How to Repair Bad Credit

By: Chane Steiner

No matter how bad your credit is, there are always steps you can take to make it better. Everyone's situation is unique, so what might be the best thing for you right now, may not be the best thing for someone else. To repair your bad credit, you must find a starting point. The best way to do that is to obtain a copy of your credit reports from the 3 major consumer reporting agencies, also known as credit bureaus. You will also want to know what your FICO scores are.

Once you have your reports, you'll want to make sure all the information is accurate. There are mistakes in about 75% of all credit reports. If you find an inaccuracy or any negative accounts that you are unsure of, dispute it with the credit bureaus. It's important to note that whether the account is actually yours or not makes no difference on their responsibility to verify it. If the account can't be verified, it must be deleted.

Many of times the credit bureaus, who get thousands of disputes each day, don't do a very thorough job of investigating items you've disputed. So, it may take a few rounds of letters until the credit bureaus remove the account. Be patient and wait at least 30-35 days before sending another round.

Another thing you should do is pay off the most recent past due accounts. Be careful making payments on accounts that are more than a few years old as paying them can bring your scores down even further because it makes the negative account current. You will also want to try to get an agreement with the creditor to update it to "paid as agreed" or remove the account BEFORE you pay it. It's much harder to get it updated or removed after you pay it because you don't have much leverage.

Another important part of raising your credit scores is to keep your existing balances below 40% of your credit limit. You'll also want to minimize the number of inquiries you make by not applying for credit unless absolutely necessary.

Credit Matters
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