Repairing Bad Credit is a difficult process, but a bad credit rating can keep you from renting an apartment, getting a credit card or loan, or even getting a job. About.com guides you through the process of erasing your past financial mistakes and getting on a path to good credit in the future.
First of all, this is a process that you do not need a professional’s help for. You may see many ads for credit repair services, but there is nothing they can do that you can’t do on your own. You first step will be to order copies of your credit report. You can do this for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com, or if you’ve been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report. If you’ve already ordered your free annual report, you can pay to order them directly from the credit bureaus.
After you have your report, review it for errors and contact the reporting agency if you find any. You’ll need to include proof such as a cancelled check that proves you made your payment on time and a copy of your report with the disputed information highlighted. Alternatively, you can contact the company who listed the information on your credit report and dispute the mistake directly with them. If you win your dispute, your credit report will be updated and you will receive a new copy. If your dispute is not successful, your report will be marked that you disputed the information and you can add a personal statement to your credit report.
Your next step is to tackle past due accounts. First, pay accounts that are past due, but not yet “charged-off”. Then pay off charged-off accounts and accounts in collection. After that, be sure to bring high balances back to below the credit limit. Finally, apply for new credit, which you then pay in a timely manner and keep a low balance on. That will rebuild your credit, showing future creditors you are a worthy risk.