Everyone knows it’s important to have good credit. A good credit score means more borrowing options provided to you at a better rate and lower insurance premiums, in addition to plenty of other important benefits. If you’re dealing with a bad credit history, you can be turned down for credit cards, an apartment, or even a car loan. If that’s you, it’s time to do something about it. But what exactly can you do? Most of the time you can actually fix your credit all by yourself – you just need to know what to do. Here’s a look at how you can take matters into your own hands and fix your credit history.
1. Your credit report has inaccuracies.
According to Nerd Wallet, your first step needs to be accessing your free annual credit reports from three different bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Just go to Annual Credit Report, enter your personal information and answer a few verification questions. Once you’ve got your credit reports in hand, closely look them over, keeping an eye out for any errors. (So far, so good, right? This doesn’t require professional help.)
A 2012 study by the FTC states that 26 percent of credit reports contain errors, and 13 percent of credit reports contain errors that hurt credit scores. If you are part of the 13 percent and find a discrepancy, gather whatever proof you can to prove the errors are incorrect. “Make copies of this proof and send them to the various reporting bureaus with a written explanation of your claim. This explanation should include your name and address, a statement on which items are inaccurate, and the reasons why they are inaccurate,” according to Nerd Wallet.
The credit reporting bureau must investigate within thirty days, writes ABC News. Wait thirty days, and then follow up, making sure the inaccurate items are gone. From there, make sure you regularly look at your credit report to ensure it remains error-free. Should you use a professional to help you? MSN Money says no. Taking the above steps are the only real ways to influence a credit history, meaning a pro can’t do anything differently than you (other than take some of your money).