DIY Credit Restoration Guide
What is Credit Repair?
Everyone is entitled to a fair and accurate credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides standards to ensure reporting agencies maintain accurate information. Under this act, you have the right to dispute any information appearing on your credit report. If the agency agrees with your dispute or does not respond then that item will be removed from your report or updated.
Credit repair and dispute filings can be simple to grasp but the process can be time-consuming and there are many costly mistakes to be made. If you are lacking on time or are unsure of the details you may want to hire a professional credit repair service.
FTC Studies Shows that 25% of Credit Reports Contain Errors
How To Repair Your Credit
This section will cover step-by-step how to file disputes and repair your own credit from home. It is important to follow the proper process in order and ensure you make the correct filings.
Step one: Get Your Credit Report
Every credit reporting agency is required to provide a free copy of your credit history report every 12 months. There are three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It is recommended to start with just one report so you can track your progress by checking the others at 4-month intervals. You can request each individually on the reporting agency's website or visit annualcreditreport.com to request all three. You can also request your reports by phone: 877-322-8228.
In addition, most professional credit repair agents offer a free credit report and evaluation.
Step Two: Review Your Report for Errors
Now that you have your full credit history report carefully review each section and ensure that all information reported is accurate and complete. Verify all your personal information including employment and independently check the status of accounts appearing on your report.
Common Credit Report errors include:
-Confusing of basic information such as name, address, employers, or personal info.
-Mixing of account information
-Wrong information due to identity theft
-Mixing of information from divorce
-Incorrect payment status of accounts
-Closed accounts appear open
Step 3: Dispute Incomplete or Inaccurate Information
You have the right to dispute any items on your credit report that you feel are inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading. The credit reporting agency from which you disputed this item has a period of 3 days to delete the information or reinvestigate. If they accept your dispute and delete the information you will be notified after that three-day period.
If the agency does not delete the disputed information The agency must complete an investigation within 45 days. After the investigation has concluded the agency can delete the information or refuse to correct your report if they feel they have verified its accuracy.
How To Dispute Credit Items
Disputing with Credit Agencies- Each of the major credit bureaus provides online options for disputing items on your credit report. Here you will be able to dispute specific items and upload any supporting documents.
You can also file your dispute by mailing a detailed letter. Use our sample reinvestigation letter below, be sure to type it yourself and include in detail each item you are disputing. n
Sample Reinvestigation Letter
P.O. Box 740241.
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 4500.
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000.
Chester, PA 19016
If The Credit Agency Does Not Respond - If you do not hear from the agency within 45 days be sure to follow up. You can create a reinvestigation follow-up letter using our template.
Sample Follow-up Letter
If the Credit Agency Does Not Correct Your Report
Dispute with Reporting Company -you may also choose to dispute the information directly with the company or creditor that is reporting the information, any company that provides such information to reporting agencies is required to investigate a dispute letter.
Sample Dispute Letter
Add an Explanatory Statement- If your dispute investigation is not resolved to your satisfaction you do have the right to file a statement explaining the item. This brief statement context and may garner leniency from creditors. The credit reporting agencies are only required to provide a summary of your statement so it is to keep it brief and to the point.
Add Positive Information- in addition to disputing wrong or negative information you may improve your report by providing positive information that demonstrates your stability. This can include updated personal information, employment or positive histories, and accounts that are not currently included in your report.
Check Your Report Often- to ensure effective results and prevent future items from negatively affecting your credit you should check your history report as often as possible. it is recommended to request a report from each major bureau once every four months. This way can have regular access and transparency with your credit report.
Should I Use A Credit Repair Service?
There are many steps in the credit repair process and can require intensive attention, this is why most people choose a professional service. Typically a credit repair service will obtain your credit report to identify any questionable items. Once they have worked with you to develop a plan they will make the proper filings and legal requirements to dispute these items. A credit repair service will continue to follow up and work with the reporting bureaus to ensure fair credit representation.