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Time For a Credit Repair Tune Up!

Jul 2, 2008
Every Point Counts!

Your credit score will determine the interest rate you pay on every dollar you borrow, from your car loan to your mortgage. Every point makes a difference! A nationally recognized credit repair expert explains how to give your credit score the tune up it needs.

Starting your Credit Repair Tune Up: Get Your Reports

A credit repair tune up does not have to be hard. If you break up the project into smaller tasks the whole job will be a breeze. Don't be intimidated. Take it slow and you will get the job done. Each little step along the way can add points to your credit score and move you closer to your credit repair goals.

Credit Repair Made Simple - One Bureau at a Time

There are three credit bureaus, so you need to tune up three credit reports. Many people starting a credit repair effort are intimidated when they see their reports. The formats are unique and the information reported by each bureau is different. Don't worry; you don't have to work on all three reports at the same time. There is no economy of scale. Start with one report, do what needs to be done, and then move on to the next one. Slow and steady wins the race.

High Credit Limits

Begin your credit repair tune up with something easy. I suggest you get a highlighter and mark the high credit limits on your accounts, both installment and revolving. If you find an account with an underreported limit it is costing you points on your scores, possibly significant points. It is easy to correct a limit error, just dispute it with the offending credit bureau and attach a copy of a recent statement showing the correct limit. Your credit repair tune up is off to a good start.

Account Opening Dates

The age of each account has an impact on your credit scores. Credit repair rule number one: an old account is a good account. Highlight your account opening dates. If you find one that underreports an opening date you should contact the creditor and inform them of the error and ask them to report it correctly. You should also ask them for a letter indicating the account opening date and then submit it to the bureaus yourself. You will be surprised with the results...

Credit Repair and Collection Accounts

The sale of debt is so common in the collection industry that you may find a single collectable account reported many times on your credit report. Collectors that no longer own a debt are not allowed to report it to the credit bureaus. And yet there is no incentive for collectors to cease reporting when they sell the debt to another collector. If you see the same account being collected by more than one collector, dispute all but the most recent. They will be removed. Your credit repair tune up is really getting into gear.

Negotiating Uncollectable Collections

Collections may be collected through the courts for a limited amount of time determined by state law. These time limits are called statutes of limitation (SOL) and are usually surprisingly short. If a debt cannot be collected through the courts it cannot be enforced. Please note that the SOL is not the same as the reporting period limit for your credit report. So, you may want to negotiate these "uncollectable" collections as part of your credit repair effort. The collector will love to hear from you, and you might even get them to remove the account from your credit in exchange for payment instead of just reporting it as paid. Give it a try!

Paying Down Your Balances

If you have the ability to pay down revolving balances, go ahead and do it. The FICO scoring model puts a lot of emphasis on the ratio between your balance and your high credit limit - and the lower the better. Are you looking for quick credit repair results? Pay your balances down below 20% of the high credit limit. If your balances have been lingering near the limit wait until you see what lower balances can do for your scores!

Trimming Down Accounts

You need to have open accounts in good standing to have a good credit score. But you can also have too many accounts. Successful credit repair involves achieving the right balance of accounts, so go ahead and close a few. But it is important to pick the right ones to close. MasterCard and Visa cards are the most valuable for your credit scores. Store cards have little value and should be the first to go. When you pick the accounts to close, please remember that old accounts are good accounts.

Credit Repair and New Accounts

If you do not have any open MasterCard of Visa accounts it's time to open a couple. Two is a good number! If your credit scores are too low to get approved for regular unsecured credit cards, get two secured cards. Secured credit cards are the perfect credit repair tool. It's easy and you won't get denied. Remember, no credit, no credit scores. Your scores are a measure of your ability to pay and manage your debt. Get some credit cards and prove that you are a good risk. You scores will thank you!

Copyright 2007 James W. Kemish. All Content. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Jim Kemish, a nationally recognized credit repair and restoration expert, is the president of Sky Blue Credit, a leading credit repair service since 1989. Jim is also the president of Power Mortgage, a Florida mortgage company.
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