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How to improve your credit score and credit report

A good way to start cleaning up your credit report is to fix any mistakes in it.

Clean up negative information

Negative information includes the following:

  • Delinquent accounts

  • Accounts in collection (this can include medical bills, phone bills, etc.)

  • Criminal records

  • Lawsuits against you

  • Court judgments against you

  • Late payments

  • Child support that has not been paid

This information stays in your credit report for seven years. Not all of it can be cleaned up right away, but work on cleaning up whatever can be cleaned up. For example, if you have overdue or delinquent accounts, contact them and make arrangements to start paying them back.

Some information can stay on your report longer. Bankruptcies can remain for seven years for completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies and 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcies. A criminal conviction can stay longer than that.

A shopper uses his credit card to pay for goods in a grocery in Nice, France, April 3, 2019.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A shopper uses his credit card to pay for goods in a grocery. (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Add positive information

You can also add positive information.

If your credit report does not include your current job, your previous employers, your current home address, and your telephone number, contact the credit bureaus and ask that this information be added.

The purpose of having this information is to show some stability. Lenders like to know that you are stable, because it suggests to them that you are a good credit risk.

Is your credit report missing any accounts you pay on time?

You can contact the bureaus and provide evidence that shows you are paying them on time. The bureaus aren't required to add this to your report, but they may anyway.

Dive deeper: How to fix bad credit: Everything you need to know

This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.

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