With the present-day tough economy, it is more important than ever for people to be familiar with their credit score, and how to improve it if needed. This book gives some simple ways to do it.
The first thing to do is to get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, and read it thoroughly. If there are any mistakes, and there probably are, it is up to you to write to the credit bureau, and ask for its removal. It could be something small, like an incorrect home address, or something much bigger, like a bill that you can prove has been paid in full, which is still listed as Collection. Addresses and sample letters are included in the book. The credit bureau is required to respond within 30 days. They will either send a revised credit report, with the offending item changed or removed, or they are supposed to investigate and verify that the item is legitimate, and, therefore, stays in your report. Don't be afraid to send a second, third, fourth or fifth letter (all the way up to a twelfth letter) if you don't get the answer you wish. Document everything, and send all letters Receipt Requested. If you have to sue the credit bureau, a paper trail is a very good thing.
For those whose credit is totally gone, and need to start over, or for students building credit for the first time, get a copy of your credit report and do any required cleaning up of it.Then you should apply for a secured or student credit card. They have low limits, and require a deposit as collateral, so the bank will get their money if you don't pay. Be sure to pay off the bill each month, in full, to show that you are reliable. Retail store cards are another possibility for those who want to build their credit. It will take at least two years of solid credit history before you can apply for a Visa or Mastercard.
If you feel that bankruptcy is a real possibility, talk to your creditors. Ask if they have some sort of monthly payment plan. Ask if they will accept a payment of, for example, 30 cents on the dollar in exchange for removing the item from your credit report. Document everything, to show that you are trying to get the bill paid. There are several things you can do to raise a low credit score. Pay your bills on time. Pay down your credit card debt so that it is no more than 30% of your credit limit. Keeping old cards active, and using them once or twice a year, is better for your credit score than closing them. Don't apply for a store credit card just to get the discount.
This book is written in a question-and-answer format, so it is very easy to read. For anyone considering bankruptcy, or using one of those credit repair services, read this book first. It will be a huge help, and could make your financial woes a lot less painful. Highly recommended.
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