Whether you are buying a house or a car or applying for a credit card, you are going to be reminded that you better have a great credit score. What happens when you have a lousy score? You get rejected. That’s all. No lost arms. No eyes taken out. No physical damage. But even if you didn’t suffer a body blow if you get turned down for a credit application, you might want to think of ways to clean up your credit history and get your credit score up. Why?
The truth is, almost everything you do that involves buying or signing up for something will involve your credit score. You can’t rent an apartment without having to report your credit score or a credit check being done on your name. You can’t escape it. While some rejections are easier to take, not qualifying for housing even when you have a job definitely has to hurt.
The good news is that you can increase your credit score with a few phone calls and a letter. Here are some basic steps on how to do it. Keep in mind that the specific addresses and steps will be given to you by the credit reporting company handling your case.
Get a credit report
The first step in your journey to a higher credit score is to get a free credit report. There are many places online that offer a free credit check. Pick one that truly offers a free report. Some are scams that bait you with a free credit check while asking for your credit card information. Skip these and find a real free provider.
Once you get your report, you will see if you have any derogatory remarks on your report. Derogatory remarks are notations that depress your credit score. These can be missed payments or underpayments or other actions that resulted in you not paying a full amount to a company you owed money to.
Contact the credit report company
There are only three major credit reporting bureaus in the US-Equifax, Transunion, and Experian Get their contact information and contact the company that gave you derogatory remarks. Ask them to strike it off your record. You can make the request verbally and they will step you through the considerations regarding the remark.
Usually, if the record was made several years back, it might be stricken out quite easily. However, if it is a judgment call on their part, they might need you to send in a written request which outlines why you were unable to pay and how your situation has changed.
Things to consider
Usually, if your bad marks are several years back and you have shown a pattern of regular and timely payments since then, removing your derogatory remarks should be no problem. However, if they are fairly recent or you haven’t shown much improvement in terms of payment patterns, you might have a tougher time raising your credit score.
Still, it is much better to fire off a request letter than not trying at all. At worst, they will reject you and tell you to try again later. At best, your request will be granted. It is worth it to try.