Feature

Tip of the week: How to repair a battered credit score

Target credit-card debt; Ignore the radio ads; Pick your fights; Request better terms

Target credit-card debt. It “feels good” to pay down a car loan or mortgage, but you get more bang for every buck you apply to knocking down your unsecured debts.

Ignore the radio ads. Most firms that pledge to slash your debts simply dispute valid charges, which lowers your debts briefly—until credit bureaus reverify them.

Pick your fights. Do dispute records of late payments made to banks or companies that no longer exist. “If the credit reporting bureaus cannot verify the accuracy” of a black mark, “they are required to remove it.”

Request better terms. Ask your credit-card issuers to create a new payment schedule at a pace you can handle. Once they have, get it in writing that they will report to the three major credit bureaus that you are “paying as agreed.”

Source: The New York Times

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