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Repair Your Credit: Keeping Your Credit Profile Error-Free

Repair Your Credit

Mistakes in your credit report can drag down your score, making it harder to qualify for financing at low-interest rates. But you have a right to review your reports each year and dispute information that you believe is incorrect. This process is known as credit repair. Learn how it works and how to repair your credit for free on your own.

Continue learning how to improve your credit

Credit repair is just one part of building your way to a better credit score. This video series explains everything you need to know to achieve good credit and avoid actions that can damage your score.

Achieving and maintaining a good credit score and a clean credit profile is a constant game of strategy. By knowing what moves to take to build credit and what moves to avoid so you don’t damage your score, you can develop an effective credit management strategy that helps you hit and keep up the high credit score you really want.
  1. Game of Good Credit: Your Credit Score

    Game of Good Credit: Your Credit Score Achieving and maintaining a good credit score and a clean credit profile is a constant game of strategy. By knowing what moves to take to build credit and what moves to avoid so you don’t damage your score, you can develop an effective credit management strategy that helps you hit and keep up the high credit score you really want.

    Come on down! You’re the next contestant on the Game of Good Credit!

    Achieving good credit is a game of strategy. You have to play tactically if you want to win.

    Let’s begin with the basic gameplay of how to go from the starting point to winning the game of good credit so you can maximize your credit score. The overall goal in the game is to move forward from the starting point, taking the right steps to reach your credit goal.

    Each step you take can have a positive, negative or neutral effect. You want to make smart moves that boost your score, while avoiding traps that set you back. Positive actions like making payments on time and keeping your credit utilization low help move you forward. And doing things like paying off a credit card in full can give you a big jump up the board. But actions like paying late or allowing an account to go into collections can set you back and put you farther away from your credit score goal.

    As you play the Game of Good Credit, keep in mind that even if you have to make a really bad move it doesn’t mean you’ll have bad credit forever. You may just have to start again to begin moving forward toward the score you want. Most negative actions set you back for 7 years. Although some things like Chapter 7 bankruptcy can set you back longer. But if you have a setback, you can start to move forward immediately!

    The BEST move you can make is to pay your bills on time – this is the biggest factor in calculating your score. Each time you pay a credit card or loan on time it’s a positive action that lets you move forward. If you’ve had setbacks, start making payments on time to move forward again. But keep in mind that the amount of credit you use affects how quickly you can move up the board.

    Credit utilization is the second biggest factor in calculating credit scores – that’s the amount of debt you have relative to your total available credit. The less debt you have, the faster you can advance towards better credit. So by keeping your debt low and making payments on time you can forward to get closer to your credit goal.

    Length of credit history is the third biggest factor in your score – creditors believe people who have been playing the game longer are better at it. So don’t close your oldest accounts or let creditors close them due to inactivity, because this can actually set you back. Keep accounts in good standing and you’ll get an extra boost on your way to a winning credit score.

    The number of times you apply for new credit within a six month period is a factor in your credit score. If you try to take too many new credit moves at once, you can actually get set back. Only draw a new loan or credit card when you really need it, and don’t apply for credit cards in quick succession. That way getting new credit will be a neutral action that doesn’t set you back.

    The type of credit and number of accounts you have also has an impact on your ability to win the game. If you pick up a diverse variety of debts along the way like a mortgage and other loans along with a credit card or two, you’ll have an easier time reaching your goal.

    We have a few tips that can help put the big win within reach. Be aware that you can be penalized paying late as well as for moves that you didn’t actually take. This happens when negative items appear in your credit report by mistake – the credit bureaus think you made a bad move when you really didn’t. If this occurs, you have the right to dispute the item to have it removed. If you’re successful with a dispute, you’ll move up the board.

    Additionally, players often think asking for help will set them back from reaching a winning credit score. But using services like credit counseling if you’re having trouble can actually help you move forward faster instead of setting you back. Completing a debt management program helps you eliminate credit card debt and may aid in helping you build a positive payment history. It can also help you avoid major setbacks on the board like debt settlement and bankruptcy. So you can get the help you need and still reach your ultimate credit goal, allowing you to win at the game of good credit to improve your financial standing overall.

    Make the move to Consolidated Credit and let us help you develop a winning strategy to help you eliminate debt so you can achieve your credit goals.

  2. How to Read a Credit Report

    How to Read a Credit Report Your credit report can make or break your ability to qualify for loans and credit cards. It helps lenders understand your risk as a borrower and assess your creditworthiness during financing decisions. With so much riding on your credit report, it’s critical that you’re able to read and understand your credit report. This video walks you step by step through your credit report so you understand the information it contains.

    Welcome to the Game of Good Credit! If you want to win, you need the right strategy and you must be able to move effectively through your credit report. From start to finish, there are six sections that can come into play.

    The starting point is personal information. This includes basic details likes your name, address, employers and aliases. As you move along, check that everything is correct – especially for aliases. Because if you get confused for another player it can set you back significantly.

    The second section you pass through is also the largest – credit history. You move through each account to review payment history and account status. Remember each late payment sets you back, bit by bit. And the longer an account goes unpaid, the further it will put you back. Accounts in good standing with a positive payment history help you move forward. But if you fall behind you can also land on other negative items, like collections, charge-offs, repossessions and foreclosure, which can really cost you credit-wise.

    The next section is where you encounter credit inquiries. Too many hard inquiries from authorized credit checks can set you back here.

    The next section covers public records, like civil lawsuits and court judgments. If you don’t have any of these records on file, this section may not appear and you can skip ahead. But if you owe something like bad child support, it can slow you up. And you may have to payout in order to get moving again. This section also includes third-party collection accounts. These can put you back in a big way, so it’s best to avoid them.

    Next you’ll run into a section for consumer statements. If you lose a dispute to remove a negative item, you can add a consumer statement that explains what happened. The effect of these statements on your game is always neutral.

    Finally, you’ll encounter a summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This isn’t really part of the game, so much as a list of rules for fair gameplay. If you read this it helps you understand your credit better so it’s easier to win. You can learn about all of the rights protected by federal law, so it’s easier to win and achieve the best score possible.

    It’s important to note that each credit bureau has their own version of your credit report. So, fields may not be exactly arranged the same from one bureau to the next. While the board may look a little different, gameplay should be the same.

    For more information on winning the game of good credit, visit ConsolidatedCreidt.org.

  3. How Long Will Negative Items Affect You?

    How Long Will Negative Items Affect You? In the Game of Good Credit, negative credit report items hold you back from achieving the score you want. This video explains how long negative items remain on your credit report. Luckily, in the world of credit, (almost) nothing lasts forever. Learn when you can expect negative items to drop off and what you can do in the meantime to offset the damage.

    Welcome back, contestants, to the Game of Good Credit!

    Do you have the right strategy to win? The game of good credit is easy to win with the right moves. And winning means you achieve a good credit score that helps you get approved with low rates. But some actions you take can set you back.

    By law, filing for bankruptcy hits you with a penalty that sets you back 10 years from the date of filing. Except if you file for Chapter 13 – the bureaus stop the penalty after 7 years. This minimizes the setback so it’s easier to recover.

    Things that happen outside your credit file can also affect your game – civil suits, court judgments and records of arrest can come up. These public records remain for 7 years from the date of entry OR as long as the current governing statute of limitations allows – whichever is longer.

    Unpaid taxes can also set you back. A paid tax lien sets you back seven years from the date the lien was paid. On the other hand, if you leave a lien unpaid it can stop you in your tracks and remain indefinitely until you pay it off. That is, except in Experian’s game where the penalty for unpaid tax liens ends after 15 years.

    Every time you pay on time it creates a positive space that stays on your credit forever and pushes you ahead. But each time you pay more than 30 days late, it sets you back 7 years from the date the payment was missed. And the longer a debt goes unpaid, the more it sets you back. If you let it go unpaid too long, the creditor writes off the account and changes the status to charge-off. Charge offs also set you back 7 years.

    There is one exception to that rule… If you default on a federal student loan and then bring it current, any negative actions from the late payments disappear. But for all other debts, charge-offs are usually sold to collections, which creates ANOTHER trouble space that causes issues for 7 years. So, letting a debt slip into default is almost a double or triple whammy to your game.

    However, don’t believe a collector if they say they have ways of ruining your credit game forever. That’s just not true. Nothing you do can get you kicked out of the credit game forever. Any penalty you encounter will only set you back. But you can offset these setbacks by taking positive actions that help you move forward. So even if your period of financial distress puts you back at Square One, you can start again and get right back in the game.

    For more information on winning the Game of Good Credit, visit ConsolidatedCredit.org

  4. Understanding Credit Inquiries

    Understanding Credit Inquiries In the Game of Good Credit, only some credit inquiries can affect your credit score. You can check your credit as often as you want without decreasing your score. Inquiries from employers, insurers, landlords and even for pre-approved credit offers don’t count against you either.

    Welcome, to the Game of Good Credit. Winning at the Game of Good Credit means taking the right actions to achieve a high score. So, let’s look at how credit inquiries can affect your score.

    A credit inquiry happens when you authorize someone to run a credit check. Creditors and lenders run credit checks when you apply for financing. They look at your gameplay history to assess your creditworthiness.

    In addition, employers, landlords and even insurance companies can run checks. They review your credit to evaluate risk. Even when you check your credit, it creates an inquiry on your report.

    For the most part inquiries have a neutral impact on your credit game – they don’t move you forward or back. You can check your credit as often as you want and it won’t create a negative item or set you back. Employment and insurance related inquiries have a neutral impact, too. And even when a creditor checks your credit to extend a pre-approved offer the effect is neutral. So, while all these inquiries appear on the field, their effects are neutral. That’s why these are referred to as “soft inquiries.”

    However, if you apply for a loan or credit card, that creates a “hard inquiry.” One or two hard inquiries within a certain time is fine – the effect on your game is still neutral. But if you have credit applications – one after another – within a six-month period, then it becomes an issue that can set you back from the high score you want.

    If you apply for a mortgage or car loan and shop around, each lender runs a credit check when you request a quote. HOWEVER, in this case you don’t get penalized for comparison shopping. All the inquiries get grouped together so the effect is neutral. Just keep in mind that the same thing doesn’t happen with credit cards or other types of loans.

    For more information on winning the game of good credit, visit ConsolidatedCredit.org

  5. Repairing Your Credit for Free

    Repairing Your Credit for Free Don’t get scammed or get stuck paying a company for credit repair when you can do it on your own! Learn how to identify and dispute mistakes that you find in your credit report. If the credit bureaus can’t verify an item that you question, it must be removed.

    Welcome, contestants, to an exciting round of the Game of Good Credit. If you’ve ever lost big in the Game of Good Credit, it can feel like you’ll never be able to win again. But if you take the right move advising you can get back to winning score faster than you think.

    A winning game plan often starts by cleaning up your credit report. It helps you clear the board so you can move forward effectively. Negative items can linger longer than necessary. You may have actually made some bad moves, but some negative items that show up may not be real at all.

    So, the first step in your game plan should be to order your credit reports through annualcreditreport.com. Answer a few security questions, pass through the portal and access your profile from each credit bureau.  After a bad credit loss, you’ll want to play through three rounds of review – one for each bureau.

    As you work through each round, look for trouble spots that could set you back. Make sure those items are legitimate. But keep an eye out for errors, such as mistakes in your personal information. But take note if your report shows duplicate accounts or accounts that shouldn’t be there.

    Detail any information that’s not correct: Look for late payments that you actually made on time and identify bad account statuses that might be outdated. See if there are any hard credit inquiries that you didn’t authorize.

    Now you can dispute these errors to the credit bureau to have them verified or removed. They have 30 days to respond to a dispute. Once that clock expires, the item must be verified or, by law, it must be removed from your report.

    This is how you clean up your credit so past issues don’t affect your current game. If you’re ever unsure of any credit rules, call the toll-free number for the bureau listed on the report. They’re required to explain any rules you don’t understand so you can play with confidence.

    For more tips on how to win the Game of Good Credit, visit ConsolidatedCredit.org.