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Week 4: Credit
Today’s Easy Financial Task: Clean up your credit report
How to rock this task :
- Take out your free credit reports from Day 22
- Dispute incorrect information on your reports
Today we'll get your credit report cleaned up. (Need your credit report? Get one for free here: www.creditkarma.com.) What should you look for when cleaning up your credit report?
1) Check to make sure your name, address, and basic information are correct.
2) Look for any additional, incorrect information. For example, are there any accounts you don’t recognize? Is there a debt you paid off, yet it’s still being reported as outstanding? Maybe it says you were late on a payment but you weren’t.
3) Look for any negative history over seven years old because it should have fallen off unless it’s a bankruptcy, judgement, tax lien, or foreclosure. These items can stay on your report for ten years.
How to address the issues on your credit report:
- Do an online search for the mailing address of the credit bureau(s) you’re writing to.
- Write a letter to the bureau stating what information you think is wrong. Once you do so, the creditor must investigate the item(s) within 30 days, unless it considers your dispute frivolous. Get a Dispute Letter template for free HERE: Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter of Explanation
- Include copies of your proof, i.e. complete name, address, social security number, copy of paid bills.
- Clearly identify each item in your report that you're disputing, state the facts, explain why you're disputing, then request a deletion or correction. Enclose a copy of your credit report with the questionable items clearly marked.
- Send your letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep copies.
- Never use the online dispute option. By doing so, you may be giving up your rights to re-dispute an item should it not be decided in your favor. Sometimes there’s small print on the agreement that doesn’t allow you to re-dispute - another instance where it’s important to read the fine print!
When the dispute is answered, make sure to follow up.
If you request that a change i made and the credit bureau complies, they will send you an updated copy of your credit report. Also ask that they send a correction notice to any entity that accessed your credit report in the last six months.
Make sure to check your other credit reports to ensure that corrective action is taken there as well. The three main credit bureaus communicate with each other electronically, so a correction made on one report should be reflected on the other versions too, but check to make sure.
What to do if your dispute is denied:
- Credit bureaus MUST make sure that the information they report is verifiable upon your request (within 15 days from the date they conclude their investigation).
- If you ask, they have to provide the method of verification: name, address, and phone number of the company that provided the verification, as well as proof that they received the original dated contract with your signature on it.
- If they cannot provide this information, they must remove the item from your report.
Most credit bureaus aren’t willing to go through this much trouble or are unable to provide this information and will instead correct the item you’re disputing.
Now get to it! Your new and improved credit report awaits. Help a fellow Sister and share today's task via the social share buttons.Today I have the tools I need to clean-up my credit report. Day 27 #LIVERICHERChallenge Click To Tweet
The NFCC is the nation's largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. NFCC members provide a variety of free and affordable financial services to millions of consumers each year in person, over the phone, or online.
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My Lisa Rule: I have 4 sisters and Lisa is the baby (well she’s not a baby anymore). Of all of my sisters I’m the most protective over her. Before I share any product or service with you, it must pass my Lisa Rule.
What’s the Lisa Rule? If I would not advise Lisa to use a product or service, I won’t advise you to. YOU are my Lisas. I feel protective over you and your financial journey.
The products/services mentioned in this post pass my Lisa Rule. Yes, I'm an affiliate, but I would not recommend a product or service that I didn’t believe was helpful and useful.
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