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Climbing Out of the Bad Credit Hole

Sick of being denied for loans, credit cards, apartments – simply due to a crummy credit score? You’re not alone, but there is a way out, if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Fair Warning: It Ain’t Quick

Fixing bad credit takes time, discipline, and meticulous attention to detail. It could take YEARS of perfect money management to fully repair the damage. So, if you need good credit within the next few months for a major purchase, hire a professional credit repair service (but beware of scams).

First: Pull Your Credit Reports

You can’t fix what you can’t see, right? Get your hands on those credit reports from the “big three” bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You’re entitled to one free report per year from each, through www.annualcreditreport.com.

Pour over those reports with a fine-toothed comb, because errors happen all the time. Identify any inaccuracies – even small ones, like misspelled names or incorrect account details. You’ll need to dispute those with the appropriate credit bureaus.

Dispute, Dispute, Dispute

First, try the easy online dispute process for each credit bureau. If that fails, send official dispute letters via certified mail. Provide evidence that an item is inaccurate, like billing statements or cleared checks. The bureaus are required by law to investigate your claims, but it may take some tenacity to get errors corrected.

What if the negative item is legitimate, though? Then your bad credit is simply your own fault, and a more long-term approach is necessary…

See also  Massachusetts Business Debt Settlement Lawyers

The Hard, Honest Path to Credit Repair

Forget those “new credit in 90 days” schemes. Legitimate credit repair means:

  1. Making ALL payments on time – no exceptions, ever. Payment history is the biggest factor in your scores.
  2. Paying down revolving debt – those maxed-out credit cards are killing your credit utilization ratio.
  3. Leaving accounts open – unless there are annual fees, as length of credit history also matters.
  4. Adding new credit mix slowly – a mortgage, auto loan, or credit card can help if managed responsibly.

Timelines for Recovering from Mistakes

How long do those pesky latenesses and charge-offs haunt your credit, though? The general timelines:

  • Late payments: 7 years from the date you first fell behind
  • Collections accounts: 7 years from the date the account first became delinquent
  • Bankruptcy: 7-10 years from the filing date, depending on the type

So you see, you’re in it for the long haul when repairing bad credit the “right” way. But establishing good financial habits now is absolutely crucial for keeping your back Credit Scores high once recovered.

Stay Relentless in Your Credit Rehab

Improving bad credit requires militant DEDICATION to financial responsibility. It’s an unforgiving, bureaucratic system – and one misstep could set you back again.

But it is doable, if you have the patience and discipline. Get those credit reports frequently, keep making those payments OBSESSIVELY on time, and watch that score steadily climb back to respectability. It’s a long road, but the reward of qualifying for loans, credit cards, and housing at last is well worth the journey.

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