Five Tips to Restore Credit

James C Brand
July 16, 2009 — 1,483 views  
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After two years of deep recession, many people need to restore credit scores. Here are five tips to help you restore credit for you and your family.

Lots of people have 'fallen out of the sky' over the last 24 months due to the financial crisis around the world. There a little glimmers of hope that the crisis is lessening and now is the time to regain control over your credit. Whether you have a couple of small glitches or the bottom fell out completely for you, any credit situation can be improved.

1. You gotta know! Find out exactly what the bureaus are saying about you. It may be ugly. It may be painful, but you gotta do it! There are 3 major bureaus in the United States; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. By law, you have the right to one free report every 12 months from each of the 3 credit bureaus.

2. Take each of the reports and check for accuracy. Quite honestly, they are accurate 95%+ of the time. But mistakes do happen. So, if you've never had an account at Victoria Secrets , you need to find out about it. If something is wrong or fishy about an entry, there will be information at the bottom of each of the reports as to how to let the bureau know about the inaccuracy. CHECK EACH BUREAU! You will see some have accounts and others don't. Of course, you may not want to point out a negative account on one bureau to another bureau! Let them find it for themselves!

3. Notice that not all of your accounts are auto loans, or credit cards, or mortgages. You may see some 'Collection Accts'. These may be from medical bills, utilities, or cell companies to name a few. Tracking down collection agencies can be difficult. I can't tell you how many times, for example, people have medical collection accounts showing up when they had full coverage insurance! How this happens doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact it did! It is a pain, but get those off your report if this is the case. You'll have to contact the medical provider and go at it from that direction. They will tell you they will contact the bureaus, but get a letter from them 'just in case.'

4. Now, you need to contact the credit card companies and others to see if you can set-up a payment plan. Often they will settle for less-than-the-balance just to close the file. Right now, the companies are experiencing very high levels of deliquency and a more flexible than ever. It is painful and intimidating, but give them a chance. Some will remove late charges, lower rates, stretch out terms to make something work for both of you.

5. Be sure to make a budget. I know, I know . . . but do it anyway. It will be liberating to get the numbers out of you head and onto paper.

One small step inspires the next and the next. Hopefully some of this will be helpful to you. Just know things will get better . . . and be prepared when they do!

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About the Author

I have been involved in consumer credit through auto industry since 1983.

James C Brand