You can fix your credit score by correcting errors – for free – without anyone’s help. There are credit repair companies that can help you repair your credit, but these services come at a price. Now is also a great time to start your credit repair journey on your own, as the credit bureaus have opened up access to track your progress yourself!
What Does a Credit Repair Company Do?
Credit repair is defined as the correction of your credit reports to increase your credit score. Borrowers with negative scores on their credit reports are often tempted to turn to credit repair companies, but the truth is, you can correct your own credit reports on your own.
A credit repair company can’t randomly increase your credit score just because you paid for it (if they advertise it, beware). What credit repair companies can do is help you remove inaccurate information and accounts from your credit reports. They can contact your creditors for you and, with your permission, view your credit reports to see if there are any errors that need to be corrected.
However, you don’t need a credit repair company to do all of this because you have the right to dispute incorrect information yourself and have it repaired for free.
Dispute Inaccuracies Yourself to Repair Credit
Litigation credit repair is the process of correcting errors on your credit reports in order to improve your credit score. For example, let’s say you had an account in collection and paid it off, but it’s been a few months and the credit bureaus have yet to report it as resolved. You can file a dispute with this credit bureau, send proof that you paid this collection account, so that it is accurately shown on your credit reports to improve your credit score.
Filing a dispute costs you nothing – except maybe your time and energy. If you have multiple errors on your credit reports and don’t have time to resolve them, then a credit repair company may be worth your time. But if you only have a few things to fix, then doing it yourself saves you money.
If your credit reports are littered with inaccuracies and you don’t have the time or expertise to resolve them, then visit our resource center for more information on credit repair companies.
What can I correct on my credit reports?
For a dispute to be considered, you usually need to provide proof that the disputed account is incorrect. This means that you may not be able to “correct” every negative score on your credit reports.
If you have filed for bankruptcy and it is flagged as such, you can’t just declare this bankruptcy as inaccurate to remove it from your credit reports. The credit bureaus have up to 30 days to investigate the disputed account, and if it turns out to be incorrect, they delete it. If they find that the account is correctly reported, it stays on your credit reports.
Here are some examples of what you can dispute:
- Accounts or information resulting from identity theft or accounts that do not belong to you
- Incorrect personal information such as your date of birth or old addresses
- Duplicate Accounts
- Payments that were reported late but were in fact on time
- Inaccurate loan balances
- The status of an account (active, closed, overdue)
- Difficult requests you never approved
- Accounts that should have been included in the bankruptcy
You can file a dispute online for free with the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. In many cases, you need some sort of proof that a disputed account is inaccurate, so it may be a good idea to gather supporting documents such as receipts, verification emails, or screenshots for increase your chances of removing it. Sometimes a credit bureau may not need any proof to remove inaccurate information, but it usually depends on what you are reporting.
Checking the progress of your credit repair
Due to the pandemic, credit bureaus are allowing all consumers to request their credit reports for free on a weekly basis. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit reports so you can track your progress, check disputed accounts, and make sure your credit reports stay accurate.
Normally, you only get one free credit report from each bureau every 12 months. The recent havoc has created the need for borrowers to track their financial well-being, so weekly access is available until April 2022 – so jump on it while you can!
No mistakes? Build credit in other ways
Mistakes can happen, but bad credit can simply be the result of past mistakes, financial instability, job loss, divorce, or simply a lack of credit history. If your credit reports are accurate and you don’t have anything to correct, then building a credit history with new credit might be the way to go.
Installment loans are a great way to build a payment history because installment loans like mortgages and auto loans typically last for years. If you fully repay an installment loan without any errors, it could dramatically increase your credit score and possibly increase your chances of getting future credit because you have proven your ability to repay the borrowed money.
Many borrowers start their credit history with a car loan, and other borrowers with bad credit can get back on track with a car loan as well. Getting approved for a car loan isn’t always easy when your credit rating isn’t great, but we want to help.
Bad Credit Loan Opportunities
If taking out an installment loan to build your credit score is the route you want to take, let us guide you at Auto Express Credit. We have spent over two decades cultivating a nationwide network of special finance dealers who specialize in assisting borrowers with less than perfect credit. To be matched with a dealer in your area, complete our free auto loan application form.