The first step needed to overcome bad credit is to snatch a copy and take a look into your own credit report because incorrect information on your credit report will only make matters worse if you already have a bad credit rating. According to the US Public Interest Research Group, one quarter of the credit reports ordered contained errors. You can order a copy of your credit from three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report per year, and each time you are refused credit, employment or insurance.
If you are sure that there are false Statements on your Report, write a letter to each of the Credit Reporting Agencies. Explain the questionable items in detail and provide proof to back up your claims (Paid Receipts for example). Investigation takes 30 days, and decision will be made after that period.
If you are planning to get professional help, be aware of your rights as a consumer outlined in the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). According to some of the provisions provided by this Act, the credit repair company cannot make false claims about their services, and/or charge you until they have completed the promised services, must have a detailed description of the services to be performed, duration, and guarantees if they can offer any.
One important step that can be really helpful in repairing bad credit is to negotiate with your creditors for a repayment plan keeping in mind how much you can afford and intend to pay. It may also be possible to get them to remove the charge off from your report and replace it with “paid as agreed” by offering to pay a certain amount per month. Many creditors agree to remove the negative from credit reports in return for payment because they are sure that they will get their money back this way. You can also try to get them to drop the interest too in exchange for a lump sum as first payment.
Another action that can be taken in order to deal with bad credit is to get help through a credit counseling company. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. These agencies can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops, information and referrals. Certified and trained counselors will discuss your entire financial situation with you, advice and help you to develop a personalized plan to overcome your financial problems.
Here are some other important steps that can be taken to improve bad credit:
- Pay all of your bills on time, which accounts for 35% of your FICO score.
- Get a secured credit card to help reestablish your credit
- Request in writing to your creditors to reduce the credit limits on your accounts to lower your amount of available credit since the total amount of available credit is considered by lenders even if you owe nothing.
- Request in writing to your creditors to close some of your credit card accounts and report this status change to all the three credit-reporting agencies.
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