Aggressive techniques to repair your credit score
This guide has been written to provide you aggressive and guaranteed do-it-yourself tips and techniques to drastically repair your credit score, quickly and efficiently.
Most of us are just unable to afford large items with cash in hand. In fact, another bitter truth is that we cannot even afford to purchase small items with available cash either; so most of us have to depend on the creditors to fulfill our cash needs. Most of you may already know that these creditors use the credit reports for obtaining information about the borrowers and only then they decide their next course of action depending on the information given in these credit reports.
The three most important credit reporting agencies that are responsible for providing this information to the creditors are; Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. The important thing to notice here is that these repositories just accept the information as it is and do not perform any background or accuracy checks on the given information.
All three credit reporting agencies use different formats for the reports.
It doesn’t matter which format these agencies use, you should always look for the derogatory items first, such as the collection accounts.
In the case of EQUIFAX, you will find these accounts at the end, but the TransUnion often mixes these accounts with the other information. In TRW, you will find a separate brief paragraph containing all the information about these accounts. If you think that the name in the account is not yours, then please don’t assume otherwise.
Most effective steps to repair credit:
- Apply for and obtain credit reports from all three major credit bureaus.
- Review each of these reports very carefully and try to locate and analyze the negative items.
- File a dispute for the negative items with the credit bureaus.
- These disputed items can be corrected or completely removed. The items which cannot be verified will automatically get removed.
- Try to negotiate with the collection companies and the creditors.
- After successful negotiations and making certain payments, the creditors can delete your negative accounts or they can even update them to show the positive rating.
- Always use the item’s name while disputing any item, instead of using the dispute form number. This will help you experience fewer delays as the credit bureau won’t have to ask for any clarification.
- Never confirm or verify any account if you think that the information about any item is incorrect.
- Never use letterheads, it may lead to red flags
- Never use photocopies to fill the form; this can lead to another red flag.
- Always make sure to send the disputes during the busiest times of the year. This can cause a delay in the verification process and it will automatically turn the case in your favor, thus removing the disputed items. 6 How to Dispute the Negative Items
A step by step process to repair your credit
Step 1: To dispute any negative item in your credit report, first identify all the negative items that you want to get rid of. After identifying all items to be disputed, never attempt to fill the dispute application form that the Credit Bureaus have provided you. We have prepared a much more effective outline about how your dispute application at the end of this guide.
Step 2: In order to dispute an inquiry, simply mention that you have never applied or taken credit from the concerned company. Accompany the application with your credit file copy and keep the original file with you. Bold or underline the items that you are disputing. Always remember to mail every dispute letter from your local post office with the address mentioned on each one of the credit files.
Step 3: Repeat the same process for every item that you want to either remove or update.
Step 4: In case the creditor is unable to provide you any written proof, try to negotiate with him. You can offer him 10 cents for every dollar of the debt money. He may refuse to do so, but then you can tell him point-blank that if he is not going to do that, you will file for bankruptcy, and in that case, he would get nothing. You should remember one more thing; the final amount that you are going to pay them should be a lot less than the actual debt amount. Never agree to pay for any penalties or interest rates.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: If you agree to make the payment to the creditor, you must do so only under one condition. Before making any payment, the creditor must report to the Credit Bureaus that the concerned account is paid off and is not late. There would be no use paying the amount if it would still remain on your credit report.
Step 5: In case you don’t have the required money for the payments, go again to step 1 and follow my next powerful strategy. Always remember that you, as a consumer, have the advantage of the federal laws being in your favor. They legally allow you to file a dispute for any negative item every 30 days. You can repeat the same procedure as many times as you want until the creditors have to remove it. Another important thing to remember is that creditors do not usually have the required staff to complete all the verifications within 30 days, therefore, if you pressure them, they will eventually remove any negative items.
Step 6: Once you carefully review your credit report and confirm that all the negative items are completely removed, it’s time to build an excellent credit score. Here, you should try to get all the positive information to your credit. This positive information will also take off a few negative points in your credit reports.
Do’s and Don’ts
One of the most important things you should remember while filing a dispute is that it must be sent by you, otherwise, the Credit Bureau may suspect that you have paid to have some third party try to repair the credit report. This is enough to trigger all types of red flags that might get against you. Instead, if you send the dispute file yourself, they will believe that you are working by yourself to repair your credit and want to remove legitimate errors in the reports.
If you find an item in your credit report that you believe is not yours and want to remove it immediately, then never write that this account is not your account.
You should thoroughly analyze this unknown account and see if it is paid off or if it crossed the due date a long time ago. In these instances, mention that this is your credit account. However, in case of a past due date, you need to update it and make sure that everything is corrected.
There are also cases when the Credit Bureaus can notify you that they have verified everything and the information is correct, but in reality, they actually haven’t checked anything at all. In this case, try to make them aware of the federal laws and tell them that if they won’t follow the correct procedure, you won’t have any other option left except to take legal action. The logic is simple. If they know that you are aware of your rights, they will perform their duty properly.
A Powerful Technique
This technique is normally used by practicing attorneys, and it goes without saying that hiring an attorney may be one of the costliest decisions these days. With that in mind, I’m going to show you this terrific technique that can attain similar, if not better results without you having to pay any attorney’s fees.
It’s an understandable fact that if the Credit Bureaus become successful in verifying any piece of information as correct, then this information will remain in your credit report until you dispute it again. Here, you need to address the cause; the creditor, who is the source of this information. A creditor reports all the information to the Credit Bureaus. Try to find their phone number. If it’s not there, try to find it in a creditors’ directory. Call them and ask for the written documentation and proof of your account.
It’s a very common practice for the creditors to use computers for storing all the information about the consumers but by doing so they usually discard the original documents. This practice makes it impossible for them to legally prove that the account actually belongs to you.
According to the federal laws, it is mandatory for every creditor to show you the written proof of every item upon being requested. This evidence mainly consists of a contract copy that you have actually signed for the original creditor. It is highly probable that they have thrown away this valuable proof.
However, the only classes of creditors that can safely keep all this evidence is the courts. They can safely keep all the proof regarding unpaid judgments, unpaid tax liens, unpaid child support, and recent bankruptcies, among others.
It is again worth mentioning here that all the federal laws are in favor of the consumers. If the creditors cannot provide written proof that the account actually belongs to you, then they should remove the negative details from your credit report.
How to get an Edge over the Creditors
At the time of asking for the written proof, only allow the creditors 7 days at the maximum. If they had the proof, they would not take more than 3 days to find it, and 4 days to mail it to you. If they delayed it any further you can presume that they don’t have the proof, and you can start processes A and B that are explained below:
If the creditors fail to provide you any written proof go back to step 4 (above).
- First of all, get the phone number of the Attorney General’s Office of the creditors’ city and try to contact him. You can use the internet or creditors’ directory to get the contact number. Tell the Attorney General straightway about the creditor who is damaging your credit file for an account that is not even yours. They will contact the concerned creditor, and have any disputed item removed from your file. You get the service free of cost and it will also guarantee that the disputed item will permanently get removed.
- There are small claim courts that were especially devised for the purpose of settling small claims and disputes. You can take your creditor to these courts. Firstly, contact your county courthouse and learn the correct procedure to get a proper court date. The process is pretty simple, and you can easily do it yourself. All you have to do is fill out a couple of forms explaining your complaint. You should also state the names of the negative items you wish to remove. State the reasons why the negative items are not yours and inform them that the creditors don’t possess any written proof regarding these.
Once you receive the court date, mark it in your calendar in order to make sure that you attend the court on the proper date and time. Bring with you all the receipts of registered mail, phone bills, and other minor documents to sue the creditors for emotional stress and expenses. You can easily win the claim if they are unable to produce the written proof in court. Even if the creditor cannot attend the court date due to personal reasons, you will win the case automatically. Many creditors can not show up in court due to their busy schedules. It would be wise for you to contact an attorney practicing in your area so you know more about your legal rights in regard to your present situation.
How to fix your own credit
NOW YOU’RE READY to get started. You should be having your complete credit report from all 3 credit bureaus.
You are also realizing something that is pretty scary–there is a LOT of information in that file and not all of it is accurate. In fact, 1 in 5 consumers will find inaccurate information on their personal credit file. This fact is exactly why the FCRA requires the credit bureaus to honor the dispute process.
What you are about to do is take advantage of the laws that were written to protect you. No one is going to help you. The creditors and the bureaus are not going to voluntarily help you fix your credit. Why? There’s a lot of money at stake here.
All you really need to know right now is that the law is on your side and with a few clicks and some attention to detail, you can get started scrubbing some of those negative items off your credit report. Each time you get something negative removed, your score will likely go up.
Also, if you find a negative item from one credit reporting agency, you will want to make sure you check all three bureaus and dispute that item across the board.
Fixing your Equifax score
First, visit https://www.equifax.com/personal/disputes/
- Once you arrive there, you will click the blue button on the right side of the page that reads “start a dispute”
- Make sure your pop up blocker is turned off.
- A new window will pop up that starts with entering your 10-digit confirmation number.
- Your 10-digit confirmation number is located on your copy of the Equifax credit report.
If you requested it by email, it will be in the first email they send you.
If you requested a copy by mail, it will be on the heading of the first page of your credit report.
- After you enter the confirmation number, you will be prompted for several detailed pieces of personal information. This can be frustrating, but the bureau is just trying to protect your identity by making sure you are who you say you are.
- Once you get through the verification screen, you will get to see your actual credit report.
- First things first: If you haven’t already done it, make sure you print several copies of your complete credit report. You will need one clean copy for reference and at least one copy to keep track of your notes.
- Start marking the items that contain errors so you can get them corrected or removed.
- Start marking all negative items for dispute.
- Look for any missing information that could help you as well. Examples include good credit lines or cell phone bills that you have paid regularly. These may be added later with a request to the provider.
The dispute process is actually pretty straight forward. They do make minor changes regularly but follow the steps until you reach the page where you can identify which accounts you wish to dispute.
There are several schools of thought on the best way to attack these items, but here are some guidelines:
- Generally speaking, public records (foreclosures, liens, bankruptcies, judgments, etc) are the most damaging to your score; however, they are also some of the most difficult to remove. Start with these.
- Collections and charge offs have a significant impact on your score as well, so get to these early.
- Late payments on home & car loans should be handled next.
- Late payments on credit cards and other loans (unsecured) will be next.
- Medical bills and pretty much anything not covered above should be dealt with last.
You could of course just dispute every negative item on your report, but beware–if you appear to be just blanket disputing all negative items, the bureau can flag your dispute as frivolous and refuse to investigate. If this happens, you will need to request another dispute investigation in writing along with a statement explaining why your request is NOT frivolous.
Obviously there are ways through this situation, but it is better to avoid it in the first place by conducting several rounds of disputes over a longer period of time. Generally, once the first investigation concludes (30-45 days) you can then get a new copy of your credit report and start over.
A few notes about disputes on specific items:
- You can dispute any item on your credit report but stick to the negative items.
- You will be asked for a reason for each dispute. If there are verifiable errors then use them. Things like:
Incorrect account number
Incorrect balance/high balance
Incorrect dates for opening/closing/late payments
Charge off on a paid account
There are many others, but these are the most common
- If you have documents to back up your dispute, you may upload/mail them to support your request. Documentation is great, but certainly not required to dispute any items on your report.
- If you aren’t sure what may be wrong with the account, you can simply request that ALL details of that account be verified with the original creditor. This is the most common approach.
- Any public records over 10 years old should be disputed based on their age.
- Any other records/accounts over 7 years old should be disputed based on their age.
It is generally a good idea to dispute older items when given a choice. Typically creditors move files to storage after 2 years. If this is the case, the creditor may not even bother responding to the bureau’s request for verification. If the creditor chooses not to respond, that item gets removed after 30 days by law.
Remember that the creditor for a closed account (old loan, charge off, collection, etc.) has absolutely nothing to gain by taking the time to respond to the investigation. Therefore many times they don’t respond. Good for you.
As you’re starting to see, this process finally allows the individual consumer to use paperwork and red tape against these big companies. Most of these battles are won because the people who have to actually do the paperwork have absolutely no motivation to do the work.
Worst of all for them, there is nothing in it for them to chase paper all over just to respond to your dispute. In the end, many of these items you dispute get deleted because nobody cares enough to verify it so it falls off automatically after 30 days. It’s about time the red tape works for us instead of against us!
Once you have disputed the items in this first round, you will receive an email confirmation and be given away to check on the status of your dispute. You can check on your case all you like, but the bureau will actually notify you when the investigation is completed. Nothing will update on the site or your credit report until they completely finish your investigation.
As soon as the bureau finishes its investigation, you will be able to see and print the results of their investigation. As you read through the new detailed report, you will see one of three basic responses next to each of the accounts you disputed:
- The information was verified and remains the same on your credit report
- Some aspect of the information was changed, but the account remains on your credit report
- The account was deleted from your credit report
If it was deleted, pat yourself on the back because you just increased your credit score.
Assuming all the negative items you disputed were removed, update the notes on your original credit report and move on to the next round of disputes. This time you will dispute the next wave of negative accounts. This process repeats itself every 30-45 days until you have attempted to remove all negative items from your credit report at least once.
At the same time, you are disputing Equifax, you can also dispute the other two bureaus.
Next, let’s visit Experian
Visit www.Experian.com At the home page scroll down several screens until you see the menu below. Next click on the “Disputes” button. Then click on “Start a new dispute online.”
- Once you click on the “Disputes” button, you will be taken to the following page
- When you get here, look under the “How would you like to begin?” On the lower left for the “Start a new dispute online” link.
- Next, if you are new to Experian, you will need to set up a user profile.
- Once you submit and Experian confirms your information you will be given a series of questions to further confirm you are who you say you are. You will have 5 minutes to answer about 3 multiple choice questions such as “Click the answer that shows the year you were born” and “Click the answer that shows the name of the high school you graduated from”
- Answer these questions and you will then see a screen where you agree to their terms and conditions.
- Check the box and click “Continue to Dispute Center” as seen here.
- Next you’ll be in the Dispute Center main page. Click on the blue “Start a new dispute” button shown here.
- Once inside the Dispute Center, you will see a summary of your Experian Credit Report.
- Experian highlights on the left side, the “Potentially Negative” items on your report.
- The easiest and fastest way to get started is to click the blue “Dispute” button next to each item as you see here.
- Read over the information and decide on the best reason to dispute the information. Click the drop-down menu to see the list they give you as you see here.
- Select your reason (if you don’t see the one you like, choose one that is as close as you can.) It really doesn’t matter in the end because Experian will verify all aspects of the account anyway. Then hit next.
- Next, you will be allowed to comment. Do or don’t, it’s doubtful anyone will actually read your comments anyway.
- After this screen, you will be allowed to submit your dispute.
- Again, it’s about 30-45 days until you will get an email telling you that your investigation is finished
Now let’s head to TransUnion
Last, visit https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit for the 3rd major credit bureau:
- Once here, you’ll need to click the “File a credit dispute or check status now” link.
- If this is your first time on their site, you’ll be asked to log in or register.
- After this, you’ll be able to see your credit report and start disputing the negative items as you did with the other two bureaus.
That’s it! Just a little time invested in each site will bring you the fastest and easiest results you can get anywhere. All for free and all without any legal help.
You are now taking control of your credit and starting to take control of your financial health.
Name of Creditor
Address of creditor
RE: Account # _________________
I would like to inform you that I’m writing this letter to settle an account that you are listing with my social security number and name.
I fully agree that _______company has the right to be paid for the rendered services, but I do not want a bad debt on my credit report. I would like to get rid of this account, and I hope that you also want the same. I have never used your services, but it was my fault for being negligent; I did not check to see if someone else had used your services under my name. Also, I have not received any notification regarding the due payments from your side. Since I don’t live in that home anymore, I’m not suspecting a payment problem.
All I want is for the negative credit from my report to be removed at the earliest possible time. Otherwise, these negative ratings will be there for another 7 years.
As this information doesn’t show my ability to pay-off my debts, this would serve as a negative indicator to potential creditors. So I request that you assist me in deleting this negative account because it wrongly portrays what has actually happened.
I’m looking forward to your prompt response and a favorable resolution to this situation.