How to Fix Your Credit Report
In order to get the best loan rates, sometimes you need to fix your credit report. For a variety of reasons, credit reporting agencies may have bad information. To fix your credit report, follow these simple steps. Then go back and get the loan terms you deserve.
Steps to Fix Your Credit Report
The most effective way to fix your credit report is to attack it from two directions:
- Fix your credit report via the credit reporting agencies
- Fix your credit report via the creditor that reported the error
We’ll start by trying to fix your credit report by correcting the information at credit reporting agencies. First, you need to know what’s wrong. If you haven’t seen a recent copy of your credit report, get a free government credit report and find out what it says.
Next, gather evidence that proves that a credit agency needs to fix your credit report. You’ll want to make copies of related documents. You may have to try to fix your credit report several times, and you don’t want to give away the originals.
Send a letter with all the documentation and instructions on how they should fix your credit report. Include the following:
- Your full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number
- Any previous names or addresses used during the disputed period
- The creditor’s name and details of the account in question (account number, when opened, etc)
- Specific instructions on what is wrong, and how to fix your credit report
- Notes and references to enclosed documents
Send the letter via registered mail. The credit reporting agency must investigate legitimate claims to fix your credit report within 30 days, and they will inform you of the results after that. The FTC has a nice sample letter on their site.
As a safeguard, it’s also a good practice to fix your credit report errors with the creditor that reported them. Send them the same information you send to the credit reporting agency. After a few weeks, call and ask what the status is. This will ensure that you don’t have the same problem in the future.
Why You Might Have to Fix Your Credit Report
There are plenty of reasons why you might have to fix your credit report. Some common causes include:
- A clerical error in recording payments at one of your lenders
- An ex-spouse’s credit problems that are still linked to you
- Somebody else’s Social Security Numbers had digits transposed and the bad debt was linked to you
- You were a victim of identity theft and everything didn’t get cleaned off
As you fix your credit report, you may need to build credit to increase your attractiveness to lenders.
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