If you have a low credit score due to inaccurate or incomplete information, you have the right to have that information corrected or removed at no charge. By following a few simple steps, you can repair bad credit, clean up your credit reports, and get back on your feet financially.
- Contact the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. They each produce their credit reports independently, so check each one for errors and make sure you contact them individually about needed corrections.
- Contact the creditor about incorrect items. Send the creditor a letter stating the item you wish to dispute and why you think it’s incorrect, and also include copies of documentation you have that demonstrates your position. Don’t send originals, since you may need to be able to produce them later.
- Put everything in writing. Inform each agency and creditor about items you wish to dispute in writing. Although certain parts of the process can be handled over the phone, you’ll want to have any verbal agreement verified in writing so that you have documentation should you need it later. When you write your letter, include the item you are disputing, why you think it’s inaccurate, your request that it be deleted or changed, and documentation demonstrating the item’s error. You should also include a copy of your credit report and circle the items you are disputing. You can see a copy of a sample letter at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21.shtm
- Dispute only incorrect or outdated items. Do not try to dispute negative items that are factual, current and correct, even if a credit repair company advises you to do so. Trying to sidestep the legal credit reporting process can result in charges of fraud being brought against you. The only way to remove these factual items from your credit reports is to wait for the specified time period to pass.
- Wait to hear from the credit reporting agency. By law, the agencies have thirty days to respond to your dispute. If you have also contacted your creditors regarding problems, they have thirty days to respond as well.
- Keep close tabs on your future credit reports. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this opportunity to check for errors, make sure disputed items have been removed, and ensure that your credit score accurately reflects your credit activity.
If you need information on credit card solutions, credit repair info, or how to repair bad credit, RepairMyCredit.com gives you credit repair solutions ranging from credit report repair, debt management help, and credit repair resources.