You’ve seen the ads….”Credit repair 100% guarantee” “We can remove charge offs, bankruptcies, foreclosure” The list goes on and on. If you are credit challenged and you want to buy a car or a house, you may wonder if those companies are for real. They are real and they want to take your hard earned money. Don’t get me wrong, there are legit credit repair companies that can help you, but if they tell you they can remove a bankruptcy when in fact that bankruptcy is completely accurate on your credit report, they are lying.
Here is an excerpt from The Federal Trade Commission’s website in regard to credit repair companies:
“No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost.”
You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Now, what if you do have inaccurate information on your credit report(s)? You may wonder if you should hire a credit repair company, but with a little bit of fingertip work (get it…instead of leg work) on your part, you can dispute the items yourself online for free.
I’ll show you where to go. Let’s start with Equifax. When you visit their website, you’ll see two places to dispute. Online dispute (as of today, 2 clicks from the search button) and the tab that says: Free Report, Security Freeze, dispute and fraud protection. You can start your dispute right there. Now let me back up, just for a second. Did you know, you can get your credit report from all 3 bureaus, free, once a year? Visit Annual Credit Report to get started.
Let’s visit Transunion. You’ll see their dispute button, at the bottom under the column titled “More for Consumers”
A few years ago, I had some errors on my credit report. First, I printed my free credit reports from Annual Credit Report. I looked it over, making a mark next to each item that was incorrect and writing down what it should say. I went to each credit bureau and next to each incorrect item, I disputed it. It wasn’t the most fun thing in the world and it was tedious to say the least, HOWEVER when it was all said and done and the items were corrected my score jumped by about 75 points! Not bad, if I say so myself.
Now let me say this, these items were inaccurate from the beginning, I wasn’t trying to beat the system. If your goal is to try to beat the system, DON’T! You still have to answer the questions on a credit application honestly and accurately, no matter what your credit report states!
Lastly, and most important, time will raise your credit score, as long as you continue to pay your bills on time. So, PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME!