You can repair your credit score by fixing errors – for free – without the help of anyone. There are credit repair companies that can help you repair your credit, but those services come at a price. It’s also a great time to start your credit-repair journey alone because the credit bureaus have opened up access to track your progress yourself!
What Does a Credit Repair Company Do?
Credit repair is defined as fixing your credit reports to raise your credit score. Borrowers with negative marks on their credit reports are often tempted to enlist the help of credit repair companies, but the truth is, you can fix your own credit reports alone.
A credit repair company can’t randomly raise your credit score just because you paid them (if they advertise this, 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, look at your credit reports to see if there are errors that need to be corrected.
However, you don’t need a credit repair company to do any of this, because it’s your right to dispute incorrect information yourself and have it fixed for free.
Dispute Inaccuracies Yourself to Repair Credit
Credit repair by a dispute is the process of correcting errors on your credit reports with the goal to improve your credit score. For example, say you had an account in collections and you paid it off, but it’s been a few months and the credit bureaus haven’t reported it as resolved yet. You can file a dispute with that credit bureau, send proof that you paid that collection account off, to have it accurately reported on your credit reports to improve your credit score.
It doesn’t cost you anything to file a dispute – except maybe your time and energy. If you have multiple errors on your credit reports and don’t have the time to resolve them, then a credit repair company may be worth your time. But if you only have a few things that need to be corrected, then doing it yourself saves you money.
If your credit reports are littered with inaccuracies and you don’t have the time or know-how to resolve them, then visit our resource center for more information on credit repair companies.
What Can I Fix on My Credit Reports?
For a dispute to be considered, you typically need to provide proof that the disputed account is inaccurate. This means you may not be able to “fix” every negative mark on your credit reports.
If you filed for bankruptcy and it’s reported as such, you can’t simply report that bankruptcy as inaccurate to remove it from your credit reports. The credit bureaus have up to 30 days to investigate the account you disputed, and if proven inaccurate, they remove 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 that were the result of identity theft or accounts that aren’t yours
- Incorrect personal information such as your birth date or past addresses
- Duplicate accounts
- Payments that were reported late but were actually on time
- Inaccurate loan balances
- An account’s status (active, closed, past-due)
- Hard inquiries that you never approved
- Accounts that should have been included in bankruptcy
You can file a dispute online for free with all three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. In many cases, you need some kind of proof that a disputed account is inaccurate, so it may be wise to gather supporting documents such as receipts, verification emails, or screenshots to increase your chances of it getting removed. Sometimes, a credit bureau may not need any proof to remove inaccurate information, but that usually depends on what you’re reporting.
Checking Your Credit Repair Progress
Due to the pandemic, the credit bureaus are allowing all consumers the opportunity to request their credit reports for free each week. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit reports so you can keep track of your progress, check on disputed accounts, and make sure your credit reports remain 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 keep track of their financial wellness, so weekly access is available until April 2022 – so jump on it while you can!
No Errors? Build Credit Other Ways
Errors can happen, but bad credit could simply be the result of past mistakes, financial instability, job loss, divorce, or just a lack of credit history. If your credit reports are accurate and you have nothing to fix, then building a credit history with new credit could be the path to take.
Installment loans are a great way to build a payment history since installment loans such as mortgages and auto loans typically last for years. If you completely pay off an installment loan without any mistakes, it could boost your credit score significantly and possibly increase your chances of getting future credit because you’ve proven your ability to repay borrowed money.
Many borrowers start off their credit history with a car loan, and other bad credit borrowers can get back on track with one, too. It’s not always easy to get approved for an auto loan when your credit score isn’t great, but we want to help.
Bad Credit Lending Opportunities
If taking on an installment loan to build your credit score is the route you want to take, let us guide your way at Auto Credit Express. We’ve spent over two decades cultivating a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that specialize in assisting borrowers with less than perfect credit. To get matched to a dealer in your local area, complete our free auto loan request form.