Repairing Bad Credit - And Conquering the Confusion

In this article, I would like to explain the concept of credit repair, while also eliminating some confusion on the subject.

Did you know this is one of the most popular topics within the realm of consumer finance? It's true. I frequently review Internet search data to see what topics people are researching online and the phrase "bad credit report repair" comes up a lot.

This tells me two things. First, as I've already mentioned, it means this is a popular topic for American consumers. Secondly, it suggests to me that a lot of people are confused about the terminology associated with repairing credit, and how that terminology relates to them. So let's start with some clarification of the terminology being used here.

Repairing a Score Versus Correcting a Report

The first thing I'd like to clarify is the difference between fixing a bad credit score and correcting an erroneous credit report. It's important to keep these two things separate in your mind, because (while they are obviously related) they are two different things.

Consider the difference:

* If you request copies of your reports from all three credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), only to find an error on one or more of those reports, then you will need to "correct" the erroneous data.

* If you order your credit score through a web-based service like MyFICO, only to find out that your score is low, you will want to "repair" or improve your credit score.

I know these are nitpicky semantic details, but I feel it will eliminate a lot of confusion to keep these things straight. So let's talk about each of these things in more detail:

Correcting Your Reports

If you request copies of your reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax and find errors on those reports, you will need to correct those errors as soon as possible. It's important to request corrections as soon as possible because the process takes time, and you want to have it resolved before applying for any kind of loans.

To do this, you will want to submit a dispute with the company that produced the erroneous report. You can find some specific instructions on disputing errors on the websites of the three aforementioned companies.

Improving Your Score

In this scenario, let's say that you request your credit score and find that your score is pretty low (lower than the national average). You know that a good score will help you get a good interest rate on a mortgage -- among other things -- so you want to improve your bad credit.

This is different from correcting an erroneous report. Here, you are not simply fixing admin errors on paperwork, but adjusting your own financial habits to achieve a more favorable credit score. This would involve such things as paying down your debt, making all bill payments on time, etc.

I hope this article helps clear up some of the confusion about bad credit report repair and similar topics. Remember, your scores and reports are two different thing. You have three of each, as derived by the information collected from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Brandon Cornett publishes a weekly blog column under the alias "Captain Credit." To learn more about bad credit repair and similar topics (from a home buying angle), please visit the Captain at http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/credit.php

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5 Sure Fire Ways to Repair Your Credit

Having a good credit score can be invaluable these days. There are times when you need to borrow money or pursue other endeavors that require checking your credit score. Wouldn't it be nice to have a great credit score and to never have to be embarrassed about your credit again? Here are five surefire ways to repair your credit and build a reputable credit history once again.

Step One: Get Good Credit by Repairing the Bad Credit Before you can get good credit, you must first take care of all bad credit. First, pay off old debts that might be showing on your credit report. Even paying off medical bills can help with your credit scoring. To do this, get a copy of your credit report first to see what your credit score is and what types of old debts are showing. Those that are from years ago should be taken care of first. Before making huge lump payments, write a letter to each of those creditors politely asking for a reduction in your balance if possible. You'd be amazed at how much some companies will reduce your debt just to get it cleared. The more debts you clear, the better your credit history will look!

Step Two: Raise Credit Score with Lien or Judgment Removal You'll find that liens and judgments can be removed from your credit report once you pay off those old debts. Also, if you believe a lien or judgment was issued in error, you can possibly get this removed by providing proof that it is an error. When you get a copy of your credit history, be sure to check for any errors that may harm your credit score.

Step Three: Avoid Applying for New Credit Unnecessarily Never allow a company to check your credit just for the sake of checking credit. Avoid many of the credit card offerings you receive in the mail. Also, say "no" to department store clerks who want you to sign up for the new store discount card. All these little credit inquiries harm your credit score! Only apply for credit that you really need and can afford. A mortgage on your home is necessary; a boat to go fishing on the weekends is not. Make choices based on needs. Save up your money for pleasurable items. You'll appreciate them more without interest.

Step Four: Use Credit Cards Wisely Though it's difficult to avoid credit cards altogether in today's society, you can certainly learn to use them wisely. Keep your credit card balances paid off on a monthly basis. Try to use them only for convenience, not to borrow money every time you go shopping. You can use credit cards to keep up with certain bills, business accounting, or even for special purchases.

Step Five: Don't Sweat the Small Bill Disputes If there's a small bill amount that you believe has been billed to you in error, it might be best to go ahead and pay it if you have no luck with the dispute. For example, letting a $25 charge on your utility bill go might not be worth the lower credit score. If you're still concerned with how to repair your credit, there are many credit repair kits to teach you step-by-step how to get your credit history back on track. It might not happen over night, but it can happen!

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web.

Learn more about 5 Ways to Repair Your Credit or Majon's FinancingInvesting directory.

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