Since your credit score is arguably one of the most important numbers in terms of your financial profile, it’s not surprising that those with low or badly damaged scores look for repair methods. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a quick, reliable fix when it came to your credit? Unfortunately, it takes a long time to build up your credit score and it takes just as long (or perhaps even longer) to repair your rating.
So you know it takes time, but does credit repair work? Are your efforts worthwhile? Should you invest the time and money required to fix your credit?
You’ve probably seen a countless number of television commercials or ads on the Internet promising their service and expertise can raise your score in no time. Well, like most advertisements, you need to take their promises with a grain of salt. Be aware some companies are a scam. They will promise you the moon, but oftentimes their tactics do not abide by the national rules surrounding credit repair.
There is no magic formula to quickly turn a bad credit score into a good one, but there are some instances when credit repair can be beneficial.
When Credit Repair Works
Laws are often riddled with technicalities, so it’s important to know what is and is not acceptable when it comes to credit repair practices. Most people are not aware of the fact every single detail in your report must be verifiable. Meaning, if you have a blemish on your credit report, perhaps from a lender who has gone out of business or been bought out, you may be able to have the negative mark removed from your report.
Think about it: if a credit bureau tries to call the lender in order to verify the information on your report, they would not get an answer. Any non-verifiable information must be removed, so credit repair services use this policy to raise your score.
At least once a year, be sure to perform an independent credit check in order to know what types of errors appear on your report. Being knowledgeable is your best defense against locating non-verifiable errors. Although a credit repair company can help you look into any negative marks on your report, it is always important to be your own advocate.
If you don’t look over your credit report semi-regularly, you could be missing several errors which negatively affect your score. The good news is the main purpose of many credit repair services is to remove errors from your report. Both major and minor mistakes are common – anything from incorrect personal information to incorrect information reported by lenders.
If your report contains a large number of errors, your credit score can take a turn for the worse. If this is the case, it would behoove you to seek out the services of a credit repair company. They can help you sort out the identified errors and make sure your score does not unnecessarily suffer as a result.
Experienced credit repair companies know the tricks of the trade and tap into a wide variety of tools to help increase your score. One tool with varied success is negotiating with lenders on your behalf. Some lenders are not willing to negotiate and choose not to work with credit repair services at all. However, others are receptive. If the credit repair company gets in touch with lenders who are willing to listen, your score can increase.
Working with a company who has experience dealing with a wide variety of lenders is beneficial, because they may employ more effective negotiation techniques. You can try to speak with lenders on your own, but it may be more difficult to get results.
How to Choose the Best Credit Repair Service
There are specific instances when credit repair works, so if your score is lower than average and you would like the assistance of a professional service, how do you choose the right company?
Before you contract any type of service, do your due diligence and make sure they have positive reviews and a solid reputation. Especially when it comes to your finances, you want to work with professionals who know the business inside and out. Read online reviews or ask the company to provide references.
Obviously, if you check out a credit repair service and customer after customer is lamenting how their score did not budge, you should probably think twice about working with them. Established companies will know the tricks of the trade, so to speak. They will know how to negotiate with lenders and they will know how to fix any errors on your report.
Choosing to work with a seasoned professional may give you the greatest chance of boosting your score, so do not discount the importance of a high-quality reputation.
Longevity plays a major role when it comes to a company’s reputation, so these characteristics go hand-in-hand. A credit repair service with many years of experience is preferable to a newly-founded company. You want to know you are working with specialists who have your best interests at heart and will do everything in their power to raise your credit score.
A company with a proven track record of success is going to be more helpful in the long-run than a new, affordable option you randomly stumbled across on the Internet. Once again, make sure you do your research before putting your trust in a credit repair company.
We’ve established their services can be helpful in certain situations, but you need to work with the right credit repair company – one who has been around for a number of years and knows the
credit repair rules, as well as how to navigate them.
Put simply, you want to know you can get your money back if the credit repair service does not follow through on their promises. If the company does not complete the work you agreed upon, you should make sure you receive a refund – no questions asked.
Also, find out how the company expects to be paid. If you are asked to pay in full before any services are rendered, think twice. In order to avoid potential headaches down the road, work with a company who does not charge you a dime until they have completed all the work they agreed to do.
On the rare occasion, you will come across a company with a stellar guarantee policy. For instance, some businesses offer a full 90-day refund no matter what the reason. However, this type of policy is extremely rare – almost unheard of in the credit repair industry.
Before hiring any company, make sure you read the fine print. Money-back guarantees can be worded very carefully, so you need to verify you are, in fact, entitled to getting your money back if you are unsatisfied with your service or the company does not complete the contracted work. Regardless of the circumstances, credit repair companies must disclose your legal rights.
Consider Your Options
If you are determined to raise your credit score, keep in mind credit repair is not a guaranteed fix. If you work with a company with a good reputation and understand the risks going in, there are
instances when your credit can improve. Also, keep an eye out for a money-back guarantee, because one thing is certain when it comes to credit repair: nothing is guaranteed.
If you have legitimate errors on your report, it can be worthwhile to work with professionals. However, some companies will make grandiose promises which are simply not feasible. If someone promises you the moon and the stars, think twice. Your credit score is influenced by many factors and although you have control over most, mistakes in the past can often not be undone.
Before you hire a company, there are a few truths to consider:
- Negative information stays on your credit report for seven years
- Bankruptcies are reported for 10 years
- Any type of criminal information can stay on your report forever
No matter how hard they try, credit repair companies cannot get rid of these blemishes, so you need to evaluate your individual situation to see if credit repair services are the smart choice.
Professionals in the field are accustomed to evaluating credit reports and identifying errors, but you can also fix incorrect information by yourself.
Get a free copy of your report, look for mistakes or outdated items, and dispute them for free through the credit reporting bureaus. You must explain your dispute, provide copies of relevant documents, and request an investigation into the matter. The credit reporting bureau is required to investigate your dispute within 30 days.
Your report will be corrected if you win your dispute and you can request the corrected version be sent to anyone who received your report within the past six months, or two years if it was sent to prospective employers.
Even if you do not win, a statement outlining your version of the dispute can be included in your report.
Whether you decide to hire a professional company or go it alone, there are options when it comes to repairing your credit. The soundest piece of advice is to evaluate your choices and determine the best course of action.
Your credit score is an integral part of your financial profile, so it’s worth the time and effort to correct any errors, whether justifiable or non-verifiable, as well as potentially negotiate with lenders. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and hire a professional credit report service, you should also be prepared to make a monetary investment.