In today’s credit-driven world, having bad credit can definitely put a damper on things. If you find that you fall into this category of people with less than desirable credit, the good news is, not all is lost. With a bit of knowledge and effort, you can turn your bad credit around.
It stands to reason if you want to improve your credit, not only do you not want to live beyond your means, but there are other small things you can do to help avoid spending money needlessly. Think about your bank and the fees they assess. If you do not have a generous balance sitting in your account and your bank charges if you don’t maintain a minimum balance, one of the first things you want to do is look into changing financial institutions. When you are deciding on where to take your business, also look for banks with no overdraft fees.
Where to Start
In order to fix something, you have to know how broken it actually is. When it comes to credit, the first thing you should do is get a copy of your credit report.
This is where you will see personal information about yourself, all of your credit accounts, and your payment history. Check over the information to make sure it is correct. If you find any discrepancies, dispute the amount and have the errors fixed. It’s possible that you can have those marks removed from your report. Don’t be afraid to do this either, even if the mistake is minor, you should stand up for yourself.
On the same token, if you find creditors that you don’t and never did business with, that could mean that someone is using your information fraudulently. Anything that seems suspicious or wrong needs to be brought to the attention of the three credit bureaus immediately. Your financial future could suffer even more if you don’t take any corrective action.
The easiest way to go through your credit report is to sit down with a few different colored highlighters and highlight the information you think is wrong. Pay close attention to your payment history too. Future creditors base their decision to extend you credit based on your past payment history.
If you do come across information that you see that something is amiss, there are a few different ways to object to the mark on your credit. The fastest and probably easiest way to submit a dispute is by doing it online.
That being said, if you choose to do it online or by telephone, you have no record of your dispute being filed. You may not think that is important but the credit bureaus have between 30 to 45 days to investigate and respond to your dispute. Without a paper trail, you have no time frame reference.
The best way to dispute your credit report is by mail; be sure to send it certified with a return receipt. Not only will you have proof of mailing but you will also have verification it was received because it will have to be signed for. You’ll need to include a copy of the report as well as any supporting evidence that substantiates your claim(s). If you don’t send enough information explaining why you are disputing what you are, the creditors may decline to even look into your claim. Then you’ll have done all of that work for nothing.
Once a decision is made on your dispute, the information you reported as wrong is either removed/changed or remains unchanged with a notation of your objection in the information. You will then have the opportunity to write a personal statement to explain your concerns.