If you’ve ever been in a position in which you have had to ask the question, “How can I fix my credit,” you undoubtedly know how powerless the situation can make you feel. In many of these cases, desperate people have turned to so-called credit repair companies/firms to fix bad credit, but these services can be quite expensive and—in many cases—completely unnecessary. But the good news is, there are several steps you can take initiate to fix bad credit, without paying a single dime to professionals. In the following article we will outline some of these steps in great detail, essentially providing an answer to the question, “Can I fix my credit on my own.”
Your credit worthiness—or unworthiness—is determined by your credit report. In fact, there are three top credit reporting and management agencies that keep track of your credit and determine your credit score.
Creditors with which you do business— from home and auto lenders, to credit card companies and even utility companies— regularly report to one or more of these credit agencies. Especially in cases when you fall behind on a particular payment (late payments), default on loan among others. Given these three credit reporting agencies essentially hold your credit in the palms of their hands, it is absolutely crucial that you monitor these reports and stay abreast of your credit worthiness and score. In some instances, inaccurate information can be reported to one or more of these agencies, damaging your credit as a result. Below are some steps you can take to stay on top of your credit and fix bad credit where it exists.
In other words, if you order your Experian credit report for free in January, wait until about April or May to order your free copy from TransUnion, and until about August or September before ordering your free copy from Equifax. This way you will have an ongoing record of your credit, enabling you to more quickly catch inaccuracies when they occur.
Fix My Credit: Step Two—Review Credit Reports Carefully
Once you have received your free credit report from one or more of the three credit bureaus, you will need to carefully review and audit the form you receive. Remember, this is an important “fix bad credit” step and you should ensure that everything on that report is correct, including:
• Personal Information. Make sure the name, address, birth date and social security number on your credit report is correct and up-to-date.
• Accounts. If you notice an unfamiliar account in which credit data was reported, ensure that you are actually the owner of that account—the one who opened it.
Note: some accounts may go by different names, especially if they were referred to a collection agency before ending up on your credit report.
Fix My Credit: Step Three—Report/Dispute Inaccuracies
After carefully reviewing the detailed reports of your credit—and checking them against your payment records—the next step to fix bad credit is to report inaccuracies and start the official dispute process to have them corrected or removed. Lodging a dispute with one or more of the three credit agencies can be a fairly long process, one in which the agency in question will double-check the posted information/credit item with the creditor who initially reported it, and then renders a decision based on that research as to whether the item will remain on your credit report or be removed.
Fix My Credit: Step Four—Settle Up on Delinquent Accounts
Of course, not all negative items on your credit report will be inaccurate; some of them are genuine. In these instances, paying off what you owe on these accounts can be a great way to fix bad credit. Once these items have been paid in full, many creditors have been known to simply delete the negative item, which can significantly improve your credit score. Becoming familiar with your credit report, monitoring your credit regularly, disputing inaccuracies and paying up on delinquent accounts is a great way to fix bad credit—and the best part is it won’t cost you a dime. Don’t forget, there are other options available if you don’t have the time or resources to do the work explained above. Check out our directory of credit repair companies if you want someone else to do the work for you!Check out our directory of credit repair companies if you want someone else to do the work for you!