Quick Steps to Raising your Credit Score over 100 Points & Repairing Your Credit:
1. Order your credit reports & FICO scores from all 3 of the reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TRW)
2. Thoroughly review all info contained on each of the three reports including employment info, address info, positive & negative listings and write to each of the agencies to specify any incorrect information, even if it seems insignificant (like a listed place of employment where you have never worked for instance, or a mailing address you do not recognize).
3. Dispute all negative items listed on all of your reports in order to confirm the validity of each listing shown (typical reasons to dispute include: the debt is not yours, your identity was stolen, you have since paid off the debt, the debt first appeared over 7 years ago on your credit reports & a creditor is trying to reinstate the listing again after all this time). Use whichever reasoning applies in your case. Some credit reporting agencies have special dispute forms that can be ordered through mail and found online on their websites. The easiest way though is to write a form letter to each of the three agencies that is identical stating all corrections needing to made, stating reasons for any disputes of negative information and clarifying all discrepancies you noticed in your reports. Be sure to include your full name and social security number as well as your mailing address so that they can identify you and correspond with you. You may need to write more than one letter after you receive each response from each agency. I personally wrote a total of three different letters to each agency depending upon the response I got from each. It took a few months but be sure not to give up and to persist. And NEVER pay any credit repair place or consultant to do this for you! It is really is as simple and as easy as it sounds and they will only use up the money you should be spending repaying off your outstanding debt in order to fix your own credit! Mostly, those people and companies that claim they can repair your credit or consolidate your debt are scams or only ways to get you to apply for a new loan through them! Spend your own time & energy working to do this for yourself! You are definitely worth it and you will ultimately be beaming with self-satisfaction after you see the results!
4. Begin, if you have not already, to pay off every single outstanding debt listed on your reports, even if you have to pay in installments over the entire 12 months! If a debt is so astronomical that you can’t even fathom being able to pay it off within 12 months given your personal budget, contact the creditor to see if you can settle for a lesser amount paid in full on the spot (but be warned to have some money saved specifically for this purpose or a kind family member willing to foot the bill until you can pay it back.) Many debt collection agencies will actually tell you what the lowest amount of money they will accept to completely pay off the debt in full all at once. Be sure to keep trying. NOTE: The older the debt is and they longer it has been on your reports, the better the chance of getting the creditor to agree to a lesser pay-off amount. I do want to let it be known that if for instance you cannot decide whether or not to pay off a debt that is about to hit the seven year mark, re-evaluate the entire debt. Review it thoroughly and contact the creditor to find out the original month and year it was first entered in your reports. Also, be certain to confirm which of the three reports the debt is listed on (not all creditors post negative info on all reports and you may find that it only shows up on one or two of your credit reports, not all three). Once you have confirmed the exact month and year the debt was first listed, then decide for yourself whether you can afford to pay it off (after calling to settle for a lower pay-off amount), or whether you simply want to wait out the remaining months until it legally has to by law be removed from your reports. Use your discretion here and be realistic where you efforts and budget are concerned. Good luck, you will begin to find that most of your creditors will be extremely pleased by your efforts to make good on your outstanding debt and many will certainly work with you to provide options which enable you to fulfill your obligation.
5. Next, begin to feel the sense of personal satisfaction that comes from doing the right thing, even if it has been after all those years. And, you can give yourself permission to get excited because within 12 months, your credit history will surely change.
6. Get yourself a secured credit card through your bank or through a large, well-known, reputable bank most people recognize. Try to steer away from obscure banks offering these cards as you won’t know their history, track record, fees and whether or not they will report to the three credit reporting agencies as you build your new history. Gather $300-$1000 if you can spare it and put it down as collateral for your new secured credit card. The more money you sacrifice, the higher your spending limit and the better it looks on your credit report to be trusted to repay larger sums of money! Just be sure you can afford everything you buy at all times and could pay it off in full anytime if you needed to. That way you will avoid living beyond your means and incurring new negative debt! NOTE: MOST SECURED CARD COMPANIES WILL OFFER YOU AN UNSECURED CREDIT CARD AFTER ONE FULL YEAR OF POSITIVE CREDIT PAYMENT HISTORY WITH YOUR SECURED CARD! BE SURE TO INQUIRE ABOUT IT IF THEY HAVE NOT MENTIONED IT TO YOU. A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A BANK THAT DOES THIS IS WELLS FARGO BANK IN CALIFORNIA.
7. Apply for a line of credit somewhere where approval is easy like Fingerhut (check it out online at http://www.fingerhut.com ) who is usually willing to give everyone at least a small line of credit (usually around $150-$300 to start off until you establish a payment history over time with them. If you can find any other places close to where you live, try them as well, but limit your applications to no more than 3-4. Be sure to apply for them all within the same week period so that you are not penalized with too many points on your credit reports. The credit reporting companies allow you to have the same types of inquiries on your credit as long as it is within the same month (such as running your credit when apartment hunting, applying for credit cards, loans, etc.). They will only deduct cumulative points from your credit score as opposed to separate points for each separate inquiry as long as it stays within the same given month, meaning the month of January days 1-31, not 31 days after you apply no matter when it falls in the month. To be safe, start in the beginning of the month and finish all your credit applications as soon as you can, even the same day if you have to in order to avoid additional deductions of credit score points! ONLY DO THIS ONCE DURING THE ENTIRE 12 MONTH PERIOD OTHERWISE YOU RISK DOWNING YOUR SCORE THROUGH TOO MUCH INQUIRY!
8. Buy something you can afford to pay off in full every month on your secured card and pay it off in full the following month or as soon as possible. With Fingerhut, buy something and pay off only the minimum monthly payment for as many months as you can drag it out. For instance, buy something for your kids priced at $189 and choose to pay only the monthly installment payment of $12.99 and do that for like 3 months or so and then just pay the entire balance off during the fourth month. Then wait a month or two and do the same thing again. A word to the wise: be sure to purchase only items which you know you could afford to pay off in full at any time. This way you will not create any new debt or become tempted to blow it off and worsen things for yourself. Also, no matter what pay all of your bills and if possible, early!
9. WAIT! Yes, you will also have to wait. Time will help to heal your credit report more than anything. As you continue to make good on all of your outstanding debt or wait for it to fall off your report into the abyss, your score will increase. I promise! It will seem incredible how much it increases to you! Trust me, I am speaking for personal experience.
10. Continue to request and inspect your three credit reports and your credit score from all three agencies as well. Do this at about the halfway mark at about 6 months into your plan. Watch as your negative reported items become a little less negative and then at some point neutral with reference to their impact on your FICO score!
11. Remember: BE PATIENT, PROTECT YOUR NEW POSITIVE CREDIT IDENTITY FROM FRAUD & THEFT, WAIT IT OUT & KEEP UP WITH THIS PLAN FOR THE FULL 12 MONTHS OR UNTIL ALL OF YOUR OUTSTANDING DEBTS HAVE BEEN PAID OFF & YOU HAVE AT LEAST 6 MONTHS HISTORY WITH YOUR SECURED CREDIT CARD IN POSITIVE STANDING & KNOW THEY ARE REPORTING IT ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS FOR SURE!
This is the method that enabled me to personally raise my FICO scores from the low 500’s to 650 within only 12 months! I did have assistance though from a free credit counselor who helped to advise me and I highly recommend that too but it isn’t necessary if you cannot find one or do not care to. I am continuing to nurture my new credit scores in hopes that it will surely continue to increase and in time be the score I have always wanted and so desperately needed in order to secure the best interest rates, credit offers, loans and necessities for good financial literacy and fitness. I am hopeful this article will be of some assistance to those out there who might be struggling to break free from an irresponsible past. We cannot change how we abused our credit in the past, but we can sure adopt new skills for repairing the damage done and new habits to ensure future success. Credit and financial literacy as well as budgeting are definitely skills one must learn. They are important enough to replace some course work mandated by most schools in this country. I wish my mother had taught me better but the truth of the matter is, it simply did not occur to her that I may not value my credit history or make good on my promises to pay or know about saving money and not applying for credit I was unable to afford. She really had no idea. I doubt anybody back then did. Now, we all know whether it is due to negative experience or through seeing positive examples in our midst. We all now just know it is important and once and for all, that is good!