If you followed through correctly, you should have a credit report from Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. You may notice that they all do not have the same information on them. That is very normal, creditors do not always report to all three credit bureaus, they may report to only one or two of the three. We are going to work on all three of your credit reports, because down the road when you decide to buy a home or auto, or apply for credit card - all three of your reports can be viewed, trust me, fixing only one will get you no where.
Everyone has their own method's of organizing, so whether you want to create a spread sheet, use 4 different highlighter makers, get 4 separate pieces of paper - whatever works for you - we will have 4 categories. PAID ON TIME - PAID LATE - COLLECTION - INCORRECT.
Anything listed on your credit report this has been paid on time belongs in the category, a collection never goes here even if it is paid because if if were pain on time it would have never been here. Anything paid on time raises your credit score. If it was late in the past as you continue to pay it on time the negative effect it has on your credit score will decrease.
Any bills that are showing on your credit report because you did not pay them belong in this category. These lower your credit score, once they are paid they are not positive, they simply fade into the background and have less effect on your credit score as time goes by. Judgements are also considered collections
Any monthly payments that are showing paid late (will show 30, 60, 90 days late) belong in this category. Credit cards, car payments, mortgage payments paid at least 30 days after due date. These will lower your credit score, as you bring them current the late payments fade into the background and effect your credit score less. A current late payment will knock your credit score down fast. In the credit world this will keep you from obtaining more credit while you are behind on current credit obligations.
Information that does not belong to you belongs in this category - if it is a collection it may show the name of collection agency and not the original creditor. If you are finding many of these you could be a victim of credit theft. Look for bills you have paid that are showing unpaid or late marks that were not late and are marked incorrectly.