A good credit score can open the doors to better loan rates and faster approval times, so if your score needs some work, then repairing your own credit score is something you may want to consider.
The first thing you need to do is find out where you stand. If you have been trying to get a good loan rate, mortgage rate or have been denied and you are not getting much in the way of explanations, then it is time to order your free report and get to work and see just what is going on.
Start by visiting the 3 major credit reporting centers, these are Equifax, Transunion and Experian. You can go to these individually online and follow their instructions for getting your report. Be ready, they will want various pieces of ID, which is a good thing!
Remember when loan companies check out your score, they are simply getting a number. The number they get is the result of your credit report which contains all of your credit cards, past and present and other loans and the speed with which you make payments or no payments. Any of these can have errors, so don’t panic!
Bad Reporting – This is a common error. If you had a credit card or loan with a balance that you have now paid off, it is possible that the card or loan company has not reported or are slow at reporting the fact there is no longer a balance, or they report that you were a slow payer, or late payer when you know you were not, then it is time to fill out a dispute form with that credit agency.
There will be information on the site for disputing reports, if you are not sure about filling it out, you should see a phone number for the credit agency. See if the same bad report shows up on all three reports.
This one can be one of the top reasons you are not getting that loan or mortgage at the best rate. If it appears that you still owe more money then you have stated (ie: to this credit card company that is not showing your full payment history) or that you have been reported as a late payer, then it will drastically affect any transactions you try to do now.
If you are approved for a loan, they may charge you more interest because they think you are a higher risk, so you could be paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars more in interest simply because this company was tardy or wrong with their credit report to the agencies.
This is worth the time it takes to fill out a dispute form and argue it. Start looking through your files for any paperwork on that Card Company or Loan Company for any proof you may have of it being paid off or on time payments. These will be fixed quite quickly if brought to their attention.
Closed Credit Card Accounts – If you just recently paid off a credit card and cut it up and closed the account and have patted yourself on the back for the hard work it took, and now are looking to get a better rate on that car loan or mortgage and it is not happening, then you need to check your credit reports.
Many card companies can simply not report that you have paid them off and closed the account. They may still be showing as active, especially if you only just made that last payment in the last month or two. Sometimes the wheels turn slowly even in this high speed electronic age!
Repairing your own credit score can be as simple as phoning this card company and getting them to fix their error, reminding them that you paid off the account and closed it. If this doesn’t work or they are still slow to respond, then you need to fill out a dispute claim with the credit agencies, and be ready to show you’re paid up statement. So, keeping your bills organized would totally help with any dispute!
Unpaid Bill – If you get your report and you see a reference to an unpaid bill, check closely at the source and pay it if you need to. A friend of mine had moved several times, and didn’t realize that they had not paid for a book they had ordered and received. The invoice simply didn’t follow him, and he forgot about it, until he applied for a car loan.
It affected his credit score, and he was not going to get a good rate, so he took the time and ordered the reports only to find out the unpaid bill was for $102.00. It was not worth the company trying to track him down for that, so it was added to his report as an unpaid bill which brought his score down.
The computer will pick up and adjust the score based on an “unpaid bill” whether it is 102.00 dollars or thousands of dollars.
So, he phoned the book company right away, paid by credit card and asked them to adjust this unpaid bill and show it as paid.
He then waited a couple of months, and then re-applied for that car loan and got a better rate due to his better score.
Moving – Moving around a lot can affect a score, so you need to make sure that your new address is always showing in your records. As in the above example, bills sometimes don’t get forwarded and not all companies will take the time and expense of trying to track you down.
Keep track of any bills that need to be forwarded to you, especially utility companies etc.
Identity Theft – This is a huge issue, and if you suspect someone is using your identity then you can’t repair this yourself, you need to report this to the police, as well as your bank and card companies, and entrust the advice of a lawyer familiar with this type of issue.
If you see credit cards you don’t recognize, or your name being used for different applications and companies you have never dealt with, then you need to act fast and report this to the police so that you are not held responsible for any fraud that is being committed, and get the help of a lawyer.
The above 5 ways could be reasons you are not getting that loan or the best possible rate, so take the time and once a year get your credit report and check your history and the resulting score. Repairing your own credit score is a great way to fix errors, see where you stand and do a bit of house cleaning.
Staying informed and up to date with your credit score is the best way to get the good rates as well as see any problems before they become serious.