A couple of months ago, I wrote about starting a credit repair journey. I was really serious about it. I bought myself a Udemy Course, and imagined myself having stellar credit while also helping everyone around me fix their credit as well.
It turns out that the Udemy Course was just what I needed. It gave me a lot of information I already knew, but it was good to hear it from someone who has been working on learning the credit system for years, instead of "I have heard that..."
It also helped me solidify a strategy, and recognize that a "Credit Repair Business" is not the thing for me.
My first step, was running my credit
Misinformation I had before, told me that running my credit myself would lower my score. I learned that it does not (or should not).
I also learned that: www.annualcreditreport.com is the place to run your own credit. It is the only site authorized by federal law.
Here in the US there is a whole business model aimed at "helping" people with their credit. There are commercials on TV with ukuleles and jingles, all in an attempt to earn your "credit safety" business.
It turns out that those programs are mostly unnecessary as you can do the same things you pay them to do for free.
I tried to run my credit on all three bureaus, but failed.
wow! look how long i've been a minion for!
Each individual bureau asks you personal questions to make sure that it is you running your credit and not some rando who is trying to steal your identity.
I was only able to pass the test for 2 of the 3 bureaus, TransUnion and Experian.
Apparently Equifax didn't believe that I am me...
In order to get the equifax report, I have to print a special form and send it in with a copy of my drivers license and social security card.
That is likely not going to happen anytime soon, so I will working with the other two reports.
I found that my reports have a whole lot of phone numbers and addresses for me
The bureaus have a "secret formula" for generating a credit score for you, and one of the things that might affect your credit is having too many addresses and phone numbers.
The rational behind this is that if you move around a lot and change your phone number a lot, then you must not be a very constant or reliable person.
I went ahead and disputed phone numbers and addresses off my report. Many of the phone numbers were vague memories, and some of them were for family members (I was somehow linked to my mom and my sister's phone number.
I also disputed any addresses where I didn't live for more the a few months, especially because some of those were over 15 years old. Since I always had a "permanent residence" with my parents, it was easy to dispute those.
I also disputed all of the incorrect addresses, and typos on my name.
My score went up by 8 points!
Now, it is nearly impossible to guarantee that my score went up because of removing addresses, but what other change happened in those other 48 hours? None that I can see.
The next thing I did was look at my collections
I found an embarrassing one from Kohl's Department Stores.
Some years back, I was working on my credit (hey, it is a journey not a destination) and someone suggested I get a credit card to use and show that I can make payments on time.
I got myself a Kohl's card and bought myself a nice maternity dress.
Then I went into labor, and forgot all about the dress, and the card.
Months later, the less than $50 dollar dress had late fees and interest rates attached to it. The minimum payment which was supposed to be $6 per month full of credit help, was now out of control.
The account has now ballooned up to $490 USD and has been charged off.
I was ready to pay for my past mistake, but it turns out I don't have to.
Next month it will have been SEVEN YEARS since I started that nonsense, and the collection, according to transunion will fall of my report on March of 2021.
Collections are not so bad on your credit
Especially if they are old. That's what the website says anyway.
If the collections are small, no big deal.
The older they are, the better.
I have two other collections on my account, and I don't know where they came from...
I disputed them as well and am waiting for the results.
It seems like most of my "bad" credit comes from student loan debts
Seems like these should fall of soon enough anyway, but I am still actively trying to get them removed.
There are many, many times that I missed payments from 2012 - 2016. Some of those have fallen off, but some remain.
Since I have been paying on time for YEARS now, I will be contacting the companies and seeing if they will remove some of the older information.
If they don't it will just be a matter of time before my score starts going up on its own.
Overall, the process is pretty easy
Turns out that improving my credit simply means keeping paying my bills, and logging on to press the "dispute" button every once in a while.
Cheers to 720+ credit scores
Wish me luck.
How does your score look?
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