Clean up Your Credit History in 5 Steps

Almost all credit reports have invalid entries, other errors and omissions, but you can clean up your credit history. By taking steps to remove damaging information and to add to your record of responsible bill payment, you may be able to raise your credit score significantly.

Step 1
Review Your Current Credit Report

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit history every year. You are also entitled to a free copy if you have been denied credit or employment as a result of information contained on a credit history report. Order a copy of your credit report and carefully review it for incorrect information. Be prepared to challenge several items every year.

As you go through the report, make careful notes about problems (e.g., an account listed is not yours, an account is settled, there is inaccurate account information, etc).

Step 2
Collect Supporting Data

To challenge incorrect entries, you will need to provide supporting data if possible. Examples are copies of canceled checks,
bankruptcy discharge information and letters from a creditor settling a debt.

Providing such evidence is not possible, of course, if an account has been either completely reported incorrectly or opened in your name fraudulently. In either of these cases, you will need to state why the information is incorrect.

Step 3
Challenge Entries

You will need to write a letter challenging each incorrect or invalid entry. In your letter, include your contact and personal information (name, address, Social Security number and date of birth) and what is incorrect on your credit history report. Include copies of any supporting data.

By law, credit reporting agencies are required to conduct an investigation and make corrections or changes within 30 days. An investigation includes contacting the reporting creditor and verifying the reported information. If the creditor does not provide evidence to support the reported information, then the entry must be corrected or deleted.

Step 4
Report Omitted Positive Credit

One of the lesser-used methods of cleaning up credit history is to report positive credit information that is absent from the current report. Many smaller companies
, including utility companies, do not report credit information.

When providing this information to a credit agency, include your contact information and the information about the credit account. Include
the account number and records of payments.

Step 5
Review Updated Credit History Report

Once the credit reporting agency has completed its investigation, it is required to send you a copy of your new updated credit report within 30 days. When you receive it, carefully review the information, verifying that the errors have been corrected or deleted. Also look for any new entries that might be invalid or incorrect.

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