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How Long Does Credit Repair Take?

How Long Does Credit Repair Take?

Having good credit is often required for more than just making purchases at the grocery store or ordering a product online. Poor credit can negatively affect an individual's ability to obtain gainful employment or to rent an apartment. A consumers' credit history affects all aspects of their life and initiating credit repair is crucial to getting back on track financially. The process of credit repair can take years but there are some steps which can have immediate beneficial effects.

Getting Started

Much like the saying "if you don't know it's broke you can't fix it", the first step to repairing your credit is to get a copy of your credit report and see where you stand. Fortunately for consumers, a federal law was passed requiring each of the three major credit reporting agencies to provide a free credit report every 12 months. Obtaining a copy of your free credit report can be done by going to www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Once you have a copy of your credit report you can determine which areas need immediate attention and what black marks will require a longer term time horizon. Read the provided instructions or go online for information which explains how to read a credit report if you are unfamiliar with the sections.

Short Term

There are some aspects of the credit report which can be repaired immediately simply by filling out a form and contacting the credit agencies. Up to 40% of all credit reports include inaccurate information which can negatively impact the consumers credit score. Sometimes this information is as benign as an incorrect address or misspelled name but other times it is much more damaging. Having accounts reported as delinquent but are in fact paid in full is a common inaccuracy because account information was not updated correctly. Each of the reporting agencies provide online forms which can be filled out, printed and mailed to a specific address. By law, they are required to provide some sort of resolution within 30 days. They may wind up removing the inaccurate information or specify that it's staying and explain the reason why.

Other steps which will start to have an immediate positive impact on your credit score is paying down excessive debt in making payments on time and for the correct amount. The total debt and payment history make up 65% of a consumers credit score so by making credit card payments on time and for more than the minimum you kill two birds with one stone. While it still may take a few months before it had any impact it will still show that you are establishing a pattern financial responsibility which will come in handy in the future.

Long Term

While short-term credit repair issues can be handled within a few weeks or months more significant issues will take years to resolve. The two most detrimental events on a credit report are foreclosure and bankruptcy. A foreclosure will stay on a credit report for up to seven years will a bankruptcy will be in place for ten years. It is next to impossible to have either of these black marks reduced in duration were removed. While neither these can be removed they can be addressed which additional comments provided by the consumer apply directly to the credit report. This can help explain, and hopefully minimize, specific issues when other individuals and companies submit credit report inquiries. Credit card charge-offs normally have a duration of 2 to 3 years and may actually be removed at the discretion of the reporting company. Try contacting individual creditors to see if they will work with you to change the status of a charged off account. This may or may not work but it doesn't hurt to ask and can significantly boost your credit score.

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