If you’re thinking about repairing your credit, or even if you’re going through the process now, there are some things you shouldn’t do. Here are 10 credit repair mistakes you want to avoid.
1. Not repairing your credit at all.Perhaps the biggest mistake of all is putting off credit repair indefinitely. Even though most negative information will fall off your credit report after seven years, that’s still a long time to live with bad credit.
2. Disputing everything on your credit report.This is a tactic often used by credit repair companies. There are two problems with trying to repair your credit this way. First, it’s not believable. If you dispute too many items, the credit bureaus could dismiss your dispute as frivolous. Second, you don’t want everything taken off your credit report. Some positive accounts are actually helping your credit rating and disputing them could cause your credit score to drop.
Credit repair companies don’t have a reputation for good results. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has been quoted as saying it’s never seen a legitimate credit repair company. Credit repair companies often make lofty promises that they can’t legally fulfill. In the end, you’re better off saving your money and doing it yourself.
A lot of people don’t realize that closing a credit card can be bad for your credit score, especially if it’s a credit card with a balance or one of your older credit cards. You’ll never improve your credit score by closing a credit card, so think twice about canceling one.
Transferring credit card balances to avoid making a payment is only postponing the inevitable. This tactic will only take you so far. Considering the balance transfer fees that are added to your balance each time you transfer it, the amount you owe continues to grow rather than shrink.
A lot of people who go through a period of bad credit swear off credit cards. But, without them you could have difficulty getting new loans or other types of credit. Not only that, using a credit card the right way will help rebuild your credit as you go through the repair process.
Prioritizing payments is smart. Skipping some payments for others is not. If you want your credit to improve, you should not miss payments. Your credit will continue to get worse instead of better. The only exceptions are accounts that have already been charged off or have gone to collections. If you have to choose between paying a collection account or paying an account that’s current, pick the account that’s current.
8. Sending letters without certified mail.When you send letters to credit bureaus, collection agencies, lenders, and creditors, you should always send via certified mail with return receipt requested. That gives you proof that your letter has been sent and whether it’s been received.
Before you ever begin repairing your credit, you should check your credit report. Your credit report will help you figure out what items you need to focus on to improve your credit. Without a copy of your credit report, you’ll have a hard time figuring out where to start repairing your credit.
10. Filing bankruptcy.You should not use bankruptcy as a credit repair tactic. Bankruptcy will not improve your credit and in some cases, your credit can get worse after filing bankruptcy. Since bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 7 - 10 years, you’ll continue having trouble getting credit cards and loans. Most lenders ask if you’ve ever filed bankruptcy, so even after bankruptcy falls off your credit report, it can still keep you from getting a loan.