REPAIRING YOUR CREDIT
A credit report is the history and record of your credit usage. A credit bureau is a
private record keeping business that maintains information about consumers and how
they use credit to pay their bills. Every woman who has ever used any form of credit has
a credit report that will follow her anywhere in the world. In fact, it is standard procedure
now for potential employers or landlords to request a copy of your credit report.
A good credit report is important because it will allow you to use credit
What is when and where you want it.
Credit? An unfavorable credit report will mean that your credit worthiness will no
longer meet any lender’s standards. Your chance of obtaining further
Credit means that credit or credit cards will be difficult.
you are using
someone else’s Your credit report should contain the following information:
money to pay for
Identifying information: name, address, Social Security number, spouse’s
It also means that Details concerning your current employment: your position, length of
you are making a employment and income
promise to repay
the money to the Information about your credit history: how promptly you have paid your
person or debts, how much and how often you have borrowed
loaned you the Information from public records: bankruptcy, civil suits and tax liens
Inquiries about your credit report remain on your record for two years, unfavorable
information about your credit history is kept on your record for seven years, and
bankruptcies are kept on your report for ten years.
Do not be fooled by people who promise, for a fee, that they will repair
your credit! No one can fix your credit for you.
So, if you are unsure of your credit status, know you have a negative credit report, or
have never seen a copy of your credit report, it is a good idea to request a copy of it. You
may do this by contacting one of three credit bureaus.
There are three national reporting systems and most charge a small fee for each report
requested. The credit bureau’s are:
Numbers to Remember...
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN www.experian.com
Trans Union Corporation: 1-800-916-8800
EQUIFAX Information Service Center
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
$8.00 per report
If you are unemployed or a recipient of welfare, Equifax allows you one free copy of
your credit report per year. Tip: If you are incarcerated, write Equifax explaining your
situation, enclosing a copy of your prison ID. If they do not accept this, then you will
know you should begin saving for the $8.00 fee.
P.O. Box 2041
Allen, TX 75013-2104
$8.46 per report.
TRANS UNION Consumer Relations Disclosure Center
Springfield, PA 19064
$8.00 per report
When requesting your credit report, be sure to include the following information:
1. Your full legal name, including middle initial or name
2. Your complete address or addresses for a five year period, including apartment
numbers and zip codes
3. Your Social Security number
4. If applicable, your spouse’s full name, including Jr., Sr., III
5. Your date of birth
6. Your signature
7. A copy of your drivers license, current utility bill, or a copy of your prison ID
You must include your social security number, without that the credit bureaus will not be
able to generate a report.
When you receive a copy of your credit report, examine it carefully for errors.
Does it have your name spelled correctly?
Is your address, social security number or spouse’s name correct?
If your are currently employed, does the information accurately reflect your position,
length of employment and income?
Is your credit history correct? Is the information accurate in reporting how promptly you
have paid your debts, how much and how often you have borrowed?
Finally, is the information on bankruptcies, civil suits, or tax liens correct?
If there are errors on your credit report, you may dispute them by sending a letter of
dispute to the credit bureau. They must verify your information with the creditor and
correct the error. You will then receive a corrected report.
If there is information that should have aged off your report, negative FREE
information over seven years old or bankruptcies over ten years old, you Credit
should dispute this information as well. Write a letter to the credit bureau Counseling!!
and ask them to remove this information from your report.
If you have a negative credit report that is not due to error on the part of Counseling Service
the credit bureau, you have the right to add a 100-word explanation of any 1-800-747-4222
problem to your credit report. Anyone requesting a copy of your credit report
will also get a copy of your statement.
Dealing with your creditors....
Dealing with bill collectors can be a frightening and frustrating experience. They can be
rude, mean, and never-ending! They even contact your family members to try to find
you. However, not answering phone calls or ignoring bill collectors will only make them
think you are avoiding them. If you cannot pay your bills, you must tell them that!
There may be extenuating circumstances in your life that make paying your bills
difficult. However, bill collectors want to recover some of the money that they are
owed, so they are usually willing to work out a payment plan. In addition, it is much
better to reduce a ceditor’s payment and spread the existing money among all
creditors equitably than to delay payments to a creditor.
If you have returned home, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service is an organization
that can help you resolve your credit problems. Their service is free, and they work with
both you and your creditors. The CCCS will help you establish how much debt you have,
which bills to pay and how much to pay, and they will help you set up a budget. To reach
the CCCS, call them at 1-800-747-4222.
If you are still incarcerated the Consumer Credit Counseling Service recommends
that you contact your creditors immediately. Many women have reported that while
they were incarcerated, their family members received repeated phone calls and letters.
Bill collectors do this because many times family members will pay the bills. However,
they are not legally responsible, and do not have to pay these bills. If your family
member is being harassed, have them tell the bill collector that you are incarcerated and
simply won’t be able to pay the bill at this time.
It is best to call your creditor. If you can call them, the following guidelines can be
Introduce yourself and ask to speak to the person with whom you have
dealt with before or another person in authority. Tell the person what you
are calling about and give your name and account number. Then explain
the problem. Stress the seriousness of your problem. Mention only the
extent of the debt, the number of creditors, your family’s total monthly
income and commitments, and the payment schedule that has been worked
out for that particular creditor. You may wish to indicate other favorable
arrangements other creditors have agreed to make.
Explain to the creditor the program that you have worked out and the
severe constraints of the program. In describing the problem, explain how
little money the repayment program allows per month. If cooperation is
not forthcoming, ask for suggestions, stressing the benefits of working
Always ask who you are talking to and write down their name, so that the
next time you may need to contact the creditor you may speak to the same
person if at all possible. It will be much easier for both you and the
Remain friendly with the creditor and work with him/her in developing a
If you are unable to telephone your creditors, you can write them a letter. Here is a
XYZ Credit Corp
Dear XYZ Credit Corp:
Because of a number of factors (If there are specific factors, you should mention them here) I am currently
experiencing financial difficulty. I have taken a long, hard look at my situation, and have work ed out a very
careful budget along with a repayment schedule for all of my creditors.
In order to provide for my necessary household expenses and the payments I am making to my creditors, I
am asking each creditor to accept a reduced payment until I am back on my feet again.
In place of my regular payment of $_____, I request that you accept payments of $_____ each (month, week)
until the loan is paid back.
I assure you that I will incur no new debt obligations while I am engaged in my debt-management program.
I am enclosing the first of these payments. (If that is not possible, indicate when the payment will be made.)
If there is any question about the repayment schedule, please feel free to contact me in writing at (your
address) or by phone between the hours of ___ and ___. My telephone number is 000-000-0000.
Sign your name
Be sure to keep an extra copy of your letter and if possible send it certified mail, return
receipt requested if possible.
It is important to be realistic about how much you will be able to pay each creditor and
still have money for necessary living expenses. Again, the Consumer Credit Counseling
Service can assist you with developing a money management and re-payment plan. If
you are still incarcerated, begin saving your canteen money and when you get out, be
sure that you follow-up on the promise to repay your creditors and begin paying off what