Talk to a debt counselor toll free:800-300-9550
Our Clients Rate Us Excellent
Based on 3234 reviewsTrustPilot Reviews
Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of the credit-reporting bureau TransUnion, says it’s more important to clean up your credit reports than focusing on just your credit score. He advises you to pull your credit reports at least once every three months to make sure you haven’t been the victim of identity theft or that they don’t include errors. A report issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2013 revealed that about 20% of us have errors in our credit reports so severe they’re damaging our credit. So it would not be unusual if one of your reports did contain a serious error.
You can also get a better idea of why your credit score is what it is by looking for “risk factors” that could be damaging it and learn from them. There are many different credit-scoring models but there are some risk factors that are consistent from one system to another. These include high balances, numerous credit inquiries, and recent account delinquencies or where you were late in making your payments.
If you don’t understand something
Credit reports are like credit scores in that they weren’t developed for us. They can be difficult to read and contain things that are difficult to understand. If you find items you don’t recognize or understand don’t be afraid to go to your bank or credit union and talk with a loan officer. There is also credit-counseling agencies that could be helpful. And if you do find errors that could be damaging your credit score it’s critical to dispute them. All three of the credit bureaus have forms on their websites for this purpose but it’s much better to write a letter disputing the item(s) along with whatever documentation you have in support of your claim. When the credit bureau receives your letter and documentation it must forward everything to the institution that provided the information you’re challenging. The institution then has 30 days to verify the item. If it doesn’t respond within 30 days or can’t verify the item then it must be removed from all your credit reports.
It’s not easy
The task of wading through all three of your credit reports and working to decipher some of the arcane terminologies won’t be an easy one. But if you do it you will become much smarter about your credit and may even end up with a higher credit score.