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Increasing Your Credit Score from 550 to 750 in Twelve Months

Updated on May 03, 2016
Joined: 7 years agoFollowers: 20Articles: 17

It seems like every day that I run into someone who tells me that their credit is seriously messed up and beyond repair, whether it be the result of a divorce, student loans, or old debts that they never paid off. Everyone thinks that their situation is worse than anyone's has ever been and that their credit can never be fixed. Does this sound like you?

Well, for you and all the people that think their credit can never be repaired I have news.

First, let's talk about the three credit bureaus and your credit scores. There are three bureaus that lenders use to check your credit. Some may use more than one, but the majority simply pull from one bureau. About half the time, when you default on a debt, it is reported to all three bureaus. However, it may also be reported to one or two of them. Each bureau scores in pretty much the same way. Credit scores go from 300 to 850. 300 is dismal and 850 is perfect. Most people that I talk to think that their credit score is around 300. However, after checking many people find that their scores are higher. It is definitely worth trying.

What Does Your Credit Score Mean?

Believe it or not, to get approved for a mortgage, car loan or any other type of financing, all you need, assuming you have the income to make the payments and employment and stable housing, is a credit score of 620-650 or higher. A credit score of 750 will pretty much guarantee that you are approved for whatever you are attempting to finance, and it doesn't take very long to achieve this kind of number.

Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report

The law allows for two instances where a person can obtain a totally free credit report:

  • Once per year.
  • When you have been turned down for financing based upon your credit report if requested within an allotted period of time.

The official site for the free yearly report is You'll have to verify some information so that they know it is really you. This site does have a function for online viewing.

What you want is a site that will let you pull a fresh copy of your report whenever you want, so that you can see how your efforts are affecting your scores. You also want a company that lets you view all three at once, in an easy format. The only company that I have found that offers these things is called Credit Check Total. I won't include a link lest someone think I am hawking an affiliate product (I'm not), but I do recommend them and use them myself. It's twenty bucks a month, but you can look at your credit report as many times as you want. Whenever I have had a question it's easy to get them on the phone and get an answer.

What to Do With Your Report

The first thing that you'll want to do is sit down and make a list of your debts. I would separate them into three categories, which I affectionately call:

  • Probably—Can pay off in one lump sum.
  • Possibly—Will take longer to pay off.
  • Hell No—Just can't pay off.
  1. Now, go through your list and cross off any debt with a most recent date of activity that is six years old or more. Generally speaking, a delinquent account can show up on your credit report for up to seven years from the time your first delinquent payment was originally due on the account. These debts will drop off by the time our twelve months are over, so we don't need to worry about them. One exception to this rule is a student loan, which will never fall off your credit report until it has been paid in full.
  2. Take a pen and paper and make a plan to pay off all of the "probably" debts over the next twelve months. You'll want to pay them off in one lump sum—,we'll go into why later, so make sure that you allow for that. If you only have $100 a week you can spare to pay these debts and the amount owed is $400, then allow four weeks for that particular debt. Remove the probably's from your list.
  3. Look at how much money you have left over and determine if you can pay off any of the "possibly" debts. If you can, make a plan for those and remove them from your master list. Now, you should be left with a few possibles and one or two "Hell No's". We have a plan for these, don't worry.

The Route to a 750 Score

There are two ways to remove negative items from your credit score, and one isn't to pay them. At least, not just to pay them. There is a process for paying off your debts and if you head into this venture gung ho and start calling up every creditor on your list, you'll do a lot more damage to your credit score than is already done.

First, let's discuss the two methods of removing negative information.

Method One: Pay the creditor and request that they remove the negative information. Basically, they withdraw their submission of unpaid debt. Some will tell you that they are unable to remove the information and if they are the original creditor, this is utter horse dung. They are perfectly able to remove it. Now, be forewarned, you may have to get tough with some of these creditors and explain that you are attempting to clean up your credit. Tell them that you are making those creditors who are willing to remove the negative information for payment of the debt a priority and if they refuse to remove it, then you will be forced to put them at the bottom of your list. They may threaten to see you in court and garnish your wages and take your first born baby, but in fact 99.9% of the time they will do nothing of the sort.

A different situation exists if the original creditor has charged off the debt and sold it to a collection agency. You'll know if this has happened, because when you call the original creditor, they will tell you to call so and so collections. Do not plead or argue with the original creditor to remove the debt or take your money. It will not work. As far as they are concerned you no longer owe them money, your debt was paid by the collection agency that bought your debt. Instead, simply thank them, hang up, and move that particular item to the "Hell No" column.

When we begin the plan, you will call one creditor at a time from your list of probably's, only after you have the money in hand to pay the debt in full. You will then attempt to negotiate a settlement for complete removal of the negative information from your credit reports (however many it exists on) and get that promise in writing from them, as well as the settlement amount. When you have it in writing, you pay that creditor and you move onto the next one.

Method Two: Obviously, we're not going to be able to pay everything on our credit report in most cases, so we have a different method for dealing with these debts. You are going to dispute them. Pick one debt per two week period and send a certified letter ( not a phone call, a letter) to the credit bureaus that list the debt and dispute it for whatever reason you can think of. You can say the dates are wrong, the amount is wrong or the debt simply isn't yours or it was paid.

A law exists that credit bureaus must remove negative information if the customer disputes it, and the company that listed the debt doesn't prove that the debt is owed and is correct within thirty days. Most companies fail to send it off within the thirty days and many may not even be able to find the records, especially if the debt is a few years old. However, if you send in too many requests at once you will be flagged as a frivolous disputer, and you won't get anywhere. Send one debt in every two weeks, or even more spaced out over the year period if you only have a few.

These two methods combined are going to remove almost all of the negative information from your credit report and will bring the score up considerably. However, we are not finished. At the same time that we are removing negative information, we're also going to rebuild your credit.

The Final Hurdle

The very first month that you begin this program I want you to beg, borrow, or steal $300 and get yourself a secured credit card. A secured credit card is one that works exactly like a credit card, but with the credit line secured by a cash deposit, which you usually receive back within a year of using the card responsibly. This is not a debit card. The money you secure it with is not yours to spend, it's your collateral to obtain this credit card. There are many companies that offer this service. Before you go shopping for one, I want you to find one that meets the following criteria as closely as possible.

  • Reports as a credit card not as a secured credit card.
  • Reports to all three bureaus.
  • Reports minimum quarterly, preferably monthly.

The first is non-negotiable. You must find a card that reports as a regular credit card or you will benefit very little from what we're about to do. The second is almost as important, since we never know which credit bureau a potential lender will pull from. The last, monthly or quarterly. Make sure it's one or the other.

Now, begin using the card to buy something each month that you were going to pay cash for. Put the cash away and when the credit card bill comes, for gosh sakes pay it.

Repeat in month three. Yes, I'm telling you to come up with another $300 and get a secured credit card from a different company. Use it the same way, spending say $10 a month and paying it off immediately when the bill comes. No late payments, no “I'll pay it next month” and no paying the minimum. Pay the entire bill off each month on both cards.

Finally, in about six months you're going to go shopping for a store credit card. These are quite easy to get with very little of a credit history and you should be able to get one quite easily. Then, use it just like the secured cards until the end of the twelve month period.


Use the credit checking website you joined up with to monitor your credit as you pay off debts, get them removed, and dispute others. You will also see good payments begin to appear and your score will begin slowly climbing up, gaining more and more momentum. With these steps, you should be able to move from 550 to 750 in a year. Good luck with your journey!


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      Christopher 3 weeks ago

      I want to thank the author of this article. I don't know too much about credit matters. All I know is that my credit was 497 and I got a card from capital one for $200 and its been going on 6 months and my credit has only gotten to 572 I've been paying off the card in full every month. But I do still have 2 collection agencies on my report that are about 4 years and 5 year old debts. I really don't have the money to pay them off at all. But after reading this I think I will have a new approach to handling them. I'm hopeful this will work. So that's why I just wanted to say thanks.

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      Mike 6 months ago

      Quick FYI: a secured Visa from Bank of America is *BAD*

      It will not only show up as a secured card, it will show up in the "derogatory accounts" half of your credit report. I had my BoAV for 2 years before I noticed this, so I have 25 months of green "OK" boxes, but that means nothing.

      I can't speak to any other card, but I know firsthand that the BoA secured card is detrimental to your efforts.

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      Maritza C 7 months ago

      Thanks for the advice, I followed your steps and my credit improved over 125 points in just 3 months. I used credit karma to track my score. For the first time in my life I began to get credit card offers and was approved for a few.

    • profile image

      Jason Noel 7 months ago


      I used the Capital One Secure credit card. It reports everywhere as an "Unsecure Credit Card". Check it out here:

      Basically, they are setting up a separate bank account to hold your initial deposit as collateral and then issuing a unsecured credit card on another account. So if you don't pay your credit card. They have the money to pay it back.

      I paid $250 cash that they created a new savings account with that money. Then issued me a credit card with a $250 credit limit. After 6 months of paying $5 / month on time with auto pay, they sent me a check for the $250 and closed the savings account.

      I still have the Capital One credit card, and they bumped the credit line up from $250 to $500 after the 6 month period.

      I called them after 12 months to see if I can get them to raise it again since I had over 700 credit score at that time and they said they can't increase your limit on secure credit cards. So that is one downfall.

      Its still a secure credit card, but it reports as unsecured. I hope this helps.

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      Christy 8 months ago

      I see this article was originally written over 5 Years ago. Is this method still applicable today?

      What do you do with the hell no accounts?

      Can you elaborate on what to do with the collection accounts since you say move to the hell no accounts?

      Finally, you say dispute but what documentation will need to be provide to actually have them removed?

    • profile image

      Jason Noel 8 months ago

      In March 2015 I had a 536 fico credit score and just used Dave Ramsy's debt snowball to get out of debt.

      But by the time I started trying to get out of debt I had 45k on 4 credit cards and all of them were delinquent. And bad! One company even took me to court and sued me to get paid back.

      I never filed for bankruptcy, but worked my tail off to pay it all back. I mean it's not like my credit score could get any worse!

      Since I paid all my debt off (march 2015), I hired a credit repair company to go through to try and remove all of the errors in the reporting. I know I could have done it myself too, but didn't have time and the $500 they charged for 6 months to file and monitor everything seemed more than fair.

      In addition to the credit repair last march, I signed up for a Capital One secure credit card. I had to pay $250 as collateral and the card reported as a regular credit card and not a "Secure Card"... which I read was extremely important. I was denied initially, but it went to manual processing where I noticed a couple weeks later that my account was $250 short. I started doing backflips! Its not easy to get a credit card with a 536 credit score. I literally had to pay somebody!

      Just like this article mentioned, I signed up for another credit card 3 months later and got approved for a $500 limit card.

      I did the same thing 3 months later with a target red card.

      Keep in mind that with all the credit cards, I'm only using $5 / month and they are all set to autobill and autopay. I use the target red card for an automated subscription of vitamins, and the other two cards are setup on similar monthly auto payments for things we use every month anyway.

      So the credit cards are in my desk drawer with a sticky note over them saying what they are for. I never use them or carry them around with me. I have a debit card for that and it forces me to manage my finances because there is no other way!

      The overall credit usage us under 5%, and currently has 100% perfect payments since I started 15 months ago.

      With that said... I've gone from a 536 fico to a 798 fico when I checked May, 2016. So a 262 point increase in 15 months.

      I saved this article and have shared it with numerous friends who have been in the same position was in. Thanks for posting and good luck to everybody out there who is trapped underneath a mountain of debt and a bad credit score.

      My two pesos... Read the Dave Ramsey The Total Money Makeover book and then follow the steps from this article. That's it. Good luck!

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      Sarah 8 months ago

      Capital One's secured card reports as unsecured. I've had it 2 months and my score has gone up 80 points with low usage. From 470 to 550. I'm not exaggerating.

      You will not get a refund on your deposit unless you close the account though, so that's a factor you have to consider. For me, I figured it's worth $200 to help fix credit I thought I couldn't ever fix.

    • profile image

      Ali 8 months ago

      I did my research an apparently none of the secured CCs report to the 3 credit bureaus as UNSECURED even the USAAs...why do you say we won't benefit from it otherwise? Do you know of any secured cards that do report as "unsecured?"

      I'd appreciate your response.

    • profile image

      Bridgette 9 months ago

      These are very good questions I've read in the comments. I'm disappointed that they have gone unanswered as I have some of the same questions.

    • profile image

      Xavia 10 months ago

      Great advice! I searched online for the best secured credit cards with the qualifications you listed. Navy Federal offers a $500 secured card and is said to be the best. A few days after I activated my card, my credit scored increased by 30 points! It may not seem like a lot but it has given me hope that it can be cleared up. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would always have bad credit and would never be able to get a loan for a car or home. Thanks for sharing this :)

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      Brea W 10 months ago

      Hi there,

      First, thank you for the information. I'm eager to improve my below 500 credit score! I am curious: how should I tackle my $30,000 in student loan debt? I was deferring them for the last 7 years and now they're being displayed as 160, 180, etc days past due. These are the primary debts on my credit score. Help?

    • profile image

      DeVonia 10 months ago

      What about closed accounts are those good or bad and so they need to be taken off?

    • profile image

      Megan 10 months ago

      I am a stay at home mom, my credit score is about 530- I have charged off several things on my report and have been working At this for years, I literally have 30 pages of a credit report. No matter what I do to pay a bill off it doesn't improve my score. I have never had a store card or any unsecured credit card. It's like a right of passage for teens(18 year olds, etc) to get a basic card and I'm sitting here at 32 and I can't even get anything. I've never even been able to get an apartment on my own. I feel like a failure. I can't travel because I can't book hotels, rent cars, etc. I just want to be like everyone else

    • profile image

      FreshStart 10 months ago

      Hi there,

      First of all, I live in Canada. I made some credit mistakes in the past. On my credit reports, I have three accounts in good standing which are my student loans, my cell phone bill, and a savings loan (for credit rebuilding purposes). On my EQ report, I have two collections. One for a vet bill that my ex boyfriend told me he was paying (he broke my dog's leg) and in fact didn't pay at all. I didn't know until I pulled my credit report late last year. I have since paid off that account ($2000). The other account is basically from my own stupidity. However, the account is 5 years old, and set to fall off in April of 2017. Under the advice of credit counsellors here, I have decided to just let it drop off after the reporting period, and pay the original creditor after it falls off so it doesn't stay on my report for another 6 years. (In Canada, charge offs are reported for 6 years from the date of last activity). This account is also on my TU report. When I checked my scores in November of 2015, my EQ score was 429 and my TU score was 560. My EQ score is now 560, and my TU score is now 598.

      I don't know if I'll qualify for a credit card because my student debt is still pretty high. It's in good standing and my payments are automated at the end of each month, but it only went into repayment status in January of this year.

      What suggestions do you have to help me raise my scores to the 750 or higher mark?

    • profile image

      Dee Carmack 11 months ago

      I know this original post said if your debt has been sold to a collection agency to move that debt into the hell no pile. What if all of your debt has been sold to the collections agency? Will it hurt to pay those off?

    • profile image

      Alison 11 months ago

      I have several items on my credit report that show paid/0 Balance from 4 or more years and a few have reported this year. Should I dispute to have those removed first then move on to the ones in collections? I'm confused on where to start and why these companies are still reporting on something that was paid 4 years ago. Thank you

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      ChasingDreams1 12 months ago

      This is some good advice, I will add the following. I had a 3-4 collection accounts that were showing on my report, they were not showing reported from the original creditor. It was debt a couple of years old. I went directly to the original creditors and paid the bills, then I immediately disputed the collection accounts stating the bills had been paid to the original creditor. The collections accounts were all deleted from my reports. I found that Transunion and Equifax were the quickest to respond, Experian took almost 30 days. I did dispute online directly to the credit bureaus and with one account I provided documentation that the account was paid, I was able to upload the documentation. It does indeed take time but there are ways to improve your scores. I did obtain a couple of secured cards a couple of years ago, since then have been able to get a couple of unsecured ones. The starting unsecured limits are entry level but once you get one and use it for small things and PAY IT IN FULL every month it will work for you. If you have NO credit or just cannot get a card, you can also trying getting credit with someone who has "freshstart" programs. Fingerhut is one, they will give you a small credit line with a small down payment. Order something that you CAN pay off in 60-90 days, make more then the minimum payments, and they DO report to the bureaus. They will then increase your line. It is a START and it does work but you have to have patience.

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      Lisa 12 months ago

      Question.. Say the creditor doesnt respond to my dispute how then do I have that creditor deleted from my report?

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      Laura 13 months ago

      I have a different question for Mr. Adams. I was the President at a corporation. In order to get a company card they make you sign as guarantor on the account even though it belongs to the corp. Everything on the card was purchased for the business or was a business expense that I was entitled to such as gas for the company car. I am no longer at that corporation. They have refused to pay the credit card. It has been reported to my credit. They are in possession of everything thing that was purchased with the card. What if anything can I do about this. It isn't right that I should be stuck with this 15,000 dollar debt.

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      Kathleen brown 13 months ago

      Is this applicable to Canadians, or just US residents

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      Emily 16 months ago

      This is one of the most helpful articles I've read about raising credit. Thank you!!

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      Lissete 16 months ago

      What do I do to get a car repossession taken off my credit report? I was a co-signer for this car. It was financed in 2012 and last reported in 2013. The account status is closed as derogatory. The payment status shows collection/charge off and it was settled less than full balance. In 2013 I was told it would be removed after paying less than full balance but it was a bunch of crap. I tried calling this year and they thought I was crazy for even asking.

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      Trina 16 months ago

      i sold a house 12 yrs ago and it almost went through foreclosure before I sold it, but it still shows up on my credit report and I don't own it and I have sent the 3credit companies proof and they still won't take it off. Now what do I do to get it off.

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      Melissa 16 months ago

      The "pay in full" method did not work for me. I noticed when i do that my score drops. I was told to carry a balance that i can afford to pay down and that creditors really care about card utilization and good payment history but if I'm paying in full all the time I'm really not showing usage so they'll just report 0% utilization which will result in my score not budging at all or eventually decreasing. So with my 500 limit cc, i spent only 100. When I got the statement for 100 due, i paid more than the minimum, 50 or half of my bill. Experian reports a few days before the month ends so i logged on and saw my score jumped 20 points, 550 to 570. I know many dispute this method but it works for me.

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      Kelly 17 months ago

      So it says that I can dispute the claim online through Equifax. Do I do it there or should I send a letter. If send a letter do you know the address I send it to?

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      ChristinaSalazar 17 months ago

      Hello, couple questions...

      Will opening a secured credit card lower my score?

      I have a capital one credit card with a $1500 limit, it's maxed out. So I just work on paying that rather than opening the secured card.

      What's the best way to get a judgement paid / removed?


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      IMPORTANT INFO 18 months ago

      If you can catch the debt when it is sold to the other company, then the first collection agency HAS TO REMOVE IT. So if you pay the debt to the company that bought it, then they CANT report to your credit. I negotiated and paid the company that bought the debt and POOF, the first collection agency REMOVED IT because it wasn't there's to report anymore. THe new company couldn't report it to the credit bureau because it was paid :) My score went up 30 points because the ITEM WAS REMOVED!

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      RCohn 19 months ago


      I recently purchased a car and during the process my credit was run 10 times (5 diffrent companies 2 times each). Long story( and I did not approve all these). Is there a way to dispute these?

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      aphi273 19 months ago

      I did my own taxes in 2012 and screwed up to the tune of $2600. I have been setup on an installment plan of $50 a month but cannot really afford my mistake. Is there anything I can do?

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      Lasset 20 months ago


      My question is should I pay my credit card balance complete off each month and how much revolving credit should I be using.

      I have Chase Freedom, Victoria Secret, Jcpenney.

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      Cris 20 months ago

      do you know of any secured cards that comply with all the criteria needed?

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      kelly 22 months ago

      Are you personally available for hire to help improve credit scores?

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      Sharena H 23 months ago

      Hello, thank you soo much for posting this. My credit score sucks and I'm going to use your method to try and repair it. Thanks for the great detail and explaining every step that should be taken so carefully. I hope my results turn out as good as your did

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      Carrie 23 months ago

      Mr Adams.

      Do you have a "Template" of the letter we should send off to dispute old credit issues reporting on our credit score?

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      Bang Bang 23 months ago

      I started this process a couple of months and I started with a 550. I got a Capital One Credit Card with a $200 credit limit. So far i have been using at least about $80 a month and been paying it off Faithfully!!!! In two months I got bumped up from 550 to 582... Personally I think that is great progress!!! Ill Keep yall posted!!

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 23 months ago from Midwest

      Very insightful! I just ran my credit reports last week to see where I was at and make sure everything was accurate. You have provided great next step info!

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      Sha 24 months ago

      I filed bankruptcy chapter 7 in September 2014, and it discharged on Dec 31. I had a credit score of 550 and I bought a car 3 days later with a 19% interest rate. The end of January my score bumped up to 629, then Feb 1st I applied for Capital One secured card and I'm now waiting to see how this bumps me up the next three months. I'll update then!

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      mhalsell 2 years ago

      Hi everyone. My name is 523 (at least to the credit bureaus). Recently applied and received a Capitol One secured card. The Credit Tracker feature indicated I have 13 negative comments on record.

      Starting the rebuilding process today. So I will keep the community posted as I work through my credit therapy. Up, Up and Away!

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      Sara 2 years ago

      do you know of a way to get inquiries removed?

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      Jean 2 years ago

      This is the most helpful article I've ever read. I felt pretty stuck in a bad credit situation, due to life circumstances, before reading this. My one questions is: could you provide some sort of example or layout for writing the letter to dispute the credit? I'm not sure what all I should include or how detailed I should be. I have two high ones that I could never get paid off with what I make, when I got them I was in a relationship and when the relationship ended I was stuck with them. I just don't know where to start. Thank you so much for your help!

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      HavaWorkman 2 years ago

      I use to get my free credit score - I've been using it for years and it does NOT hurt your credit score and it never costs a cent. A great, great company.

      I'm a little frustrated because I have excellent credit (700+) but my husband has a 540 credit score. We want to buy a house, but it's going to be a while at this rate, lol.

      Anyway, great article - thanks for writing it!

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      MikeP52 2 years ago

      Hey Joshua, so when sending these disputes to the credit bureaus what should be included? Do you jist send a letter stating what you are disputing with a highlited copy of your bureau? Do they contact you back with the result of the dispute? Can you please explain. Thank you

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      afaulk 2 years ago

      Thank you, great advice,however, after they deleted a dept it came back months later..would it be wise to send them another certified letter an give them 30 days to respond..And if they dont respond with in 30 days..what's ny next Step?

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      Dan 2 years ago

      I panicked and paid off everything in full as soon as I found out how bad it was. I now have no balances and accounts have been closed and charged off. That still hurts my score having so many negatives even though I have paid everything off. Is there anything I can do now even though I already paid the debts?

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      symone 2 years ago

      Hey there. Im a college student and i have no credit. When i was declined a credit union account it showed a debt from chase when someone stole my identity last year... but she saod i had no credit, and the same when i tried to get a phone plan they said i needed a 20% down payment because i had no credit. I have an unsecure credit card with 500 limit and ive used about 450. My statement date is 1/14/15 ..,.so what do i do to make sure i get a good rating after my first month and how else can i build credit from zero, i read the article but those are my questions just to get clarification..

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      Pamela 2 years ago

      Joshua, what do I do with the accounts on my credit report that state

      "Charged Off"?

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      AH 2 years ago

      Ok...I have two secured credit cards with a score of 509 but I just had a repossession which dropped my score this low, and student loan with minor negatives on my report is it possible for me to have a 650 in a yr

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      Asmara1234 2 years ago

      I am not sure if my previous joiner made it through. .

      Anyways. ..just a follow up from my last update. ..i mentioned last month that how a wrong balance reported by capitalone which was at about 90% utilization rate caused my score with TU to drop from 622 to 586. I challenged capitalone to re report the correct balance and after almost 15 business days, the TU received the correct ed version and restored my score to 622. ..This shows me that for less than 30 % utilization rate - if all other variables remain same" in my case I have 11 closed account with good standing and three dragatory accounts with zero balance- the score should increase by about 35 points. This shows how under utilized credit rate contributes toward the existing score.

      My next statement cycle with capital one is on 14th of December and I am keeping my utilization rate way under 30% and I will see if my credit increases by 35 points. Will keep you updated.


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      Asmara1234 2 years ago

      Hello credit rebuilders

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      tuesday 2 years ago

      Hi yhere

      Awesome advice.

      I have 3 collections bills. Should i not pay them?? Or should i call the debt agencies and pay them off??? Im a little confused w the hell no part lol

      My credit is horrid but i got a secured credit card and plan on using only to improve my credit score.

      Thanx again

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      Ane1 2 years ago

      Joshua, thanks for the great advice! I found that I'm essentially starting from 0, there are no open accounts on my credit report. I got a credit card and will build positive history over the next year. I do, however, have a very small tax lien judgement (totally settled about a year ago - oversight when I closed my small business that went far, fast) showing up that's not helping things at all. Unfortunately it's on my husband's report too. Any ideas on what can be done about that?

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      Some individuals have encountered a hard time, this is a method to break free for those individuals. Some folks do not have the finances to bring past debts down to a level that they can afford to handle. It is my desire to see people break free from the bondage that they might be held by. Thank you for your feedback.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      It depends on the age of the debt. Almost always try to dispute this kind of debt.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      It is not an easy battle to rebuild from rock bottom. I will not lie. I am glad to hear of your successes and I am sure that you're to find more soon. Keep up the good work, and stay strong. Thank you for your feedback.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      You can relax a bit, and congratulations. I also would like to thank you for your feedback.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      It certainly will improve, as long as you don't find yourself with outstanding debt somewhere else. It's always wise to pay above the minimum payment, and if possible, pay them off entirely. Hang in there.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      Request a report from all three agencies. Some may include more history than another, and all three scores are likely to be different. Stick to your guns and you'll be sure to make it through.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      I have to commend you for sticking through it. It just goes to show you that with a little perseverance and some commitment, you can accomplish your goals. Congratulations and thank you for your feedback.

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      Asmara1234 2 years ago

      What a great guy and great advice!

      I am one of those whose credit hit rock bottom and I have no one to blame but myself. I have already implemented dome of your advice already before I read your blog disputing dublicate accounts and also making settlement deals with collection agencies with changed off accounts. And also I got a $1000 secured credit card with capitalone and I am about to acquire another one from different bank. When I decided to get my past behind me and start rebuilding my credit my scores were 438 and 403 for Eq and TV respectively. After making settlement of all my delinquent accounts and have them closed and bring my over all balance yo zero and of course the capitalone secured cc, I saw my credit increase to 468 for EQ and 622 for TU. Here I couldn't understand why the huge difference between the two credit reporting offices.

      Now I am about to get 11000 dollar worth used car. With my terrible, credit i am bracing myself for high interest loan but I have to do it yo rebuild my credit. Soon, due to statue of limitation, two of my delinquent accounts will be purged from my report and I am anxiously waiting to see what the impact on my credit score will be..

      I will keep you posted on how my two secured credit cards and car loan will help me further improve my credit score to a decent level.

      Now I convinced myself that it took years to get my credit to reach yo such low and in three months I have got my things sorted out and now I am in the right track and I am sure in 12 months I am not be in excellent rating but I would hope I will be in high 600 and be able to purchase a house with decent interest rate...

      Mind you i destroyed my credit not because I was not capable of paying them but utter negligence and compulsive gambling habits. I stop gambling for almost for 7 months. ..paid off 9000 debts that went to collection agencies. .

      I am sharing all these rather private and embarrassing personal stories to drive the idea that Yes we can change despite our current situation! With patience, I am confident that I will keep you posted with more positive news! If I can do it, so can you!!!!

    • mariaw1220 profile image

      mariaw1220 2 years ago

      Thank you! I intend to follow this plan to a T!!! After the 1yr mark, should we continue to spend on all 3 credit cards at least once a month? Or after our first year, can we relax a little bit. I am trying to rebuild mine and my husband's credit for no particular reason but to have a peace of mind, and possible own a home some day.

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      kat 2 years ago

      My credit score is 547 .. I have 3 credit cards. All three are over the 50% usage.. If i pay all three cards will my credit score increase

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      Alfa2014 2 years ago

      Hello Joshua, I feel like I find myself at the bottom of the pile! I am done feeling sorry for myself and ready to start your steps to a better score! I have a question, do I request a credit score from all three or which one would you suggest I get it from first?

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      Misty Sue 2 years ago

      Hello. Thank you for this article. I'm really going to try this and see what I can do! I have a question though; if the debt is charged off through a collection agency, is this one we try to dispute and get removed or just mark it Hell No and leave it alone? Thanks again for your help!!!

    • ControlledChaos1 profile image

      ControlledChaos1 2 years ago

      Lots of people don't realize that paying their bills on time and paying down existing debt will increase their credit score over time.

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      RB 2 years ago

      Joshua.....I just want to say THANK YOU for writing this article. I stumbled onto this 6 months ago when I checked my credit for the first time in years. It was rock bottom at 550!...Student loan debt (multiple 90, 120 day negatives), collections, medical bills, you name it I had it. Following your steps.......I've increased my score by over 120 points in less than six months! (EQ: 655, TU: 675, EX: 690). I'm well on my way to reaching 750 in 12 months and I can't thank you enough for making this post! IT REALLY WORKED!! Thanks again!

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      I'm truly glad to hear of your results. You do have to be responsible and stay on top of your credit. Thank you for the feedback.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      These can be disputed through the credit reporting agency as I've outlined in this article.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      I wouldn't call them. It would be wise to dispute it through the credit reporting agency(ies).

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      Waiting it out is not really a good idea. It will be sold again and become a new debt. The best idea is to dispute the validity of the debt.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      It becomes a new debt when purchased by a collection agency. You are left having to dispute these old debts.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      Those charged off debts will show up indefinitely. They are sold off before any statute of limitations, This means that they become a new debt. By all means dispute them. Do whatever it takes. It is going to be a difficult battle, but you can hang in there. Try getting a prepaid credit card with a small monthly limit. Make sure that it reports on your credit.

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 2 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      The steps outlined here do apply to you. Keep your head up. Part of this is a waiting game. It is easy to be discouraged. Using your card in small amounts and paying it off each month will speed up the process. To really bring your score up, to over 750, you will almost have to be in a lease that is paid on time. The other option would be a large purchase that is current. I hope this helps. Hang in there.


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      Ryan R 2 years ago

      Just wanted to say im at the Secure card step and I've gone up from 559 to 621 from Feb till now paying debts and having them fall or get removed from my credit report. You honestly showed me the way and I cannot THANK YOU enough for it! This method truly works, if your responsible.

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      Mr. Celo 2 years ago

      how can i remove purchased by another lender from m y credit report ?

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      MR ACE 2 years ago

      Saw this In Oct of 2013 Whent from a 520 to 670 and still going. I've done everything but write in the letters to the agencies. That will be my next step.

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      pa 2 years ago

      I have a question. I've paid some of my debts. some are chargeoff- if I call them- will they take it off?

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      Mary 3 years ago

      i would love to know the answer to ArtCard question about - my situation is similar. question about a charge off - what to do with this? its with a collection agency - wait it out? should i still try to dispute and what would be my reasons? it is fairly recent so i have 6 years left.

    • Troyangeluk profile image

      Troyangeluk 3 years ago from UK

      Great Hub i fount this to be very clear and easy to understand, keep up the good work.

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      Sixstring 3 years ago

      I have a question about a Creditor? Well see back in 2004 i had a Capital One card that i missed a few payments then it turned into a charge off so i ended up just forgetting it. 2012 I checked my credit report & from the Credit card it said it will be removed in 2014 i was like cool couple years and it will be removed 12/2013 i checked my credit report to see if it was still going to be removed well guess what they changed the date to 2015 i mean how can a creditor change a date if its no longer their's it wen't to a Collection after another.

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      ArtCard 3 years ago

      Hi Mr. Adams,

      First, great advice!

      So my situation is all of my stuff are all "hell no's". Unfortunately, I can't pay them and it's been about 2 years. They're in a charged off status and have been sold to numerous collections agencies. So the debts show charged off and the collection agencies are reporting too. My question is can I at least dispute the charged off to be removed from the credit report? As far as the reason for disputing, can I get in trouble in any way for disputing for the incorrect reason? Also how the hell do you stop these collection agencies from running the credit score? Also how long will they keep selling the account to other collection agencies? Thanks

    • Isabelle Saspa profile image

      Isabelle Saspa 3 years ago

      Hey there Josh, I'm currently a college student with a credit score of 630. I need your advice on how I could bring that up to about 750-800 since I'm planning to apply for an apartment in NYC and it's really competitive. I haven't taken out any student loans yet and I have a credit card (with Chase freedom) that has a $500 limit. I haven't taken on any Hell No debt but I noticed that my credit score hasn't moved in 2 years.. I have made some late payments in the past and got my credit checked out by a bunch of car dealerships(I was shopping around for a car and I didn't know that that was bad for my credit). But a couple of months ago I did start doing this thing where I pay 80%-90% of my debt every month on time. Should I just keep doing that? Is there any way that I could get to my goal in 6-8 months? And do the steps you mentioned in this article apply to me, too?


    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 3 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      Virgin Media is not likely to have your original debt on file, however, they will have record of a debt history and will no longer extend you credit. You will need to dispute the debt with the credit reporting agencies, and make no contact with the collection agency. The original company and collection agency will need to be listed your dispute.

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      Loo1710 3 years ago

      Regarding the comment about companies selling the debt to a collection agency -

      "As far as they are concerned you no longer owe them money, your debt was paid by the collection agency that bought your debt. Instead, simply thank them, hang up, and move that particular item to the Hell No column. "

      Should I just forget about this debt? I have been disputing it with the original company (virgin media) for months now. When I call them to try to get the situation sorted, they say that someone will need to call me back and this call back never materialises - they also don't reply to letters. I am not in the wrong on this case as I shouldn't have to pay the bill but they are not replying to my communications so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place! Obviously I want my credit report to get better but I can't bear the thought of paying the collection agency when virgin aren't getting back to me!

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 4 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      To be honest the solution here would probably have to include the waiting game. If you are current on your mortgage, arrangements to have these previous discrepancies removed can almost always be made. If not, you may be able to dispute these late payments, especially if you can show that you have a current balance that is up to date. I hope that helps.

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      susie 4 years ago

      Great advise .....but I have done the send in that something was "incorrect " to the credit bureau and yes the creditor didn't responed within 30 days and it was removed HOWEVER, the creditor re-reported it again a month or two later..... so its an on going battle until I just pay them off.

      How long can they keep reporting an old debts?

      99% of them we're old medical bills that are 5-10years old and no big amounts less then 2000 each.

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      Michael 4 years ago

      I would want to add to this. The balance that is shown on your statement is usually what is reported to the credit bureau's. So (making up numbers) if you have a statement that comes out on the 19th, and they report on the 1st. You have a credit card with a limit of $500. Racking that card up to $490 then paying it down to $10 BEFORE the 19th will show report your utilization as 2% on your credit report even though you had the card to 98% during the month. And utilization is hella important.

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      Crystal 4 years ago

      Thanks! I started doing this 7 months ago. (got the secured cards (two), i got approved for a target card last month too! I got an old bill to settle at about 40% of what I originally owed and they took the bad comment off my credit working on settling another one soon. Im moving slowly but I got from 569 to 620 in seven months with your suggestions. Thanks again!

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      christi 5 years ago

      i started this method about 6 months ago by first disputing this on my credit that were in fact not mine (i had a score of about 530 at the time) i applied for secured card from capital one and to my surprise got an unsecured cared with a limit of 300. I used it for groceries each month and paid it in full then after about 3 mths i applied for another card from another bank and i got a 500 limit on it. i just check my credit and it 607 now although i still have the charge offs and the unpaid debt on my credit that i am working on paying off so don't let MR SENDA fool you it can be done with time and patients

    • LULU SUE1987 profile image

      LULU SUE1987 5 years ago

      This is really valuable. I will try it. Thanks

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      msizzle 5 years ago

      josh, a question. I have paid a house payment late about 5 times. Two of them ninety days. Is there a way to get them off there and if by the dispute method ,can I dispute all of them in one swoop somehow?

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      Credit Repair Advice 5 years ago

      I'd like to add "always pay more than the minimum payment" if you can't pay the entire thing off.

      If the min payment is $40.00 pay $60 or 70

    • Joshua M. Adams profile image

      Joshua M. Adams 6 years ago from Kuna, Idaho

      One thing that I should mention, this requires effort on your part. You must be responsible as you follow the steps. You hold your own key to success. As you climb the ladder, keep your focus. Do not become discouraged. Some have said, "I don't see any results." When I ask them how long they have been working at it, it is always, "Two days."

      Do keep an eye on your credit report, especially when you are anticipating changes to occur. Do not, however, look at it every day. You will pull your hair out within the first week. Keep at it, and keep your chin up. You can do it.

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      JC 6 years ago

      Great Info! Very Helpful... Thx for sharing this.

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      Joe 7 years ago

      Wow im going to try this. Thank you so much Mr. Adams thats so nice of you to post this for free and to help otheres like this!

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