Repair Credit Score
Resources and information about how to rebuild bad credit and repair your credit score.
Basic Credit Score Repairing Strategy
The basic strategy to repair credit scores is as follows::
1. Get your credit report.
This is the first step you must take. To obtain free copies of your credit report, visit
Annualcreditreport.com. By law you are entitled to one free copy every 12
months. Please note: when you get a free report, you are not going to see your
credit score, which is a crucial tool for rebuilding credit. To purchase your
credit scores, we recommend
2. Analyze your credit report and credit score.
You can use the free credit report analyzer which comes
with your credit score to figure out which items on your credit report are the
3. Rank questionable/negative items
Now you have this list, you should rank each item according to the amount of
damage they are doing to your overall credit picture. Rank the most damaging
information first, followed by the next most damaging information, followed by
those items which are neutral.
The items here are listed in order of descending importance with the first item
being the "most damaging" to your credit.
Past due payments
4. Requesting Corrections
What should you challenge? Answer: everything that is
damaging to your credit score, and you should always shoot for a complete deletion. In your initial
challenge, meaning the first letter that you send to the credit bureaus, don't
dispute the specific information within a collection listing, a charge-off, a
court record, a repossession, a foreclosure, or a settled account. Save
disputing the specific information within the listing for the NEXT ROUND OF
DISPUTES. The first time you contact the credit bureaus your reason for your
dispute on a negative listing whenever possible should be "not mine".
5. Send your dispute letters by certified mail
This is important, as you must be able to tell when letters were sent and
received. It gives you some leverage with the credit reporting agencies if they
don't respond in the time frame required by law. DON'T USE THE ONLINE DISPUTING
SERVICE PROVIDED BY THE CREDIT BUREAUS. You need to be documenting everything,
and you want to make sure that you have a complete record of your disputes.
6. Document Every Step
As soon as you have ordered your credit reports and photocopied your order
letters and checks, you must create a precise organizational system to track
your correspondences with the credit bureaus and your creditors. Why is this
necessary? Unfortunately, credit items you have worked so hard to remove
sometimes mysteriously reappear. If this happens, it is usually easy to have the
items deleted permanently if you show your complete records on the first
7. Wait the required time
Once the credit reporting agency has received your dispute letter, they are
obligated to investigate. This obligation is not contingent upon you having been
denied credit. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus
must take the following steps:
The credit reporting agencies must resolve consumers' disputes within 30 days
limit, unless you have used the services of annualcreditreport.com, then the
bureaus can take up to 45 days.
8. Determine the results of your efforts to repair your credit
When you get your "repaired" credit report back from the credit bureaus, they
will summarize what changed on your credit report due to your challenges. You
can compare this list to your own notes or just to the previous credit report.
9. Send additional dispute letters
It's a good idea to keep disputing negative listings with the credit bureaus. If
you hit on the right dispute, the listing could get completely removed from your
report. For instance, if you dispute the date the account was opened, and the
credit bureaus can not verify this information they may pull the whole listing.
You will need to change the reason for the investigation so the credit bureau
will have something new to investigate. Each letter of dispute must have a
different reason for disputing. That's OK, there are a lot of reasons that a
single negative item can be disputed. The order of the reasons should be as
letter after another until the negative item is removed, but wait for the
results from the first dispute before sending the second letter, and wait for
the results from the second letter before sending the third, etc.):
Not mine (not my account)
I didn't pay late that month
Wrong account number
Wrong original creditor
Wrong Charge-off Date
Wrong Date of Last Activity
Wrong Credit limit
Wrong Status (there are about 20)
Wrong High Credit (the highest amount you used)
For example, the first time you challenge a listing, you might say the account
is "not mine." The second time through, you would say "I didn't pay late the
month that shows on my report as being late." The third time you
dispute you would say the the negative item is the "wrong amount."
Do not bombard the credit bureaus with disputes (about the same listings, that
is). Sending one dispute right after another without waiting for a response is wasteful and counterproductive,
even if you do use a different reason in your dispute. Again, you must remember
to change the REASON for the dispute each time you submit and wait the allotted
time. Otherwise, the
dispute can be deemed frivolous and the credit bureau is under no legal
obligation to take action. Also remember, that credit repair is a time-consuming
operation requiring great patience. The rule of thumb is to wait 60 days between
disputes of the same listing WITH A DIFFERENT REASON FOR DISPUTING. The process
to rebuild credit is very time-consuming and there are no shortcuts available.
10. What if I get stuck or this is just too much work?
After reading all the steps involved to rebuild credit, you may realize that it
would be easier for you to just have an expert do the work for you. We recommend
the services of
Lexington Law. They use the exact dispute process explained above to obtain
impressive results. In fact, they delete thousands of negative credit listings
every day, and they have been doing it for 15 years.
Whether you choose to rebuild your credit yourself, or have a
professional firm such as Lexington Law repair your credit score for you, with the
lending climate and tight standards needed to qualify, a very good credit score
is more important than ever.
Credit Score Repair Resources
Listed below are a variety of additional resources
to help you repair your credit score:
Free Credit Repair Kit
Current news stories about
repair credit score
Repair credit score
documents from the FTC.