Credit Repair

Make a Plan, Improve Your Credit, Avoid Scams

Clean up your credit, create a budget, and avoid overspending with this bestseller. You'll get sample letters to negotiate with creditors, forms to fix errors on your credit report, and more.  Learn how to:

  • get rid of errors in your credit report
  • negotiate with creditors, and
  • create a budget and make a plan to get out of debt

Includes all the forms you need to send to creditors and credit reporting agencies!


 "A solid, thorough, user-friendly resource accessible to anyone and everyone concerned about their credit rating." - Midwest Book Review

Available as part of Nolo's Credit Repair Bundle

  • Product Details
  • Bad credit can get better

    A bad credit report can prevent you from getting a mortgage, car loan, credit card, apartment, or even a job. The sensible strategies in Credit Repair help you take control of your finances, clean up your credit report and rebuild your credit. Learn how to:

    • prioritize debts and create a budget
    • reduce debts and cut expenses
    • negotiate with creditors
    • correct credit report errors and remove old information
    • add positive information to your credit report
    • adopt strategies to rebuild your credit, and
    • avoid identity theft and credit repair scams.

    Updates to the 15th edition of Credit Repair include new credit reporting standards for medical debts and revised rules about what debt collectors must include in collection notices.

    “Credit Repair is full of suggestions for restoring your good credit…”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    “A high quality, do-it-yourself approach”….—Reuters


    Number of Pages
    Included Forms

    Forms and Letters

    • Form F-1 Request Credit Report
    • Form F-2 Request Reinvestigation
    • Form F-3 Request to Furnishing Creditor to Reinvestigate
    • Form F-4 Request Follow-Up After Reinvestigation
    • Form F-5 Request Removal of Incorrect Information by Creditor
    • Form F-6 Creditor Verification
    • Form F-7 Request Addition of Information Showing Stability
    • Form F-8 Request Addition of Account Histories
    • Form F-9 Monthly Income
    • Form F-10 Your Debts
    • Form F-11 Daily Expenses
    • Form F-12 Payments to Savings and Debt Reduction
    • Form F-13 Monthly Budget
    • Form F-14 Inform Creditor of Judgment Proof Status
    • Form F-15 Request Short Term Lower Payments
    • Form F-16 Request Long Term Lower Payments
    • Form F-17 Request to Pay Nothing Short-Term
    • Form F-18 Request to Pay Nothing Long-Term
    • Form F-19 Request Rewrite of Loan Terms
    • Form F-20 Offer (Delayed) Payment of Past Due Amounts
    • Form F-21 Offer (Reduced) Lump Sum Payment
    • Form F-22 Offer Payment Schedule to Pay Off (Reduced) Debt
    • Form F-23 Cashing Check Constitutes Payment in Full (Outside of California)
    • Form F-24 Cashing Check Constitutes Payment in Full—First Letter (California)
    • Form F-25 Cashing Check Constitutes Payment in Full—Second Letter (California)
    • Form F-26 Cashing Check Constitutes Release of All Claims
    • Form F-27 Offer to Give Secured Property Back
    • Form F-28 Request Direct Negotiation With Creditor
    • Form F-29 Request for Verification of Debt/Identity of Original Creditor/Return of Debt to Original Creditor
    • Form F-30 Complaint about Debt Collector Violation of Law
    • Form F-31 Debt Collector: Cease All Contact
    • Form F-32 Request for Basis of Unfavorable Credit Offer or Action
    • Form F-33 Identity Theft Dispute Letter for Existing Accounts
    • Form F-34 Identity Theft Dispute Letter for New Accounts
    • Form F-35 Notice of Billing Error Dispute on Credit Card Bill
    • Form F-36 Notice of Claim or Defense Dispute on Credit Card Bill
    • Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit
    • Annual Credit Report Request Form
    • FTC Law Enforcement Cover Letter 
  • About the Author
    • Amy Loftsgordon, Attorney · University of Denver Sturm College of Law

      Amy Loftsgordon is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on foreclosure, debt management, and personal finance. She writes for and and has been quoted by news outlets that include U.S. News & World Report and Bankrate.

      Amy received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a law degree from the University of Denver. She is licensed to practice law in Colorado.

      Working at Nolo. In 2012, Amy started writing for Nolo as a freelancer. Since that time she has written hundreds of articles covering foreclosure, credit issues, consumer protection matters, and more. In 2017, Amy became a full-time legal editor with Nolo. Her favorite part of the job is researching and analyzing dry, complicated materials—like state statutes, federal regulations, and court cases—and then explaining that information in a way that makes it palatable and engaging for the everyday reader.

      Early legal career. Amy began her writing career while still in law school, producing case summaries for Wickstrom Legal, a small publishing company. After graduating from law school in 2001, Amy started working in foreclosure and related areas, first in her own law practice and then at a law firm where she was responsible for ensuring compliance with foreclosure and collections laws.

      Foreclosure experience. Amy has drafted foreclosure-related training programs and loan servicing compliance procedures for various law firms, as well as written training manuals for collections operations in Panama. (She takes pride in the fact that she drove to and from Panama—around 7,000 miles roundtrip.) Amy also performed compliance reviews of foreclosures in multiple states as part of the national Independent Foreclosure Review.

      Bank litigation support. In 2016, Amy began working for Investors Consulting Group (ICG), a firm that provides subject matter expert services in fields such as loan origination, credit underwriting, securitization, and mortgage servicing. She was instrumental in the preparation and writing of expert reports that were used in several lawsuits against banks and servicers accused of mishandling preforeclosure, loss mitigation, foreclosure, and REO processes. At ICG, Amy also conducted loan-level audits to assess servicer compliance with federal mortgage servicing laws, RESPA, TILA, SCRA, state foreclosure laws, and UDAAP/UDAP laws, as well as Making Home Affordable and FHA loss mitigation procedures.

      Publications. Amy has updated several Nolo books, including The Foreclosure Survival Guide, Credit Repair, and Solve Your Money Troubles, and edited several others, like The Essential Guide to Handling Workplace Harassment & Discrimination, Working for Yourself, Starting & Building a Nonprofit, and the Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business.

    • Cara O'Neill, Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

      Cara O'Neill is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on bankruptcy and small claims. She also maintains a bankruptcy practice at the Law Office of Cara O’Neill and teaches criminal law and legal ethics as an adjunct professor. Cara has been quoted in bankruptcy, finance, small claims, and litigation articles by news outlets that include USA Today, CNBC, U.S. News & World Report, Nerd Wallet, and Yahoo Finance.

      Cara received her law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she graduated a member of the Order of the Barristers—a highly-selective honor society that gives national recognition to top law school graduates demonstrating excellent skills in trial advocacy, oral advocacy, and brief writing.

      Working at Nolo. Cara started writing for Nolo as a freelancer in 2014 and became a full-time legal editor in 2016. She has authored a number of Nolo self-help legal books, including How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, The New Bankruptcy, Everybody's Guide to Small Claims (national version), and Everybody's Guide to Small Claims in California. She also co-authors and edits Solve Your Money Troubles and Credit Repair and has written hundreds of articles for,,, and

      Early legal career. Before joining Nolo, Cara spent 20 years working as a trial attorney litigating criminal and civil cases. She also served as an administrative law judge mediating disputes between auto manufacturers and dealerships and began teaching law as an adjunct professor in 2004. She added bankruptcy to her practice after the 2008 financial downturn.

      Origins of litigation and writing career. Thanks to her mother, Cara’s advocacy training began early and involuntarily. In junior high school, she took second place two years running in the local Optimist Club speaking competition. She also successfully competed on her high school speech and debate team for several years, eventually serving as president of the same. During law school, she competed on a nationally ranked ABA moot court team for two years (and was recruited for a third, but declined) and served as a law journal editor.

  • Table of Contents
  • Your Credit Repair Companion

    1. The Elements of Repairing Credit

    2. Credit Reports and Credit Scores: The Nuts and Bolts

    • How Creditors Evaluate Your Creditworthiness
    • Credit Reports and Credit Scores: What Are the Differences?
    • Your Credit Reports
    • Getting Your Credit Reports
    • What Is in a Credit Report?
    • Investigative Reports
    • Who Can Look at Your Credit Report
    • Your Credit Score: What It Is and Why It Matters
    • How Credit Scores Are Calculated
    • What Credit Score Do You Need to Get Credit?
    • Getting Your Credit Score

    3. The First Step to a Better Credit Score—Cleaning Up Your Credit Report

    • Common Errors in Credit Reports
    • Your Right to an Accurate Credit Report
    • Review Your Report for Errors and Incomplete or Prohibited Information
    • Dispute Incomplete and Inaccurate Information
    • Add an Explanatory Statement to Your Credit File
    • Add Positive Information to Your Credit Report
    • Check Your Credit Reports Often
    • Avoid Credit Repair Clinics

    4. Assess Your Financial Situation

    • How to Assess Your Financial Situation
    • Determining Your Credit Repair Options Based on Your Financial Situation

    5. Reducing Current Expenses and Debts

    • Cutting Expenses
    • Reducing Current Debt Obligations
    • Reducing Mortgage Debt
    • Filing for Bankruptcy

    6. Finding Money to Pay Your Debts

    • Ways to Raise Money
    • Options to Avoid

    7. Negotiating With Creditors and Debt Collectors

    • Prepare a Plan
    • Negotiating With Creditors and Debt Collectors
    • Dealing With Debt Collectors
    • Tax Consequences of Forgiven Loans

    8. Getting Help Negotiating and Managing Debts

    • Avoid Most Debt Relief Services
    • How Does a Debt Management Plan Work?
    • Debt Management Plans vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
    • Choosing a Good Credit Counseling Organization
    • After You’ve Chosen an Agency, Monitor Your Plan

    9. Building Positive Credit History

    • First Steps to Rebuilding Credit
    • Ways to Improve Your Credit History Without Getting New Credit
    • Next Step to Rebuilding Credit—Getting New Credit
    • Putting It All Together: Preventing Future Financial Problems
    • Be on Guard for Credit Discrimination

    10. Choosing and Using Credit Cards

    • Choosing Credit Cards
    • Using Credit Cards: How to Protect Yourself

    11. Avoiding and Dealing With Identity Theft

    • The Crime of Identity Theft: The Scope of the Problem
    • What’s in a Stolen Name?
    • How Can an Identity Be Stolen?
    • How to Protect Yourself
    • Protecting Your Social Security Number
    • If Your Identity Is Stolen
    • Identity Theft Protection Products and Insurance

    Appendix A: Resources

    • Debtors Anonymous
    • Nolo Publications
    • Other Publications
    • Online Resources
    • Where to Complain: Federal Agencies
    • State Consumer Protection Agencies

    Appendix B: Additional State Protections Concerning Credit Repair Clinics

    Appendix C: How to Use the Downloadable Forms on

    • Editing RTFs
    • Downloadable Forms Available on the Nolo Website


  • Sample Chapter
  • Chapter 1: The Elements of Repairing Credit

    Credit repair is not a quick fix. Some steps will require hard work, and you might have to wait until your finances are under control before diving in, but others are reasonably simple. In both cases, this book provides the support you’ll need throughout your credit repair journey. We walk you through your options, warn you about pitfalls that could worsen your situation, and give you sample letters and forms you can refer to when you need to contact creditors, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, and others. Here’s what you can expect.

    First steps: Learning about your credit report and assessing your financial situation (Chapters 2, 3, and 4). You’ll want a clear picture of your current financial situation and credit history before beginning. You’ll start by learning about credit reports and the factors involved in credit scoring. Chapter 2 covers how to get and review credit reports. Chapter 3 addresses fixing errors and explains how adding positive information increases reporting accuracy.

    You’ll also learn why it’s essential to analyze your finances and create a budget. Once complete, you’ll be ready to determine whether it’s time to implement credit repair strategies.

    Next steps: Getting your income, debts, and expenses into balanc e (Chapters 5 and 6). The most direct way to improve your credit is simple: Pay your bills on time. But it’s also one of the hardest things to do after experiencing financial problems. These chapters cover why you’ll likely need to lower your debts and increase your income before saving money. We also explain how foreclosure and bankruptcy could impact your credit history while steering you away from scammers ready to take your money and derail your credit repair efforts.

    Paying and negotiating debts (Chapters 7 and 8). Negotiating with creditors can help you settle debts for less, get better payment terms, and delete negative credit entries. In Chapter 7, you’ll learn about negotiation goals and techniques. Chapter 8 explains how to find legitimate credit counseling and debt relief services and avoid the rest.

    Stepping toward the future: Rebuilding and protecting your credit profile (Chapters 9, 10, and 11). Chapter 9 recommends ways to improve your credit profile without getting additional credit. And, when you’re ready to use credit again, Chapter 10 provides information on choosing and safely using credit and debit cards. Finally, Chapter 11 covers identity theft and keeping credit secure so you can enjoy the benefits of your hard work.

    We hope you enjoyed this sample chapter. The complete book is available for sale here at

  • Forms
  • This Book Comes With a Website

    Nolo’s award-winning website has a page dedicated just to this book, where you can:

    DOWNLOAD FORMS - All forms in this book are accessible online. After purchase, you can find a link to the URL in Appendix D.

    KEEP UP TO DATE - When there are important changes to the information in this book, we will post updates

    And that’s not all. contains thousands of articles on everyday legal and business issues, plus a plain-English law dictionary, all written by Nolo experts and available for free. You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms.

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