Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Easy Ways To Improve Your Credit

Here are some easy ways to improve your credit. First off, everyone will tell you to pay down your credit cards. That's a given, but there are guidelines to this method. I'll talk about that when I hit that bullet. Okay, let's get started.

  1. First things first - get a copy of your credit report. You need to see what's on there so you can see what needs improvement. I recommend going to annualcreditreport.com and getting a free report from all 3 main bureaus. You are entitled to 1 free report from each bureau every year.
  2. Look at your credit report. Let's start with trade lines that have late pays. Now on those trade lines, how old are they? The older the better! You should see when the late pays were, underneath the supplier of the info. Also look at the column that says "DLA". This stands for Date of Last Activity. The older this is, the better for you. Highlight the tradelines that have old lates.
  3. Collection accounts and Charged Off accounts. Same idea here. Look at the DLA and last reported columns. If they haven't reported in a while, highlight those accounts.
I want you to fire off a letter to the bureaus for these accounts. Don't dispute every negative account. Just these! Don't say they're not yours. That throws up a red flag, and is the first step in them screwing you. Here's what you say, but in your own words of course:

Acct. # xxx I don't recall ever being late on this account. In fact they increased my credit because I was such a good paying customer. Please remove the lates.

Acct. # xxx I never signed a contract with this collection company. I completed my contract with the original creditor years ago. In fact, they shouldn't even be scrounging the gutters for an account that is this far out of the statutes of limitations! This trade line is not only incorrect, it is obsolete and by your own laws of the FCRA, you must delete it.

Acct. # XXX This account was never charged off! I recall paying it off in full! This is an error that is not allowed on my credit report by law! Please show paid as agreed or delete it.

You see, they have to prove it is 100% accurate. Some may come back verified. This is because instead of doing their jobs and researching the account you are disputing, they just put in a code that it is correct. When I do credit repair for people, I don't just hit the bureaus, I go after the companies that are reporting first, and then the bureaus. This is just a short cut way to get some of the negative lines improved or removed.

Next way to improve your credit:

  1. Here we go with the credit cards. When you pay down your credit cards, DO NOT PAY THEM OFF! The main thing is to pay consistently every month and get them down below 30% difference between High Credit Limit and Balance Owed.
  2. DO NOT CLOSE ANY CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS! Why? Because you want that ratio to be excellent between the High Credit Limit and Balance Owed. Also, the longer you have had open accounts, and active accounts, the more points you score!
  3. This is the fun one! Use your credit cards! Don't go crazy, I'm not saying that. But spending activity and payment activity = +++ scores! So, you need to put gas in your car and you need some milk and toilet paper, charge it! Then, let's say the total is $50 you just put on your card. Your minimum payment will be $20 or so. Don't pay the $20. Pay $45. This leaves a balance (activity) on your card, and shows a good payment (activity again).
  4. Last one for this section. Sometimes this is hard to do, but you should for your own protection. Pay your bills a little bit early. This is because creditors love to say they didn't get the payment in time and they want to hit you with late fees, which can add up to over the limit fees, which puts huge profits in their pockets and rips you off. Don't let them take advantage of you.
Two more things you can do that help:

  1. Sometimes I've seen scores raise a bit - and it makes no sense why it should- but you should "Opt Out" for each bureau. What this means is you are opting out of them marketing your information to creditors to send you offers. But, it also means these companies won't be looking (inquiring) on your credit either. I believe that since they are not going to make the big bucks off selling your information, then there's not as much of a benefit to them to keep bad tradelines on you either. So, it kind of helps the negatives come off some times. This is my opinion, not fact. I've never seen anything in writing about this, I just know from personal experience that more negatives seem to be removed when the client has opted out.
  2. Remove old names and addresses from your report. Be careful here though. If you have good tradelines associated with an old address - You Want That One To Stay! You can tell by when the trade line was opened and the dates associated with the address. But any that are associated with negative trade lines or public records, you want them off. Now, I say stay off the phone and always dispute in writing. This is the ONLY time I say okay to dispute on the phone. ONLY dispute addresses you don't want on the phone. Tell them that you do not recall that address as being yours. (The address isn't yours. You don't live there now do you?)
Okay, this should give you a good start for improving your credit a bit. You don't have to do all of them, just whatever you can manage. Remember, if it is just more than you have time to deal with, shoot me an email or give me a call. I love sparring with scum sucking collectors and lying bureaus!


  1. Shannon I am up late reading all your posts pertaining to credit repair. Experian has a full page of wrong variations of my name and addresses. Previous addresses and current addresses. Are you saying I can just call them up and tell them to delete these incorrect names and addresses? Or do I need to send something in so they will not send me a letter stating that these are factual statements like they do when you dispute an inquiry?

    1. Hi Caramel,

      Yes you can just call them up and dispute them over the phone. I will tell you that Experian refuses to remove addresses that are tied to public records and usually bad accounts.

      If you have the time, call them up every day and bug the crap out of them. Every day tell them that is not your address. Tell them you don't know why its on your credit report but they need to remove it because its wrong. You can't do this with your current address but do it with your old address.

      They are very stubborn but keep at it. Hopefully you will get someone that will finally remove the address, even though its their policy not to do so when they are related to open accounts and bad accounts and public records.

      If you are successful removing an address tied to a public record, you will have a much higher chance of getting that public record removed.

      Regarding the wrong names, yes, do the same thing as with the addresses. Tell them that if they were to require proof of these names they are wrongly reporting, there is no way you could come up with photo id's, any utility bills, ss card, nothing of yours with those names on it. They are not aliases or aka's, they are flat out not yours.

      Its good to dispute these in writing so you have a paper trail, but sometimes you can get good results by bugging them every day on the phone as well.


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