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* How is your credit?
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Options for Fixing Your Credit

Wait, and wait some more

Your credit score will eventually repair itself as negative items age and, one by one, fall off your credit report. This could take up to 10 years, however, and in the meantime getting credit could be difficult or impossible depending on how low your credit score is. This is not the best option for most people, especially if they'll need credit in the near future.

Be on your best credit behavior

This approach is also time-consuming, but is a little more proactive than the first option. There are several things you can do to help your credit score improve faster. You might be able to negotiate debt settlement directly with creditors and arrange to have negative items removed in exchange for an agreed-upon payment... but dealing with creditors requires skill and patience. You could also apply for a secured credit card if you're not eligible for an unsecured account. If you make all your payments on time and meet all other debt obligations, you can slowly build renewed creditworthiness. This can, however, be a very tedious process and involves much of the waiting strategy mentioned above.

Dispute questionable negative items

As a consumer you have rights guaranteed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and this provides you with a powerful credit repair tool. If you have inaccurate items on your credit report, the credit bureau (consumer reporting company) and the creditor (information provider) are legally obligated to correct any incorrect or incomplete entries that appear on your credit reports. And this goes well beyond negative items that are obviously inaccurate such as someone else's bankruptcy being reported under your name. You also have the right to dispute any negative items on your credit reports that you feel may be untimely, misleading, incomplete, ambiguous, unverifiable, biased or unclear.

Using this credit repair tactic, you can dispute the questionable negative information in your credit reports and credit bureaus are legally obligated to investigate and verify these items within 30 days of your request. If they can't verify this information, they'll have to remove or correct these items.

Credit bureau disputes are an effective, legal way to repair your credit. Keep in mind that the credit bureaus aren't really there to help you and have been known to ignore disputes, drag out the process and even label disputes "frivolous". It takes time and work.  Just be prepared.
Next > Quick Guide to Disputes
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