You Can Do It Yourself
Can your credit report be repaired? Most often, it can! Can you… Do It Yourself?
With a bit of tenacity, the ability to write convincing letters, supported by a strong desire you can have many types of negative items removed from your reports.
The first step is to obtain your current credit reports (3). You can receive one free credit history per year from each of the three largest credit bureaus:
- Experian: P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75031 1-888-322-5583
- Equifax: P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374 1-800-685-1111
- TransUnion: P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022 1-800-888-4213
Note: While American’s can receive free credit reports from these credit bureaus, there is a nominal charge to obtain your credit score. While you need to view all three credit reports, you need only purchase your credit score from one of the credit bureaus. While your score at each credit bureau may be slightly different, they will all be “in the same ballpark.”
Are credit reports and credit scores important?
Credit reports/credit scores are used to track your financial performance. Credit scores are usually in the 300-900 range. A credit bureau creates your credit file using information from banks, merchants, credit card companies and other creditors. Included in your credit report are a list of accounts that have been referred to a collection agency; your credit card payment history, department store credit; and public record information such as bankruptcies, tax problems, and so on.
Credit scores are generated by the credit bureaus when they print your credit report. They use a program created by Fair Isaac Company (FICO). Your credit score may be referred to as your FICO score. Calculating your credit score is complicated. It is based on more than 100 parameters in your credit file, including length of credit history, number of open accounts, loans, mortgages, public records, and other information.
To request your free credit report and purchase your credit score you may contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service at 1-877-322-8228 or via the Internet at www.annualcreditreport.com
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CREDIT REPORTS:
Q: Do I have the right to know what is in my credit report?
A: Yes! The credit reporting agencies must tell you everything in your file, including medical information. They must also provide you with a list of everyone who has requested your report within the past year, two years for employment related requests. Remember, anyone who takes action against you using a report supplied by a credit reporting agency, must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided that report.
Q: Is there a charge for my report?
A: You are entitled to one free credit report per year. In addition, there’s no charge for a report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance or employment, and you request the report within 60 days of receiving the notice of the action. You are also entitled to one free report a year if you certify in writing that (1) you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate because of fraud.
Q: How often should I view my reports?
A: You may want to find out what is on your report(s) at least once each year, checking for inaccuracies and omissions. This is especially important if you are considering a major purchase. Checking in advance the accuracy of the information in your credit file could speed the credit granting process. In addition, if someone has stolen your identity, you might catch the problem before much damage is done.
Q: Can anyone get a copy of my report?
A: No. Only people with a legitimate business need, as recognized by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For example, a company is allowed to get your report if you apply for credit, insurance, employment, or to rent an apartment.
Q: What is the procedure in case of disputed accuracy?
A: You may dispute the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in your credit file. When you notify the agency of such a dispute, the agency shall reinvestigate free of charge and record the current status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file and provide you with an updated credit report.
Q: Why does it take 2 – 6 months to have my credit updated completely?
A: Some people have more negative information on their reports than others. Remember the credit reporting agencies have 30 days to respond to each dispute. The only reason that the credit reporting agency does not have to reinvestigate a disputed item is if they feel the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant. Because of this, it may be wise to dispute certain items separately over a period of time of several months, so as not to appear frivolous.
Q: How can I… Do It Myself?
A: Simply gather all the facts related to the item(s) you are disputing. Write a separate letter to each bureau explaining the situation and ask them to remove the item. Be sure to include photocopies of any important related documents. You may also complete a dispute form online at the credit bureau website(s) or request a dispute form by telephone. In some situations it may be most appropriate to first contact the company who made the negative report initially and ask them to have the item removed from your credit history. The better the case you make for removal, the better your chances for having the item removed.
Q: What if I don’t have the time or energy to… Do It Myself?
A: This is when you contact Crednology Incorporated at www.crednology.com. Crednology Inc. has made the credit restoration process quite easy and painless.
Note: There is a virtual library of useful credit information available at no cost to you at www.crednology.com.
Once your enrollment is complete the process works like this:
Crednology will contact the three credit bureaus to request your credit reports. The credit bureaus will send YOUR reports ONLY to you. This is a valuable protective measure insuring unauthorized individuals don’t receive your private information. Your reports should arrive within 30 days.
Each time you receive a new credit report you will mail or fax a clean, clear, legible copy of the report to Crednology Incorporated. Crednology Inc. staff will review the documents and may contact you to request more information. Once Crednology Inc. has the necessary information they will file a dispute with the credit bureau(s).
Each time the credit bureaus receive a dispute they recheck their own files, may check with the company/person who filed the credit item and within 30 days, mail their response to you.
Their response will come to you as a new credit report, with a cover page describing what they’ve done about the disputed item. When each new credit report arrives it is your responsibility to review the report AND forward a clear, clean, legible copy to Crednology Inc. Do this as soon as possible after you receive each report to insure the quickest possible response and shortest possible credit repair time.