We previously wrote an article about how much Americans are taught about their finances, either in school or from their parents. As it turns out, most of us don’t get good advice, as there’s no real standard in how we’re taught.
This lack of education is what has led to the debt epidemic we have right now. As we go about life, we have a need to figure things out for ourselves, and that includes overcoming mistakes we’ve made that may hurt us down the road if we don’t get them under control.
One of those is the almighty credit report. Yes, the thing that gets pulled every time you want to buy something. Need a loan? Want to buy a car? Is it time for a mortgage? Well, your credit report is probably the single-greatest factor debtors use in determining if you’re eligible to receive help.
The ‘problem’ with credit reports is, if you made a financial mistake when you were younger, it’s going to follow you around for a very long time. If you have several bad hits on your report, you will either be offered loans with extremely high interest or be denied altogether.
If you find yourself struggling and want to know how to fix your credit report, there are four ways to do it.
1) Get Your Credit Repaired
Sometimes, the mistakes on the credit report aren’t yours! Go through the items listed and make sure everything can be verified. If it’s not, you can dispute the charge and the credit bureau has 30 days to verify or it will be removed. This is because law requires all information on your credit report be verified.
Other mistakes can include your report stating you made a late payment, when it was on time. Everyone makes mistakes, so this is something you can clear up. The process is called ‘credit repair’. Once they can’t verify you missed that payment, it will be removed from your report.
Even if you know you owe the debt, you can still find a way to get it cleared from your report. A lot of times, these debts are bought and resold, going from one debt buyer to another. In this case, one of your debt buyers may not have complete information. If this is the case, you can have that debt removed because they can’t verify.
2) Re-age Your Account
A lot of your credit score is determined by active accounts. If you’re not paying a debt and it becomes delinquent, that’s a huge black mark on your record. But, you have the power to change how the debt gets reported to the bureaus.
By contacting the creditor and working out a deal, you can tell them as part of the negotiation process that you’re willing to make payments if they report that your account is current. If you’re faithfully making payments on time, that debt won’t be as bad as a mark and can raise your score higher.
3) Get It Deleted
Debt companies love to negotiate. Each attempt will be different, but you can talk a company into agreeing to remove your debt from collections if you pay a certain amount. As long as they get their money, they’re happy and willing to work with you.
It’s not guaranteed they’ll go through with it though, so this is a risky move. It’s just another weapon in your arsenal that can help you at the negotiating table.
This isn’t the quickest option in getting your debts paid off, but in the credit world, nothing lasts forever. In most cases, your debts will be wiped out within 7 years. If you’re not in a rush and you plan on working on your score, you have the option to wait it out. If you’ve filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that will stay on your record for 10 years.
Of course, the best option is always to stay on top of your debts and pay the off. That will ensure you have a good credit score when you need it. If you don’t, then obtaining credit will be extremely difficult without a cosigner.