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How To Clean Up Credit Report

Best Overall: The Credit Pros

How To Clean Your Credit Report in Less than 48 Hours
  • Free credit repair consultation available

  • No debt management program available

  • Higher cost than some competitors

The Credit Pros is our best overall choice among credit repair companies. Its been in business since 2009 and offers three-tiered service packages. Prospective clients get a free credit repair consultation to help them decide which package is best for them. The companys Money Management plan costs $69 per month, and its Prosperity plan costs $119 per month. Customers who need significant assistance can also opt for its Success Plus plan for $149 per month.

As a Credit Pros customer, youll get access to TransUnion credit monitoring, so if there are changes to your report youll be alerted quickly. All packages also come with budgeting and bill payment tools, as well as identity theft protection. And with its Success Plus plan, youll get unlimited credit bureau disputes, creditor interventions, access to your credit reports and scores with all three bureaus, and a credit-builder loan.

While Credit Pros doesnt specify which types of letters it will send to the credit bureaus or creditors on your behalf, it does get to work quickly. New customers can expect this company to start working on their credit just one day after signing up, and you can track progress through the Credit Pros mobile app or online portal.

For more information, see the full .

Benefits Of Cleaning Your Credit Report

Going through your credit report with a fine-toothed comb and disputing any errors or old information can have the power to boost your score and make you a more appealing candidate for a lender to do business with. Carefully scan each of your reports to quickly identify any errors that could end up hurting you down the road. The better your score, the more likely you are to be approved for new credit and/or lower interest rates.

What Happens After You Dispute Information On Your Credit Report

Tip

If you suspect that the error on your report is a result of identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov, the federal governments one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft.

If the furnisher corrects your information after your dispute, it must notify all of the credit reporting companies it sent the inaccurate information to, so they can update their reports with the correct information.

If the furnisher determines that the information is accurate and does not update or remove the information, you can request the credit reporting company to include a statement explaining the dispute in your credit file. This statement will be included in future reports and provided to whoever requests your credit report.

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What You Can’t Change Or Remove

You can’t change or remove any information on your credit report that is correct even if it’s negative information.

For example:

  • All payments you’ve made during the last two years on credit cards, loans or bills, whether you paid on time or not.
  • Payments of $150 or more that are overdue by 60 days or more these stay on your report for five years, even after you’ve paid them off.
  • All applications for credit cards, store cards, home loans, personal loans and business loans these stay on your report for five years.

For a full list, see what’s in your credit report.

Avoid credit repair companies that claim they can clean up this sort of thing or fix your debt. They may not be able to do what they say. They may also charge you high fees for things you can do by yourself for free.

Paying a credit repair company is unlikely to improve your credit score.

How To Clean Up Your Credit In 5 Steps

How to Clean Up Your Credit Report

Improving your credit score by cleaning up your credit report can benefit you in many ways. You can clean up your credit by checking your credit reports, disputing errors, following up with creditors and paying off your debts.

Having good credit can help you in buying a house, renting an apartment, taking out a personal loan, applying for a mortgage, leasing a car, or obtaining a credit card. The better your credit score is, the better chance youâll have of obtaining a loan or line of credit, or lowering your interest rates.

Even a single error on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score for years to come. On the other hand, cleaning it up could lift your credit score in the long run. You can follow these steps as you set out to rebuild your credit.

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How To Find Out If A Credit Restoration Company Is Legitimate

All the best credit repair companies we list above offer legitimate, legal services to remove inaccurate items from your credit report and raise your credit score. Companies have to follow the Credit Repair Organizations Act to provide a legal service.

Unfortunately, the credit repair industry is rife with scams and identity theft, so it’s vital to research the companies you want to work with. Check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database for outstanding complaints and look for red flags such as:

  • Asking for money upfront
  • Promising to dispute legitimate negative items
  • Encouraging identity fraud by providing false information on credit or loan applications
  • Failing to disclose your rights when selling the company’s services

Correct Inaccuracies In Your Reports

Under a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act , both the credit reporting agency and the company that provided the credit information about you to the credit bureau are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit reports. If you find errors in your report, follow the instructions on how to file a dispute with the credit agency, which you can find on the agencys website.

More information on the dispute process is available from the Federal Trade Commission .

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Infuse Your Report With Good Behavior

Theres only so much you can do to clean up errors you made in the past. We cant win every dispute or delete every debt collection. Luckily, a steady habit of good credit behavior can make a big difference your credit report over time. Focus on establishing smart financial habits. You can take steps like opening a secured credit card to rebuild your credit, setting up auto bill payments and channeling more funds towards debt repayment. Know your limits and use only the credit products you know you can afford.

Whats The Fastest Way To Repair Your Credit

Cleaning up your credit report

Working with a credit repair service may be the fastest way to repair your credit if you need significant assistance. While these services generally dont provide a set timeframe for improvement, many will start working on your credit right after you sign up. For instance, The Credit Pros and Lexington Law both begin working within one day.

However, even if a company starts work quickly, the results arent immediate. It will often take a few months or even longer to see changes in your credit reports and score. Still, the timeframe for improvement could be shorter than if you decided to repair your credit on your own.

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The 5 Categories Your Credit Score Is Composed Of

  • Payment history

If you make payments on time, keep your credit usage below 30% , have a good balance of different kinds of debt , you should be on your way to having a great credit score.

At the same time, a factor that can negatively affect your credit score, although not as much, is having a short credit history. For example, someone with more than 20 years of credit history will have a better score than a young college student who recently started using credit.

Luckily, having a low credit score does not mean you will not be approved for a loan until it goes back up. Somelenders provide information on the average score applicants need to qualify for a loan. It is recommended that you speak with your preferred lender so you are clear on the requirements for obtaining a loan with a low credit score.

Having negative impacts on your credit score can make most financial goals an uphill battle. Most negative impacts stay on your report for up to seven years, which can hurt your chances of obtaining new credit during those years. In addition, having a low credit score could translate into getting a higher interest rate on your home mortgage loan which means having to pay about $100,000 more in interest during the life of that loan.

Negative Impacts On Your Credit Score

Here is a list of factors that can impact your credit score in a negative way and stay on your credit report for up to seven years in most cases.

  • Late Payments or Non-Payment: One of the most important factors of your credit score. Paying your debts late on a consistent basis can signal lenders that you cannot afford, or are unwilling, to pay your debts. If you are overdue on a payment by 30 days, according to Equifax, your score can drop 100 points.
  • Having a charge-off: When a creditor gives up on you paying your debt, they charge off your account which can cause your credit score to drop by 100 points or more.
  • Bankruptcy: This should be considered as your last resource. Declaring bankruptcy can negatively affect your score by up to 200 points or more.
  • Foreclosure: Depending on what your starting score is, a foreclosure can cause up to a 100 point drop.
  • Repossessions: A car repo may cause your score to drop over 100 points. Additionally, a note about the repossession will stay in your report for up to seven years.
  • Judgments: This is when a court is involved to ensure debt repayment. The impact can vary but scores can drop over 100 points. This, along with tax liens, stay on your credit for 10 years and it is renewable for another 10 years if the plaintiff decides to go back to court.
  • Collections: When a credit hires and outside firm to collect payment due on a debt. Categorized as payment history, scores can drop over 100 points too.

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Can You Erase Bad Credit Overnight

The short answer is no. Fixing bad credit is a time-consuming process that often takes months. It involves contacting credit agencies and lenders to dispute inaccurate information, and they can take up to 30 days to respond to your request. They may also ask for more documentation to validate your dispute, further prolonging the process. Additionally, note that accurate negative items cannot be deleted from your report and will remain on your record for at least seven years.

Lexington Law: Most Experienced Credit Repair Company

How To Scrub Your Credit Report Clean Of Costly Errors

Lexington Law is a law firm that serves as a reputable credit repair company. It has helped millions of users remove inaccurate negative items from their credit reports and improve their credit history. Established in 2004, the company has close to two decades of experience in credit repair and also offers services such as personal finance tools and identity protection.

Lexington Law uses its relationship with the three major credit bureaus to help remove any incorrect or misleading items from your credit report. These misleading items can often negatively affect your credit score, so simply correcting them can improve your score.

The company uses a variety of means to challenge any incorrect entries, including cease-and-desist letters and official disputes to resolve any inaccuracies. However, it’s important to note that the credit repair process only addresses incorrect or misleading items, not everything that negatively affects your score. No reputable credit repair service will remove legitimate patterns of late payments or hard credit checks it will only ensure accurate and complete credit reporting for a comprehensive picture of your credit history.

Lexington Law offers three credit repair packages, which are:

Concord Standard: The base plan only includes bureau challenges and creditor interventions. It’s the best credit repair option for individuals who want to maintain their high credit score.

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Sky Blue Credit: Best Value And Cheapest Plans

Sky Blue Credit has a strong pedigree among other credit repair companies. Founded in 1989, the company has the experience and consumer-friendly focus to provide the credit repair service you need.

The company offers a free credit consultation before you sign up and will let you know if they can assist. As a legitimate credit repair company, Sky Blue Credit only helps improve your credit score by challenging incorrect or misleading items on your report. This means that it can’t repair credit due to actually damaging credit behaviors, such as late payments or multiple hard pulls within a short time.

Unlike many of its competitors, Sky Blue Credit only has one plan for all its customers with a set monthly fee. The plan includes five disputes per credit bureau per 35-day credit dispute cycle. The reason for the limit is that Sky Blue Credit noticed that large volumes of credit disputes led to more rejections than a slow trickle.

The plan also includes goodwill, cease-and-desist, and debt validation letters, but doesn’t offer any financial management tools. However, Sky Blue Credit does offer coaching and guidance on how to build and maintain a good credit score and will keep you updated on your credit repair progress.

Documentation To Provide For Your Dispute

In addition to the above, you’ll need to provide:

  • Proof of identity

  • Your Social Security number and date of birth

  • A copy of government-issued identification

  • Your current address and past addresses going back two years

  • A copy of a utility bill or bank or insurance statement that includes your name and address

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Is Pay For Delete Legal

The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs credit reporting laws and guidelines. Anything that a debt collector, creditor, or credit bureau does regarding a credit report will be based on the FCRA, says Joseph P. McClelland, a consumer credit attorney in Decatur, Ga.

Technically, pay for delete isnt expressly prohibited by the FCRA, but it shouldnt be viewed as a blanket get-out-of-bad-credit-jail-free card. The only items you can force off of your credit report are those that are inaccurate and incomplete, says McClelland. Anything else will be at the discretion of the creditor or collector.

How To Address Poor Credit

Tips on how to clean up errors on your credit report

No doubt you have seen signs and other advertisements that say âwe fix bad credit.â Unfortunately, you should know that your poor credit cannot be âfixedâ like a car. If youâre interested in boosting your credit score, there are a few things youâll need to consider.

One is that inaccurate information can damage your credit history. Thatâs why itâs important to review your credit report regularly and dispute inaccurate information with the credit bureau reporting it. Beyond that, it is a myth that somehow your credit can be magically fixed without you changing your financial situation. Credit is something you build over time by paying your debts on time, keeping your credit utilization low by paying down debt, and keeping a good mix of credit.

are often scams. Unless there is inaccurate information on your credit report that you can have removed by petitioning the major credit bureaus, the only thing that will âfixâ your credit history is building positive credit history over time.

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How Much Do Credit Repair Companies Charge

The average cost of credit repair varies depending on the complexity of your situation. Credit repair companies will offer a free consultation and guide you to the best plan for your needs.

The average monthly fee typically ranges between $69 and $140 per month. You’ll also have to pay a one-off setup fee during your first payment, which can influence the average cost of the credit repair.

Alert Creditors Of Your Updated Report

Following up with creditors and the credit bureaus will keep you updated with whether your dispute was approved or denied. If it was approved, you can quickly request that credit bureaus send updates to any financial institution that requested your report in the last six months. You can also have it sent to any potential employer who viewed your report in the last two years. This will help improve your reputation across your network without more hard inquiries.

If your dispute was denied, you can still have a note made of the dispute on your report and sent to financial institutions. Either way, make sure you ask the bureaus in writing to send those updates.

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Repairing Bad Credit Yourself

If you would rather not pay for delete or pay a credit repair firm, there are a few steps you can take to begin getting your credit back on track:

  • Review your credit reports for negative information thats inaccurate. Initiate a dispute of inaccuracies or errors online with the credit bureau thats reporting the information.
  • Consider having someone you know with a strong credit history add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized user. This can transplant that persons positive account history to your credit report.
  • Research credit builder loans and secured credit cards as additional credit-building options.
  • Get in the habit of paying your bills on time monthly. Payment history has the most significant impact on credit scores.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of debt settlement to resolve collection accounts or charge-offs. Debt settlement allows you to pay off debts for less than whats owed.
  • Focus on paying down balances on any credit card or loan accounts that you have open to improve your .

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