All About Credit and Credit Repair
If you want to improve your finances, you need to take care of your credit. Having a high credit score is important to your financial health, so you should check your credit for omissions and errors and make sure to make changes to your financial plan in order to improve your credit.
High credit is essential to your financial health because if you have a poor credit score, you won’t qualify for favorable terms on loans and mortgages, and in some cases may not qualify at all. Lenders, landlords and even some employers check your credit before giving you a loan, apartment or job, so it’s important to keep your credit score healthy so that it doesn’t become a barrier to what you’re trying to accomplish.
There are three major credit reporting bureaus–Experian, Equifax and TransUnion–and they all report slightly different information. Thus, you should look at all three of your credit reports to make sure that all your credit information is accurate. Lenders may use any combination of credit reports to make their decisions. An inaccuracy in just one report can mean the difference between approval and denial of an important loan, so you need all of your credit reports to be correct.
If you find mistakes when you are reviewing your credit reports, don’t panic. You have the right to request that mistakes be corrected.
First, make sure the mistake is really a mistake. Look back through your records to ensure that the reason a creditor’s name is unfamiliar to you isn’t that you’ve simply forgotten about the account after several years.
If you determine there’s a mistake, highlight it on the credit report by circling it. Once you’ve gone through the entire credit report and highlighted all mistakes, write a letter to the credit bureau telling them that you have found mistakes. List each mistake in your letter and explain why you believe it is an error. For example, state that you never dealt with this creditor or that you resolved the issue but the credit report states that your account is not current. Make a copy of your highlighted credit report and send it with the cover letter to the credit bureau. The credit bureau will investigate and get in touch with you within 30 days. If it determines that the disputed information is a mistake, it must correct the report. You have the right to request a copy of your corrected report.
Remember, however, that the credit bureaus can only remove inaccurate information. They cannot remove negative information if it is current and correct. Don’t waste time trying to dispute accurate negative credit reports. Instead, work on fixing your credit by repaying debts or making payment arrangements.
There are several ways to repair your credit. One of the best ways is to pay down revolving debt such as balances on credit cards. This is an important credit repair step to take because your total debt impacts your debt vs income ratio. The less debt you have relative to your income, the better your credit score looks. In addition, if you carry debt from month to month, you have to pay finance charges and interest. So if you pay down debt, you will save money in the long run.
Credit is important to your financial health, but don’t panic if your credit doesn’t look great. You can easily fix it by correcting any errors or mistakes and then repaying debts and engaging in other credit repair activity. Soon you will control credit again rather than it controlling you.