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How To Improve Your Credit - A Real World Scenario

Apr 15, 2008
My wife and I (girlfriend at the time) set out on our own at age 20 back in 1993. We didn't have much. Although I did have a good job, we were not real good with our finances and soon found ourselves overburdened with credit cards and loans in addition to our monthly rent. We found ourselves bankrupt by the age of 24. Not a good start by any stretch. This was not our proudest moment. However, we emerged from Chapter 7 in March '98. Glad it was finally over, we soon found out what sub-500 credit scores get you - NOT MUCH. We lived with terrible credit for the next 2 years relying on the commonly-held belief that there just wasn't anything we could do until our bad credit marks fell off our reports 7-10 years later. This meant we had no chance until AT LEAST 2007!

Sometime during 2000, I started researching credit improvement techniques. I spent literally hundreds of hours in front of our computer (purchased from a local rent-to-own place). There was not a huge pool of credit improvement sites and such like there is today so the process was tedious. If I had to do it all over again today, I would simply use a website such as Build Better Credit where all of this information is included in one place and use that information to help me improve my credit scores, etc.

After I was done researching credit improvement techniques, I was ready to start getting our credit back on track with the goal of buying our own home within 2 years - just 5 years post-bankruptcy! I immediately ordered all three of my credit reports via snail-mail. It took several weeks to get all three. Today, I would have just gone to one of the websites at the bottom of this article to all of my credits reports delivered instantly - my job would have been a million times easier. Once I received my credit reports, I looked at all of the negative entries and reviewed them for inaccuracies (bad dates, incomplete info, wrong person, etc) and much to my very pleasant surprise, most of them were not even close to accurate!

Armed with my new knowledge, I started writing letters to the 3 major credit bureaus disputing the negative information even if it was the tiniest bit inaccurate or incomplete, starting with the stuff that was clearly wrong (some of my Dad's info showed up on my reports because we lived in the same house with the same name). Sure enough, the negative information starting disappearing! My score slowly started to rise also! A full list of letters that I used can be found at Build Better Credit.

After making sure my report included only my information (and not my Dad's), I started disputing the negative stuff on my reports. Slowly, the negative items were deleted - the FCRA states that if an item isn't a full 100% accurate, it must be deleted. After a little less than a year of following the process, my score rose from 495 to just over 620! Now a 620 score isn't great but it's not terrible either.

We bought our home (new construction) in 2002 with just a 5% down payment.

Although it takes some time and just a little bit of money, you can improve your credit legitimately. You just have to use the information I've presented here. I'm living proof of this.
About the Author
Thomas has spent numerous hours and days providing credit counseling and credit improvement strategies to thousands of people via forums all over the Internet. Recommended Resources: Build Better Credit TODAY Get Your FREE Credit Report Improving Your Credit
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