A low credit score does not only affect borrowing. Insurers, employers, and even landlords also check this indicator. A poor total may prevent you from getting the best conditions on a loan, renting an amazing apartment, or getting the job of your dreams. FICO scores are not always fair, and they may be repaired. But how long does it take?
The term “repair” refers to the deletion of inaccuracies from credit reports. Sadly, this is not uncommon. Consumers find duplicates, incorrect details, and even outright false information. An eviction, judgment, or bankruptcy that never happened may tarnish your score for years. If there are just a few errors, you may resolve the issues in just over a month. It is the best-case scenario.
Average Repair Duration
Most consumers need several months to have their reports cleaned. The process may take half a year in complex cases. It depends on the number and nature of false derogatories.
Consumers that use professional repair services may achieve the result faster. Learn about recommended Credit Repair companies and services in your state. Disputing errors by yourself requires painstaking analysis, knowledge of credit laws, and formal communication with different parties. Here is why you will never repair your score overnight.
Repair Step by Step
Every case includes four mandatory stages. First, the provider will collect your data from three major reporting agencies. Next, the team will analyze the documents thoroughly to find any errors. After evidence is collected, the professionals will send customized dispute letters to the bureaus.
1. Getting Your Reports
Any US citizen can get a free copy of their records from each of the bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) once a year. Until April 20th, 2022, this service is available every week due to the pandemic. The easiest way to obtain the data is by requesting it through www.annualcreditreport.com.
Getting all three copies is essential. Every lender may share their data with just one agency. Derogatories on Equifax records are not reflected on a TransUnion report and vice versa. Bureaus do not share information with one another, which complicates the process and makes repair services more convenient than DIY.
2. Finding Disputable Items
Experts scrutinize the information to identify inconsistencies. Note that any company offering to delete correct info is a scam. Only mistakes may be removed. They range from misspelled addresses to false bankruptcies or late payments.
Most negative entries stay on the records for 7 years, so the consequences are far-reaching. Professionals will identify the most damaging entries and suggest a plan of action. It will include the following steps.
3. Collecting Evidence
You cannot request removal without any proof. It is necessary to submit bank statements and other information proving that the items are indeed false. If the evidence is incomplete, the bureau will request additional information, which will prolong the process.
4. Formal Disputes
Any communication with reporting agencies must be written, so you have hard evidence of the exchange. Letters should be sent by certified mail. Any organization will respond within 30 days. It will investigate the claims and liaise with the lenders involved.
If the outcome is positive, a free copy of your corrected report will be mailed to you. This explains why you need over a month to remove a single item. A repair firm will deal with formal communication on your behalf, which speeds up the process.
Alternatively, you can do everything yourself. Use the templates provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sometimes, it is possible to resolve the issues by communicating with lenders only.
Companies send debt validation letters that ask them to prove that you owe the specified amount. Additionally, the creditor may agree not to share the disputed data with their bureau anymore. This may also be achieved using goodwill letters. Note that lenders are not obliged to comply.
My Report Is Accurate. What Can I Do?
If the analysis shows all the derogatories are accurate, there is nothing you can do with them. Either wait for them to age off your records or start rebuilding the borrowing history. Take out new loans and pay them back diligently. Missed or late payments affect 35% of your FICO score, which is why they are so damaging.
A few years of perfect payments will push your score upwards. Besides, you could lower your credit utilization ratio or add utility bills through Experian Boost. A well-established repair firm will suggest the best ways to increase the total in your situation.
The Bottom Line
Repair is not an overnight process. Finding the inaccuracies, proving and disputing them takes months. If your report is tarnished unfairly, be prepared to spend a few months fixing it. Professional services accelerate this process, especially when there are multiple mistakes to expose.