Repairing Your Credit For Free | Everything You Need To Know

In today’s world, your credit score is everything. Without good credit, you’ll find it hard to get auto loans for transportation, business loans to let you escape your day job, and home loans to start a family.

Despite how important credit is in our society, though, public school systems to little to educate the youth on it. As a result, they often make mistakes that can stay on their credit for years and cost them thousands of dollars in higher interest fees and expensive security deposits.

Professional credit repair services can be expensive and may seem out of reach for those who are struggling to pay bills. Some people get discouraged and give up on their credit altogether, consigning themselves to a life of high-interest loans and cash payments.

We’re here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case! In today’s article, we’re going to show you exactly how to go about repairing your credit by yourself. The best part about improving your own credit is that it’s free (aside from paying off debts that you owe). If you’re willing to be consistent and make a small step every day towards fixing your credit, then your below-average credit score can turn into a good credit score in a relatively short period of time. Let’s take a look!

How To Monitor And Fix Your Credit Free Of Charge

Although some credit repair agents will try to tell you that the only way to fix your credit is to use their service, this simply isn’t true. By law, credit agencies must give you your scores. By law, credit reporting agencies must open the letters you send them. While going through a professional repair agency is often easier and faster, it’s by no means the only way to fix your credit.

Get Your Credit Report For Free

Before you attempt to fix your credit, you’ll need to know what your credit score is to begin with! Otherwise, you’ll just be taking shots in the dark. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is a U.S. law that dictates what items companies are and aren’t allowed to post on your credit. It also entitles every resident in the country to a 100% free credit report every 12 months!

However, due to the current economic fallout from COVID-19 and the global pandemic, all credit bureaus are providing free weekly credit reports to all consumers who request them. As your credit can change significantly from one month to the next, we highly recommend taking advantage of this unprecedented action.

Review Reports And Find Mistakes

Once you receive your reports (either by mail or by email), you’ll be able to review detailed reports from all of the major credit bureaus:

  • TransUnion
  • Equifax
  • Experian

It’s not uncommon to have a different score for each bureau, as each bureau has its own credit reporting system. Also some creditors only report to one bureau, while other creditors report to two of the bureaus, or all three! This can result in substantially different scores from each.

What Is My FICO Score?

Your FICO credit score is a number that’s usually anywhere between 300 and 850. It’s a number that’s calculated based on your overall trustworthiness as a borrow and takes numerous factors into account, including:

  • Your credit and banking history (account age).
  • Your revolving credit lines (credit cards).
  • Your installment loans (auto loans, mortgages, personal loans).
  • Your payment history (on time, delinquent, etc.)
  • How many accounts you have open.
  • And more…

Here’s what each score range means for your credit health:

Score RangeCredit Standing
300 to 579Very Poor
580 to 669Fair
670 to 739Good
749 to 799Very Good
800 to 850Exceptional

Analyzing Your Report

In addition to your FICO score, each bureau should include a complete report of every item on your credit. All of your installment accounts, revolving credit card accounts, payment history (or lack thereof) will be included in an itemized sheet. You’ll be able to see every payment that you made on time and every payment that was marked as a late or missed payment.

We encourage you to slowly look through each report to find any mistakes that were misreported. Use a highlighter to go through and take note of each mistake that you find. This is very important as a recent CNBC story calculated that 25% of Americans have an error on their credit report that can decrease their score. Also, take a note of missed payments and negative marks that occurred during strenuous times such as:

  • In a coma/medical injury
  • Natural disaster
  • Pandemic/sickness
  • As a student
  • In the military

You’ll often be able to dispute missed payments that were due to extenuating circumstances and get them removed from your credit.

Send Letters And Dispute Mistakes

After you’ve outlined all of the items that you want to dispute, you can create a letter for each of them explaining why you missed the payment or why you think that the report is mistaken. Keep in mind that you’ll need to create a separate letter for each negative item on your report. You’ll then have to send separate letters to every credit bureau that the negative item was reported to.

Here is a list of links that provide the information you need to include in your dispute with each bureau:

  • Experian Disputes
  • Equifax Disputes
  • TransUnion Disputes

It’s important that you’re very thorough with your letters. Research some free templates online and ensure that every last detail is perfect, from your name and address to the amount owed and the exact date the negative item was reported. Bureaus will use any excuse to cast your letters aside, so make sure that you don’t give them one.

Fix Other Negative Items

When viewing your credit reports, you’ll also be able to see all of the negative items that are in your control. Perhaps you stopped making payments on that tv you got a loan for. Maybe you forgot to pay the final internet invoice at your last apartment. The list goes on…

Since these items were obviously not mistakes, you’ll have to take care of them yourself. This means that you’ll need to contact the original creditor and inform them that you would like to pay off the old debt or agree to a settlement. While negotiating your debt payment, you should also convey your desire for them to remove the negative report from your credit score. If they deny your request, then you can further pursue removing the negative items through a credit lawyer that will send letters that they are required to open and respond to by law.

How Professional Credit Repair Services Can Help You

So, at this rate, you’re probably starting to wonder, “Why would I consider paying for a credit repair service if I can just do it all myself for free?”

While fixing your credit can be a rewarding and educational experience, it also comes at the expense of a lot of time and energy spent. Writing lengthy letters, scrutinizing credit reports, and contacting old creditors can be tedious and frustrating. Here are some of the ways that a professional credit repair service can help you.

Less Paperwork

As you’ve probably realized, fixing your credit involves a ton of paperwork. Sifting through fine-print reports, writing lengthy page-long letters, and spending hours of time on the phone following up on letters sent is time that will cut into your work life, family time, and personal enjoyment.

It can also be a very frustrating experience that can leave you stressed and disappointed. A credit repair agency can handle all of the messy details and usually only requires your input from time to time.

Professional Advice

In addition to handling the messy details of fixing your credit, repair agents can also help you with other aspects of fixing your credit. They can give you advice on how to boost your credit (not just fix it). They can help you work out deals and settlements with past creditors, so you’ll pay less money. Lastly, they can help you budget and set money aside to take care of negative debts on your credit.

Better Results From Disputes

Credit repair agencies typically send hundreds of dispute letters every week. They know exactly what to say and how to word their letters to ensure the highest rate of success from the dispute process. Since the letters are more professional, they’ll get a faster response. Also, the bureau knows that the credit agents won’t just give up and stop sending letters. This often means they have little option other than to comply with the requests of your credit repair agent.

How To Monitor Your Credit For The Long-Term

As you slowly fix your credit score, it’s also a good idea to monitor your credit and ensure that nothing else bad ends up on your score. While this can cost a bit of money in monthly fees (depending on the service you use), it’s usually well worth the cost and can save you thousands in the long run.

Use A Credit Tracking App

You can download credit tracking apps like Credit Karma or Experian which require a small monthly fee in exchange for giving you access to detailed credit reports 24/7. You’ll be notified anytime there’s a pull on your credit, anytime a positive/negative item is added or removed from your credit, and you’ll also be able to connect with lenders and credit cards based on your score.

Hire A Legal Service For Disputes

If you have any pesky negative items that remain on your bureau reports, you can hire a law firm that specializes in credit repair and disputing claims. Since the lawyers represent a legal firm, past creditors must legally open all dispute letters sent and send a reply within 30 days.

If they are unable to generate an appropriate response, then the law firm will send a letter to the bureau informing them that no response was sent. Then, the bureaus must remove the negative mark from your credit.