Credit repair works. Great credit can be yours, along with the wonderful benefits it offers. It just takes a little planning. Take the first step today and experience the joy that comes from regaining control over your financial life. Here are our favorite ten steps to credit repair success!
1. Proofread Your Credit Reports
Credit repair is necessary for millions of Americans. The credit reporting system involves the credit bureaus, creditors, collectors, court houses, and all the software that ties the system together. Errors happen. Credit repair is the cure. You cannot assume that mistakes will correct themselves. Proofread your reports and identify every questionable entry.
2. Dispute, Dispute, Dispute
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureaus to process consumer disputes about credit report accuracy. Put your legal rights to work and dispute every questionable item you find. If you encounter resistance, if the credit bureaus do not respond favorably to your credit repair effort, do not give up. Write back and demand that they have the creditor research the issue properly. Patience pays.
3. Challenge Collectors
If you receive a collection letter, open it right away. You will be shocked to hear that half of all of active collections are for accounts that were previously paid, belong to another person, or are, for some other reason, not valid. Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act you have the right to validate a debt within 30 days of getting a collection letter. This is a powerful credit repair tool. Ask for proof they own the debt and documentation of the balance claimed.
4. Learn About Statutes of Limitation
Collectors have a limited time in which they can enforce collection through the court system. When this time limit, known as the statute of limitation (SOL), expires, they can try to collect, but they no longer have leverage. The SOL is almost always far less than the reporting period limit. Knowledge of the SOL is critical to your credit repair effort. Research the SOL for every debt. If the SOL has expired the debt should be very negotiable.
5. Manage Your Revolving Accounts
Your credit card balances can ruin your credit scores, even if you make all of your payments on time. Proper management of your revolving accounts is important to your credit repair success, and can swing your credit scores by over 100 points. For the best results make sure that your credit card balances are as low as possible. The FICO scoring model will give you the biggest score boost if you use less than 20 percent of the available limit. Do not neglect this essential tip.
6. Avoid Consumer Debt
While your credit card balances can make or break your credit repair effort, the type of debt you utilize is equally important. Do not count on store cards or consumer debt, like furniture store credit lines, to contribute to your good credit. In fact, the FICO scoring model has a built in partiality against consumer debt. If you want to build your credit, stick with mainstream cards like MasterCard and Visa.
7. Monitor Your Credit
An online credit monitoring service can be a valuable credit repair tool. If you join a service like the TrueCredit 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring Service you will be notified of all material changes that occur on your credit reports instantly via email, including inquiries, new accounts, and the appearance of derogatory information. Once you are alerted to the appearance of something you disagree with you can react in a timely manner.
8. Refinance Costly Loans
Once your credit repair program is underway, your credit report is tidy, and your scores are climbing, it is time to cash in on your newly improved credit. Examine all of your debt from your credit cards to your mortgage. All high rate loans are candidates for refinancing. You can start by contacting your current lenders to see if they can offer you more favorable terms. If not, you can shop for the best rates elsewhere.
9. Save Your Money
Your newly improved credit, and the lower payments that lenders have offered you, should allow you to start a savings plan. A savings plan is the perfect complement to your credit repair program. Money in the bank provides a cushion when unexpected expenses arise. You have put effort into restoring your credit; do not let an unexpected expense cause you to fall behind on your bills. Savings is smart.
10. Learn to Invest
Make financial stability and personal wealth the capstone of your credit repair effort. Personal wealth will insulate you against events that once would have caused stress and damage to your credit record. Put the past behind you and realize your true potential. As your saving account grows, explore your investment options. Read and study. Learn everything you can about investment and personal financial management. Your time has come!
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