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After you download your credit reports, it takes several hours to review them for errors. Then, you must gather documentation and draft dispute letters, which could take up to a week or more if you aren’t already familiar with your records. Depending on the item and the reason it's in your credit history, this could involve writing a short letter or performing significant amounts of research.
Scoring models consider how much you owe and across how many different accounts. If you have debt across a large number of accounts, it may be beneficial to pay off some of the accounts, if you can. Paying down your debt is the goal of many who've accrued debt in the past, but even after you pay the balance down to zero, consider keeping that account open. Keeping paid-off accounts open can be a plus in your overall credit mix since they're aged accounts in good (paid-off) standing. You may also consider debt consolidation.