Many people don’t have the time to do their own credit repair or don’t understand how to make their case. So they look into hiring a credit repair company to dispute errors for them. These companies can charge a fee for their legwork—more on how that works below. There are times when the extra help is valuable. For example, if you have multiple errors across credit reports or you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
When considering the fees, it’s important to weigh what you’re getting in return. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit repair firms can’t legally do anything for you that you can’t do for yourself. You just have to be willing to spend the time reviewing your credit reports for negative or inaccurate information, reaching out to the credit bureaus to dispute that information, and following up on those disputes to make sure they’re being investigated.
You're also entitled to a free credit report if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report, if you're currently receiving government assistance, if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job soon, or if you think you've been a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft. Some states even have laws that let you get an additional free credit report each year. All these free credit reports should be ordered directly through the credit bureaus.
After you’ve resolved the negative items on your credit report, work on getting positive information added. Just like late payments severely hurt your credit score, timely payments help your score. If you have some credit cards and loans being reported on time, good. Continue to keep those balances at a reasonable level and make your payments on time.
Either way, you should always remove any errors or outdated information from your credit report — regardless of the actual effect on your score — as soon as you discover them. A clean credit report can give you peace of mind the next time you apply for a loan; you’ll know that an inaccurate credit score isn’t holding you back from qualifying for a better interest rate, saving you time and money in the long run.
Your loan balances also affect your credit score in a similar way. The credit score calculation compares your loan current loan balance to the original loan amount. The closer your loan balances are to the original amount you borrowed, the more it hurts your credit score. Focus first on paying down credit card balances because they have more impact on your credit score.
"I tried buying a new car a few months ago but I could barely get approved for a loan and if I did get approved the interest rate was above 20%. I decided to give CreditRepair.com a few months to work on my credit. I re-visited the dealerships this week and thanks to CreditRepair.com my score drastically improved and I was able to qualify for a very reasonable rate. Thank you CreditRepair.com, you literally improved my way of life."
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Other than updating their website, Credit Firm could rank higher among credit repair companies by offering a satisfaction guarantee. While $49/month is affordable and the service is easy to cancel, this provider could take it a step further by letting customers know that they're committed to achieving a specific level of results within a given timeframe.
Scoring models consider how much you owe and across how many different accounts. If you have debt across a large number of accounts, it may be beneficial to pay off some of the accounts, if you can. Paying down your debt is the goal of many who've accrued debt in the past, but even after you pay the balance down to zero, consider keeping that account open. Keeping paid-off accounts open can be a plus in your overall credit mix since they're aged accounts in good (paid-off) standing. You may also consider debt consolidation.