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How Can You Clean Up Your Credit Report

How Do Repossessions And Bankruptcies Affect Your Credit Rating

How To Clean Up Your Credit Rating Report: 5 Top Tips

Most occurrences that must be recorded on your credit report affect your credit rating for a period of seven years. But sometimes, removal is overlooked by the credit reporting bureau. You need to check your credit report to make certain negative information impacting your credit score is removed when the effective time period has passed.

Get A Free Copy Of Your Credit Report

Its important to check your credit report frequently annually, if not more often so you can catch any irregularities early on.

Under federal law, you have the right to obtain a free credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year. However, because of the pandemic, all three bureaus are offering free weekly reports until April 2022.

You can request yours through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only free credit report website authorized by the federal government. Make sure to request and check your reports from all three bureaus since its not uncommon for each one to get different information from creditors and lenders.

You can also request them by:

Phone: 322-8228

Mail: Download, print, and complete the request form and mail to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

In addition to your annual report, you can request additional free copies if:

  • You were denied credit, insurance, or employment based on your credit in the past 60 days
  • There are sudden changes in your credit limit or insurance coverage
  • Youre receiving government benefits
  • You’re a victim of identity fraud
  • Youre unemployed and/or will apply for employment within 60 days from the date of your request

Other ways to get your credit report

Each of the major bureaus offers credit monitoring services that include access to your report and your score, among other benefits.



Do Credit Repair Companies Fix Your Credit

The words “fix” and “repair” suggest your credit reports are somehow wrong or otherwise contain inaccurate information. This isn’t usually true and isn’t really how credit repair companies operate. Instead of helping consumers correct possibly inaccurate credit report entries, they attempt to have any negative information removedwhether the negative information is correct isn’t relevant to their efforts.

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Hard Vs Soft Credit Inquiries

Hard inquiries are the only type of credit pull that can affect your credit score, and they’re the only ones that businesses will see on your credit report. Credit inquiries that don’t affect your score and don’t appear on your report are called soft pulls. Examples of soft inquiries include you checking your own report and a potential employer accessing it during a background check. And credit card issuers may do soft inquiries when they are preparing promotional card offers.

Credit inquiries carried out by insurance companies when you’re seeking quotes for various kinds of policies are considered soft inquiries and do not show up on your credit report.

How To Remove Charge Offs From Your Credit Report

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Some loans, such as mortgages, require that all charged-off debt be settled or paid off before you can qualify, no matter what your credit score happens to be. Removing a charge off from your credit reports will take more work, but it is possible.

You will need to:

  • Contact the creditor and ask if they are willing to settle this can be done by phone or by letter, but the most effective way to have proof of the settlement is to get everything in writing.
  • Make the payment in certified funds so you have proof the debt is paid.
  • File a dispute with the credit reporting agency and use your proof of payment to support having the disputed charge-off removed.

Sometimes youll luck out, and a creditor that has been paid wont bother to respond to the dispute because they have payment in hand. This will get the item deleted from your credit report entirely.

Other times, the creditor will update your account to say Settled, which is still better than having an unsettled charge-off on your credit report. However, it wont help your scores as much as a deletion would.

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What Does It Mean To Clean Up Your Credit Report

Cleaning up your credit reports means getting rid of inaccurate information, outdated information, or fixing anything that isn’t correct. It doesn’t mean getting rid of delinquent accounts that are, in fact, delinquent. Or getting rid of anything else that has a legitimate right to be on your report. If a company claims that it can “repair your credit” or “clean up your credit report” and thereby miraculously boost your credit score, run the other way. In fact, when it comes to getting rid of inaccurate and old information on your report, you should be able to do it yourself.

Our Experienced Debt Settlement Attorneys Are Here To Help

If you have questions about your credit report, or would like to learn more about whether the debt settlement process may be right for your situation, contact The Consumer Law Group, P.C. Our office is headquartered in Richmond, and we proudly serve all of Virginia. To request your consultation call 804-282-7900 today.

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Who Are The Main Players And How Credit Information Is Used

Before trying to correct your credit report, take a minute to understand what you are up against.

There are four main participants in the credit world. You are the first and most important because you decide where and how to spend your money using credit. Most of the information thats in your credit report is there because of something you did or did not do. The good news is you have the power to determine what your credit future is going to look like. And as youll see, you also have the power to clean up a lot of your ancient credit past.

The credit bureaus are the keepers of your history. They collect data from creditors, vendors and stores. They record how punctual youve been paying your bills among other things. And they have kept records about your transactions ever since you started using credit. They also collect information from the local, state and federal government with regards to any liens, bankruptcies or criminal convictions against you.

There are many regional credit bureaus but there are three large national credit bureaus and they are the organizations you should focus on. They include Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. These are tremendously large firms. They collect data on hundreds of millions of people and each year they gather billions of data points. As youll see, they often make mistakes. If you dont catch those errors, youll be the one who ends up paying for it.

Strategies To Remove Negative Credit Report Entries

Clean Up Credit Report

Negative details on your are unfortunate glaring reminders of your past financial mistakes. Or, in some cases, the mistake isn’t yours, but a business or credit bureau is to blame for credit report errors. Either way, its up to you to work to have unfavorable credit report entries removed from your credit report.

Removing negative information will help you achieve a better credit score. A better credit report is also the key to getting approved for credit cards and loans and to getting good interest rates on the accounts that youre approved for. To help on your way to better credit, here are some strategies to get negative credit report information removed from your credit report.

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Reporting Accurate Negative Information

When negative information in your report is accurate, only time can make it go away. A credit reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. The seven-year reporting period starts from the date the event took place. There is no time limit on reporting information about criminal convictions information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year and information reported because youve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.

What If My Dispute Isnt Resolved

If an investigation doesnt resolve your dispute with the credit reporting company, you can request that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You can also ask the credit reporting company to provide a statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service, and a dispute on your credit report does not improve your credit score.

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act

If you find errors on your credit report, there is something you can do. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers from having inaccuracies on their credit reports that damage their credit scores. You can report any errors or inaccuracies you find to the credit reporting agencies by sending a written statement disputing the debt. Your written dispute might state that the balance owed is inaccurate or that you never opened the account.

Once you submit your written documentation per the procedures of each credit bureau, the creditors have an opportunity to challenge the disputed inaccuracies. If the errors are not successfully challenged and are not fixed, then you can hire a qualified consumer protection attorney and sue the credit reporting agency or agencies and the creditors that are harming your credit history.

Victims of identity theft find this to be the most helpful way to rehabilitate their credit. In fact, The Fair Credit Report Act was passed into law partially to deal with damage to the credit reports and credit scores of identity theft victims.

Dispute With The Business That Reported To The Credit Bureau

Clean Up Your Credit Score Before You Buy

Now, you can completely bypass the credit bureau and dispute directly with the business that reported the error to the credit bureau, e.g., the credit card issuer, bank, or debt collector. You can make the dispute in writing, and the business is required to do an investigation just like the credit bureau.

When the business determines that theres indeed an error on your credit report, they must notify all the credit bureaus of that error so your credit reports can be corrected.

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How To Fix A Bad Rental History

This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 156,989 times.

A bad rental history can have a negative impact on your ability to rent an apartment or even to get a first-time home loan. If your bad rental history is haunting you, you can take action to erase the negative history and start building a more positive future.

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Can You Pay A Company To Fix Your Credit

work mostly by deleting negative information from your credit report, typically errors. But thats only one tiny part of fixing your credit score. And you might be able to dispute errors yourself faster.

So not only are credit repair companies expensive , but you can do it on your own. And if you really need credit help, you can always seek affordable assistance from a nonprofit credit counselor through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

How To Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

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Because inquiries on your credit report can cause your credit score to drop a bit, you might be inclined to remove them. However, hard inquiriesthose that are made because you applied for more creditcan not be removed unless they are inaccurate or fraudulent.

Since hard inquiries have only a small effect on your credit score and they go away after two years, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to get them taken off your report. The wiser action is to limit the number of credit applications you make over a short period of time.

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Review The Claim Results

Reporting agencies and lenders usually take around 30 days to investigate disputes. Once they make a decision, they must notify you within five days of completing their review. The notice will inform you if the disputed item was found to be inaccurate or not.

If the disputed information was, in fact, inaccurate, the bureau must update or delete the item. They should include a free copy of your file if the dispute results in a change.

If the bureau or lender considers the disputed information isn’t a mistake, you can file an additional claim. Review your initial claim for any errors and correct those. If possible, you should include additional documents to support your request as this can help the bureau evaluate any data it might have missed the first time around.

Impact Of Identity Theft On Your Credit Report

Identity theft when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open new financial accounts can wreak havoc on your credit. These new accounts show up on your credit record and hurt your score, especially if theyre delinquent or if the identity thief applied for several in a short amount of time.

Cleaning up your credit after identity theft can take anywhere from several months to years. The longer it takes you to realize someone stole your identity, the more difficult it will be to undo the damage. This is why keeping a close eye on your report and learning how to protect yourself from identity theft will help you to keep your information safe.

How to remove negative items related to identity theft

If you believe youve been a victim of identity fraud, file a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. You should also file a police report.

To prevent further damage to your credit history, these are the steps you should take:

  • Notify the incident to Transunion, Experian and Equifax through phone or mail
  • Place a security freeze and fraud alert on your credit report
  • Request a copy of your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com
  • Look out for unauthorized transactions or new accounts that dont belong to you
  • Contact creditors to close compromised accounts
  • Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection or credit monitoring service

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Send A Request For Goodwill Deletion

Writing a goodwill letter can be a viable option for people who are otherwise in good standing with creditors. If you’ve taken steps to pay down your overall debt and have been paying your monthly bills on time, you might be able to convince your creditor to forgive the late payment.

While there’s no guarantee that the creditor will delete the derogatory information, this strategy does get results for some. Goodwill letters are most successful for one-off problems, such as a single missed payment. However, they are not effective for debtors with a history of late payments, defaults or collections.

When writing the letter:

  • Take responsibility for the issue that lead to the derogatory mark
  • Explain why you didn’t pay the account
  • If you can, point out good payment history before the incident

Tips For Boosting Your Credit Score

Do you need to clean up your credit report? These step by ...
  • It can happen to the best of us. One day were doing fine, then the next, weve forgotten to make a credit card payment. Now youre facing penalty fees, a penalty APR and some . While one late payment wont drastically drop your credit score, its not going to look great. One way to quickly bounce back is to simply pay it all off at once. That way, you wont hold on to a huge credit card balance that will continue to earn interest.
  • If the credit card debt has become too much, consider signing up for a balance transfer credit card. This can help you transfer the balance from one high APR card to another card with a low, or zero, APR card. Its always important to pay off the balance while the balance transfer card actually has a 0% APR though, since theyre usually limited time offers.
  • Dont have any credit history? Dont worry, theres a safer way for you to build your credit than jumping right into the credit card world Thats with a secured credit card. These cards require a security deposit and usually begin with low credit limits. That way, you can have some safety and support when building your credit.

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How To Clean Up Your Credit Report

Prospective home buyers are advised to check their credit report for errors long before they apply for a home loan because mistakes can take time to correct.

That advice appears to be more important than ever this year. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said complaints about credit reports accounted for more than 50 percent of all consumers complaints to the agency in 2020. The top complaint was incorrect information on credit reports.

In response, Consumer Reports and other consumer advocacy organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Action, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center and USPIRG, have partnered to launch the Consumer Credit Checkup project. The project provides advice for consumers about how to look for errors on their credit report and, if they find a mistake, how to correct it.

If you sign up for the Consumer Credit Checkup project, youll be required to complete a survey to report your experience with reviewing your credit report and correcting any errors. Consumer Reports will analyze the data from the surveys to hold the three credit reporting bureaus accountable for accuracy.

Among the most common errors on credit reports are loans and accounts that appear unpaid when they have been paid in full, loans listed more than once and debts reported as collections when they are not. Mistakes can also occur from wrong addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

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