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What if the data in my credit report is wrong?
Then, you should correct the errors on your report. It's a good idea to review your credit report from each bureau multiple times a year. This can be accomplished with a 3- bureau merged report or credit monitoring from iCreditReport.com. If you see an inaccuracy, report it directly to the credit bureau-they are the only ones that can facilitate a change in the report. The bureau will check with the source of the information and send you an update. If you still disagree with the information, you can add your own statement to the credit report. The dispute process can take up to 30 days.
If you find an error in your credit report, simply call or write to the credit bureau. The three major bureaus in the U.S. are Experian(1-800-682-7654), Equifax (1-800-685-1111) and Trans Union (1-316-636-6100).
How to build a good credit history
If you do not have a good credit history, it may be difficult for you to obtain credit. One way to begin a good credit history is to start small using the following tips:
Apply for credit with a local retailer such as a department store
Make a large down payment on a purchase and negotiate credit payments for the balance
Apply for a small loan at a bank or credit union where you have checking and savings accounts
If you are rejected for credit, find out why. You may be denied credit for various reasons, including not meeting the creditor's minimum income requirement or not being at your address or job for the required amount of time. You can overcome these obstacles with time.
If you are still unable to get credit, you may wish to ask a friend or relative with an established credit history to act as a co-signer for you. A co-signer promises to repay the debt if you don't. An account established with a co-signer will usually be reported on both of your credit reports. Patience and determination are essential to building good credit. Monitoring your credit allows you to measure progress.
How to correct your credit report
Credit repair clinics that claim they can "repair" your negative credit information should be approached with skepticism. No one can have accurate information removed. You may want to check with your Attorney General or local consumer protection agency before contracting or paying for credit repair services. Although some consumers pay credit clinics hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix their credit report, only time can improve bad credit. Start any attempt at upgrading your standing by first getting your credit report. Consumer credit reports contain easy-to-follow instructions for disputing information at no charge. Inaccurate information will be changed or deleted. Accurate information that shows negative payment habits will remain on a credit report for up to 7 years (up to10 years for some bankruptcies) . This is mandated by Federal law. Once you have obtained credit, pay your bills consistently and on time. By doing so, you establish a positive credit history that helps you obtain future credit for larger purchases, such as a house or car.
Consumer Credit Counseling Services
If you have a negative credit history and need help dealing with your debts, you may want to contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS). This nonprofit organization has more than 200 offices located in 44 states. At little or no cost to you, CCCS counselors will work with your creditors to establish a repayment plan that will satisfy both you and your creditors. CCCS can also help you set up a realistic budget and plan for the future. To find the nearest CCCS office, write to:
National Foundation for Consumer Credit, Inc.
8701 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910