5 Steps to Raise Your Credit Score

Frustrated with your credit rating?  Here's a 5 step plan you can start right now to raise your scores.

Step 1 - Obtain your credit reports from the following agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Make sure to get all three because each agency will have different information. Steve Rhode the president and founder of Myvesta,org says that we waste money and time by only ordering a report from one credit bureau.

Fortunately new federal laws entitle everyone to one free credit report from each agency.  In order to get these free reports you must order them by either going on-line to www.annualcreditreport.com, calling (877) 322-8228, or complete and mail the Annual Credit Report Request to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105283, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5283.  You can either order all of them at the same time or one from each agency at different times throughout the year.  Aside from these free reports you are also still entitled to a free report when you've been denied credit, insurance or employment based on your credit report or you're applying for unemployment or receive public assistance.  If you run out of free options you can always order another report for around $9.

Step 2 - Once you get your reports you need to check them thoroughly.

Credit Bureaus get your information from creditors and they donít verify information.  So it is your job to check and make sure all the information is accurate. Depending on the type of information it generally remains on your report for 7-10 years.

Step 3 - If you find mistakes on your credit report you need to report them right away.

Youíll either need to complete the dispute form they provided or write a letter.  It is best if you send a photocopy of the credit report with the mistakes circled, and all supporting documents that prove itís a mistake. Make sure to keep copies of everything you send to the credit bureau and the dates that you sent them.  The credit bureau  must investigate the dispute within 30 days and make any corrections.  If any changes are made to your report the credit bureau will send you a free updated copy.

Step 4 - Solve and dissolve.

It's not as hard as you think, will a little bit of planning and patience you can get things paid off.  Call your creditors and negotiate you payments, get your payment plan extended and monthly payments reduced.  Whenever possible use extra money to pay off more towards you accounts.  You can also negotiate a payoff settlement at a lower total cost and get derogatory remarks removed from your report.  But remember to get all agreements in writing before you pay them.  You can also close out credit accounts that you don't really need but be careful because this can negatively affect you FICO score.  Try to keep revolving debt to 50% of your available credit.

Step 5 - Add stability to your credit file.

Not all of your credit payments are reported to the credit -reporting agency.  Try asking your credit union, local bank, gas card, and other places if they will report your account information and payment histories to a credit-reporting agency.  Also whenever you sign up for a new account somewhere ask if your payments will be reported.  This will all add positive information to you file. If you owe to much money to pay back consider filing bankruptcy and rebuilding. Building a solid credit history is important.  If you have no credit you can get a secured credit card which gives you a chance to improve you credit. Be careful how many cards you apply for because the more your credit is checked the lower your score goes. When you're done with everything else open a savings account, this will show creditors that you are making an effort to save money and pay your debts.

Here's some contact information that may be useful

  • Federal Trade Commission consumer response center - (877) 382-4357
  • Equifax P.O. Box 74024, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 - (800) 685-1111
  • Experian (formerly TRW) P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013-0949 - (888) 397-3742
  • TransUnion Corp. 760 W. Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA 19064-0390 - (800) 888-4213

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Sylvia W. Perry
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