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Dealing With a Bad Credit Report: Steps 1-3

Reviewing your credit report may have confirmed your fears. Although you can't erase all of the bad information, there are some steps you can take to make the situation better.

1. Correct any errors on your report: It's common to find that there is incorrect information in your credit report. You have the legal right to dispute and correct this information, and you should. You can send a written dispute to each credit reporting agency that has reported inaccurate information. By law, they must investigate the entry, correct any mistakes, and respond to you within 30 days. Afterwards, you should obtain another copy of your credit report to confirm the corrections. Then, you should also send the results of the investigation to the other credit reporting agencies.

2. Get help from your creditors: Filing a dispute with the credit reporting agency can delete unverified information about debt, but not if the creditor insists that you owe them money and verifies that fact with the agency. Now, you have to convince your creditor that there is an error. Supply whatever proof you may have to your creditor. If it's insufficient, then you may have to agree to pay part or all of the debt, immediately or in installments. If so, be sure to get written confirmation of the agreement, and that the negative information will be deleted. Find out if the creditor will contact the agency to make the correction, or if they will just not verify the information when contacted by the agency.

3. Remove student loan defaults: If student loan defaults are hurting your credit, take steps to remove them. If you qualify for certain loan discharges, then the fact that you were ever in default of a student loan can be deleted from your record. You can also rehabilitate or consolidate a defaulted student loan so that you're no longer delinquent. For more information about resolving defaulted student loans, visit the National Consumer Law Center's Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at  The US Department of Education also has some helpful online resources at

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If you find that you have a lower credit score than you expected due to excessive debt, contact ACCC for help. When you contact our approved credit counseling agency, a certified credit advisor will help you evaluate your current financial situation and provide you with personalized debt solutions based on your goals.

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides nonprofit credit counseling, debt management services, credit relief and debt relief help to consumers nationwide. Our free credit counseling services help individuals and families learn how to manage debt more effectively and how to get rid of debt more quickly. Our certified credit counselors show consumers the various ways to pay off debt, and we offer affordable debt management programs for getting rid of credit card debt by consolidating debt payments. Our debt negotiation services help with managing credit card debt and paying off debt more quickly by reducing interest rates and finance charges. And our financial education services help consumers manage money more effectively, find reputable debt consolidation companies and answer questions like "How do you consolidate debt?"

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