If you have less than perfect credit fixing the problem as soon as possible is understand quite a priority. After all, there is simply so much you cannot do if you have a bad credit record. Getting a mortgage or a car loan is usually out of the question as is getting an unsecured credit card. You may even be limited in where you live as most landlords routinely check a potential renter’s credit before leasing to them these days.
How long to repair credit is a concern people have, can it be done quickly? Can it be done in 30 days like that as the advert you just saw on the Internet said? Can you really ‘instantly remove’ negative entries legally, even for valid debts?
How Long to Repair Credit – The Basic Facts
Credit repair is a gradual process. Put in the most basic of terms, once you have bad credit your goal is to “persuade” the credit bureaus that you have changed your ways – or that your financial situation has improved – and that you really are a person worthy of credit and a better credit rating.
The first thing that people trying to repair their credit need to do is sit down and make a plan. Not just a financial plan but a credit repair plan as well. This involves making sure that you have the most recent copy of your credit report from all the credit bureaus. Those sites that give you a free credit score? That’s fine for general monitoring but you actually need to see, line by line, what the entries are that are dragging down your credit score.
The law mandates that you are given a credit report from all the credit agencies for no more than £2. These days you can usually access your credit report online provided you can pass the ID checks. If that is not the case then it can be mailed to you.
How Long to Repair Credit – Going Through Your Reports
Once you receive your credit reports you should sit down and go through them carefully. It is not unusual to find mistakes on a credit report. Credit agencies are merely the reporters of information, they do not verify it. If you find a genuine mistake you should document it, find proof that it is a mistake (receipts, canceled cheques etc) and write to the credit bureau to ask that the matter is investigated and the offending entry removed.
That process takes about 30 days and if they decide in your favor the entry is removed immediately. Do make sure that the item you are disputing really does constitute a mistake though – disputing a valid debt can be considered fraud.
The next step is to make sure that you have a payment plan to pay off any outstanding debts as soon as possible. If you have been avoiding debt collection calls it is time to stop.
Talking to these people to work out a reasonable repayment plan really is the best course of action and once you start making the proper payments the creditor should stop reporting you as delinquent to the credit bureaus.
How Long to Repair Credit – Making a New Start
Once you have made several payments on any payment plans you have your credit rating should begin to bounce back. It’s not a speedy process, it may take several months. In the meantime as strange as it may sound at first, you should open a new line of credit – even if your only option is a secured credit card or a small short-term loan (sometimes referred to as a credit builder loan)
Just having a new line of credit available to you – secured or not – is a good thing in the credit reporting agencies’ eyes. Start using it responsibly and it’s even better.
There really is no (legal) quick fix for bad credit. It can take as little as six months to as many as several years to regain your good credit, depending upon how bad you let it get in the first place. The effort is worth it though. But it’s an effort, because despite what some of those dodgy looking ads tell you, there is no ‘magic fix’ for a bad credit score, no matter how many times you pay them ‘just £19.99’.