No one is comfortable with negative marks on their credit score. These create constant reminders of a history of poor financial decisions. It can be bad enough when the problems are of your own doing, but it can be even worse if there are errors on your report that you know nothing about.
According to credit experts at the Personal Money Network, whether the negative marks on your credit are from your own doing or from a mistake by someone else, it is your responsibility to take the necessary action to repair your credit.
While this may be a given when it comes to taking charge of your financial future, it pays to have some tips to help you know exactly what you can do to boost your credit score.
1- Dispute Erroneous Information
It pays to examine your credit report at least once a year. That way, you can catch errors before they make a permanent dent in your score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a law that lays out what kind of information can be included on your report and what cannot.
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It also gives you the right to accuracy, so if you find errors you have the legal right to dispute them. While these may not be removed from your credit report right away, the credit bureau will launch an investigation and remove it if they find that the specific entry was made by another party.
2- Talk to Your Creditor
Creditors of all kinds report to the credit bureau. If your report contains an entry that may be accurate but impacts your score negatively, you can petition them to remove it. Usually, creditors will agree to stop reporting if you can prove extenuating circumstances.
An example of this might be someone who has consistently paid their bills on time but then missed one payment due to illness or family emergency. While it is not common for creditors to remove negative information on request, some will do so if you have a good persuasive argument and are willing to work with them.
3- Make a Pay for Delete Offer
When information is accurately reported, it will be difficult for you to get a creditor to agree to remove it. In that case, negotiation may be your best option.
If you offer to pay off the balance of your account in exchange for having them remove the negative entries, you may find a willing creditor. Most are not interested in ruining your credit, their primary concern is getting their money back. If you can make good on your payments and clear your debt, they may be more than happy to remove their negative entry on your report.
4- File a Complaint
Most creditors are not willing to remove accurate information from your report, however, if you find they are reluctant to remove errors or you are having difficulty working out the problem with them, then you can file a complaint with The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
If they find that your concerns are legitimate, they may act as mediators between the two of you so that you can get the kind of results you need. Many creditors may not be willing to work with you as an individual party but will work with the CFPB if you file a complaint.
5- Get a Lawyer
If you are unable to get success with the above suggestions, you could hire a consumer law attorney. If you feel that the creditor is in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you may find that you’re entitled to claim damages that could come to a sizable amount of money.
The legalities behind this can all by tricky so to make sure that all your Ts are crossed and your Is are dotted, hire a lawyer who is familiar with local, state, and federal regulations to help you determine if you have a case and what is the best course of action for you to take.
There are many things you can do to improve your credit score; these are just a few tips that can get you started. What you want to avoid at all costs of filing bankruptcy, which can stay on your report for many years after your debt has been cleared. The suggestions listed above are positive and less damaging ways to fix your bad credit score.