4 Simple Steps to Improving Your Credit Score

March 7, 2018

First and foremost, don’t hire someone to fix your credit score. You can do it!

The first step is to review your credit report. You can get one credit report free each year from www.annualcreditreport.com. Download it and review it.

As you look through your report, pay attention to any negative marks. If you see something that doesn’t look quite right, take a deeper look. It is possible that the debt tied to your account is not yours.

1. Dispute errors.

Every day people find errors in their credit reports. If you find an error you can dispute it through one of the credit agencies. It is worth taking the time to correct any errors you find. Be sure to correct:
  • Accounts that do not belong to you
  • Payments that show up as late on accounts that aren’t yours
  • Any past due accounts that were late, charged off or sent to a collections agency
  • Balances that are over the credit limit

If you think a debt collector has made an error, contact them directly. Ask them to validate the debt to verify the debt is yours. If the debt collector cannot validate the collection then it should come off your credit report. After contacting the collector, be sure to continue to watch to make sure it is removed.

2. Check the dates.

Check to verify the date of the delinquencies. Any delinquencies on your credit should automatically be removed after 7 years from the date of repayment. The credit bureaus don’t always remove those delinquencies so you should check again at the end of seven years. If you find this on your credit report, your first call should be to the credit bureau to dispute the charge.

3. Get your debts current.

Payment history has a significant impact on your score. 35% of the total credit score is based on the timeliness of your payments. Make sure all your accounts are paid in full or at a minimum are current.

4. Negotiate.

If you have paid the debt off completely, ask the original creditor or the debt collector for a “goodwill deletion.” Write the collector a letter explaining why it would be helpful if they would remove the debt.  Perhaps you are looking to apply for additional financing for your business and the impact of the debt on your credit is making it harder to secure financing. Creditors aren’t required to remove the debt from your credit, but it is worth asking. Their removal of the debt could have a very significant and positive impact on your credit score.

Even if the debt has not been made current, some collectors may agree to remove the record from your account in exchange for repayment of the debt. This will remove the information about the collections account, but the record from the original creditor will remain. 

Fixing a damaged credit score isn’t an easy task. It can be a time consuming process, but in the end following these 5 steps will help you will reap significant rewards.