Amber Brooks is a Contributing Editor at Digital Brands. She spends her days consulting with financial experts to bring readers the best recommendations and tips on the web. She's interviewed financial leaders from all around the world. With a background in writing, she's uniquely suited to diluting complex financial jargon into terms that are easily understood. When not obsessively budgeting out her days, Amber can often be found with her nose in a book.
When shopping around for the perfect credit repair company, start with the basics: fees and reputation. As in any market, the price of credit repair services will vary by company and features. Checking the company’s reputation with the BBB and industry associations is a good way to determine their legitimacy, and ensure you’re not about to throw your money away.
After you download your credit reports, it takes several hours to review them for errors. Then, you must gather documentation and draft dispute letters, which could take up to a week or more if you aren’t already familiar with your records. Depending on the item and the reason it's in your credit history, this could involve writing a short letter or performing significant amounts of research.
Credit repair companies typically charge a one-time setup fee between $15 and $100 plus monthly fees between $60 and $150. Many companies offer a discount for couples who both need affordable credit repair services. Some credit restoration companies charge per successfully deleted item, and others charge a flat-rate fee for a specific term, usually six months. Keep in mind that legitimate credit repair companies won’t request service payments until they do some work for you.
To get the inaccurate marks off your credit history, you must request that the credit bureaus validate the information that you believe is inaccurate. Credit repair strategies also include sending cease-and-desist letters to debt collectors. Removing just a single negative item on your credit report can increase your credit score by more than 100 points.
Brittney Mayer is a credit strategist and contributing editor for BadCredit.org, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides aimed at helping readers make educated financial decisions on the path to building better credit. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on a variety of websites, including the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, NBC News,TheSimpleDollar.com, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, CardRates.com, and CreditCards.com, among others.
A number of businesses claiming to do credit repair have sprung up over time, and while some may provide services that can assist consumers, the actual results of their efforts may be questioned. In some cases, credit repair may require legal as well as financial expertise. Depending on the extent of the problem, it may require simply cleaning up misunderstandings, while in other cases professional intervention is needed.
Some of your creditors and lenders might report only to one of the credit bureaus. And, since credit bureaus don’t typically share information, it’s possible to have different information on each of your reports. Ordering all three reports will give you a complete view of your credit history and let you repair your credit at all three bureaus instead of just one.
"My experience was initially great until I had a medical emergency and had to cancel my account. I cancelled my account and was told that the following payment would still be drafted of $89. As of the date that I cancelled I was unable to access my account although I was being charged another $89. I would not recommend any company that does not have a fair cancellation policy. I cancelled my account with Equifax and was still able to access my account and was not charged any extra fees."
Who has the best Tax Relief? What can you do if you owe more taxes than you can possibly pay in a reasonable amount of time? That's a question many Americans are struggling to answer. As inflation rises and tax burdens increase, more people have tax debts owed to the US government and to state/local tax authorities. It goes without saying that having wages garnished and assets seized only adds to the stress felt in that situation.
A credit repair agency doesn’t technically do anything that you can’t do yourself, but the service is worth it for many people who find the DIY credit repair process time consuming and confusing. The best credit repair service combines financial education with proven techniques to remove negative items from your credit history. If your poor credit resulted from a complicated situation out of your control, such as identity theft, professional credit repair services save you time and effort.
Though numerous companies claim they can clean up bad credit reports, correcting erroneous information that may appear on credit reports takes time and effort. The details cited to credit reporting agencies cannot be removed by a third party. Rather the details, if misrepresented or inaccurate, can be disputed. Credit repair companies may investigate such information, but so can the individual the report is assessing. Individuals are entitled to free credit reports every 12 months from credit reporting agencies, as well as when an adverse action is taken against them, such as being denied credit based on information in the report.
You can also get your free Experian credit score and a credit report card that are updated every 14 days on Credit.com. Your credit report card shows where you stand in the five key areas that make up your score—payment history, credit utilization, account mix, credit age and inquiries. Your report card also gives you tips on how to improve your standing in each area if needed. And checking your report card and score doesn’t hurt your credit in any way.
"My credit score was 553 (poor) in September 2013. I had given up. I decided to try CreditRepair.com after hearing about it on the radio. The service is so awesome; the App is awesome. They began to systematically remove negative items from my credit report and challenge others. By December 2013 my credit score had risen over 100 points to 655 (good). I am so psyched about this and can’t wait to see what my score looks like over the next two to three months. I’m telling everyone about CreditRepair.com."
My Credit Group is a credit repair company staffed by credit experts, loan officers, collection agents and debt negotiators. The company has been employed by numerous organizations, including the United States of Defense and Chase Manhattan. They will develop a personalized plan to repair your credit, tailored to your credit history and needs. They can also employ debt settlement negotiation services while working on repairing your credit.
When the bureaus and data furnishers receive the dispute and supporting information, they then work with the credit repair company to determine if the item should be removed from your credit report. The major law governing your rights when it comes to credit reporting is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but it isn’t the only law on your side when it comes to credit repair.
This provider offers a "performance-based refund policy": after you've been a client in good standing for 6 months, you can request a full evaluation of any progress they've made in repairing your credit. For every improvement or deletion they've made, eCreditAttorney will count it as a $95 value. If the total of monthly fees you've paid exceeds the value of $95 per improved/deleted item, you'll get a refund of the difference. Do the math, because that's not a fantastic deal: at $29/month, eCreditAttorney would only have to make two improvements or deletions over the course of 6 months to demonstrate adequate "performance".
Where is the best place to monitor your credit? In order to purchase a home, buy a car, or obtain almost any kind of loan, you need good credit and history. Falling behind on credit card payments, making too many expensive purchases, opening multiple credit card accounts, filing for bankruptcy, not paying monthly bills, and other factors may cause your credit score to drop significantly. On the flip side, staying on top of credit card payments, paying bills right away, and paying off loans are a few of the ways you can build a fantastic credit score.
Here’s a good example of when a reputable credit repair service can help you do something you may not be able to accomplish yourself. If you have a collection account that’s been sold to a few different debt collectors, it can appear on your credit report multiple times. That information is accurate but having that one debt dinging your credit score multiple times doesn't meet the “fair” standard that Padawer mentioned.