Have a Question?
You’ve gotten through Round 1 of disputing six or less negative accounts on each of your credit reports, so what’s next? It’s time to track your results of Round 1 before sending off Round 2. Tracking helps you see what progress you’ve made so far, and what negative accounts still need to be disputed.
1. How can you get credit scores if you don’t have a credit monitoring service?
- Check with your credit card, financial institution or loan statement. Many credit card companies, banks and loan companies have started providing credit scores for their customers. It may be on your statement, or you can access it online by logging into your account.
- Purchase credit scores directly from one of the three major credit bureaus or other providers, such as FICO.com.
- Use a credit score service or free credit scoring site. Some sites provide a free credit score to users, but you should know that free sites do not provide accurate FICO scores.
2. Tracking dispute results
- Open up the Credit Report Results Tracker. You will find an Experian Results Tracker, an Equifax Results Tracker, and a TransUnion Results Tracker.
- As soon as you create your first dispute letter for any of the three major credit bureaus, add the mailing date to the tracker in the field labeled: “Start Date.” For each round, you’ll add the date that you mailed out your letters.
- With your credit monitoring service, view your FICO scores and list them for each bureau in the field labeled “FICO Score.”
- In the field marked “Name of Creditor,” is where you will list the name of the creditor that’s reporting the negative item.
- Next, enter the account number associated with the account. You can find the account number on your credit report. If the full account number is not listed on your credit report, that’s okay. Just enter on your tracker exactly the way it’s listed on your credit report.
- The status field is basically how the account is ranked. Meaning, is the account open, closed, in collection, charged off, or late. You will list on the trackers whatever the status is on your credit report.
- In the last field is the “Results.” This field doesn’t get completed until after you receive correspondence back from the credit bureaus.
- Complete the tracker for every single round.
3. Detailed description of the investigation results
- Dispute not specific; verified and updated: The item is verified as belonging to you.
- Disputed information updated: A change was made to the item based on your dispute. This doesn’t mean that the negative account is being removed. It could simply mean that the account date was updated to include in the comments section that you’re disputing the account.
- Disputed information updated and other information updated: A change was made to the item based on your dispute and other information unrelated to your dispute was changed.
- Information deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.
- Information updated: A change was made to the item. This could be as simply updating your mailing address.
- No update necessary: The disputed information already reflects the requested status.
- Reinserted: The previously disputed item has now been verified; therefore, it has now been reinstated on your credit report.
- Verified as accurate: The disputed item was verified and change was made to the item.
- Verified as accurate and now updated: The disputed item was verified as accurate; however, other information has changed and/or the item.
4. Round 2 Disputes
- After Round 1, some of the accounts disputed may remain on your credit report. Dispute these accounts again in Round 2.
- Use the Round 2 letters for your disputes, even for accounts that you first disputed in Round 1 and were not removed from your credit report.
- Use a different dispute reason each time you send off a round of disputes.
- However, if you have proof for the reason you are disputing the account, then you can continue using the same dispute reason. Make a copy of your proof and send it along with your dispute letter to the credit bureaus.
- Add any remaining negative item to your dispute letters, but still keep your disputes down to six or less per letter.
- Mail off your dispute letters to the credit bureaus and just like in Round 1, send a legible copy of your State or Driver’s License, Social Security card, and a utility bill.
5. Dispute reasons
- Balance is incorrect
- Opening date is incorrect
- Status is incorrect
- Not late as many times as being report
- The account doesn’t belong to me
- What if you don’t want to dispute a collection or it just won’t budge from your credit report, what alternative do you have? You can settle.
- Collections companies usually contact you via phone or regular mail offering you a settlement for a lower amount than what’s owed in order to settle and close the account. The collection agency will want a lump sum or for you to make payment arrangements.
- Only settle if they agree in writing to remove it from your credit report and promise not to sell the remaining balance to any other collection agencies.
- If the settlement offer is acceptable to you, in turn write a separate letter to the collection agency detailing what terms and conditions you are willing to accept based on their offer.
- Include in the bottom half of your letter blank fields regarding the contact information of the collection agency. The collection agency will fill in the blanks. The contact information includes: Name of company, company address, department name, the representative’s name of who opened and is addressing your letter, and this person’s direct phone number, the account number on file, and the representative’s signature and date.
- Include a self-addressed stamped envelope so that the collection agency can mail your letter back to you.
- Once you receive the completed letter, you’ll then make your lump sum payment or start paying your payment arrangement.
7. Pay for deletion
- Pay for deletion is when you offer the creditor or collector full payment for the balance owed in exchange for the account to be deleted permanently from your credit report.
- Offer by writing to the creditor or collection agency that you’ll agree to pay the full amount due on the debt in exchange for it to be permanently removed from your credit report.
- Ask the creditor or collector to send you a letter that states they agree to remove the account from your credit report once the debt is paid in full.
- If after paying the debt in full, you see that the creditor or collection agency refuses to honor their agreement they sent you in writing, make a copy of the letter you received.
- Send the copy of the letter from the creditor or collection agency to the credit bureau, along with a letter telling the credit bureau to remove the account from your credit report.
- Provide the credit bureau the reason you want the pay for delete account removed is because the creditor or collection agency didn’t keep their end of the agreement.
8. While your repairing your credit, don’t do the following
- Don’t apply for any new credit
- Don’t cancel any open accounts
- Don’t increase your debt to credit ratio by adding to your existing balances
- Don’t co-sign for anyone
- Don’t dispute any accounts that have a balance of $900 or more, unless you’re equipped to being sued
- Don’t miss any of your credit card payments
- Check your credit report every 30 days for deletions and for any new negative accounts added
- Keep your credit monitoring service active
- Don’t file for bankruptcy unless an attorney advises you to
9. What to do after credit repair is over
- It may only take a few rounds to clean up your credit. Once all negative accounts are removed from your credit report, it’s time to rebuild your credit at minimum to a 640 credit score.
- Become an authorized user on a responsible person’s credit card
- Apply for a credit builder loan
- Apply for a secured credit card every six months
- Pay all your bills on time or before time
- Keep your debt utilization at 30% or below
Words of advice
- If you’ve received your free credit report from Annualcreditreport.com via regular mail, you will not have your FICO scores because Annualcreditreport.com does not offer them.
- It’s important to keep your trackers up to date and within reach.
- Why? So that you can compare your credit report from Round 1 of disputing to what’s reporting since you received correspondence from the credit bureaus.
- Within 30 – 45 days, the credit bureaus are required by law to answer your dispute. Their mode of communication is through regular mail. Inside the letter, you’re hoping for favorable results. It will typically say : “Outcome: Deleted, the disputed item was removed from your credit report.”
- On the tracker, we listed four rounds for each credit bureau, but you can always add additional rounds to the tracker if needed. It may take several more rounds of disputing to get a negative account removed.
- There are times that the credit bureaus may remove an account from your credit file temporarily and then put it back on at a later date. You need to be mindful of this so that you can go back to the credit bureaus and let them know that it was taken off your credit report and then reinstated when you weren’t given this update within five business days, so now you want it removed again, but this time permanently.
- An account may appear twice on your credit report. Once from the original creditor and again from the collection agency. In this case there should only be a balance on the account from the collection agency. The original creditor must show a zero balance. If both accounts report a balance owed, you are to dispute this in your letter and include a copy of your credit report with the two accounts highlighted.
- Correspondence from the credit bureaus doesn’t always answer your disputes. You may get a generated letter that has nothing to do with your dispute. The letter may just include general information about disputing online, or asking you to call them. It’s basically fluff and you can discard the letter and continue with the dispute process.
- It’s best to view generated form letters from the credit bureaus as a deterrent to keep you from moving forward with the dispute process. Be aware that the credit bureaus make money from delinquent accounts reporting on your credit report. The longer they remain on your credit report, the more money they make.
- It’s possible that you will not receive any correspondence from the credit bureaus. In this case, you may want to send your disputes letters certified mail. This way, you can use your mailing receipt as proof that you sent the dispute letters and within the allotted 45 – 60 days, if you still haven’t received any correspondence from the credit bureaus, ask the credit bureaus to remove the account from your credit report.
- If collectors refuse to settle with you, you should only move forward with settling if a mortgage depends on it.
- Settling on an account is still viewed by creditors as being negative even if you paid less than the balance owed.
- If the collection agency doesn’t remove the account after you’re done paying your agreement, make a copy of your letter that the collection agency filled out and send it to the credit bureaus. Include a dispute letter stating that you’ve completed your part of the agreement and the collection agency did not and you want the account removed from your credit report.
- If you’ve settled on a collection account in the past, you should now dispute it and attempt to have the settlement deleted from your credit report.
- You may receive a 1099C from the IRS, which means that taxes are now owed on the amount of money you were forgiven of by the creditor or collection agency.
- Your FICO score may drop temporarily as a result of accounts being removed from your credit report. It’s all part of the process.
- If your negative accounts still remain after 90 days, do not send off another round. Wait 90 days and then begin the dispute process again.
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