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If you have filed for bankruptcy, had a tax lien, or otherwise harmed your credit through late payments or foreclosures, it is still possible to rebuild your credit. Probably the best place to start – and something you’ve probably heard a million times already – is a budget. Plan your spending, and keep track of it. Next, get a copy of your credit report. It’s daunting, and it may not be something you want to see, but it’s a necessary step to cleaning up your credit. This credit report will show your entire credit history. After reviewing your report, if you have found something inaccurate, file a “request for reinvestigation” form with the credit bureau that sent you the report. A credit bureau is required to investigate any claims you make, though it is not required to remove the item. If the credit bureau fails to do so, your best bet is to contact the creditor directly.

After that, to rebuild your credit, you need to establish credit. In other words, if you have a credit card – use it every month, and pay it off every month. If you don’t have a credit card, try to get a consigner, or get a secured credit card (one backed by your own money). Whatever you do, though, do not fail to pay those credit payments. Seriously. If you clean up your credit report, if you use credit cards and make payments, and if you budget correctly, you can regain your credit in two to four years.

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