Credit repair is critical to saving money on insurance, loans, and credit cards, but that's not the only reason to repair your credit. A better credit score opens up new employment opportunities, even promotions and raises with your current employer. If you dream of starting your own business or just want the security of knowing you can borrow money when you want to, you should repair your credit sooner rather than later.
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.
How much you spend on credit repair depends on how involved you want to be in the process. If you hire a credit repair company, expect to pay a setup fee of up to $100 and monthly service fees of up to $150 for as long as six months. If you invest the time to repair your credit on your own, the credit repair process is free. Credit repair software that costs between $30 and $400 can help you draft letters to creditors and credit bureaus.
“A good credit repair company will scrub questionable credit report items against other laws—like the Fair Credit Billing Act, which regulates original creditors; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which oversees collection agencies; and others that address medical illness, military service, student status and other life events,” Padawer said.
If the company's credit repair specialists identify errors on your credit reports, they dispute those errors on your behalf. A credit repair company handles everything from drafting letters to managing correspondence with credit reporting agencies, creditors and debt collectors. You might need to supply documentation to support disputes. Some credit repair companies also offer credit counseling and debt management to help clients improve and maintain credit standing.
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For the most part, Credit Saint's reputation is good: accreditation and an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau is strong evidence that they're helping people repair their credit in a way that is trustworthy and effective. There are also almost no negative reviews registered at the BBB for this company, which is impressive for a business that has been around for over 14 years. We found a few reviews that expressed frustration with Credit Saint's higher-than-average fees for credit repair services, but the company is very transparent with what you'll pay. We would like to see a clearer explanation of all of their services, particularly the "dispute avalanche".
"Im blown away by this company! I am 26 years old I needed to repair my credit from bad choices I made when I was younger. I came across CreditRepair.com and I can say I did a great job choosing this company! I have only been in their program for three weeks and i've already seen negative items removeds from my report. I am so pleased with this company. If you are looking for real help I highly suggest to choose this company. This is coming from a 26 year old. So, trust me its worth the money. They do all the work for you. Thank you CreditRepair.com for putting my life back on track!"
From there, Credit Repair's experts work with credit companies to implement your plan, and then they verify with the credit bureaus to make sure that those changes actually take effect. You can track your progress through your personal online dashboard and a mobile app, where you'll also see your score tracker and analysis of the changes to your credit profile.
There are a lot of reasons that your credit may be in rough shape. Most are related to your spending habits. And, if you missed a few payments or your debt levels are too high—think over 30% of your total available credit limits—disputing errors won’t help you. You’ll have to make some changes to improve your credit scores instead. And you may have to wait a bit to see an uptick.
"I'm very pleased that after all these years I can finally fix my credit, and get it to where it used to be. I never knew that there was a place or company that can help you restore your credit. I'm glad I took the first step to fixing my credit. I'm happy that CreditRepair.com is helping me with my situation and hopefully I can get my house soon. I want to thank CreditRepair.com for taking the time to help me with my situation."
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.
Opening several credit accounts in a short amount of time can appear risky to lenders and negatively impact your credit score. Before you take out a loan or open a new credit card account, consider the effects it could have on your credit scores. Know too, that when you're buying a car or looking around for the best mortgage rates, your inquiries may be grouped and counted as only one inquiry for the purpose of adding information to your credit report. In many commonly-used scoring models, recent inquiries have greater effect than older inquiries, and they only appear on your credit report or a maximum of 25 months.