If you want to improve your credit score, you need to go right to the source – your credit report. Your credit report contains the information and data on which your credit score is based. If you can alter or update the information in your credit report, your credit score will change to reflect the alterations. For this reason, getting and checking your credit report is one of the first things you should do when you attempt to repair your credit score.
Mistakes in any area of your credit report can affect your score, so be sure to check the entire report for inaccuracies and errors.
There are a few tips that can help you deal with your credit report so that you can give your credit score a boots:
- Dispute errors on your credit report
Contact each of the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – and get copies of your credit report and credit scores. Carefully read over the reports and note any errors. In writing, contact the credit bureaus and ask that mistakes be removed or investigated. This is called a dispute letter and once it is received, credit bureaus have to investigate the dispute within thirty days of receiving your letter. You should not be accusatory or abusive in your letter – calmly and clearly state the problem and request an investigation.
- Add a note to your credit report if there is a problem you can’t resolve
Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons why you didn’t pay a bill. If a contractor refused to finish a job or did a poor job, then you may have refused payment, but the non-payment may still count against you on your credit report. If there are any unusual circumstances surrounding your credit report that may affect your credit rating – such as a case of identity theft – you can ask that a note be attached to your credit report to explain the problem. Some lenders will pay attention to this and some will not, but it is a better solution than nothing at all.
- Contact creditors as well as credit bureaus when correcting inaccuracies in your credit report
When debtors find mistakes on their credit report, they often only contact the credit bureaus. While this is the most effective way to resolve the issue, you should in some cases contact the creditors whose account has caused a ding on your credit report. This can help future dings and resolve problems faster. For example: If you notice that a credit card company has you listed as having late payments three months when you paid on time, then it is time to contact the credit card company and ask how to resolve the problem. The credit company, unlike the credit bureau, depends on your business for their money. This means that the credit company (or any other bill company presenting inaccurate information about you) is well motivated to correct the problem or risk losing you as a client.
When you get your credit report, it is important that you look at all parts of your credit report and understand what you are reading. Mistakes in any area of your credit report can affect your score, so be sure to check the entire report for inaccuracies and errors.