See Also: Credit History Sucks

I've had a bad credit rating for quite some time, and I was stuck in a rut. (Bad credit=no credit card, no credit card=no improvmenet to credit) I didn't want to resort to getting department store cards because, well, I never shopped there.

But I found a way out!

There are a few methods you could use...

  • Consolidated Loans - Even if you don't need them, use them. Consolodated loans take all of your bills and let you pay them back in one payment that is smaller than the bills themselves. Note that the company providing this service takes some of your money (obviously).
  • Department Store CREDIT CARDS - Visa rejects me. Mastercard rejects me. But WalMart Visa (the same as a Visa but only a $500 limit) didn't even look twice at my credit rating. I got an automatic, quick approval. Of course, I have to be ashamed and hang my head everytime I pull out the card. :)
  • Pay Your Bills Early - Paying your phone bill a week in advance... even partially... does show up on your credit reports. After a year of paying bills early, I started getting spam from all sorts of companies, wanting me to pay for things first and receive a product later. This is when I knew I was out of my rut.
Hope this helps someone, particularly moongirl. :)
Actually, the best thing to do if you have bad credit is challenge everything on your credit report. First you have to obtain copies of it, currently I believe there are three major credit reporting agencies, and they changed a bit recently, so msg me if you know this information to be different:

Experian (TRW)               Equifax                  Trans Union
P.O. Box 2104                P.O. Box 105873          P.O. Box 390
Allen, TX 75013-2104         Atlanta, GA 30348        Springfield, PA 19064
(800)682-7654                (800)685-1111            (800)916-8800 

Then challenge every negative mark on there. Challenge late payments, overdue payments, missed payments. Challenge people inquiring about your credit. Anything on there you simply write the credit agency a letter stating that you do not believe the information to be accurate. They in turn contact the reporting agency and ask them to prove what they have reported in your name. If the creditor does not reply in a certain amount of time verifying that you indeed did miss a payment or what not, then the mark on your credit report is immediately removed never to be seen again.

Chances are half the time paperwork gets lost, records are only kept for a certain number of years, and credit agencies don't have the time and personnel to go looking through back records to see if you actually did skip a payment on your car loan.

When you go to one of those places that promises to clean up your credit history, this is exactly what they do. Write a few letters and hope for the best.

One last thing... keep in mind that the three credit reporting agencies all have individual copies of your credit record. So anyone looking at your report can go to any one of the three companies. So when you write your letters, write three copies, one for each reporting agency!!

If you have bad credit and you're desperate to fix it, the first thing you should do is request a copy of your credit report. The 3 reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax and Trans Union.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Legally, you cannot be charged more than $9 for each copy of your credit report (1 from each agency would therefore be $21).
Editor's note: The actual cost varies from state to state.

2. If you have been denied credit within the last 60 days, you're entitled to a free copy of your 3 credit reports. All you have to do is send a copy of the denial along with your request for the report.

3. When asking for your report, send the following things: a copy of your current driver's license (or state ID); a copy of a bill with the address matching your ID; a copy of your social security card (a pay stub will also work as long as the ss# is on it). They'll ask you for them anyway (mostly to prove that you are who you say you are), and if you send them in the first place it saves you about a month.

4. It is important to send for all three reports because not only could they be inacurate, but very rarely do all three agencies have the same information about you! (Kind of makes you queasy, doesn't it?)

Once you have recieved your reports, challenge everything. I know all of this sounds like a lot of stress and more complicated than it's worth, but you can dispute items on your reports yourself, at no cost. Just stick with it. You'll get letters from the agencies saying they are always right, you may as well give up. DON'T! They are trying to intimidate you to make you give up, and prevent them from having to work.

I know, it sounds paranoid, but after working at a credit repair company for 2 years, I'm privy to the agencies tricks. Trans Union just lost a lawsuit regarding hundreds of people who proved that someone had stolen their credit cards and went so far as to buy cars, have bank accounts, get loans, and even get jobs using other peoples identities. Trans Union had proof of this in their databases, and still refused to update their reports!

I just mentioned working for a credit repair company...sounds tempting to go through them rather than doing it yourself, right? WRONG! At this time, I'm part of an FBI investigation regarding this company (which is why I'm not saying who they are). They charge anywhere from $210-$410 to "repair your credit for you for a year." All they're doing is literally going through your reports (which you still have to buy and mail to them at your expense), and filling out the same dispute forms you get in the mail from the credit reporting agencies, and mailing it for you.

First of all, you can do this yourself for free, and second of all, it is illegal to charge someone for this service until it is completed. This company charges up front. They say they're charging you for some debt management books and the repair is free, but I know that the books only cost about $8. This place targets senior citizens and minorities whose first language is not english. It is a pyramid scheme, and a scam.

Please take care of yor credit problems yourself, and don't fall into the trap of a credit repair company. There are a lot out there, and they are all rip offs. Do it yourself for free.

If you have a bad credit record in the UK, you can do as pokeyhead and cahla recommend, that is challenge the record, or you can simply try to nuke your record.

To challenge your record, first request that the ratings agency give you a copy of the records they have on you. Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to see all the information they have on you. They are entitled to charge you a £10 fee for this. If you are not dealing with one of the big three agencies, and you can't find an appropriate contact, address your letter to their data controller, company secretary, or the CEO. The Information Commissioner has a form letter, check out the website given below. You are entitled to a reply within 40 days. The three main agencies adresses are available on the Information commissioners website.

Having this information, write to The people who supplied the information. Check what information they have. Typically, they will delete all references to you from their records, as this is easier than quibbling. You do not have an absolute right to this, however. Also, the courts are a different matter, although they are tractable, as described on the website.

NOW challenge the items in your credit record.

Much information taken from There is much more info there, I recommend that you read it.

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