In some cases, it's difficult to determine what to include as far as supporting documentation goes—that’s another way a credit repair company can help. For example, if you’re a victim of identity theft and a fraudulent account appears on your credit report, it can be tough to prove it isn’t yours because you don’t have any documents that relate to the account.
You have the right to dispute any information in your credit report that's inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can't be verified. When you order your credit report, you'll receive instructions on how to dispute credit report information. Credit reports ordered online typically come with instructions for making disputes online, but you can also make disputes over the phone and through the mail.
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.
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.
The credit bureau usually has 30 days after receiving your dispute to investigate and verify information. Typically, the credit bureau will reach out to the company that provided the information and ask them to investigate. The credit bureau is required to send you the results of the investigation within five business days of the completion of the investigation.
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Reducing your balances on credit cards and other revolving credit accounts is likely the better option to improve your credit utilization rate, and, subsequently, your credit scores. Consistently making on-time payments against your debt will also help you build a positive credit history, which can have additional benefits for your credit history and, by extension, your credit scores, too.