If you are looking to clean up your credit report, it can be done. There are federal laws that were passed by Congress in order to protect you and your credit report! Below, are the 5 steps to follow to clean up your credit report:
1. Get Current Copies Of Your Credit Report
It is vital that you get current, updated copies of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). You are provided one free copy of all 3 of your credit reports according to federal law.
To get your credit report for free visit annualcreditreport.com or you can call 1-877-322-8228. If you have already gotten your free annual credit report then you may have to pay $10-$20 in order to get an additional copy.
2. Review Your Credit Reports
You need to review all the information on your credit reports, in detail. If there is any information that is incorrect or information that you don’t recognize, then you should dispute it with the credit bureaus.
You are entitled to dispute any information on your credit report that you believe is incorrect, questionable, or inaccurate. A common question is what items are considered questionable?
- Any item that you believe has the incorrect balance, amount, dates, etc.
- Any item that you do not recognize
- Any item that you believe is older than the statute of limitations
3. Dispute The Item With The Credit Bureau
As you have identified the items that you want to dispute on your credit reports. You will need to file a credit dispute directly with each credit bureau.
If you have a credit card charge off on your Equifax credit report then you will need to file a dispute with the Equifax credit bureau directly. A common mistake is people will believe that if they dispute an item one credit bureau they have disputed the item with the other 2 credit bureaus.
This is false! If this charged off credit card account is also on your Experian and TransUnion credit report, then you will need to file a dispute with both TransUnion and Experian too.
It is vitally important that you only dispute information with a credit bureau, that is on that specific credit bureaus credit report. We’ve heard that you can be blacklisted by the credit bureaus, if you dispute an item that is not on that particular credit report.
For example, if you filed a dispute with TransUnion for a charged off credit card account that was not actually on your TransUnion credit report. You can dispute your credit report over the phone, online, or by mail. You can also hire a credit repair company to dispute your credit report on your behalf.
4. The Credit Bureaus Will Investigate
Once the credit bureaus get your dispute, and determine, it’s valid, then they’ll conduct an investigation. A little known fact, is the credit bureaus are actually spending money, and potential profits when they correct errors on your credit report.
Removing derogatory information on your credit reports, is one of the most effective way to raise your credit score. The reason the credit bureaus do spend this money, to correct your information, is to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
However many experts in the credit industry suggest you look at the long history of Federal Trade Commission fines the credit bureaus have paid. In other words, the credit bureaus have not always complied with federal law. We believe in an attempt to increase profits at the expense of your credit!
Frequently consumers get a response from the credit bureaus saying that their dispute was not found to be valid. This leads many people to just give up and live with the high cost of a bad credit score.
5. Remain Persistent to Clean Your Credit
If you remain persistent with your dispute the credit bureaus must investigate. Federal laws have been passed to protect you and your credit history. It is not illegal to dispute information on your credit reports and no individual has ever faced any civil or legal prosecution.
That is your federally granted right, just like your right to vote. You can dispute any information on your credit report, as long as you believe it is inaccurate. It is also required that the credit bureaus investigate your credit report dispute.
If you get frustrated dealing with the credit bureaus or have trouble getting the credit bureaus to find your dispute valid. We encourage you to get credit repair help from a professional. These services are affordable typically starting around $80 a month.
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