1. Get The Information
You can get a complete view of your credit reports online. There are three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian and they will sell you access for a nominal fee.
You’ll see your score and get to look at each report and see what is negative and what is positive. Since each agency carries different information, it is important to see all three reports in order to get a complete picture of your credit.
2. Look for Errors
Credit bureaus will create reports based on information they get from creditors what they don’t do is verify the information. Double check to make sure that everything is correct. If you see an error you have the right to dispute the claim and have it removed. If there is anything wrong with your report anything at all such as typo’s, outdated or incomplete information you have a basis for a reasonable dispute.
3. Get Rid of the Negatives
Document the credit report by making a copy to a PDF. Once you’ve identified the mistakes on the report then you have the right to dispute the debt. Most credit reporting companies have a dispute form that you can send directly from the website.
In fact all three credit reporting agencies are happy to sell you a do it yourself credit repair program that makes it easy to dispute charges and repair your credit. If you’re willing to do the work it’s well worth the few dollars that they charge for the monthly service.
Once you’ve sent in your dispute the reporting company has 30 days to respond to your complaint. If they do not respond inside that 30 day window they must delete the negative mark by law. They probably won’t unless you remind them of this fact in which case they will.
4. Get Rid of Excess Accounts
Too many credit lines will wind up hurting your score. Most credit experts recommend having between two and four open lines of credit. If you have more than that you’ll want to look at closing out the newer accounts and keeping the older accounts since older accounts show a history of credit stability. When closing out accounts it’s best to do it slowly over a few months so your credit history shows a steady repayment history.
5. Know Your Budget
Having an open savings account shows credit companies that you have the intention of saving so you’ll want to trim the budget, open a savings account, and drop a few coins in it on a regular basis. At the same time, lowering your overall debt level will increase your score.
Credit agencies look at the percentage of debt you hold as it relates to your overall ability to borrow. As an example, if you’re able to borrow 100k and have borrowed 99k your score will drop because you are seen as a potential risk.
If you are able to borrow 100k and only carry 5k of debt you are seen as a good candidate and this is reflected in your score so do what you can to lower your debt to credit limit ratio while also increasing your savings. These actions will go a long way toward immediately improving your score.
Rachel Eagan is a professional blogger that shares financial advice and information to consumers. She writes for TitleMax, which has title pawn stores located nationwide.