Credit Advice

You can rehabilitate your credit

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Credit Advice

You can rehabilitate your credit

Dear Experian,

My credit is beyond fixable (in my opinion). A lot of mistakes were made when I was younger due to the fact of never learning the value of a dollar. Can I repair my credit independently?

- OPE

Dear OPE,

No one can repair your credit if the information in your credit report is accurate. There is nothing you or anyone else can do to legally remove accurate information from your credit report and cause you to have outstanding credit scores the next day.

But, you can rehabilitate your credit history over time, and you actually are the only one who can do it. It just takes focus, willpower, and patience.

Negative information does not stay on your credit report forever. As a rule of thumb, it only lasts for seven years from the original delinquency date. If you start taking action now, you could have a very good credit history in seven years or less.

The first step is to stop spending.

That is usually the hardest part. You have to live within your means and that requires self-discipline and self-denial. You can’t just go buy what you want, especially if that means taking on more debt.

If you need help with your spending, contact a good, legitimate, non-profit credit counseling agency in your area. Your bank or credit union may be able to recommend one. A legitimate credit counseling agency will teach you to put together a budget and live within it, and can help you get control of your credit. They should help establish a realistic plan for you to live within your means.

The second step is to get copies of your credit reports from each of the national credit reporting companies. You can do that at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Use your credit reports to identify the accounts that are in the most trouble, and accounts that you can begin to get under control. I don’t recommend canceling your accounts, which is sometimes recommended by counseling services, unless you can’t resist the temptation to overuse them. Keep using your credit cards, but only for what you can afford to pay in full each month.

Eventually, your debts will decrease and the negative information will be deleted from your credit report, leaving you with a sparkling credit report and great credit scores.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

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