What’s a Credit Report anyhow?
Your credit report is a report card that is constantly updated to reflect your credit history. For example, any time you take out a loan, or are being tailgated by a collector, or you get tangled up in court (IRS, Bankruptcy, lawsuits, etc.) The three credit bureaus will be notified & instructed to p ut the information on your credit report. Once it’s on your report, all information (the good, the bad and the ugly) will stay there for seven to ten years – unless you do something to get it removed. Unfortunately, your loan expert can’t get a credit report for you. But you can get them for free online or get a copy from each of the credit bureaus directly.
How Bad Credit Screws Up Your Credit Score
Any amount of bad credit history torpedos the living daylights out of your credit score. A couple of late payments or a collection listing will make your credit score drop like a cast-iron speedo, even if you have a lifetime of good credit.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you paid off the account. If you were late or if the debt went to collections at any time, your score is hammered jsut the same. There’s just no way around it: If you want to raise your credit score, you gotta get rid of bad credit listings.
Many times, when you get your credit score, you’ll get “Reason Codes” which indicate why your credit score is what it is. There are always four reason codes & they don’t always make sense. WHile the super-smart score computers aren’t really all that smart sometimes, the reason codes are a good place to begin finding out why your score could be better.
The Law and Credit Repair
In a nutshell, federal law allows you to dispute any item on your credit report if you feel that it’s wrong or un-provable. It’s like pleading “not guilty” in a court of law – it forces the bureaus to prove that the nasty things they’re saying about you ar true. (And thats pretty hard for them to consistenly do….) So let’s get going:
1.Get Your Reports!
2. Analyze Your Reports. This will be easier if you ordered the online versions of your reports. Figuring out wha tthe report is saying is often a four-aspirin experience.
3. Get a Credit Repair Calendar Started
You’ll want to track everything: Dates you ordered your reports, sent disputes, made calls, received stalls, received answers…write it all down!!!
4. Write Dispute Letters
5. Lather, Rinse & Repeat
Watch the calendar and send follow-up letters if the bureaus take more than five weeks to answer your disputes. If they verify some or all of the items you disputed, wait 60 days (using Mr. Calendar) and dispute again- but be more forceful this time!