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.
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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.
Credit restoration specialists have the experience and expertise to navigate even the most complicated credit situations. For example, a credit repair agency can help victims of identity theft remove derogatory marks on their credit reports that resulted from fraud. However, a legitimate credit repair company can’t remove accurate marks just because they are negative.
If you have negative information on your credit report, it will remain there for 7-10 years. This helps lenders and others get a better picture of your credit history. However, while you may not be able to change information from the past, you can demonstrate good credit management moving forward by paying your bills on time and as agreed. As you build a positive credit history, over time, your credit scores will likely improve.
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.
If you find information that is incorrect, you can file a dispute. Remember too, that items on your credit report that you don't recognize could also be potential signs of fraudulent activity — someone working to secure credit in your name for their own use. Make sure you're clear on items that could potentially be fraudulent, versus those that may simply be inaccurate.