Improve Your Credit Score After Bankruptcy
Credit repair “experts” are fond of saying, “There are no quick fixes to improve your credit score.” But that is simply not true! In fact, there are three “quick and easy” ways to improve your credit score that you can do yourself – without paying expensive credit counselors or attorneys. By using these methods, you can quickly improve your credit score after bankruptcy.
The first, most basic way to improve your credit score is to check your credit report for errors. There are three main credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of these reporting bureaus each year under the federal Credit Reporting Act. The easiest way to get a free copy of each report is to use the consumer website at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. Your free credit reports can be downloaded instantly.
Credit reports suffer from the problem of “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, the report is only as good as the information that is provided by creditors. Sometimes this information is only partially true, or entirely false. Inaccurate information can be corrected quickly and easily using each credit bureau’s dispute process either on-line, over the telephone, or by letter. The credit bureau is required to investigate your dispute, disclose any information it acquired in making a decision on your dispute, and provide a free copy of your amended credit report. Fixing errors on your credit report will immediately improve your credit score.
The second way to quickly improve your credit score is to reduce or eliminate your outstanding debt. Debts can survive bankruptcy because they are either non-dischargeable (e.g. tax debt or student loan) or voluntarily retained (like a secured car payment). Paying down debts and remaining loans will immediately improve your credit score. Re-establishing your credit with revolving debt (like credit cards) and paying your bills will slowly improve your score over time.
Piggy-backing is credit repair’s dirty little secret and can quickly improve your score. Piggy-backing involves attaching your name to someone else’s debt, usually as an authorized user of the credit account. The history of this account is then transferred to your credit report. Bankruptcy debtors often use the good credit of a family member. Piggy-backing to an account that has been open for years, with a great payment history, and a low balance can dramatically improve your credit score.
Despite the traditional wisdom that it takes time and effort to improve your credit score, there are a few shortcuts. These tricks take very little time or effort and can quickly improve your credit score.