money

609 Credit Repair: The Free & Easy Credit Repair Tactic

Michelle Black

WealthFit Contributor

Have you ever picked up the phone to only to be greeted by a rude, screaming debt collector on the other line?
Have you ever applied for housing or financing only to be denied because of problems with your credit?

If so, you would probably do just about anything to find a magic wand to make all of your credit problems disappear.

That magic wand is known as the 609 Credit Repair Letter.

Sound too good to be true? It might be.

Although the 609 Credit Repair Letter might not be the silver bullet some make it out to be, it can be an effective part of your overall credit improvement strategy.

Keep reading to discover the facts and fiction behind this “credit repair secret.”

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—can do a lot without your permission.

They can collect information about you behind your back, store that information, and then put that information into reports which they sell to others.

And you don’t get a say in any of this.

However, the credit bureaus have rules to follow too. Namely, they are required to abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The FCRA (pronounced FICK-RAH in the credit world) is the chief federal law that tells the credit bureaus what they can and cannot do when it comes to credit reporting.

One of the most important rights due to you under the FCRA is the right to dispute any information on your credit reports that you think could be incorrect. Thanks to the FCRA you can question any of the following information on your credit reports:

  • Balances that seem incorrect
  • Dates that seem incorrect
  • Anything on your credit report that appears wrong or fraudulent
  • Anything on your credit report you wish to have verified

You basically have the right to dispute any information on your credit report any time you feel the need to. Of course, disputing a credit report item doesn’t automatically mean that it is going to be removed—but it does give you a better chance.

What Is Section 609?

The FCRA is chock-full of rights that you (as a consumer) can exercise when it comes to credit reporting. FCRA Section 609 deals with a series of those rights.  

But there’s a catch. Surprise, surprise.

The rights aren’t given to you automatically. If you want to take advantage of the protections afforded to you under Section 609 you need to be proactive and put in a request.

The section also addresses a “summary of rights” for consumers which must be included with agency disclosures. One of those rights essentially states that a credit bureau doesn’t have to remove derogatory information from your file unless it cannot be verified.

Translation? If an item on your credit report isn’t verifiable, you can ask for it to be removed.

The 609 Letter

A 609 letter is the request you send to credit bureaus if you wish to exercise any of the rights detailed above.  

Although Section 609 of the FCRA doesn’t technically give you the right to dispute information on your credit reports (that’s dealt with in FCRA Sections 611 and 623), many people combine their right to dispute with their Section 609 rights in the same letter.

The result of this combination? You might see an unverifiable derogatory account deleted from your credit reports.

Maybe.

There are some weird reasons your credit score can drop. The item could also be verified as accurate and stay put.

Should You Pay for a 609 Letter?

If you want to send a 609 letter to the credit bureaus, there are three different approaches to consider:

1. The Do-It-Yourself Method

There’s nothing wrong with taking the DIY approach and saving some money. Just make sure to do some research first and follow through.

You should send a copy of the letter to all 3 credit bureaus if the information you are disputing appears on all 3 credit reports.

Certified mail may also be helpful.

2. Purchase a 609 Letter Template Online

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with buying a template or hiring a credit repair pro to handle the work for you if you don’t mind paying the fees.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably used to paying people to do things you don’t want to do yourself. Credit repair services or buying letter templates aren’t any different.

3. Hire a Credit Repair Professional

If you do decide to purchase a template or hire a pro, do your homework.

Checking to see if the company is a member of the National Association of Credit Services Organizations is a good start. Like any business, some of the companies who offer help with 609 letters may be shady and some may be legitimate.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

Managing Your Expectations

Although there’s nothing wrong with exercising your rights under the FCRA, Section 609 or otherwise, you need to be realistic in your expectations.

Sending a letter to the credit bureaus may not solve all your credit problems, even if some negative accounts are removed from your credit reports.

Deletions or no deletions, chances are you may have some more work to do where your credit is concerned.

It takes time to improve your credit. You may need to dispute questionable information on your credit reports, establish and maintain new positive payment history, and work on paying down your debts (especially those shiny pieces of plastic that live in your wallet).

Improving your credit requires hard work—but the benefits you can cash in on once your credit is in good shape are well worth it.

Share

Written By

Michelle Black

Michelle Black is a credit expert with over 16 years of experience in the industry and a freelance writer.

Read more about Michelle

RELATED TRAINING

 in 

MONEY

article
How to Create a “Simple” Budget

Discover how to create a simple budget — and 7 specific ways to make it stick.

How to Create a “Simple” Budget

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
Stuck With a Bad Car Loan? Here’s How to Get Out of It

Learn 3 ways to get out of a car loan without hurting your credit score.

Stuck With a Bad Car Loan? Here’s How to Get Out of It

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
What Is Credit Card Debt “Forgiveness”?

Learn the many ways to get part (... or even ALL) of your credit card debt permanently forgiven.

What Is Credit Card Debt “Forgiveness”?

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
What Can You Do With A 700 Credit Score?

Discover what you can and can’t do with a 700 credit score. Then, learn how to grow your score to get more funding and lower interest rates.

What Can You Do With A 700 Credit Score?

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
How To Get Your First Credit Card

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how and when to get your first credit card and start building your credit score.

How To Get Your First Credit Card

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
How Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

Learn how hard inquiries affect your credit score and how to minimize the damage when shopping for a car, a house, or a personal loan.

How Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
How To Use A Credit Card To Build [Or Fix!] Your Credit Score

Learn a step-by-step process to build (or fix!) your credit fast with a credit card—pick the right card and use it wisely.

How To Use A Credit Card To Build [Or Fix!] Your Credit Score

Michelle Black

Read Now
article
How To Improve Your Credit Score In 30 Days

Want to improve your credit score fast? Learn 3 different strategies to improve your credit score in 30 days or less.

How To Improve Your Credit Score In 30 Days

Michelle Black

Read Now
podcast
Quit Like a Millionaire

Imagine retiring in your 30's and traveling the world on permanent vacation. Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung live this lifestyle and sit down with Dustin to explain how you can do the same. By going against the norm, investing their money, and quitting their jobs, tune in as they share helpful tips from their new book, Quit Like a Millionaire.

Quit Like a Millionaire

podcast
Start Your Own F.I.R.E. Journey

In this episode, Executive Producer, Scott Rieckens sparks conversation around the concept of retiring early and living financial free and his latest documentary, Playing with F.I.R.E.

Start Your Own F.I.R.E. Journey

podcast
Making Money With a Book

In this page turning episode, Founder of Best Seller Publishing, Rob Kosberg joins Dustin and discusses his tips to becoming a Best Selling Author and the steps you need to take to write and publish the ideal book that positions you as a thought leader in your field.

Making Money With a Book

Financial Adulting

Financial Adulting

The 20-Something's Guide to Debt, Investing, and a Wealthy Life

Ellen & Micah Long

Watch Now
Zero Student Debt

Zero Student Debt

How To Make a Smart College Investment and Graduate Debt-Free

Ellen Long

Watch Now
podcast
unHustling - Work Less, Earn More

Join Phil Newton as he and Dustin discuss how to de-stress your life and achieve work-life balance while increasing your income.

unHustling - Work Less, Earn More

Money 101 for Teens

Money 101 for Teens

The Ultimate Guide To Making, Spending, Saving, and Investing Money

JP Servideo

Watch Now
podcast
Wealth Acceleration

Learn how Stuart Arakelian recovered and prospered from the 2008 financial crash—and how it impacted his philosophy on wealth management.

Wealth Acceleration

Wealth That Lasts

Wealth That Lasts

Simple Secrets to Getting (and Staying) Wealthy

Tom McFie

Watch Now
Getting Out of Debt

Getting Out of Debt

How To Eliminate (Bad) Debt and Maximize Your Cash Flow

Michele & John McFie

Watch Now
Smart Budgeting

Smart Budgeting

How to Create a Cashflow-Positive Budget . . . And Stick to It!

Scott & Bethany Palmer

Watch Now
Wealth-Building 101

Wealth-Building 101

How to Get Out of Debt, Boost Your Active Income, and Start Investing for Passive Income

Andy Proper

Watch Now
podcast
Timely Tax Benefits, Wealth Preservation & Leverage

Preserve your hard-earned wealth. Learn to use tax advantages to your benefit and leverage trusts with Supreme Court Counselor Lee Phillips.

Timely Tax Benefits, Wealth Preservation & Leverage

podcast
Cutting the Cable

What’s the cable cutting movement all about? Cable Cutting Academy's Jeremy Edmonds discusses tech and finance hacks to save you money.

Cutting the Cable

podcast
How To Negotiate a Higher Salary

Want to boost your salary? Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett help you determine your financial worth. Negotiate for the life you deserve.

How To Negotiate a Higher Salary

The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

How to Protect Your Ass(ets), Save Smarter, and Start Putting Your Money to Work

Stuart Arakelian

Watch Now