Cleaning up Your credit

Here's how to wipe your credit report's slate clean

A bank down the street, looking at the same data, might decide that those payments aren’t meaningful and offer you credit.” Therefore, you shouldn’t be discouraged just because you’re denied credit once or twice–there are plenty of lenders out there, so you may well find one that’ll do business with you.
Cut your craving for credit completely. The less you charge, the smaller the chance you’ll wind up overextended. “Now,” says Harrison, “I have only one credit card, which I don’t use–it’s just for emergencies. If I want something, I pay with cash or with a debit card.”

Given that the Industry collects more than 2 billion pieces of credit-related information each month and generates more than 600 million credit reports on close to 200 million consumers annually, there are bound to be errors in some credit files. When you receive a copy of your credit, look closely for the following commonly made mistakes:

  • Information in commingled. Your credit record includes credit information for someone else with a name similar or identical to yours.
  • Information is incorrect. The name of a former spouse appears on your credit record, your name is misspelled, your address is wrong or your Social Security number incorrect.
  • Duplicate accounts show up or account information is inaccurate or incomplete. For example, information for an account shows that you were delinquent for several months a year ago, but it fails to shoe that You caught up and have paid on time for the past nine months. Other problems could include incorrect account balances and reporting paid-off or closed accounts as open.
  • Unauthorized inquiries are listed.

There is a failure to show that a tax lien has been released.

Outdated information in included. In most cases, a credit reporting agency is legally permitted to maintain and report negative account information about a consumer for seven years and bankruptcies for 10 years.

If you discover these or other problems, correct them as soon as possible to minimize any possible damage to your credit record. Regardless of which credit reporting agency you are dealing with, the process for correcting errors is always the same under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Source; Excerpted from The Credit Repair Kit by John Ventura, Dearborn Financial Publishing Chicago, 1998

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