How to Clean Up Your Credit Report

If you have ever found yourself denied for credit, you may need to clean your credit report. Credit reports track your credit history, both positive and negative. It is important that your report reflect accurate information. The process to cleaning your credit report requires several steps and depending on the situation, you may need to investigate further to have entries corrected or improved.

Accessing Your Reports

The first step in cleaning your credit report is to request copies from the credit bureaus. The three credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. It is important to get all three reports to ensure that information is being reported correctly to all three bureaus. Also, some businesses only use specific bureaus to pull reports from to make their decisions.

You are entitled to one free credit report from each bureau. You are also entitled additional reports if you have denied credit, are unemployed, receive public assistance or been denied employment. If you are not eligible to receive a free report, you can pay a nominal fee to receive a copy. You will need to provide your personal information, such as birth date and social security number to request the reports.

Reviewing the Reports

Once you have obtained all three reports, go through each report individually and make a list of errors or inaccurate information. Make sure that old information is still not showing up. The information that should not show up is negative information that is more than seven years old. Bankruptcies that are more than ten years old, and credit inquiries that are more than two years old are also aged accounts that should not be reflected by any of the credit bureaus.

Erroneous information can bring your credit score down significantly because it is being factored into your overall credit profile. In addition, be sure to look at your personal information. While it does not affect your credit history, you want to make sure that your information is reported correctly. Other inaccuracies to look for are late payments, incorrect account numbers, closed accounts listed as open and accounts that should be reflected.

Disputing Errors

Once you have compiled a list of errors and inaccuracies, contact the credit bureau to report the issues. If you received your credit report online, you can report any errors and inaccuracies directly on the site. If you received your report via mail, you should document your issues on the forms provided by the bureau.

You have the right to include a summary attached to your report disputing the inaccuracies. This allows anyone who requests your credit history to be notified that there are discrepancies that you are disputing. Once you have reported your findings, the credit bureau must respond in 30 days. By law, creditors are not allowed to report inaccurate information and must change their records to reflect accurate information. Once the errors are corrected, the credit bureau will provide an updated credit report to you.



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