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Repair Your Credit Score


Repair your Credit Score with these Free Credit Repair Secrets

Free consumer guide, from your friends at Credit-Aid Software
Repair your Credit with Credit Doctor Software

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REVIEWING YOUR CREDIT REPORTS

Recent studies by a Public Interest Research Group found that over 70% of credit reports contain errors. Incorrect information in your credit file lowers your credit score. As the result you get a higher interest rate when you: take a loan, open a new credit card account, lease a car, etc. 29% of the credit reports in this study contained even more serious errors that could result in the denial of credit. These errors included false delinquencies, public records, judgments and credit accounts that did not belong to the consumer. Sometimes these errors are the work of sloppy data entry, but it is also often due to the ever growing epidemic of identity theft.

Since your Credit Reports are used to determine IF you are to be given credit (and what rates you will be charged), it is in your best interest to examine your reports carefully, correct inaccurate information and make every effort to remove ALL Unfavorable information. If you see problems on your report, such as an unpaid bill that you simply forgot about, act right away to resolve the debt. Then ask that creditor to send a letter to the credit reporting agencies stating that the matter has been resolved.

Check for accounts you didn't open, charges you haven't made, and delinquencies you didn't cause. If you suspect fraud on one of your reports, contact that credit bureau IMMEDIATELY. Explain the situation and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. Also report the fraud to the police.

Your credit reports follow you throughout your life and can help you greatly -- or hurt you. Review them carefully!

HOW TO READ YOUR CREDIT REPORTS

The bulk of the report will be filled with credit information showing the following:

1). Identification Information The first thing listed will be your name, date of birth and Social Security number. These are used for identification. Employment information may also be listed. As well as current and past addresses, spouse's name (if you're married) and date of birth are also listed for further identification.

2). Public Record Information -- Data from federal, state or county court records. Bankruptcies, liens or judgments and other types of claims. Info listed will be; Date filed, court case number, amount, status and date settled.

3). Collection Agency Information -- A collection is an account that has been turned over to a collection agency by one of your creditors because you have not paid the account as agreed. Listed here are; Collector's name, originating creditor/client, original amount, balance due and account number.

4). Credit Information -- This section makes up the bulk of the report. It will include Mortgage, Installment, Revolving, Other, Open and Closed Accounts. It will also list Accounts in Good Standing, Accounts Currently Past due and Negative Account History. Merchant/Creditor name, Subscriber Number, account number, Date opened, Date closed, Current Balance, Highest credit limit, Highest amount of credit used, and your Repayment History. Your Repayment History is shown as a string of numbers showing your payment history.

With each credit account, you will see listed the account's status and history. They are generally marked as follows;

• Current Account - "Account Open" or "Closed in Good Standing"
• Closed Account - Credit Account Closed
• Paid Account - Closed Account or Zero Balance
• Credit Account Reinstated - Previously Closed Account Now Available for use
• Foreclosure - Collateral sold to collect Defaulted Mortgage
• Collection Account - Credit Account Assigned to Collection Agency
• Inquiry - your credit information was requested by this Company or Creditor

5). Inquiries that display

All authorized and legitimate requests to see your credit history.

6). Inquiries that DO NOT display

These inquiries are displayed only to you and are not considered when tabulating your credit score. Examples of this inquiry type include a pre-approved offer of credit, insurance or periodic account reviews by an existing creditor.

7). Consumer Statements

If for some reason you cannot prove that a negative item is an error or if you are having a disagreement with a certain creditor, you have the right to tell your side of the story in 100 words or less. This statement will be ADDED to your report.

Bad Credit?

SUMMARY OF WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR CREDIT HISTORY REPORT

Credit Reports seem rather cryptic at first, but once you see how they are laid out they will start to make sense. These are the important things to examine:

  1. Make sure your personal Information is correct

  2. Make sure your accounts are listed correctly

  3. Make sure your credit lines are listed correctly

  4. Make sure your balances are listed correctly

  5. If YOU closed an account, it should say "Account closed BY CONSUMER."

STATING YOUR DISPUTE

Make certain that all information is current and accurate, including the Personal Identification information (address, social security, etc…). If you find an error (for example, a loan that you have PAID OFF is still listed as outstanding), tell the Credit Bureau (in writing) EXACTLY what the mistake is, and explain the way that the information SHOULD be listed. For example, "My Loan to Bank of Fred is NOT outstanding. It was paid in full on 02/14//05." Send photocopies along with all the necessary information to backup your claim.

After you have done this send it to the credit bureau by "CERTIFIED MAIL." When the credit bureau receives your report and the information in question, they are required to investigate and ADVISE YOU of the results of their investigation. They must do this Free of charge.

Anytime that you are denied credit you have the right to know why. If you are turned down for a credit account at a store, you will receive a statement from the store stating that you were denied credit and their reason why. If the store based their decision on your credit history, they must provide you with the name and address of the agency that reported it.

If for some reason you cannot prove that a negative item is an error or if you are having a disagreement with a certain creditor, you have the right to tell your side of the story in 100 words or less. This statement will be ADDED to your report.

When correcting items on your credit report, you have the right to demand that the credit bureau send corrected copies of your report to all creditors who have received the incorrect reports for the past six months. Note: Credit bureaus will not do this automatically! They will only do it if you ask. So make sure you ask. It's your right!

SAMPLE CREDIT DISPUTE LETTERS

Here is a sample letter with sample dispute items. Use the ones you need and delete the rest.

Your Name
Your Address
City, State Zip
Your Date of Birth:
Social Security Number:
Credit Report Number: ____________

Credit Bureau Name
Credit Bureau Address
City, State Zip

Today's Date

Re: Letter to Remove Inaccurate Credit Information - Credit Report #__________________

To Whom It May Concern:

I received a copy of my credit report and found the following item(s) to be errors. See the attached copy of my credit report, the errors have been highlighted.

Here as follows are items in error:

Incorrect Personal Information:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Correct Personal Information:

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

The following accounts below are not mine:

Creditor's Name
Account Number

Explanation:

The account status is incorrect for the following accounts:

Creditor's Name
Account Number
Correct Status:

The following information is outdated. I would like it removed from my credit history report:

Creditor's Name
Account Number

Date of Last Activity

The following inquiries are more than two years old and I would like them removed:

Creditor's Name
Date of Inquiry

These inquiries below were not authorized:

Creditor's Name
Date of Inquiry

Explanation

The following accounts were closed by me and should state that:

Creditor's Name
Account Number

Other information I would like changed:

Explanation

By the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I demand that these items be investigated and removed from my report.

It is my understanding that you will recheck these items with the creditor who has posted them. Please remove any information that the creditor cannot verify.

I understand that under 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681i(a), you must complete this reinvestigation within 30 days of receipt of this letter. Please send an updated copy of my credit report to the above address. According to the act, there shall be no charge for this updated report. I also request that you please send notices of corrections to anyone who received my credit report in the past six months.

Thank you time and help in this matter.

Sincerely,

_____________________________________
[Signature]


Make sure you send this letter by certified mail. Enclose a copy of the credit report containing the items you are disputing. It may also help to circle the items. Also include copies (not originals) of any paperwork you may have that validates your claims.

Bad Credit?

DEALING WITH NEGATIVE INFORMATION ON YOUR REPORTS (AND COLLECTION AGENCIES)

Despite popular belief, it is often possible to negotiate removal of negative items on your credit reports posted by creditors. In some cases, you might not even have to pay them the full amount owed*. The important thing is to be positive, be patient and get in contact with them to try to work out a deal.

If you've ignored (or never received) a creditor's bills or phone calls, or if you failed to keep up with payments, your bill may be turned over to a collection agency. Keep in mind that collection agencies are hired by the creditor and their only goal is to collect the money owed (or as much of it as they can) as quickly as possible. For their efforts, they are paid a percentage of what they collect.

If you feel that the amount in question is being billed in error, you have the right to ask for proof and verification of the charges. If the charges are indeed yours it may be in your best interest to negotiate with the collection agency. You may be able to negotiate payment of the total sum (or even a partial amount) in return for their removing their negative marks on your Credit History Report. You might be able to settle on paying a portion of your debt, or you might be able to work out a payment installment plan with them. Many of the Creditor letters in the STOREROOM can be used with collection agencies for these situations. Whatever deal you make with them, be sure that you have it all in writing prior to paying them.

Collection agencies can be very aggressive when it comes to collecting money. Remember that you have rights. You have the right to ask a collection agency stop contacting you, especially if you feel harassed. Use these letters below to give yourself breathing room while working through your plan to reorganize your finances.

*See the letters in the Storeroom section.

SEVEN STEPS TO BOOST YOUR FICO SCORE

  1. Correct all inaccuracies on your Credit Report.

    Go through your credit reports very carefully. Especially look for; Late payments, charge-offs, collections or other negative items that aren't yours, Accounts listed as "settled," "paid derogatory," "paid charge-off" or anything other than "current" or "paid as agreed" if you paid on time and in full, Accounts that are still listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy, Negative items older than seven years (10 in the case of bankruptcy) that should have automatically fallen off your report (you must be careful with this last one, because sometimes scores actually go down when bad items fall off your report. It's a quirk in the FICO credit-scoring software, and the potential effect of eliminating old negative items is difficult to predict in advance). Also make sure you don't have duplicate collection notices listed. For example; if you have an account that has gone to collections, the original creditor may list the debt, as well as the collection agency. Any duplicates must be removed!

  2. Make sure that your proper credit lines are posted on your Credit Reports.

    Often, in an effort to make you less desirable to their competitors, some creditors will not post your proper credit line. Showing less available credit can negatively impact your credit score. If you see this happening on your credit report, you have a right to complain and bring this to their attention. If you have bankruptcies that should be showing a zero balance…make sure they show a zero balance! Very often the creditor will not report a "bankruptcy charge-off" as a zero balance until it's been disputed.
  3. If you have any negative marks on your credit report, negotiate with the creditor/lender to remove it.

    If you are a long time customer and it's something simple like a one-time late payment, a creditor will often wipe it away to keep you as a loyal customer. If you have a serious negative mark (such as a long overdue bill that has gone to collections), always negotiate a payment in exchange for removal of the negative item. Always make sure you have this agreement with them in writing. Do not pay off a bill that has gone to collections unless the creditor agrees in writing that they will remove the derogatory item from your credit report. This is important; when speaking with the creditor or collection agency about a debt that has gone to collections, do not admit that the debt is yours. Admission of debt can restart the statute of limitations, and may enable the creditor to sue you. You are also less likely to be able to negotiate a letter of deletion if you admit that this debt is yours. Simply say "I'm calling about account number ________" instead of "I'm calling about my past due debt."
  4. Pay all credit cards and any revolving credit down to below 30% of the available credit line.

    The scoring system wants to make sure you aren't overextended, but at the same time, they want to see that you do indeed use your credit. 30% of the available credit line seems to be the magic "balance vs. credit line" ratio to have. For example; if you have a Credit Card with a $10,000 credit line, make sure that never more than $3000 (even if you pay your account off in full each month). If your balances are higher than 30% of the available credit line, pay them down. Here is another thing you can try; ask your long time creditors if they will raise your Credit Line without checking your FICO score or your Credit Report. Tell them that you're shopping for a house and you can't afford to have any hits on your credit report. Many will not but some will.

  5. Do not close your old credit card accounts.

    Old established accounts show your history, and tell about your stability and paying habits. If you have old credit card accounts that you want to stop using, just cut up the cards or keep them in a drawer, but keep the accounts open.

  6. Avoid applying for new credit.

    Each time you apply for new credit, your credit report gets checked. New credit cards will not help your credit score and a credit account less than one year old may hurt your credit score. Use your cards and credit as little as possible until the next credit scoring.

  7. Have at least three revolving credit lines and one active (or paid) installment loan listed on your Credit Report.

    The scoring system wants to see that you maintain a variety of credit accounts. It also wants to see that you have 3 revolving credit lines. If you do not have three active credit cards, you might want to open some (but keep in mind that if you do, you will need to wait some time before rescoring). If you have poor credit and are not approved for a typical credit card, you might want to set up a "secured credit card" account. This means that you will have to make a deposit that is equal or more than your limit, which guarantees the bank that you will repay the loan. It's an excellent way to establish credit. Examples of an installment loan would be a car loan, or it could be for furniture or a major appliance. In addition to the above, having a mortgage listed will bring your score even higher.

Throughout this process, always remember:

It takes up to 30 Days for any of these things to get reported and often longer to reflect on your Credit History Reports. It feels like a slow process, but hang in there, because it DOES work. This tedious process can be made much simpler with the automated help of Credit Doctor™ Software www.credit-aid.com. Credit Doctor™ stores your user information to merge into its database of letters, saving you many long hours of letter writing.

WHAT IS THE BEST CREDIT REPAIR SOFTWARE?

It's Credit Doctor, of course! Credit Doctor™ automates the process of cleaning up your credit. Ease of use and powerful features make it the best credit repair software available. (learn more)

Bad Credit?

Credit Doctor Software™

Automate the process of cleaning your Credit. Easy Wizards guide you to: Get Free Credit Reports Instantly online, Generate Letters, Remove Errors and Negotiate with Creditors. Includes Organization and Planning Tools, Financial Calculators and useful Tips. (learn more)

*Credit Doctor Software™ is a "stand-alone" easy-to-use software program that you install and run on your own computer. Your user data is safely encrypted, remains stored only on your computer and is NOT transmitted over the Internet. Your standard end-user license will allow up to three users. If you are in need of a commercial version, contact us.

**Credit Doctor Software's™ intended use is to automate the process of cleaning up errors in your credit history reports and negotiating with creditors. Credit Doctor Software gives Credit Information, not legal advice. For questions about specific issues regarding your credit, please consult an attorney.

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