Last year I gave my students a tip on how to use the "holiday blitz" to remove some delinquencies off their credit reports. The students who used this strategy reported that they increased their personal credit FICOs anywhere from 44 to 96 FICO points just by using this little-known simple secret strategy.
So, I'm going to up the ante this year. Listen up if you don't have a mid-FICO of AT LEAST 720 or higher.
This project will cost you about $62 to do this because you'll be sending these letters these letters Priority (which costs $7.35 x 3 envelopes) and you'll need a current copy of your credit report (which you can get for $39.95 from www.Experian.com). But the upside is that you can increase your FICO score FASTER THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN THE YEAR because of the upcoming holiday season due to the credit bureaus being UNDERSTAFFED this time of year! So, take advantage of this ONCE-A-YEAR "credit blitz" by doing this little project (which, at most, will take you ONE FULL HOUR) between today and Sunday night. (The goal is to get your 3 Priority envelopes out in the mail between TOMORROW and NO LATER THAN MONDAY before the post office closes that day.)
Okay, so here are your EXACT instructions:
Step 1: Go to www.Experian.com to get all 3 of your credit reports and FICO scores. This will cost you about $39.95. Don't be cheap. Pay the money. Your entire credit future hangs on doing this project RIGHT the first time out.
Step 2: Print out the file (and also save a PDF copy in your computer) and take a highlighter marker for all the "adverse" items you'd like to dispute with the credit bureaus. (Usually these "adverse" items are listed first in your credit report.)
Step 3: Download my free letters (by CLICKING HERE) and use them as templates for the 3 credit bureaus. You will be creating a letter FOR EACH CREDIT BUREAU SEPARATELY. VERY IMPORTANT: While it's tempting to dispute online, DO NOT SUBMIT DISPUTES ONLINE. This will BACKFIRE on you. Take the time to fill in the letter templates that you downloaded from my website and MAIL OUT THE LETTERS in USPS Priority envelopes (ideally you will want to REQUIRE A SIGNATURE, which will cost an extra $3.05 each envelope or $9.15 total on top off the initial $62 investment so far.)
Step 4: Input each adverse account on your letter templates for each credit bureau. Since most of the information will be duplicate from one report to the other, I recommend creating one letter to include each disputed account and then simply change the credit bureau name and address at the top of the page for each subsequent bureau letter. This will save you loads of time. Be sure to SAVE YOUR LETTER so you can repeat this process in 30 days if needed.
Step 5: Print out each letter. Make 3 copies of your valid driver's license or passport. Make 3 copies of at least 2 utility bills showing your name and your current address. If you moved within the past 2 years, be sure to include your prior address at the very bottom of your credit bureau letters. Each envelope should contain the following: 1 Letter, 1 Driver's License (or Passport) Copy, and 2 RECENT Utility Bill Copies (showing your name and current address). This will disallow the bureaus from playing games with you to buy time by saying something like, "We don't believe this is a legit dispute." Or, "Prove your identity," and giving them another 30 days to put off the process. You can't afford to be dickering around like this with them. And since they're understaffed during this time of year, it's typical that they try to blow people off with whatever lame response they can muster if you don't have all the paperwork I outlined above in your envelope.
Make sure you send the envelopes to the CORRECT and current addresses on file for each bureau which are as follows:
PO Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Get those suckers out in the mail (remember, use USPS Priority with a SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION) either tomorrow (ideally) or Monday (no later than the close of business).
And what happens next?
Most of the credit bureau staff is either gone on vacation starting Monday. Those who are working aren't mentally "on the job" and are probably going to be pissed off that they're working when they believe they shouldn't be but because they don't have enough seniority to have time off. These are the staffers who will be grumbling because they have to sit in their soul-sucking cubicle in a barren office. So, likely they're playing Candy Crush instead of working just to "stick it to the man." This means that your envelope just rots away on their desk, garnering no attention at all. (I'll explain in a minute why this is actually a good thing!)
In case you don't know how imperative this 30-day period is (starting tomorrow), let's analyze this period.
If you mail your letters NO LATER THAN THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON MONDAY, they'll get the letters via USPS Priority (2-day) which means they arrive to the bureaus by Wednesday (the day BEFORE Thanksgiving). This is when the clock for you starts ticking on the 30-day time frame in which they are legally required to complete your investigations on your claimed disputes. Thirty days from that day (that your envelope arrives) is going to be right after Christmas. And nobody is there between Christmas and New Years either. In fact, during most of this next 30-day period, many of the credit bureau (and creditors including collection agencies, law offices handling collections, etc.) are taking loads of time off too.
TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS ONCE-A-YEAR "CREDIT BLITZ" BECAUSE THIS HAPPENS ONLY ONE TIME PER YEAR!!
Let me walk you through what happens when you file a dispute with the credit bureau. They receive your letter and have 30 days to investigate your dispute. During this investigation, they will send a letter to the creditors you are disputing and require that they send the appropriate documentation required to substantiate that the account(s) you are disputing is yours.
Except that during the "holiday blitz," many of these employees working for these companies aren't around, they're taking extra time off, and when they actually are working, their minds are elsewhere such as thinking about shopping, cooking, partying, etc.
And this is where your advantage comes in. If there is no response (or a late response) from any of these creditors or collection agencies, the delinquent account falls off your credit report altogether as if it never existed in the first place.
You see, your envelope that was rotting on somebody's desk will be picked up by a more experienced credit bureau employee when he/she comes back from the Thanksgiving vacation. They'll be irritated that Lazy Jane didn't do the work (because she was too busy playing Candy Crush, remember), leaving the just-returning-from-vacay responsible staffer with a wheelbarrow full of credit dispute letters that MUST be done before the 30-day deadline...which is now already a full week in. So, this staffer has to work quick to catch up on the work, doing everything in her power to just get them done...usually deleting and updating a bunch of stuff (in your favor) just to get the work completed. (IMPORTANT: This is ALSO the time where they'll send out boilerplate "form" letters to people who did not include their driver's license or passport copy with 2 utility bills with the whole... "We're putting your investigations on hold until you prove your identity" shtick. This is why you MUST include a VALID copy of your driver's license or passport with 2 recent utility bills showing your name and current address so this DOESN'T happen to you!)
Within the past couple of years, because of major hacking breaches of security with the bureaus and among major creditors like Capital One, the credit bureaus were blasted with so many disputes in recent years so they started using slick tactics to "buy time" in order to put off the 30-day time line. They would do things like sending letters back stating that they didn't believe the letter was a "valid claim" or that they needed "proof" of your identity such as a driver's license and utility bill. (This is why you are REQUIRED to include these things with your dispute letters.)
So, let me reiterate what you'll be doing, for maximum clarity, because I won't be able to respond back to you in time if you send me an email for clarification (only if you want to take advantage of this "holiday blitz" because you don't have a mid-FICO of AT LEAST 720 or above). You're going to download these letters that are in the Microsoft Word document format. There is one for each of the bureaus including their respective addresses at the top of each letter. (Double check to make sure the address is the same as what I have above. What I have above are the MOST RECENT dispute addresses. Use those addresses.)
Next, get a copy of your credit report. If you received one recently (within the past 45 days or so) you can use that one. Otherwise, go to www.experian.com and download a new copy. Yes, it'll cost you $40. So what? You can also try some free services like www.creditkarma.com. You really don't need your FICO. You just need your delinquent or "negative/adverse" accounts.
Next, fill out each letter. Include your full name, current residential address, and your prior address if you've moved in the past 2 years. Include your Social Security Number and your date of birth.
The letters I've given you only has a section for one single disputed account. Copy the entire dispute section and keep pasting it underneath one right after the other for each account you will dispute. Put in the name of the creditor, the partial account number as shown on the credit report, and the dollar amount listed.
Here's a hot tip: Collection agency accounts (including those from a law office) will come off easier during this time than those from banks or very large lenders.
Print off your letters, SIGN the letter with a wet signature (use blue ink, if possible) then include a copy of your driver's license AND a utility bill of a major utility like the electric company or water company. Make sure the service address on the bill MATCHES the address where you currently reside. This will give them no excuse to kick out your dispute to buy themselves time.
Go to the post office and send via USPS Priority with a signature confirmation. You'll have tracking information for each one. And each bureau will receive this package no later than the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This is when the 30-day clock will start.
Then, REPEAT THE PROCESS AGAIN on December 27th. You'll want your next set of 3 letters going out ON December 27th (even if you didn't receive a response back yet from the credit bureaus). You want those next set of disputes hitting their desks RIGHT BEFORE THE NEW YEAR. This second round won't be as effective but...if, say, 30% of your disputed items were positively updated or completely removed for you during the Thanksgiving Credit Blitz, then a second round can get, say, another 15% positively updated or completely removed, giving you some MAJOR positive progress when it comes to cleaning up your credit and boosting your overall FICO score.
By following these instructions, you will make the greatest impact on boosting your personal FICO during this time over any other time of the year because of these holidays that create "stumbling blocks" for the bureaus and creditors to respond in time.
Finally, I should add one more valuable tidbit of information if you want to dispute "inquiries": Experian is the only bureau that will allow you to dispute your "hard" inquiries. So, on your Experian letter, you can mention that you are also disputing the following inquiries then list the name of the company that put the inquiry on your credit and the date of the inquiry. Doing this alone can boost your score 10 to 20 points alone with Experian. (The other bureaus won't remove hard inquiries but sometimes I ask them too anyway because you never know when they may change their policies.)
Again, you can CLICK HERE to get my credit templates and I'm not charging you a dime for them. That's how giving of a person I am. 'Tis the season.
See you at the top!
P.S. If you didn't have the chance to join me for my last 100K in 100 Days Secret Webinar Training, you have ONE MORE SHOT. I know we're coming up on Thanksgiving but this could be the perfect opportunity for you (while you're working less) to take a look at something extraordinary that I have lined up for you. If you'd like to join the training, CLICK HERE NOW! It's on Tuesday night. See you then!