Credit Advice

You can “fix” your credit report without help

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Credit Advice

You can “fix” your credit report without help

Dear Experian,

This is the first time in a long time that I am daring to try to fix my credit report. Can I fix it myself, or do I need assistance from somebody else?

- PAE

Dear PAE,

You can fix your credit report yourself. It will just take willpower and time.

In fact, you really can’t “fix” a credit report. What you really must do is rehabilitate your credit history.

The first step is to get copies of your credit reports from Experian and each of the other national credit reporting companies. If you find anything to be inaccurate, follow their dispute instructions to have it corrected.

The next step is to reduce or pay off any debts you have. Beginning now, make all of your payments on time. Eventually the negative information will be deleted. Only positive information will be left.

Continue to use at least one credit card and pay it in full each month. That will demonstrate that you can manage your spending. Eventually, your credit report will once again appear sparkling to lenders.

I know that is easier to say than to do. It requires that you change your credit management and spending habits. That can be very difficult.

A reputable credit counseling service can help. A good credit counselor will not just negotiate payment plans and take your money. Quality credit counseling services are often non-profit and charge little or no fee for their services. They will offer, and in some cases require, that you complete budget training and money management courses as part of their programs.

If all a credit counselor offers is to negotiate a debt repayment plan or to set up a “debt consolidation” plan, look elsewhere. Unless you also learn to manage your credit, you will end up with the same problems or find yourself even deeper in debt in the future.

I’m confident that you can take control of your credit!

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

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