Free Credit Repair: Step-by-Step Credit Report Cleaning Instructions
Proper care & cleaning to achieve a spotless credit profile
Step 1: Check the hamper
Download 1 copy of each credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com
• By law you can download a free copy of each report 1 time every 12 months
• Site tracks if you’ve downloaded your reports recently
Which reports you’ll need:
Step 2: Check for spots & snags
Review all 3 credit reports to identify errors
• 1 in 4 reports has an error that would decrease a credit score
• 1 in 20 have an error to drop credit score by more than 25 points
1. Incorrect current balances
2. Mistakes on payment history
3. Duplicate accounts
4. Misreported account statuses
5. Out-of-date collections / penalties
6. Credit inquiries you didn’t authorize
7. Accounts you didn’t open
Step 3: Go through a cleaning cycle
Follow the steps below to make disputes
• Disputes MUST be made separately with each bureau
• By law, disputes must be answered with 30 days
Steps to follow for “spot” removal:
1. Type out a concise dispute letter
2. Include full name, account information and nature of dispute
3. Attach any proof or documentation showing mistake
4. Send by registered mail
5. Note what date dispute was received
6. Address any follow ups immediately
7. Receive acceptance of removal or confirmation original information is correct
Step 4: Repeat as needed
Lots of errors may mean more than one cycle
• You should only include a few disputes in a single dispute letter
• If you have more errors on one report, send disputes in sets
When to rinse and repeat:
1. Once you’ve received responses on the first set, send the next
2. Include no more than 5 disputes in a single letter
3. Keep sending in sets until all disputes are addressed
4. Make sure to check again next year
Tips to Ensure a Spot-Free Clean
• Make sure to keep cleaning tickets for the future
Save all paperwork you send and receive back for your records in case you need to pull something later
• Consider covering up any remaining imperfections
If a dispute is rejected, by law you can include a 100-word response statement in your credit report
• Avoid pulling old threads that could unravel
If you have an old account that’s closed and paid off, don’t remove it – it could hurt your credit score
• All blemishes with fade with time
If you can’t get an error cleared, all negative information gets removed eventually – usually after 7 to 10 years
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