The Facts About Free Credit Repair

Not looking to pay another bill? Learn the facts of free credit repair.

Credit repair is surprisingly easy and can be done by anyone in their spare time by simply following an easy process. A credit repair company can’t do anything for you that you couldn’t do on your own. We’ll provide a step-by-step process, that shows you how to contact the credit bureaus directly and request the removal of errors on your credit report.

The Simple Process of Free Credit Repair

Request your credit reports: The first step in cleaning up your credit is to pull your credit reports from the main three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. As mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, everyone is permitted one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months.

Download your credit reports online at You may also request a mailed copy by calling 877-322-8228.

If you would like to receive your reports by mail, print and complete the annual credit request form:

Mail the form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348

If you need help and would like to contact the credit bureaus directly:

Experian: 1-888-397-3742 –
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 –
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Equifax: 800-685-1111 –
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Review your credit reports: After you request your credit reports, look through each one and verify that the information listed is accurate.

When it comes to credit repair, you’re looking for negative information that is incorrect. This sounds redundant but remember, legitimate negative information cannot be removed – if you’ve missed payments legitimately, the negative mark cannot be removed with credit repair. The negative item will be removed when it automatically falls off after 7 years.

When reviewing your credit reports, here are some examples of negative information that is incorrect:

  • An account or public record that does not belong to you
  • Late payments that were not late
  • Accounts with balances that have been paid off
  • Incorrect public records such as a bankruptcy or eviction

Dispute credit report errors: If you find any errors on your credit report, start a dispute as soon as possible.
Disputes must be sent to all three bureaus individually (links provided above). We would suggest using the online portal for each bureau as it’s quick and efficient and there are no costs incurred.

Equifax Dispute Page:

Experian Dispute Page:

Transunion Dispute Page:

You can dispute by mail, but you will have costs involved - registered mail, return receipt requests – and it will extend your timeline for the negative items to be removed.

The credit bureau must investigate your claim and make any necessary updates to your information within 30 days of receiving your request (45 days if they’re requesting additional information from you). Mail will slow down the process.

When writing a dispute letter include the details of your situation but be sure to keep it brief and to the point. A heartbreaking emotional appeal will not increase your odds of success. The bureau may reject your dispute if you overemphasize your situation.

A sample dispute letter provided by the FTC can be found at:


When disputing credit report errors, you’ll need to provide documentation. What you’re disputing will determine the documentation needed. Below are examples of documents to include in your dispute.

Personal Information Assist each bureau in locating the correct credit information about by providing your full name, address, date of birth, driver’s license, telephone number and social security number (optional).

Dispute Information Be sure to include the correct account number and corresponding dates of the item you’re disputing along with the type of disputed information. Be sure to include copies of your credit report highlighting the incorrect information.

Depending on the type of dispute, include documentation such as payoff statements and/or billing statements, statements with correct account numbers, a certificate of satisfaction, a release of mortgage, etc. Include a reason as to why you are disputing the information. You can simply check one of the reasons listed. If you do not find your reason listed, then choose other and give a brief description

A dispute can be rejected by the bureaus simply because it was written incorrectly. If the same dispute is written differently, there might be a better outcome. An obvious credit reporting error that should be removed can remain on your credit report simple because of a badly written dispute.

Hypothetical Example:

After approval for a new installment loan, you decide to check your credit report. Your new creditor reported your first monthly payment as a late payment. When reviewing your bank statements, you see that your automatic withdrawal payment was collected on the contracted monthly payment due date.

You submit a dispute regarding the late payment for your new installment loan providing your bank statement that documents the on-time payment. Turns out to your surprise, the late payment was verified by the lender.

The lender had reported that the payments were not made in full and was able to verify the payments were missed (a partial payment on a loan will generally be reported to the bureaus as late). The dispute is rejected, and the late payment mark remains.

An administrative error regarding the payment amount was the reason for the partial payment. If the dispute was written to reflect an incorrect payment amount instead of a late payment, the result would most likely be a better outcome.

The Bureaus Rejected My Dispute

If the bureaus decide the information you are disputing is correct and are declining to remove it, the good news is that filing a dispute doesn't have to be your last attempt at improving your credit. If a bureau rejects your dispute, consider these next steps.

It's best not to assume that a negative mark on your report is the mistake of the credit bureau or even the lender. It could be an oversight on your part: Maybe your spouse forgot to pay a bill, you forgot to give a forwarding address to a creditor, or you co-signed for a loan, the borrower fell behind on payments and you didn't find out until negative marks popped up on your reports.

Figure out exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Then call the creditor and explain the situation. Make arrangements to catch up on payments and ask if the creditor will stop reporting the missed payments to the credit bureaus.

Even if the creditor won't stop reporting delinquencies, it pays to get caught up. A past-due account will get reported every month, doing damage each time.

A final note:

Researching reporting errors and gathering all the facts is most important. Even if the error seems obvious such as late payments on a loan, be sure you have investigated every angle…triple check your work before sending a dispute letter.

IAPDA can provide you with a certified, licensed professional that specializes in Credit Repair solutions. Get the professional help you need. Click the HELP button for a free consultation.