If you’ve ever had credit problems then you’ve probably heard about some of the strategies – some good, some not so good – for fixing those problems.
Unfortunately, unless those experts have ever fixed their own credit, then you’re probably just going to hear about the same old tired (and sometimes incorrect) advice. Like “You can’t fix your credit, you must wait 7 years for it to go away”. Technically, that is correct. But there are ways to get bad credit removed without waiting 7 years. And it does NOT involve doing anything unethical, or illegal. All you need to do is ask…the right way.
The basic steps for repairing your credit problems are pretty simple, so you can’t go too wrong following these first 3 steps:
Step #1: Get a free copy of your credit report
But NOT the ones you see on TV commercials all the time. All of them require you to sign up for some type of credit monitoring service – which most people DON’T need. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com and get one per year, with no cost, and no strings attached.
Step #2: Check your credit report for errors
Things like incorrect spelling of your name, wrong social security number, old addresses, accounts that appear as open or with a balance that are actually closed or paid off. And look for accounts that don’t belong to you, as identity theft can happen these days.
Step #3: Dispute all the errors that you find
You can either write a letter, use their form, or submit a dispute online. If you have a copy of the correct information, you can include that as well.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The “experts” don’t tell you about this step. Why not? Because most of them have never actually fixed their credit. So they don’t know about this one. They just tell you to wait 7 years and the bad credit will disappear all by itself. But you don’t have to wait that long. There is a simple way to fix your credit much faster than 7 years. (Of course, there are illegal ways to fix your credit, like getting a new social security number – if anyone suggests that to you, DON’T do it!)
So, how do I know about this credit repair strategy that the experts don’t tell you about? Because I’ve used it to fix my own credit. After utilizing debt settlement, which made my own credit a mess, I got my credit back to normal in just a few months. Here’s the mysterious fourth step to fixing your credit:
Step #4: Ask for written verification of all your bad credit.
Go through your credit reports and circle all the negative items that hurt your credit. Like late payments, over limit, cards that are closed, settlements, collection accounts, anything that might hurt your credit.
Then do the following:
- Ask the credit bureau for written verification of each specific item.
- Remind them that if they cannot provide written verification, they must remove that item.
- Do NOT give out any details, explanations, or excuses. Otherwise you may be giving them written verification that the item should STAY.
- If they cannot provide this verification, then they are required to remove the item. And if they don’t respond, follow up.
If you have a lot of bad credit, just work on one or two at a time. It will take a little longer, but you’ll get better results.
Why is this an effective strategy? Because in most cases the credit bureaus can’t or won’t provide written verification. And they’ll remove the bad credit. If they don’t respond, ask again. If they provide verification, wait 6 months and try again. You don’t need to be discouraged listening to the “experts”. You don’t need to pay a company to repair your credit. You don’t even need to buy a credit repair manual, although it usually won’t hurt.
Just follow these steps and be patient and persistent.
Kris Bickell started www.Debt-Tips.com to share the tips he learned about getting out of debt, fixing bad credit, and getting your finances back on the right track.