These days credit problems are very common, and there are programs and services that are designed to help everyday people get out of debt and live with a better sense of financial security. Money problems can cause a great deal of stress, but there are some things you can do now to ease the burden.
The first step to credit repair is to obtain a credit report. There are three main reporting agencies: Equafax, Experion, and TransUnion. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each; you can also obtain an additional free report if you’ve been turned down for financing or employment due to bad credit. It’s important to obtain a report from all three bureaus, as they can contain different information. For instance, certain banks or other organizations may only send information to one or two of these agencies, but not all three. For a small fee, each agency also offers and all-in-one report that contains your full credit profile. The fee may be worth the one-stop convenience.
Look for any inconsistencies or errors. If any are found, you must address them with the company directly. Credit reporting agencies aren’t responsible for the reliability of the information in your credit report, they merely provide a reporting service.
Keep documentation of all correspondence and conversations with any creditors that you contact regarding the dispute of debts owed. If the discrepancy is corrected, send proof to the credit reporting bureaus and they’ll update your credit report and send a corrected copy.
Generally, items that can’t be disputed should be handled in this order:
Past due accounts that can easily be caught up
Past due amounts that have been charged-off by the company holding the account
Accounts that have been sent to a collection agency
Pay off all outstanding account balances or loans that are within your financial reach, and work to get any secured and unsecured credit accounts back below the maximum credit limit. It also pays to work toward reducing your debt load by paying more than the minimum monthly payment whenever possible.
Researching and repairing your credit can be complex and confusing. If you feel more confident having a professional help you get your finances straight, firms like the Lexington Law Review can show you the way. Representatives at such businesses know the intricacies of finance and credit, and they can provide the guidance and support you need.