You have the right to dispute any information in your credit report that's inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can't be verified. When you order your credit report, you'll receive instructions on how to dispute credit report information. Credit reports ordered online typically come with instructions for making disputes online, but you can also make disputes over the phone and through the mail.
You're also entitled to a free credit report if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report, if you're currently receiving government assistance, if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job soon, or if you think you've been a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft. Some states even have laws that let you get an additional free credit report each year. All these free credit reports should be ordered directly through the credit bureaus.
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Credit Repair Consultants also proudly proclaims that they offer a refund policy on your monthly fees. The catch? You have to be a customer for a full 12 months before you can request an evaluation of your account; if the service has successfully removed or improved your account, you may not get a refund at all. They will claim a credit of $60 for every deleted or improved item on your credit report, and then compare it to the fees you've paid. In other words, if you've paid for 12 months at nearly $60 and they've removed or improved 12 things on your credit report, you're not entitled to anything back.
Credit Saint offers a money-back guarantee that is above-average: if you don't see any negative items deleted from your credit history in the first 90 days of service, you are eligible to request a full refund of any fees paid. Customers should expect it to take up to two months for those deletions to start appearing in their online portal, and the terms of the guarantee require the client to send in any requested documentation or other updates in a timely fashion.
You can also get your free Experian credit score and a credit report card that are updated every 14 days on Credit.com. Your credit report card shows where you stand in the five key areas that make up your score—payment history, credit utilization, account mix, credit age and inquiries. Your report card also gives you tips on how to improve your standing in each area if needed. And checking your report card and score doesn’t hurt your credit in any way.
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After you’ve resolved the negative items on your credit report, work on getting positive information added. Just like late payments severely hurt your credit score, timely payments help your score. If you have some credit cards and loans being reported on time, good. Continue to keep those balances at a reasonable level and make your payments on time.
Brittney Mayer is a credit strategist and contributing editor for BadCredit.org, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides aimed at helping readers make educated financial decisions on the path to building better credit. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on a variety of websites, including the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, NBC News,TheSimpleDollar.com, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, CardRates.com, and CreditCards.com, among others.
Reducing your balances on credit cards and other revolving credit accounts is likely the better option to improve your credit utilization rate, and, subsequently, your credit scores. Consistently making on-time payments against your debt will also help you build a positive credit history, which can have additional benefits for your credit history and, by extension, your credit scores, too.