DIY Credit Repair: Tips

The Guide
Sample Letters
  1. Dispute Letters... remember to always send your dispute letters by certified mail so you can prove your letter was mailed and received. Keep copies of your certified mail receipts. Dispute letters must always contain specific pieces of information. Don't give the credit bureaus excuses to stall your credit repair by stating they need clarification about why your writing or what your problem is. See the important letter contents checklist.
  2. Photocopies... keep copies and/or photocopies of everything you send and or receive to and from the credit bureaus.
  3. If you have marginal, fair or poor credit do not apply for credit you may not get. Credit turndowns result in inquiries on your credit reports which subtract points from your credit scores. Find out what you should know about secured credit cards.
  4. Beware of "guaranteed" approval credit cards which promote "no credit checks" being made. Many of these cards are only debit cards, catalog shopping cards or stored value cards which are NOT true credit cards. The payment activity on these cards is normally NOT reported to the credit bureaus, and therefore has no value at all to your credit-building efforts.
  5. Don't be afraid to apply for secured credit cards while you are repairing older, bad credit. The addition of new credit, used responsibly, could improve your credit scores.
  6. Plan to have 5-7 tradelines (credit accounts) being reported on your credit files. Some lenders require a minimum number of active tradelines be open or reported to grant you new credit. This is particularly true of many mortgage lenders. In other words, if you only have 1 or 2 accounts showing on your credit reports you may not have enough credit history to be approved.
  7. Use secured credit cards wisely to establish or build credit. Never "max out" your available credit. Never let your outstanding balance amount to 50% or more of your available credit. And, always pay your bill on time.
  8. There is only one place to obtain truly, FREE, no-strings attached, credit reports. This website is: You can obtain all three of your credit reports separately from all three major credit bureaus instantly and online without having to subscribe to credit monitoring services or any other credit-related service on a trial basis.
  9. It is absolutely necessary that you obtain all three credit reports and work to improve or repair all three reports if you are going to effectively repair your credit. There is NO shortcut to better credit by improving only one or two of your credit reports.
  10. If you're improving your credit to obtain a mortgage... be aware that mortgage lenders are most concerned with your credit activity and history over the last 24-months as opposed to older credit items and issues. Additionally, medical collection accounts are usually of little concern to mortgage lenders, so in prioritizing what credit issues you should resolve, work on repairing credit issues which are 24-months old or newer, and make medical collection accounts your lowest priority for repair unless they are the chief reason why your credit is bad.
  11. Your three credit reports will usually NOT contain the same information about your credit history. Don't assume the bad credit item or account you're repairing on your Experian credit report is also on your Equifax and/or TransUnion reports. And, don't make the mistake of confusing the issue by sending the same dispute letters to all three bureaus if they're not all reporting the same bad account.
  12. If you visit any of the websites of the three major credit bureaus, you will notice all three websites provide online dispute features through the use of what is essentially email. Do NOT use these features as there is no obvious third party, such as the United States Post Office, to verify when and how you disputed your accounts.
  13. Stick to the 30-day timetable and be persistent with all your communications with the credit bureaus. Send follow-up letters in the correct timeframe, and don't take "no" for an answer.
  14. When applying for a mortgage loan... if you're fortunate enough to obtain a preapproval... understand this is not the same as a final approval. Until your mortgage loan funds, do NOT apply for anymore credit, regardless of what type of credit it is, and keep your job and stay employed.
  15. Preparing to get a mortgage?... If you're interested in buying or refinancing a mortgage, and your credit is holding you back because you're struggling to pay your bills. Always pay your rent or current mortgage on time, and don't sweat the credit card payments or car loans as much. Mortgage lenders give highest priority to how you pay your rent or mortgage than any other bill.
  16. Avoid this credit repair "scam"... don't acquire a new TIN or Taxpayer Identification Number with the idea of creating a new credit file. It's completely illegal and can get you into serious trouble resulting in fines and/or imprisonment.
  17. Consider consumer credit counseling and debt reduction services as a last resort. While in the short run they may make it easier for you to handle your bills, in the longer run they can be viewed almost as negatively as a bankruptcy. Why? From a creditor's point of view, when you use one of these services you're reneging on your credit agreements and obligations. You borrow "X" number of dollars in credit and agree to certain terms and policies. Then, you turn around and say you can't live up to the agreement, and want new terms; including paying back less money than you owe them. If somebody did this to you would you lend them money again?
  18. Rather than engage a formal debt reduction service before your situation gets too serious, go to your creditors on your own and explain your situation and problems. Most of them will agree to help you while preserving your credit.

Credit repair is not an exact science as individuals will have different credit issues to deal with, and may sustain unique responses from the credit bureaus. We are providing this resource as a free tool, and cannot guarantee credit repair based on individual situations. Use of this manual, like any resource at Finance Globe is subject to our website terms of use.