•1. The first thing you need to do is pull your credit. Once a year you can get your credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This report will have all three bureaus and give you a detailed report and your scores. But there are many other sites that will do the same. Be careful who you order your report from and make sure they include the scores some only give your report without scores, also be cautious of scams.
•2. Once you have a copy of your report the next step is figuring out what's on it and all the codes and information. The website where you ordered your report should also have a guide to read your report. Learning to read it is half the battle.
•3. Make sure all the creditors listed belong to you. It would be wise if you have a lot of accounts to go through all your statements and have them in front of you while going over your credit report match them up and make sure there are NO extra accounts. Confirm all creditors are reporting as well as NO extra accounts that are not yours.
•4. Once you have all accounts accounted for now make sure they are report your information correctly, if you notice one that has reported a 30 60 90 day late check to see the date the late occurred, go back through your own payment history by checking your bank account and see when and why you were late, make notes for each account showing you were late and the datesCross reference with your records, if the differ and you don't think and can show you were not late you now have your first dispute. By writing a letter to the creditor and CC each of the three bureaus. Also send your letter by hand and Certified mail, you want proof they got your letter.They have 30 days to remove the mistake or the bureau will remove it for you. This holds true with any error on your report.
•5. Make sure all your personal information is correct. Full Name, DOB, Address, Employer etc.Do you see multiple DOB or names, addresses you've never lived? Also apply for credit using your name the same all the time... Joe M. Smith Not Joe Smith. If you are a JR or SR always use the JR or SR when applying if you don't your credit could merge with your son or father... a common happening. It is your responsibility to report the correct info the each bureau and ask them to remove all that does not apply.
•6. Next check your Public Record... unless you filed Bankruptcy, had IRS tax liens or Property tax liens, judgments or anything else that requires recording at the county level this should be blank... if you see any of the above mentioned items, determined if they belong to you? Are they correct? Most importantly have you received any Satisfaction of Tax Lien, judgments or whatever? Sometime in so many cases if you have one of these once it's satisfied (meaning you paid it off) they will send you a document stating it is marked satisfied, not knowing otherwise you file it, throw it away and never think twice about it.. UNFORTUNITLY they don't tell you to go down to your local county recorder office and RECORD the satisfaction. Once it's recorded you now have proof you paid it off and you can send it to each of the three bureaus.
There are way to remove them from your report altogether but that is to in-depth for this article.
•7. If you can keep your credit cards under 50% of limits or pay them off each month this alone will help increase your scores
•8. Don't close accounts all at one time, only close accounts when they are non active for more than 24 months and you don't want them anymore. But always keep 3 to 4 open trade lines.
•9. Use a credit notification system... they all charge for this $10 to $15 per month well worth the service. They will keep you informed of any activities on your report. Some also allow you to see your report several times a year.
•10. Most important know whats on your report, review it often, correct it when you see a mistake.
The latest reports have 80% of Americans have errors on their credit reports of those 25% of these mistakes are so harmful that they are being denied loans, financial aid and in some cases a new job. 54% contain inacccurate personal information 30% list closed accounts as open, 22% list the same account mulitple times and 8% don't even report or list your debt, like mortgage, personal loan from your bank etc. these account that could have demonstrated your creditworthiness is not even being reported. But one things is certain about errors they will cost you money if not corrected and will effect your financial future.