Clean Up Your Credit Report

Don't waste money on agencies that charge you money to clean up your credit reports. You can do it yourself. Find out how!

Don't be scammed by those agencies that claim to clean up your credit report for you. With a little knowledge and determination, you can do it yourself. The first thing you need to do is obtain a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus. You need a copy of all three because one bureau may report something that another bureau doesn't.

Usually, if you have been denied credit within the past 60 days due to information from one of the credit bureaus, that agency will provide you with a free copy of your credit report. Laws vary from state to state but the average fee for your credit report is $8.50. When you are writing to request your credit report, you should include the following information with your inquiry:

· First, middle and last name (including Jr., Sr., III)

· Current address

· Previous addresses for the past two years (If less than 2 years at present address)



· Social Security Number

· Date of birth

· Current employer

· Phone number

· Copy of Driver's License or Utility bill

· Applicable fee

· Signature (Be sure to sign the request or it may not be processed)

The three credit bureaus are:

Trans Union

Consumer Disclosure Center

P.O. Box 1000

Chester, PA 19022

Experian

PO Box 9595

Allen TX 75013-9595

Equifax Inc.

P.O. Box 105496

Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5496

Once you have received a copy of all three reports, go over them carefully. Check for any incorrect information. Any correct information cannot be removed from your credit report, even if it is negative credit information. All information is retained in your credit file for seven years from the date of last activity on the account. Bankruptcies remain on your credit history for ten years.

If you find information that is incorrect, write a very detailed letter stating that the information is incorrect and enclose copies of any proof such as statements or canceled checks. The credit companies are required to verify any information that you dispute. The credit bureau must contact the company that is reporting the information and that company then has an allotted time, usually 30 days, to respond to the credit bureau's request. If the company fails to respond, the information must be deleted from your report. However, if the company verifies the information at a later date, the credit bureau can re-add it to your credit report.

If you do not provide proof that the information is incorrect, the credit bureau will often send you a letter saying that the information has been verified. Cleaning up your credit report will require some time and persistence. Continue to write them, disputing the validity of the negative information. If all efforts to have the information fail, you are permitted to add a statement of 100 words to your credit report explaining the negative credit.

In one attempt to have false information removed from a credit report with no success, one consumer requested that the following statement be added:

"The information claiming that ABC Credit Card is delinquent is false information. I have repeatedly attempted to provide the credit bureau with proof that this account has never been delinquent, but have received no assistance in resolving this matter. If this information is a factor in determination of my credit worthiness, please contact me for verification that this information is invalid or check my credit report with one of the other two agencies, neither of which is reporting this information inaccurately."

Upon receipt of this statement, the credit bureau corrected the information on her file.

Once you have any false information removed or have added statements to explain any negative accounts, you will need to continue to monitor your credit file. Order your credit report from all three agencies twice a year. This will allow you to stay informed on what information is being included in your credit report.

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