There’s an endless list of credit restoration companies, also referred to as credit repair companies. Many credit restoration companies deliver positive results but with ongoing fees that could last up to 12 months. The typical subscriptions for credit restoration companies generally fall somewhere between $50 and $100 per month.
But you don’t need a credit restoration company to navigate the credit dispute process.
Everything a credit restoration company can do, you can also successfully do. Learning how to manage your credit is a valuable skill that you’ll benefit from for a lifetime. It’s worth the time and effort to get familiar with credit reports, consumer laws, credit management habits, and the dispute process.
If you’re ready to embark upon a credit repair journey, here is the first step, and possibly the only step if it works.
First step in credit restoration
Clean up your personal information. Your name, current address, phone number, date of birth, employer, and Social Security number should be reported one way. Here is what I mean. If your name is Lisa Phillips, your credit reports at the three credit bureaus should have it spelled exactly that way, with no variations…that goes for all personal information ⏤ no variations should be reporting.
Why credit bureaus report variations of your personal information. Whenever you apply for a credit account, a bank account, an apartment, a car, mortgage or personal loan, and even some jobs, mistakes can occur when your information is input. Let’s face it, typing mistakes happen. The problem is your personal information, even when it contains errors, goes directly onto your credit files. Those errors become part of your credit report at whatever credit bureau is used to pull the credit report.
Here are few reasons you need one version of your personal information:
- When applying for a job at an employer that checks your credit, having several versions of your name, date of birth, or Social Security number can signal deception. A potential employer may view variations of your personal information that do not match the information stated on an application as a red flag.
- Multiple errors in personal information can also signal red flags to potential lenders when the information on a credit application does not match the personal information on your credit report.
- The dispute process can be hindered when you have ONE version of your personal information. One version of your personal information can make it harder to connect you to a credit account that might have several variations of your personal information.
Create one version of personal information. Removing incorrect and multiple variations of your name, old addresses, date of birth, telephone numbers, and Social Security number could boost your credit score and increase the likelihood of removing negative accounts associated with multiple variations of your personal information.
Credit bureaus verify credit accounts by first matching your personal information. If there is a mismatch, you are more likely to get the derogatory account removed. That’s because the dispute process is entirely computerized through the e-Oscar system and rarely are there human eyes that actually read dispute letters.
If the computer detects a mismatch in the name or address then you are more likely to get the account removed. By removing all of the variations of your name, address, telephone number, and other personal information you give the e-Oscar system less information to match.
Increase your chances of getting derogatory items removed
Having ONE version of personal information increases your chances of getting derogatory information removed.
The first dispute letter should be to update your personal information ONE version with no variations. This should be completed before your dispute any derogatory items. Make sure your FIRST dispute letter is to create ONE version of your personal information is sent certified mail and includes a recent utility bill showing your address, as well as a copy of your driver’s license and your Social Security Card.
Remove everything except exact current information. When disputing negative accounts your personal information may be tied to specific pieces of information on your credit reports. For instance, a collection account may be tied to the misspelled version of your name or old address.
When you rid your credit files of the multiple variations of personal information, all accounts tied to that information will result in a mismatch. You may get fast easy results before ever disputing a derogatory account.
There’s a possibility to get immediate results by ridding credit files of variations of personal information. Here is what your credit report should contain under personal information:
- One correct name
- One correct date of birth
- One current address
- One Social Security number
- Up-to-date employer
If you need to implement further steps, here is a guide to credit disputes along with a credit fix process to help get negative credit removed and to add positive credit for better scores.