5 Steps To A Better Credit Report

When was the last time you ordered your credit report? I definitely have to do a better job with monitoring mine. I’ve spoken with lots of people who say “my credit is bad”. I ask them how do they know this and they say something like “ I’ve tried to get an apartment, car and/or loan and was denied because I have bad credit”.  Most had not seen their credit reports in more than a year.  In most cases after ordering your credit report and seeing whats there you can start to build a solid financial plan. A family member once told me her credit was bad because she was never given an opportunity to establish credit. She went on to say “having no credit is the same as bad credit”.  I suggested she start from the beginning by ordering her credit report to find what was causing her to have bad credit. After ordering the credit report she found that it wasn’t as bad as she previously thought. She took step to remove inaccuracies  and incorrect entries.  The point here is you need to know whats on your report regardless of what someone tell you. It doesn’t matter  if you want to clean your credit report up, get a  personal loan, car or better job. Credit can be considered a lifeline and foundation of your financial stability.

There are rules and regulations governing credit reporting agencies so they don’t report unfair and inaccurate information onto our reports. The Fair-Credit-Reporting-Act provides rules and regulations for credit reporting agencies and comsurers. In short It was created to make sure consumers have rights with what and how entries are recorded onto their credit reports. It also servers as a guideline for reporting agencies. It outlines how long something can be reported on our credit reports and rules for removing inaccurate information. Mistakes on credit reports are common. It is no secret that today many organizations today experience a shortage of employees, employees are overwhelmed, overworked and underpaid, topped with cutbacks. It would be of benefit to monitor our credit reports at least yearly as it is something that can have an impact on our lives.

The thought of cleaning up credit can be intimidating especially if you have never done it before. The fact is, there’s lots of people walking around with “Bad Credit” because they have inaccuracies reported to credit bureaus. I know someone who had an eviction listed on her credit report and she had never rented from the landlord. Another example of incorrect entries are one’s found on reports are  but in actuality belongs to someone else with a similar name and/or birthdate.

The Fair-Credit-Reporting-Act: review below

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/articles/pdf/pdf-0111-fair-credit-reporting-act.pdf

5 Steps To A Better Credit Report

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  1. Credit agencies addresses and telephone numbers are listed below. Credit reports and request for corrections can be ordered by mail or online. If you order you free credit reports online, you will have to upload supporting documentation and/or 2 forms of identification. Forms of ID: photocopy of your driver’s license, state issued ID, or U.S. passport and a copy of your social security card, pay stub, W-2 or a recent utility bill.

     

     

    Order Free  Credit Reports:

    https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

     

  2. Read each credit report carefully, look at the dates accounts were opened and closed. Review dates of last payment activities on loans in collections- remember if over 7 years old it should be removed. Accounts which are not familiar to you are most likely not yours these accounts are the ones you want to challenge.
  3. Write a letter to the credit bureaus who has the negative report, sample letter provided.Note: If the credit bureau decide to delete information it will be deleted within 3-5 business days. If the credit bureau decided to investigate your claim they will have 30 days to make a decision. The creditor also has a responsibility to provide documentation proving the account belongs to you. In some instances like purchasing a house or car you can request a rush investigation.

Sample Dispute Letter

Name

Address

City,St ZIP

Social Security number:

Date of birth:

Equifax

P. O. Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Dear Credit Reporting Agency,

Please provide evidence the following account belongs on my report and that my rights have not been abrogated. In the event that no record exists, please delete this damaging account information.

Account Name

Account #

Your report or confirmation number (if available).

(Name)

Note: The above letter is for an Equifax dispute, but works for all three credit bureaus. Simply replace their name & address to do a TransUnion dispute or an Experian dispute based on the information listed below. Address to Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union listed below:

  1. Provide copies of any information you may have proving your claim and 2 forms of ID.Forms of ID: photocopy of your driver’s license, state issued ID, or U.S. passport and a copy of your social security card, pay stub, W-2 or a recent utility bill. Only 2 forms of ID are required.
  2. Mail dispute letters to Credit Reporting Bureau

Names of Credit Reporting Bureau

Under the fair credit Act you are entitled to 3 free credit reports per year. One from each of the 3 credit reporting bureaus Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union. Annual credit report.com is a place to order credit reports online.

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

Equifax (CBI) PO Box 740249

Atlanta, GA 30374

(800) 685-1111866-349-5186

Dispute Credit Report Items:

800-685-1111: Request Free Credit Report

888-766-0008: Place Fraud Alert on Profile

866-493-9788: Existing Customer Support

888-202-4025: Business Solutions

404-885-8078: Fax Number

Experian (TRW) Experian National Consumer Assistance Center

P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013

Dispute Credit Report Items:

800-509-8495: Dispute Credit Report Items

888-397-3742: Report Requests & Fraud Help

877-284-7942: Existing Customer Support

888-243-6951: Business Credit Services

972-390-4908: Fax Line

Trans-Union TransUnion Consumer Relations

P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016-2000

800-916-8800:

Disputes Items & Status Checks

877-322-8228: Free Annual Credit Report

800-888-4213: Purchase Credit Report

888-909-8872: Place a Security Freeze

800-493-2392: Credit Monitoring Customer

(800) 916-8800

(312) 466-8385

Important Facts Regarding Credit Reporting Information:

  • Negative information remains on your credit report for 7 years from the time of your last payment activity. After 7 years under the Fair Credit Reporting Act it should be removed. How many things are on your credit report over 7 years old?

Note: if your last payment activity with a creditor was 6 years 6 months ago. You will have 6 months left to have the item removed from your report. If you are contacted by a creditor or collection agency about a deliqueant account and you make a payment, the 7 years starts all over. The date you made the payment becomes your last payment activity date. This is another reason ordering your credit reports is valuable.

  • Slow pays can remain on credit reports for 7 years.
  • Discharged Chapter 13 bankruptcies can remain on credit reports 7 years
  • Bankruptcies can remain on credit reports for up to 10 years.
  • Positive information and paid in full accounts can remain on credit report up to 10 years.

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