Credit,
July 25, 2020

Steps in Your Request for Free Credit Reports

Gregory Weiss
Steps in Your Request for Free Credit Reports

By law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles everyone to a free copy of our credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year. To order your free credit reports, simply visit the federally mandated website at www.annualcreditreport.com

... is important to note that the three major credit reporting agencies are independent competitors and do not share their data. For this reason, you will want to check all three of your credit reports for errors. If you find errors, you will have to file a dispute directly with the credit reporting agency when the error is reported.

Review Your Credit Reports for Errors

Once you've obtained copies of your credit reports it's time to check them for errors. Each of your credit reports is divided into the following sections:

Identifying information

This is where your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other identifying information is listed. Most reports also have an "alias" section, or other names, such as first names, with or without an initial and maiden name.

Carefully review this information to make sure the information is accurate. If not, you may be held responsible for debts that are not yours.

Creditor Information

This lists all current or previous credit accounts you have had, with information about the lender, how much you owe, whether the account is current or past due, either open or closed, and other status information. Accounts will include mortgages, Revolving accounts such as credit cards and installment loans.

Review the entire section carefully, making sure that each account belongs to you and that all information is accurate and up to date. Some common errors are marketing late payments or inaccurate payments shown as lost or past.

Collection Accounts

This review to ensure accuracy. If you do not have (or never had) collection accounts, this section should be empty or may not be displayed.

If an account shown is not yours, or a settled account is still shown as outstanding, contact the agency to send a letter to you and the credit bureaus indicating the correction.

Public records

This section contains information about public financial records such as bankruptcy, judgments, liens and child support arrears.

Check for Accuracy

If You Have Had a Serious Financial Problem And/Or Bankruptcy, You May Remain in This Section for 7 to 10 Years.

Correcting Credit Report Errors

If you find errors in your report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureaus to provide a procedure for consumers to dispute any inaccuracies. The easiest way to file a dispute is online, directly with each of the credit reporting agencies on their websites.

However, the easiest way is not always the most effective way.

On the one hand, the online dispute process provides a limited number of options on the reasons to contest the error. There are also character limits on how much you can type to explain your dispute.

Is Credit Repair Effective?

The answer to the question about the effectiveness of credit repair services will vary greatly depending on who you ask. According to Citron, "Credit repair companies get millions of inaccurate items removed from consumer credit files each year.

You ask if they are effective ... the answer is undoubtedly yes. Our users have recorded more than 302,000 deletions in the first half of the year." Lexington Law, a credit repair law firm, has statistics on its website that suggest they were able to reach more than 2.5 million items recalled in 2011 and nearly 780,000 items recalled in the first quarter of 2012.

Therefore, if you consider "suppression" is synonymous with "success," and in credit repair that is the bottom line, then the practice does not appear to be effective.

What to Do If You're Trying to Repair Your Credit Long Term?

Perhaps there are a lot of things that can make your credit score to deposit but it's not the end of the world. It could be an uphill battle to start but it is possible to work your way back toward a good score if you know what to do.

If you declare bankruptcy or lose a home to foreclosure, then the cause of your bad credit is pretty clear but it is not always obvious.

That's why it's so important to know what's on your credit report. If there is an error that you missed, someone is opening fraudulent accounts in your name or your use of credit is simply too high that you won't be able to fix if you don't know about it.

What to Do for a Fast Credit Repair?

When it comes to credit, most people fall into one of three groups. We are trying to build credit for the first time, maintain your existing credit score or bring bad credit for the worst.

Regardless of what your goal is, you have to have a solid plan to get there.

We have a roadmap for each stage of the way you keep reading to find out how to get there. Regardless of what your goal is, you have to have a solid plan to get there. We have a roadmap for each stage of the way you keep reading to figure out how to get there.

Before you start with our roadmap, the first thing to do is to monitor your credit score regularly and review your summary credit report to understand the factors and behaviors that affect your credit score.

Credit Repair Letters for Disputes

For best results, you will want to present your disputed credit report the old-fashioned way, through regular mail: certified, return receipt requested, so that you have proof that the dispute was received.

This also allows you to send copies of any proof that proves the error (cancelled checks, a letter from a collection agency saying a debt is paid, etc.) are not free credit repair letters available around the web that you can take a look at and download.

If you do not have a credit repair letter available around the web that you can take a look at and download, you will obviously have to modify any credit repair letter to suit your own specific situation that you are trying to correct.

When submitting the dispute be sure to clearly identify each item you are disputing and clearly explain why a correction is authorized. The FTC offers a sample dispute letter on its website. You may also want to attach a copy of your report with the items in question with a circle to help the table quickly identify and investigate the error.

Be patient. Once the credit bureau receives your dispute, they will open an investigation with the lender or creditor who reported the error. By law, the creditor must investigate the dispute and report the results to the credit bureau within 30 days. If there is an error, the creditor must send correction updates to all three credit bureaus.

You can ask the creditor to send notices of correction to anyone who has received your report in the last six months. If an investigation does not resolve your dispute, you can write a statement of dispute and ask the Bureau to include it in your file and future reports.

Be sure to verify the correctness. "Supervise your report to ensure the boards correct each error, and get a letter dated on the creditor's letterhead including your address, phone number, a contact name, and an explanation of the error and resolution of the files if you need it, as proof by the line.

Use Credit Repair Services

Merit our expert, has answered questions about the existence or non-existence of credit repair services work, are legitimate and worth the price. Credit repair is certainly a lightning rod issue. The Federal Trade Commission and credit reporting industry does not matter for the credit repair business. On the contrary, credit repair organizations say they get a bad rap, and that their services are valuable.

How Do I Charge Credit Repair Services?

The consumer pays credit repair agencies in one of three ways:

Subscription

The credit repair company will receive a credit card number from you and keep it on file. Every 30 days you will be charged an amount to cover work done during the previous month. That amount varies from company to company, but is usually $29 to $79 a range.

Fixed Rate

The credit repair company evaluates the amount of work they believe they will have to do for their client and charges them a lump sum payment when their work is finished.

Pay-as-you-go

The payment for eliminating the model is an invention of Mike Citron, CEO of DisputeSuite, a credit repair software company.

Pay per delete is, as it sounds, where the credit repair company charges you on a per baseline item basis that they are able to get the deleted items in their credit reports. According to Citron,

"The CROA, it is illegal for a credit repair company to charge upfront for services rendered in a manner charging the customer after an item has been properly removed is a great way to comply with that provision of the Statute.

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