Credit Report Score Tips

Credit Report Score Tips

Find out how to clean up your credit report

One of the biggest things that hold people back from getting their financial affairs in order is credit. Either they were extended too much credit and over did it or they can’t get any at all. There is a solution. It is not quick and it is not easy. Anyone offering to fix it for you with a “Pay It Now” button is probably lying to you. Yes, there are many services that you can pay to scrub your report. But chances are that a lot will be missed. You will probably also pay quite a bit in fees to have it done. Who knows your credit history and circumstances better than you? They may know loop holes that you don’t, that’s true. So to help you out I’m sharing with you my cleaning up credit report score tips.

How to scrub your credit report

With the Internet being a ripe source of information, do a little digging I’m sure you can find those loop holes as well. 1 in 20 people have substantial credit report errors — enough to result in at least a 25-point credit score jump once fixed. The difference in 25 points on your score can affect a lot of areas in your life. Loan, credit cards, leases, and even jobs can be adversely effected by a low credit score. The only way to really know what is going on when it comes to determining your credit score is to get your hands on the report itself. Go to annualcreditreport.com and request your three reports, one from each of the big credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This is the only place to get them free, once per year. Beware one major error though: When you receive a credit report online from one of the big three credit bureaus, you probably will ignore the terms buried at the bottom of the credit bureau’s web page. Most do. However, unless you mail an opt-out letter to the credit bureau within 30 to 60 days of receiving the report, you automatically agree to a binding arbitration clause that bars you from airing your dispute in front of a jury and from joining in a class-action lawsuit against the bureau. All three major credit bureaus have arbitration agreements in their terms of use. That means if you get your credit report online and find an error on it, you can still dispute the error. However, if you disagree with how the credit bureau managed the dispute and want to take the bureau to court, the credit bureau can legally press the arbitration clause and force you to give up your right to argue your case before a jury. Beware the fine print. Read everything thoroughly. Google is your friend.

Once you’ve received your reports, start to scan over them for errors. The smaller errors need to be fixed but will not make much of an impact. Misspellings, wrong addresses, and wrong general information should be fixed somewhere along the line to make sure that you have the most accurate credit score possible. The larger areas to focus on are loan inquires that you did not authorize, accounts that are not yours, late payments that were made on time, and collection attempts that did not reach you. If you find something that is inaccurate you will need to file a dispute. If it is wrong in all three reports you will need to file with each report individually.

When you’re ready to dispute errors on your credit report here are some tips:

First, be very clear as to what it is that you’re disputing. Who, what, when, where, and why are questions that you need to address with each error. Make sure that you were as clear as can be as to why you believe there has been a mistake. Include all evidence that you might have to prove that the error is an error. Highlight, underline, and circle anything that you think they really need to see. Be sure to make copies of everything for your own records.

Second, make sure you’re filling out the right forms. The FTC has a sample letter you can use to explain your dispute (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0384-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report). Equifax and TransUnion also require you to submit their dispute form with your letter. Give yourself enough time to make sure that you will hear back in a timely manner. Do not wait to the last minute to send things in. It can take a while for agencies to respond to claims and you do not want that time lapse to work against you.

And lastly, try to use snail mail. While it may be quicker and easier to file things online, when using the Postal Service for correspondence you were not accidentally agreeing to things in electronic forms that you do not mean to. A lot of times when you are submitting a claim through a website you were agreeing to terms of use just by using their service. This will not always work out in your favor even though it is convenient.

This is an overwhelming task to take on yourself and is probably why many people do it. But you can be the CEO of your own home and take back your financial freedom. Do not be intimidated away from getting in there and fixing the problem. It can be done and it should be done. There is no reason that anyone but you should be in charge of your credit score.

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Angie Rumpf

I am a stay at home mom and happily married to my husband Tom. I have a five year old daughter and a two and a half year old son. I grew up in Orlando, but went to school in New York City and lived in Los Angeles before moving home to raise a family. I have worked in the film industry since the early nineties, and for over a decade with the Florida Film Festival. I also spent many years working in marketing with Glaceau and Honest Tea. But, I am happiest at home building my family.

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