Credit report mistakes can wreak havoc on your credit scores, but Upturn Credit can help. If you’ve decided to give Upturn Credit a try (or are wondering if you should), read on to find out how to use Upturn Credit to repair your credit.
How to Use Upturn Credit to Repair Your Credit
When you sign up for Upturn, the first thing you will see is the dashboard in the picture above. At the top right will be your VantageScore® 3.0 credit score provided by TransUnion®, as well as the range that credit score falls into.
Below this information and in the middle of the page will be a “card” that tells you how many items there are to review on your TransUnion® credit report. As you navigate through these cards, you’ll be shown the specific details of each item on your report and given the opportunity to either check the item off as accurate or start a dispute. Once you’ve reviewed all the items on your TransUnion® credit report, you’ll be taken through other sections to help you see where you can improve your credit, which we’ll describe in the second half of this article.
To get started, follow the steps below to find out how to use Upturn Credit to find and repair mistakes on your TransUnion® credit report.
1. Make Sure All Open Accounts Are Yours
The first thing you’ll want to think about is whether or not the open accounts being shown to you are, in fact, yours. This screenshot of an open collection account can help you see what to look for:
As you can see here, there’s information on who the account is with, including the last four digits of the account number. This is information you can use to ensure that the account you see matches up with your records. Then you can take a look at the balance, payment history, and other information to make sure it’s all accurate.
If this account isn’t yours and never was, it’s probably wise to dispute it. Having someone else’s accounts show up on your credit report could be a mistake, or it could be a sign that your personal information was stolen and is now being used to open accounts by someone else. Either way, you’ll want to address it as soon as possible so it doesn’t hurt your credit. The screenshot below illustrates where on Upturn Credit you can dispute an erroneous account:
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That said, there might be times when you see an account on one of your credit reports that doesn’t appear to be yours, but actually is. Reviewing credit reports can get confusing because the name of lenders sometimes show up differently than what we’re used to seeing on their marketing material. Before you dispute, double-check the details of the account. Identifying details such as balanced owed can clue you in as to whether or not the account is yours, and you can also check the fine print on all your financial statements to see the legal names your lender uses.
On the other hand, if it’s an account that is negative, but is yours, you should not dispute it. Disputes aren’t for removing accounts you no longer wish to have on your credit report — they’re for removing accounts that shouldn’t be on your credit report. Disputing something that should be there could be deemed frivolous — and the account would remain on your report.
2. Make Sure Closed Accounts Are Accurate, Too
Closed accounts don’t fall off your credit reports right away, so don’t be surprised if you see some when reviewing your credit reports — and make sure you review them just like you would open accounts. Here’s a screenshot to show you what a closed installment account might look like on Upturn:
And here’s a screenshot to show you what a closed revolving account (such as a credit card) might look like on Upturn:
Just like with open accounts, you can dispute a closed account by clicking on the arrow on the “status” button and then clicking on “dispute an error.” See below:
If you’re concerned that a closed account will hurt your credit, understand that an account closed in good standing (meaning you paid it off or there was no balance due at the time it was closed), can potentially help your credit. After all, credit history is a large part of your credit scores, and older accounts lengthen that history.
As for charged-off accounts or closed collections accounts, they’re not great for your credit, but that doesn’t mean you need to get them removed. According to VantageScore, the effect of a negative account on credit diminishes over time:
“As time goes by, a negative event will have less and less impact until at some point it has no impact whatsoever, even though the timeframe for which the event remains in your file hasn’t ended. Typically, after two years most negative items have little impact on your credit score.”
And here’s what FICO® has to say on the matter:
“The FICO® Score gives considerable weight to how recently the delinquency occurred. If a consumer’s removed delinquency was from 7 years ago, its impact was already diminished compared to a very recent delinquency.”
3. Dispute Something Only If It Contains an Error
It can be difficult to see old or negative items on your credit report, and you might want to dispute such items if you see them on Upturn. Unfortunately, credit report disputes don’t work this way.
The credit report dispute process exists to help consumers remove errors from their credit reports. By errors, we mean inaccuracies — not mistakes you’ve made in the past. Examples of credit report errors include things like an account showing up that you never opened or authorized, incorrect information on your payment history, mistakes in your personal information, and so on.
What doesn’t count as an error on a credit report is any item that’s yours and accurate but that you wish to have removed in order to “clean up” your credit. Accurate accounts that you authorized or opened will remain on your credit report for a designated period of time, and disputing them won’t change that or improve your credit.
How to Use Upturn Credit to Improve Your Credit
Upturn Credit doesn’t just help you find and dispute mistakes on your credit report. Upturn Credit can also help you learn ways to improve your credit, in part by reviewing the things that could be hurting your credit already. Follow the steps below to see how using Upturn Credit can teach you about your current credit status.
1. Pay Attention to Your Credit Utilization
Credit utilization, or the amount of debt you owe compared to the amount of credit available to you on revolving accounts (such as a credit card), is a highly influential factor in your credit scores. If you use Upturn, you can see your credit utilization and find out if it needs to be lowered. Take a look at this screenshot for an example:
Lowering your credit utilization can be an effective way to improve credit. There are three ways to do this:
- Work to pay down your revolving debt (or pay it off if you’re able to do so)
- Increase your credit limits
- Consolidate your debt either through a personal loan to pay off one or more credit cards or through a balance transfer credit card to pay off one or more credit cards (just be sure not to add any new balances to the cards being paid off, as that will defeat the purpose)
Increasing your credit limits will only improve your credit utilization if you don’t increase your balances too, which can make this a risky step if you fear you might end up deeper in debt.
2. Note Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Although not a factor in determining your credit scores, debt-to-income ratios can sometimes be used by lenders when evaluating an application for credit. Upturn Credit has a tool to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio:
What this screenshot shows is that your minimum monthly debt obligations will be filled in for you using data from your TransUnion® credit report, although you can edit this number if necessary. All you have to do next is add your income:
Once you type in your income and click on the “calculate” button, you’ll see your debt-to-income ratio and learn if it’s in a favorable place. If your percentage of debt to income needs to be lowered a bit, focusing on paying down your debt can not only help your debt-to-income ratio but also on your credit utilization.
3. Review Your Payment Status Information on Each Account
Together, payment history and credit utilization make up the most influential factors determining your credit scores. Therefore, paying attention to these two factors can be a great way to improve your credit. The two steps above help with understanding your credit utilization. Here’s how you can understand your payment history:
When you review your accounts on Upturn, you should notice that each account includes payment status and missed payments. The screenshot below illustrates where this information can be found.
It’s important to review your payment status whether the account is an installment loan, a revolving line of credit, a collection account, and so on. If you notice that there are missed payments logged for an account that you didn’t miss payments on, then that could be something you’d want to dispute.
However, if you notice that there are missed payments and that information is accurate, then this should give you an understanding of what could be improved in your credit moving forward. You can’t rewrite the past on missed payments, but you can set your focus on making all of your payments on time (and in full) for all of your accounts now and into the future — and that can help you build better credit.
What to Do If You Have Questions About Your Upturn Credit Account
In summary, when you sign up for Upturn, you’ll be able to do the following:
- See your VantageScore® 3.0 credit score provided by TransUnion®
- Review your credit usage
- Check your TransUnion® credit report
- Calculate your debt-to-income ratio
- Dispute any errors you find on your TransUnion® credit report
Upturn Credit is here to help you review your credit, find and dispute mistakes, and learn what you can do to improve your credit so you can be ready for financial opportunities in the future. But what if you sign up and start to feel confused by what you see? We can help. Just send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us at @UpturnCredit and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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