The first, and most important, thing you need to know about the 3 credit bureaus

The credit bureaus are not goverment agencies. They are privately owned companies that make billions of dollars from selling YOUR credit report. And how they report that data is where the problem is. Read more

How your credit score is calculated

No one knows for absolute certain the exact formula that is used to calculate a score, but we have a good idea of the approximate percentages for credit events and how they are affect the final number. Read more

Is the method that you are saying on this site legal?

You will never find anything on this site that tells you to do anything that could potentially cause legal problems for you. I have personally done everything that I tell you do to, and would never jeopardize my, or my family's, well-being. Read more

How do I know if this works?

I hate testimonials...I really do. You never know if what you are reading is truthful, or just another ploy to get you to believe them. So my personal guarantee to you is that I will never edit any testimonial that a user puts on this site. So, with that said, to view what people are saying click the "read more" link below to view their statements.  Read more

History of my credit dilema

(Long but well worth reading)

I am a real person like you. I live in Pittsburgh, PA and have struggled over the years with bad financial decisions and poor credit choices. My credit scores dove to the mid-400's and I saw no way of getting back to where I needed to be. I spent hundreds of dollars over the years with companies that promised to raise my credit score and remove negative marks, only to find that what they were doing helped very little, if any at all. In the end I still had bad credit and was a few hundred dollars poorer.

When I was 18 I moved out and went to college. I applied for a student VISA credit card and was approved for a $500 credit limit. My parents never really taught me financial responsibility, so I ran up a sizeable bill having a good time. When the bill came I paid the minimum balance, and let it go until the next month. In a few months I was over my credit limit with interest charges, and was hit with another fee because of it. In the end my grades slipped, one thing lead to another, and I ended up moving back to my home town.

By this time my credit was heading toward a downward spiral. I bounced around to different jobs and was never able to get my payments on track. Once my student loans started coming in I was really in a bad place, and my credit was right there with me. Being young and stupid I ignored the bills and the collection calls, and had the attitude that I'd take care of it later. Unfortunately later didn't come as soon as it should have.

When I married my first wife a year later we didn't have much money, and squeezed by on what little we did have. Our credit was in no shape to do us any good, but somehow we managed to get a small credit line at a national jewlery chain. We made a few purchases, paid on the bill, but then just like before the interest and finance charges got to be too much.

Fast-forward 5 years. I'm now divorced, working a part-time job to make ends meet, and driving a car that I somehow managed to finance through a "buy-here-pay-here" place. I made each payment on time, and even managed to find a more stable job where I could afford the payments. Everything was going fine until my employer filed bankruptcy and bounced my last 2 paychecks. And back I went into the hole with more credit damage. Long story short I actually had to outrun the repo man a couple times just so I had transportation, and ended up moving out-of-state. In the end the car started having mechanical problems, and ultimately died all together. I still owed on the car, but at the time I blew it off telling myself I'd pay them when I could.

Another 6 years goes by, and I started to mature and realize the error of my ways (yeah, I was a slow learner). By this time my credit was a wreck, I had been through a divorce, and I was driving cars that needed more money in repairs than gas to keep them going. I decided that it was time to make right the wrongs that I had committed, and set out to pay off my old debts. How little I knew that this was actually NOT going to help me fix my credit.

My first attempt was to use a company called Veracity Credit that a friend of mine suggested. He claimed that they were able to get negative marks deleted from his credit reports and raise his score by 180 points in 2 months. I thought "Man, this is exactly what I need." and proceeded to contact them. After setting up my account, and paying the $45/mo. service fee, they were able to remove a few marks. The only problem was the accounts were so old that they were going to drop off in a few months anyways. Each month they disputed 2 or 3 accounts, and it was a hit or miss if the accounts were actually deleted. After about 6 months of this I gave up on them, and cancelled my account.

My next attempt was to contact the utility companies who had reported me to collections. I made arrangements to pay the past-due balances in full, thinking that once they had their money they would remove the negative marks on my credit...boy was I wrong. Instead they marked the account as "Paid charge-off" which did very little for my credit score. Not to mention the account stayed reporting that way for 7 years from the first delinquent payment. In all my score went up maybe 10-15 points, and nowhere near where I needed it to be.

I then opened up a few sub-prime credit card accounts before the 2008 financial crisis. I ended up with a First Premier Gold with a credit line of $300, and an Orchard Bank secured card with a $200 credit line. A few months later I received a First Premier Premium with another $300 limit, and was pretty happy about it. I was finally seeing things move in the right direction. Then, once again, things took a turn for the worse at the begining of the financial crisis, and the job scenario wasn't looking good. I missed a couple payments, but worked out a deal with the companies. I made the minimum payments, but got hit with fees and interest that threw me over the limit again. And once again I'm back in "credit hell".

My next adventure was with Lexington Law. Don't let the name fool you though, because I have yet to speak with an actual lawyer regarding my case. Even when I specifically asked a directed question like "So if a creditor calls do I tell them to contact 'my attorney'?" they simply dodged the question and pointed me to their FAQ section. But I went ahead and signed both myself and my wife up for an account, and paid the monthly fees. After about 6 months I started seeing less and less activity, and wanted to cancel. They convinced me to stay on for another month or so, and promised to give me an "enhanced" dispute letter. The dealbreaker came when I recevied one of their letters back from a creditor who was no longer at the address. The letter was marked "return to sender", so I opened it and read what they wrote in the dispute. To be honest my 4-year-old daughter could have written a better letter than what they sent. I immediately cancelled the accounts, and that was then end of that.

By the end of 2010 I managed to start digging myself out of debt again. I was working for the same company for 2 years now, was married to my second wife, and on my way back into a good financial spot. I opened a secured card through Capital One with the intentions of doing whatever it took to make this one stick. I made more than the minimum payment each month, and never missed a payment or went over the limit. I kept it below $50 usage, and everything looked like it was going great. They even bumped my credit limit by $100 without requiring a deposit. The only issue that I ran into was a 30 day late payment in August of 2012 that was actually my bank's fault when I had to switch accounts because of fraudulant activity. So, overall my Capital One account (according to my credit file) is flawless except for a single 30-day late payment.

In May of 2011 I needed another vehicle, and started looking around. I contacted a local dealer, and made an appointment to take a look at a few vehicles. After test-driving a used 2004 Chevy Silverado, I decided to take the chance of financing it. I explained my credit situation, and they took both my wife and I's information and ran our credit. To my complete surprise they said that they could actually put us in a brand new 2011 car for less of a payment than the used truck. The interest rate was pretty high, but I knew that going into the deal and expected as much. So we signed the papers, and drove off the showroom floor in a brand new car for the first time.

My credit troubles weren't over yet. I still had the previous credit cards that I defaulted on, and the utility payments that I paid off. I opened up a $1,000 secured loan, and another secured credit card in hopes that I could outweigh the bad stuff with good stuff. It helped some, but not as much as I needed it to. My scores were sitting in the mid to upper 500's, and I still couldn't get approved for an unsecured loan or credit card. By the end of 2012 I had paid off the secured loan, missed one payment of each of the credit cards because of the checking account mistake, and my scores remain unchanged. I had to figure out a way to get my credit back where it needed to be.

I sat down one night reasearching credit repair and restoration options. Like you I came across countless websites claiming that they could help me. Some involved disputing items on my credit file. Others involved some "secret method" that they would only tell you for a $250 fee. One even claimed that you could get an "alternate" credit file number that would look and work like your SSN# and give you a clean start. I didn't really feel like going to jail after I researched that one some more, so I continued my exhausting search....and then I found it.

I came across a site that explained how the FCRA worked, and made sense (at least to me) of all the legal jargon. I spent the next 3 hours researching this idea, and found that other people in similar situations as mine were claiming that it indeed worked for them. If this was true, then I finally found what I had been looking for all these years. Naturally I had to buy a "Credit repair kit" they put together for a grand total of $99, but I figured I had spent well more than that in my previous attempts. After reading the instructions, I requested my free annual credit reports, and meticulously went through each account. I wrote down the accounts that I wanted to target, and after carefully following the directions included in the kit I sent out my first set of letters and waited for them to come back.

Overall, the process was pretty simple. Write letters to all 3 credit bureas, mail them via Certified Return Receipt mail, and wait 30 days for them to respond. Now, I'm sure that you've heard all of this before, but the difference is what you say in the letters, and how to properly word them. This is key to the whole process, and what every other site that you've been to wants to charge you a huge fee to know.

As a side note, the key is to not mail the letters to all 3 bureaus at the same time. Wait 4 days in between the first round of letters and you should see better results (at least I did). In fact, my first round with Experian saw 3 accounts deleted. TransUnion saw 4 accounts deleted and a incorrect repossession updated to "Pays as agreed". However, of all three Equifax was the best out of all of them...they never responded to the dispute in the required 30 days as manadated in the FCRA. As a result they were required to remove each and every account that I had disputed, or update it per my request.

In the end, I'm on my fourth round of letters right now, with the majority of my credit reports sitting pretty decent. The scores still need a little improvement, but I'm well above the upper 500's where I used to be. In fact I was just approved for a $16,000 refinance loan for my car, and approved for my second unsecured credit card with a credit limit above $1000. It's a long way from where I was, and I plan on never going back there again.

So how did I do it you ask? Click the "CRA 101" link above to understand how the credit bureaus work, how the FCRA protects you, and why the process that I used works.