Before turning to credit report cleanup services, have you ever thought of attempting to clean up the report on your own?
We know that can be technical, especially when you don’t know where to start.
The information listed on your credit report can make or break your next loan or credit card application. However, taking a moment to review it and clean it up can strengthen your approval odds and uncover surprising ways to save money and raise your credit score.
Why Clean Up a Credit Report?
Lenders have a look at your credit report when you apply to financial products, such as credit cards and loans, as well as apartments. The information contained in your report helps lenders determine your ability to repay debt. However, if there is wrong info on your credit report, it can risk your approval rate and affect the terms you receive.
What Does It Involve?
Cleaning up your reports means getting rid of inaccurate information, outdated information, or fixing anything that isn’t correct. Therefore, you can easily do it yourself instead of seeking credit report clean-up services to work on your credit reports.
This guide illustrates helpful tips on how to spot credit repair scams, how to fix lousy information on your credit report, and how to boost your credit score.
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean Up a Credit Report
Step One: Get Copies of Your Credit Reports
Nowadays, almost everyone will get their reports from three major CRAs: TransUnion, Equifax, Experian. You are also entitled to get a free copy of your report from the above agencies annually by visiting Annual Credit Report.com.
You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you have relocated in the past two years, you also may be asked to provide your previous address.
Also, since last year, Equifax has had the right to hand you six credit report copies per year for free and one free report each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion that you get annually at Annual Credit Report.com.
You should order your credit reports from all three, as they often contain additional info. Some might like to stagger the timing, for example, ordering one from Equifax one month and then ordering one from TransUnion four months later. The good news is that you have access to all this information: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Step Two: Review Your Reports
Next, do a thorough review of each of your reports. Comb through each one and check that the information given is accurate. Go through the following factors:
- Personal information, such as the name and address listed on your account
- Account info, such as balances, credit limit, payment history, and current status (active, Inactive, or closed)
- Liquidation and collection facts, if any of your accounts were marked past due for over 30 days and referred to a collection agency.
Step Three: Make a List
Make a detailed list of everything that is inaccurate, wrong, outdated, or even missing information. Afterward, gather supporting documents. For example, if you closed an account that is still reported as open, see if you can obtain a letter or other document showing you closed the account.
Your credit score is negatively affected when you are more than 30 days past due. If you come across a balance on a card that you haven’t used in years, it could be because the account has been stolen. Inaccurate info in the accounts section troubles your credit score, so take note of all of it.
Just in case, you should also take note of the following:
- What is my current balance relative to my available credit (credit utilization)?
- Do I have any open accounts that have associated late payments?
Attending these issues can help you improve your credit score moving forward.
Step Four: Dispute Any Errors
Having inaccurate info on your credit report is more common than many might think. According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study, about one quarter(around 25%) of Americans have an error on their credit report.
However, sometimes bad credit is just your fault. When you argue correct info, however, if you do come across inaccurate info, even minor ones, it will be much better if you cleaned them up. As illustrated below:
Once you’ve gotten the full copy of your complete credit report in hand, check your identity information (Social security number, spelling of your name, and address) and credit history.
Go through the list of credit cards, outstanding debts, and major purchases. If you encounter any mistakes or questionable items, make a copy of the report and highlight the error.
Then gather all the information you have to back you up, that is, bank account statements, and make copies of them which is crucial since the credit bureaus won’t work without proof.
Please write a letter to communicate with the specific reporting agency that shows the falsehood, whether it is Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Illustrate the mistake and include a copy of the highlighted report along with your documentation.
Although specific bureaus now let you hand in disputes online, it’s not a lame idea to send this letter by certified mail and keep a copy for yourself.
The reporting agency has 30 days from the receipt of your letter to respond. Below are the contact numbers and websites for the three credit bureaus:
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742 – www.experian.com
- TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 – www.transunion.com
- Equifax: 800-685-1111 – www.equifax.com
Step Five: Keep Track of Communications and Reports
Keeping track is very important. That is, you should collect all documents that support your claim; bank statements, credit card statements, or emails.
It is vital because the person making the dispute is responsible for making sure it gets filed and that they’ve taken all the action necessary to clean up their credit.
Step Six: Pay Bills on Time and Pay Off Debts
Working towards rebuilding your credit little by little is the last critical step you can take in the clean-up process to take control of your finances. You can begin improving your credit once you’ve cleared up any mistakes or issues that appeared. Below are several issues to watch out for:
- Avoid late payments
- Avoid applying for too many loans in a short space of time
- Maintain a low balance on your credit card, so you have ample available credit
- Monitor your reports and scores regularly.
By keeping track of your credit score, history, paying your bills on time, and staying in touch with your lenders to resolve any credit disputes you may have, you can clean up your credit and move forward. If you need further help, contact a credit repair service.
How Credit Report Cleanup Services Can Help
Look, we get it. At times, you’re just too busy to go through credit reports or prefer to let an experienced credit repair expert do it on your behalf. If this sounds like you or you’ve been trying to clean up the report but haven’t seen much progress, we can help. Contact Ebony Credit Solutions today at 347-404-5753. Prefer dropping us an email instead? Leave a message here.