I’ve written a few posts here about ways to improve your credit and tips on how to clean up your credit score. There are many ways to do this, but the important thing to remember is that this process takes time. Sure, there are places that offer ways to rebuild credit fast, and some are legitimate, some are not.
Before you take any of the advice seen on any site, you need to really consider the short and long term affects of any suggestion you are considering.
- Request a free copy of your credit report: This is easy, simple, and free. Anyone can and should do it. If there are legitimate errors on your report, there will be instructions from each agency on how to get them removed. They will not remove something that is not an error, and it is shady to report something as an error that you know to be legitimate, in hopes of even temporarily improving your score.
- Pay or make arrangements to settle any negative accounts. Sometimes they will negotiate a settlement with you, and you can pay it off and know that it’s taken care of. Then, you just have to give it time to fall off of your report. This is an option I rarely see on credit improvement sites.
- Take out a secured loan: This can be good for your credit, if handled properly. However, if you have a low score, you might not be eligible for this, thus that’s why you are looking for suggestions on how to fix credit reports. Most important tip: DO NOT take out a loan you can’t afford to repay. That will hurt your score, not help it. This is a good option for those with no credit. If you use it carefully and wisely, it can establish a solid, positive repayment history. Since many employers and insurance companies, etc. request your report for various reasons, it’s important to make sure you have a positive history. Paying cash is ideal, but you do need some sort of payment history on your report.
- Ask a friend: Some places suggest having someone you know that has good credit, add you onto their account. I do not recommend this. First, it puts that person at risk of you messing up their credit if you abuse the privilege, and it could ruin the relationship. Second, if your situation improves and theirs declines down the road, you could be at risk. You might even forget you are on this card, then one day find out it’s maxed out and in default, which will destroy the good score you’ve worked a long time to rebuild.
- Sign up for credit monitoring: This is another one I rarely see suggested, unless it’s part of an ad or promotion. I do this periodically to keep track of my score. What I learned early on, is that if I call to cancel during my free trial period, 99% of the time, they will offer to cut the listed fee by 50-75% if you agree to keep the service for a specified time period. If you are paying off debts or waiting for errors to be removed, this could be a good investment for you. They will usually notify you each time there is a key change to your credit report, and it can be the motivation you need to keep working at this project.
I commend anyone who is seeking legitimate knowledge on how to clean credit reports. It is definitely a step in the right direction towards a more secure financial future.