1. Actively seek to repair your own credit.
Credit repair will not just come to you one day. If you do not seek to repair your own credit, charge offs will stay on your credit report by law for 7 years. If you pay a charge off it will still remain on your credit report. However, once a charge off has been paid it is much easier to have it removed from your credit than an unpaid charge off. The easiest way to have a paid charge off removed is to dispute it.
2. Dispute charge offs. (And all negative items on your credit report for that matter)
It is your right as a consumer to dispute any negative items on your credit report. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act you can dispute charge offs, repossessions, foreclosures, collection accounts, bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, etc. The point is anything on your credit report can be disputed, so dispute your charge off.
3. How to dispute negative items on your credit report:
Contact the credit bureaus. The best and most effective way to do this is to write to them and clearly state your intentions in your letter. Make sure all credit reporting agencies who report the negative items on your credit get the same letter. If at all possible include the credit report with the item circled so there will be no confusion.
4. Conducting the investigation.
The best part about this step is that you do nothing but wait. Once you dispute the charge off the credit bureaus then have 30 days to investigate the charge. They contact the original creditor by sending out an electronic notice asking them to agree or disagree with the dispute. They do not check out the information with the courthouse that they are supposed to they merely run the document against a public record database. If the dispute is not validated within the 30 day time frame it must be removed from your credit.
5. Follow up with the credit bureaus.
It is important that you do your own follow up. Many times credit bureaus will not just remove items from your credit, you have to make sure to follow through with phone calls. But it will be worth it in the long run. You will begin to see a rise in your credit score in no time.
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