Guide to Negative Marks, Errors, and Credit Repair

How long does negative information appear on my credit report?

Most items can be listed for only seven years. Some items, such as bankruptcies, are listed for ten. A few serious items, such as criminal convictions, can be listed indefinitely.

Major negative items can seriously destroy your credit rating. A bankruptcy is probably one of the worst things you can have and it will stay on your report for 10 years. Other major credit problems, like a charge-off (bad credit that is written off as being "uncollectible"), will only appear for about seven years. Some criminal offenses may also appear on your credit report and depending on the severity could take seven to 10 years before they are removed. Very rarely you may have an item that remains on your credit history permanently. This would include serious infractions like fraud. Fortunately, many minor problems like a one-time late pay will be removed from your credit report more quickly often in just a year or two.

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How can I correct credit errors?

Mistakes happen, even on your credit report, and it is never pleasant trying to get them fixed. However, it is to your advantage to get started on the correction as quickly as possible because it can take six months or longer to have an inaccuracy removed from your credit report. You should start by notifying the credit reporting agency that you are disputing the item. This can be done online and requires that you provide detailed information on the disputed item. This is then sent to the creditor to get their side of the story. To facilitate the process, you should contact the creditor and make sure the inaccuracy is cleared up with them as well. They should be able to send you a letter that you can use when applying for credit that explains the error. After the matter has been settled and the item is removed from your credit report, the credit reporting agency should send you a new copy of your report showing the correction. For help repairing your credit report, DebtHelp recommends Lexington Law.

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Are there quick fixes to repair credit?

Unfortunately, there are people who like to prey on our insecurities. They know that there are people out there who are gullible enough to believe that for a price negative credit items can be removed from your credit report. Unless the negative items are inaccurate, it’s just not true. Many credit repair offers are scams that you should just ignore. However there are respected established credit repair companies like Lexington Law.

If the negative items on your credit report are minor, you may be able to do a few things to turn it around in a short period of time. This is important for you to start in advance of a major purchase such as a home or car that will be coming up in the near future. A few things you can do include:

1. Pay all creditors on or before the due date.

2. Pay down credit card balances.

3. Cancel unneeded credit cards so you don’t appear to have to much available credit.

4. Correct any inaccuracies.

5. Don’t apply for new credit cards or have too many inquiries on your report from creditors.

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Why dispute items on your credit history?

The credit reporting agencies have a responsibility to work with a consumer to correct items on their credit report. This means that you as a consumer should check your credit report for errors and follow-up as necessary. You don’t want negative credit to hurt your future so putting forth a little extra effort is to your advantage. If there are other negative items that you would like removed you need to explain to the credit reporting agency why you think it should be cleared. The credit reporting agency is obligated to contact the creditor for their side of the story. If it is determined that your case is legitimate your negative item can be removed even if it wasn’t placed on your report in error.

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