How To Choose A Credit Repair Company Wisely
- Understand Your Rights
- Get An Initial Consultation
- Know The Range Of Available Services
- Ask If The Company Provides Any Guarantees
- Check Reviews
- Find Out What It Will Cost You
What Is Credit Repair?
Credit repair involves disputing inaccuracies in your credit report. You can DIY or hand it over to a company to take care of — if you chose the latter route, make sure you vet the company.
Credit repair is exactly what it sounds like — the process of fixing poor credit through identifying and rectifying any mistakes that appear on your credit reports. Perhaps you were the victim of identity theft or maybe the reporting bureau simply made a mistake on your report. Whatever the reason, it’s essential you take steps to repair your credit for your overall financial well being.
You can fix your credit a number of ways — among them is turning your problem over to a credit repair service. Although you can definitely work to repair credit on your own — which is free credit repair — you might find it easier to have a credit repair organization to remove negative information from your credit report and improve your credit score, for a fee, of course.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act regulates credit repair companies to ensure they don’t mislead consumers and that they provide them with disclosures regarding the services they offer. It’s important to understand that these types of organizations don’t have any special rights regarding disputing your credit report information. Basically, you can do for yourself whatever a credit company can do, but you might decide to skip
Credit Repair Services
There are so many credit repair services out there it can be confusing to know which ones are legitimate and which are scams. Use these six tips to help you vet a credit repair services company.
1. Understand Your Rights
Before you sign a contract with a credit repair company it is required by law to inform you of your rights. Make sure the company provides you with a Notice of Cancellation and a Consumer Credit File Rights document. Read these documents carefully before you enter an agreement with the company.
2. Get an Initial Consultation
Any credit repair company worth its salt will offer you a consultation, during which it will evaluate your case and analyze your personal debt situation, then present you with a detailed plan on how to fix it. During the consultation, do yourself a favor and be transparent. Let the company know exactly how much debt you owe — and exactly what sources of income you have.
3. Know the Range of Available Services
Different credit repair companies offer different services. Make sure you know what you’ll
4. Ask If the Company Provides Any Guarantees
Make sure you fully understand what the company is going to do for you. Ask if it gives any guarantees regarding fixing your credit — and if it does, make sure those guarantees are clearly spelled out in your contract. In addition, find out how much time the company expects it to take to get results.
5. Check Reviews
It’s always a good idea when you’re vetting any company to read consumer reviews. It’s also a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used this type of service.
6. Find Out What it Will Cost You
Be very cautious if a credit repair services company gives you a price quote during your initial consultation. That could mean it’s simply trying to lock you in; instead, a credit repair company should evaluate your situation in-depth before it quotes you a price to fix your credit. If a company charges an unusually low fee, that might also be a red flag — it could mean you must remain in the program longer.
Most Popular Credit Repair Companies
In business since 1997, CreditRepair.com partners with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to help consumers fix their credit. According to the website, “Previous members have seen an average 40 point TransUnion credit score gain during four months of membership.” If you sign up with this company you’ll get a free, personalized credit consultation; free access to your credit report; free credit report evaluation; and a recommended solution for your issues.
In addition, you can opt for 24/7 credit monitoring and alerts and take advance of a personalized, online dashboard with your credit score tracker. Call CreditRepair.com at 855-255-0263 or sign up on the company website.
Lexington Law has been in business for 26 years. According to the website, in 2017 its past clients saw “10 million removals from their credit reports with an average of 10.2 of their questionable items removed in the first 4 months.” At Lexington Law you’ll receive a free personalized credit consultation, free access to your TransUnion report summary, a free credit report review and score evaluation and the recommended solution.
The company handles late payments, bankruptcies, charge offs, judgments, repossessions, foreclosures and collections. Call Lexington Law at 844-653-3062 or sign up on the company website.
Sky Blue Credit
Sky Blue Credit has been in business since 1989 and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It can help consumers improve their scores and rebuild their credit. It also offers debt validation, goodwill letters and debt negotiation services. The company claims it delivers the fastest service in the industry — and it will dispute 15 items (five per bureau) every 25 days for $69 per month.
On the Sky Blue Credit portal you can track your progress, upload documents, communicate with the company, update your personal and billing information and even put your membership on hold. With a 90-day, money-back guarantee, you can’t go wrong. For a free consultation, call 800-790-0445 or sign up on the company website.
Free Credit Repair
Credit Repair Software
If you think you need a company to fix your credit but don’t want to spend a ton of money, consider using credit repair software instead. It’s not free credit repair, but it won’t be as expensive as using a company. Many companies offer software programs designed to correct inaccurate credit report information. Many of these programs are automated, customizable and — perhaps most important —
Here’s how this type of software works: You input all of your credit information, including collections, late payments, etc. The software provides you with dispute letters that you mail to the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Although it’s a convenient way to repair your credit, you must weigh the cost against simply creating the dispute letters on your own. Because you’re basically doing all the work yourself — inputting all your credit report information — all you’re really getting is the dispute letter. It might be worth your while to learn how to write a dispute letter yourself — a simple Google search will give you the information you need — and forego paying for software.