It doesn’t take much to get into trouble with your financial history. One late or missed payment, an account in collections, or a season of overspending on a high-limit credit card can lead to disastrous results for your credit history and score. Adding to the mess are credit reporting errors or financial mistakes that stick with you for years after they’ve been resolved. It isn’t all that fair to be punished with limited access to new credit or costly interest rates due to these all-too-common credit issues.
When a financial blunder takes place that hurts your credit, it can be tempting to avoid the problem and simply hope for it to resolve on its own. Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t work well, and it leaves you with restricted access to credit in the future, not to mention more scrutiny from potential employers and insurance companies. If you’re in that boat, credit repair may seem like your saving grace.
The process of repairing your credit can be done in one of two ways: on your own or with the help of a credit repair agency or law firm. When you select the latter option, credit repair means you enlist the help of a professional to fix your credit issues on your behalf. Credit repair companies make a good faith effort to clean up your credit reports by helping you remove negative information. To do this, you’ll have to first pull your credit reports from each of the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, then share that report with the credit repair company. Some companies are able to pull your report for you, but not all. This allows the credit repair company to easily identify credit issues that could be holding you back.
As credit problems are uncovered through a review of your credit reports, your credit repair professional should ask for supporting documentation as to what happened, how you attempted to resolve the issue, or proof that the information is listed in error. Once these details are received, your credit repair company will dispute any items that should be removed from your credit report, under the laws meant to protect you as a consumer, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The sole purpose of credit repair with the help of a professional is to scrub your credit reports clean. Although you have the power to take care of credit errors or misinformation on your own by disputing specific entries through each of the credit bureaus, most don’t want to take time out of their day to battle with creditors or the credit reporting agencies to get erroneous information removed. If you’d rather have someone else take care of that daunting process for you, getting the help of a credit repair company is your best bet.
As with any professional service, credit repair comes with a cost, and that expense varies significantly depending on the credit repair company you choose. In addition to the out-of-pocket cost, not all credit repair companies are on the up and up. You may have seen advertisements that promise a three-digit boost to your credit score, or credit repair in as little as 15 days. Do yourself a favor and don’t believe that hype. Credit repair takes time to process and to ultimately impact your credit score, so you’ll need to pack your patience when dealing with a reputable credit repair company.
If you’ve determined that credit repair for your specific situation is best left to the pros, take care to consider your options for hiring a credit repair company. The ally you choose should explain what your rights are under each of the consumer credit laws listed above, and they should explain that credit repair can be done without their help. Additionally, your credit repair company should explain how they plan to help you, and a reasonable time-frame in which they can get at least a portion of the work accomplished. Check online reviews from other customers and follow these guidelines to ensure you’re working with a credit repair company that has your best interest at the top of their priority list.
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