Clear Negative Items from Your Credit Report

When applying for credit or loans, your clean report will mean lower interest rates.  So if you have one or more negatives on your credit report, use the following strategies to fix it:

  1. Dispute: If the business/company that reported the an item (the “Reporting Business”—this can be a bank or credit card, too) made a mistake, then contact them and dispute it !  Businesses are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to investigate and correct errors.  Insist that they correct their error with all three credit-reporting bureaus.  

  2. Dispute Again: If the reporting business doesn’t fix it, contact the three Credit Reporting Bureaus yourself (again, this is if there’s an error involved).  The bureau is required by the FCRA to investigate and correct items that are wrong.

  3. Pay to Delete It.  If it wasn’t an error, you can offer to pay the debt (with a pay-for-delete letter) if they will delete it from your credit report.  You could try offering a settlement instead of the full amount—no harm in trying!

  4. Write a Goodwill Letter.  Ask the creditor for a “Goodwill Deletion.”  This works best if it was a one-time mistake on your part, such as a late or skipped payment.  The company doesn’t have to do it, or even respond…so just persuade them that you realize the error you made and explain that you’ve become more responsible now.  It’s worth a shot.

  5. Wait It Out: This can take a long time, and the length of time varies.  However the impact of a negative item on your credit score will diminish with the years, even while it’s still there on your reports.  Meanwhile, try hard to keep new negatives from hopping onto the bus.

  6. Hire a Professional Credit Repair Service.  For about $100 per month, a reputable service can help you correct errors, dispute negative items, and negotiate with creditors.  You can do these things on your own, but if your situation is complicated, this might be for you.  

Strategies That Won’t Work:

  1. Filing for bankruptcy.  Sure, it can eliminate your debt—but it will ruin your credit score and will be visible on your credit report for seven long years.  Only do it if you are desperate!

  2. Closing the account with the negative item.  Just don’t.  Doing so will not remove the debt.  It will lower your amount of available credit, thus damaging your credit-to-debt ratio on your credit score formula.

Regularly reviewing your credit reports is the best way to stay on top of your score.  Be patient and pursue all avenues when addressing problems.  Your credit score affects your ability to obtain credit cards, loans, insurance—and the interest rate for each of these.  For the full article, click here: