79% of credit reports have one error or another. Cases of mistaken or stolen identity, same or similar names reporting on the wrong report, incorrect amounts, duplicate accounts, and many other forms of errors being reported on credit profiles abound. Go over your credit report very carefully looking for inconsistencies such as those listed above.
Once you have identified the errors that you want to correct it is time to move on to the next step. You will want to dispute those items with the three major credit bureaus. Write a letter you each of the three credit bureaus explaining to them what you believe the error is and request that they delete the item being reported in error from your credit report. Proper formatting is an important ingredient in order to ensure that your dispute is handled properly. The credit bureaus are going to want to make sure you are who you say you are. For that reason you must always submit your dispute letters with a copy of your driver’s license and a bill with your address on it (such as a utility bill). If you have recently moved they may want to see additional verification so include a pay-stub, social security card, or W2 form.
There is no guarantee that disputing an item with bring about a removal of that item from your credit profile. If the item is genuinely being reported in error there is a high likelihood that it will be deleted. Creditors have 30 days to validate an account that has been disputed otherwise it is automatically deleted. If an item is validated but you are certain that it is being reported in error you can challenge the validation. That process begins with first requesting the documentation from the credit bureaus that the creditor used to validate the account. A good example would be if an amount is being reported incorrectly. Such as if you paid off an account but it is still reflecting an amount owed. In that case, obtain dated proof of your release from the debt obligation to compare to the documentation used for validation, which may show that the validation is dated.
If you are unable to have an item deleted through the dispute process there is a good chance the collection agency or creditor may be more pliable and willing to negotiate after an item has been disputed, validation challenged, or is currently in dispute. As a last resort you may want to attempt to negotiate a settlement with the creditor; this is only if you are unable to have the item removed through any other means. However, there are a few ground rules here that you need to take into consideration. Again, if you are certain that the item is being reported incorrectly or is not yours all together; do not acknowledge the debt as being yours.
The first thing that you should ask for when the creditor answers the phone is for the agent to come back on an unrecorded line. You have the right to speak on an unrecorded line and generally the agent will be happy to oblige. He or she will put you on a brief hold and come back on a line that is not being recorded. Once they are back on the line with you tell them that you are calling about account # (fill in account number). If you do acknowledge ownership of the debt, that could restart the statute of limitations back to 0 days since last date of activity. It is important not to make that acknowledgement in the event that you are unable to reach an agreement. It is not uncommon to get the settlement down to around 40% or 40 cents on the dollar. Collections and profit & loss statements come off on their own seven years from last activity while items discharged in bankruptcy come off in 10 years.
Cleaning bad credit from your credit profile is the first step in establishing repairing your credit. The next step is to re-establish credit. Sometimes when you make a lot of changes to your credit profile in a short period of time you may see a dip in your credit score in the first month after. The reason for this is because while you are deleting derogatory items you are also deleting transaction history. This is normal and it will rebound in the subsequent month so long as you have established some new trade-lines (credit account).
Those with perfect credit have multiple seasoned trade-lines varying in type. Usually a couple of revolving account, an installment loan or two, and an amortized loan such as a mortgage. The more seasoned a trade-line is the more weighted it will be on your credit report. If you have the option of having a friend or relative add you as an authorized user on a seasoned trade-line that will accelerate the time-frame in which you are able to increase your credit score. However, with a clean slate you should still be able to significantly increase your score over the next couple of months.
Open a couple of credit card accounts to start with. You will want to limit your inquiries to no more than 3 in any 6 month period. For that reason it is a good idea, if you have cash on hand, to start out with secured credit cards. Secured cards come with a guaranteed approval and do not require a credit pull so you will be able to limit the inquiries on your account. Another great option is Aarons Sales & Lease; they are the only rent to own company that I am aware of that reports to all 3 major credit bureaus. When establishing new credit try to limit your new credit inquiries as much as possible.
After establishing a couple of new credit card accounts make sure that they are open and active. You will want to use the cards to build up some positive transaction history. At the same time you will have to use them carefully to maximize your credit utilization. Never exceed 30 percent of the available balance as that is the sweet spot in where your account is open and active while still maintaining a large percentage of available credit. It’s a good idea to make a small purchase or two once a month and then pay your bill after you receive it in the mail to ensure that it posted and the activity on the account will be reflected on your credit profile.
There is a lot more that goes into it than the information that I have provided here. There are specific calculations that we can do based on credit scoring models that allow us estimate scores at particular intervals. Though, in order to remain compliant I never quote time-frames or make guarantees because there are always variables that could disrupt the work that we are doing. The information provided here is more than enough for you to go out and fix your own credit. There is nothing that we can do in that regard that you cannot do yourself. You can take the steps outlined in this article and fix your credit.
If you do not have the time to put the work into this process or would rather just leave it to the professionals we are here to help. Northern Finance Group employs highly trained credit repair professionals and we are willing to work with you in every step of the way. Our rates are reasonable for the high level of service that we provide and we can ensure that your credit reach the heights that you are striving for. If you have been turned down for credit and need to get your credit repaired as quickly as possible please give us a call for a free consultation.