A common question asked is whether professional credit repair is more worth it than DIY credit repair. Many people do it themselves, whereas others call a professional.
Credit reporting errors happen and they occur probably a lot more often than you think. The Federal Trade Commission even conducted a study a few years ago which found the existence of over 40 million mistakes on the credit reports of American consumers. Yes, that number was 40 million and no, that is not a typo. In fact, many studies estimate that the number of errors found on credit reports is actually much higher.
In a perfect world, you should be able to expect the information contained in your credit reports to be accurate. After all, your credit reports and the credit scores which are generated from those reports can exert a lot of power and influence over your financial life. Unfortunately, as studies have shown, credit reporting errors are simply a fact of life and those mistakes have the potential to damage your credit scores.
DIY Credit Repair
DIY credit repair comprises a set of steps you can take on your own to improve your credit score. Poor credit history can make for a difficult future. So it’s essential that you take credit repair seriously if your credit score is less than ideal. Poor credit can deny you access to loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. Sometimes potential employers will also take a peek at your credit history before hiring.
Access Your Credit Reports From All Three Bureaus
These major credit bureaus are legally required to provide a free credit report once a year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You can obtain them at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Review Each Report
Have a look at each report once it comes to your hands. Be on the lookout for errors or particularly damaging items.
Check the following when reviewing your credit reports:
- Accounts that are not closed after your request.
- No known accounts.
- Personal information errors.
- Accounts that are listed as maxed out.
- Payments that are past due.
- Accounts that are charged-off or sent to collections.
For any delinquent payments and past-due accounts, you will need to get in direct contact with your creditors to resolve them through a payment plan to pay the debt (or other resolutions). For any incorrect information, you will need to submit disputes to the credit bureaus.
Request for Having Negative Items Removed
The process for disputing unfair, inaccurate, or unsubstantiated items depends on the credit bureaus. You can file your challenge online, through the phone, or by mailing.
A successful dispute will lead to the removal of negative items by the creditor or creditor bureau and help in improving your credit score.
Wait For a Response
Credit bureaus will have 30-45 days to investigate your dispute. They forward all the data to the creditor, lender, or financial institution, who investigates and reports back.
If the creditor doesn’t respond or couldn’t verify the data, then the bureau will remove the negative information.
The credit bureaus should give you the results of the investigation in the written document, along with the name and phone number of the information provider.
If the dispute results in a change, you will also receive a free credit report.
If the dispute is not resolved, you can request the statement of the dispute to be included in your future credit reports. If the item is changed or deleted, the credit bureaus cannot add it back to your file unless the creditor verifies it is correct.
Paying Bills on Time
The important thing is that, to maintain good credit, pay all your bills and pay your credit cards on time. Making late payments will damage your credit.
Your credit utilization ratio shows how much money is available to you on your credit cards versus how much balance you carry. Lenders would see low utilization ratios.
A low utilization ratio pays down the balances on your credit cards.
All you need to do to lower your utilization ratio is to pay down the balances on your credit cards. If you pay more than just the minimum payment each month, you can significantly decrease your utilization ratio and boost your credit score.
Apply for a New Credit Card
Applying for a new credit card account raises a hard inquiry. If you have one or two inquires, it won’t damage your credit score.
But you should avoid applying for credit just because it will get you a discount or the interest rate is low. Apply for credit when you are in need of it.
Impact of Negative Items on Your Credit Score
Negative items like charge-offs, collections, late payments, or bankruptcies put your score down. Even a single negative item will put your score down. Bankruptcy or Foreclosure will damage your credit score.
Here are some examples of how long a negative item can impact your credit score.
- A late car payment: Seven years from the first late payment
- Going bankrupt: Seven to ten years
- A foreclosure: Seven years
- Having a debt sent to collections: Seven years from the original delinquency
- Paid tax liens: Seven years
- Unpaid tax liens: Ten years to indefinitely
If you want to stay on top of your credit, have a look at the inaccurate items and work on them to remove them.
If you don’t have time to do the legal work by yourself, it is a good idea to get some assistance. TheCreditpros will help you identify errors and rectify those items.
When Errors Occur
It is important to remember that the responsibility to check your credit reports for errors actually falls upon you personally. You need to develop the habit of checking all 3 of your credit reports from each bureau frequently in order to be sure that the information in your credit reports is accurate. Even errors that you believe may be insignificant should not be ignored as you do not know the true impact those mistakes could be having upon your credit scores.
For example, you might not think that it is a big deal when a negative account that is 6 years old shows up on your credit reports as a 1-year-old account. However, the re-aging of your account could potentially harm your credit scores and might even cause the account to remain on your credit reports for longer than is legally allowable.
Thankfully, when credit reporting errors happen, you have the right to do something about them. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right, among many others, to dispute any inaccurate, questionable, or unverifiable information with the credit reporting agencies. Of course, although you have the right to dispute errors on your own, you are not required to try to resolve credit problems all by yourself. You also have the right to hire a credit professional to assist you with the credit repair process.
The Benefits of Working with a Pro
A low credit score will hurt your ability to qualify for employment and also makes it difficult for you to get a credit card, personal loan, car loan, or home mortgage.
But you can fix your credit score so that you can get it back on track.
Here are a few credit repair benefits you can access when you need the help of a professional credit repair service.
Credit Repair Services Handles Everything
With a reputable credit repair service company working for you, financial difficulties are solved. Dealing with financial problems leads to stress, and solving those problems will lead to another stressful situation.
A stress-free process is one benefit of using credit repair services. They will contact your creditors for negotiating settlements, delete inaccurate information, and update your account status. They will report to the credit bureaus to ensure your credit report has positive changes made.
Credit repair companies offer the following services:
- Credit Report Review
- Preparing Letters to Credit Bureaus
- Contacting Collection Agencies
- Disputing Negative Items
- Negotiating Payoffs
- Recommending Other Actions
When you hire a reputable professional credit repair company like Credit Pros,you are gaining the benefit of years of experience. Our pros know how to help you get the best possible results without you having to go through the painful experience of trial and error. Yes, there are fees associated with professional credit repair services (just like any other professional service). However, the financial benefits you will receive by achieving better credit generally outweigh the cost of credit repair many, many times over.
Experts in Credit Law
Consumers are protected from unfair credit reporting, billing, and collection practices by federal law. You are not well-versed in any of the laws. You can’t spend your time learning everything about the laws which are necessary.
A credit repair specialist knows how to leverage them in your favor. Some of the protection laws and statutes include
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)
- The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA)
Remember, the credit reporting agencies and your creditors are not anxious to take anything off your reports and may reply with a hard “no” whenever you ask for an item to be removed. If you are not fully aware of your rights, do not know how to respond, or if you simply fail to follow up properly, then you risk wasting your time and seeing little to no positive results.
A credit repair services work with banks, lending institutions, credit card companies, collection agencies, and credit reporting agencies every day. They know how to communicate with these professionals and how to negotiate beneficial agreements. Some services include:
- Negotiating a Debt’s Interest Rate and Terms
- Getting Your Payments Lowered
- Having a Debt Dismissed
- Negotiating a Discount Payoff
- Stopping Collection Actions
Credit Repair Services Give You a Fresh Start
Credit cards, loans, and other financial obligations are difficult to handle. Missed or late payments, collection accounts, and high debts will ruin your credit score.
Financial mistakes don’t have a permanent impact on your credit score. Recognize where you went wrong and correct your mistakes. If it is through making payments on time or keeping better track of your money, then you will improve your score.
Credit repair equals savings in almost every area of your life. A better credit score can make a big difference, especially when it comes to:
A good credit score is a key to good interest rates. Qualifying for a competitive rate depends on the information found in your credit report, including negative information. As the negative information disappears, your score will increase, providing you with better rates on mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.
A low-risk customer pays low premium insurance. Cleaning up your credit will encourage your insurance company. As your financial track record improves, the deals you receive will improve.
A job market is a competitive place. Discerning employers will offer the best pay and benefits to their employees. Improving your credit score allows you to seek the career you want.
Provide Ongoing Advice and Support
You have access to their expert advice and support until your credit issues are resolved. The process of repairing your credit is not always fast. It can take several rounds of negotiations to come to an agreement.
Once a credit bureau is notified of any change to your credit history, it is required to update your credit report within 30 days. Your credit repair specialist will be there to help if you have any questions.
- Initial Consultations and Evaluations
- Practical Debt Relief Advice
- Updates on Your Credit Repair Process
- Answers to Your Credit Questions
Many people do not find time to learn about credit repair, credit scores, credit repair companies, and consumer laws. Even though DIY credit repair can be successful, this process involves specialized knowledge and takes too much time.
A few of the basic credit repair tasks include:
- Identify the appropriate consumer protection laws for your particular situation.
- Contact the appropriate creditor or credit bureau to notify them of the issue.
- Performing follow-up actions depending on the responses received.
- Tracking correspondence and paperwork.
- Visiting a notary public if documents require authentication.
Is Credit Repair Legal?
There are companies that provide credit repair services.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act requires companies to provide you a firm total on costs and an estimate of how long it will take to get results. It also gives you three business days to cancel services without charge.
A reputable credit repair company should coach you on how to handle your existing credit accounts in order to avoid further damage. Furthermore, a reputable company won’t guarantee a certain result or encourage you to lie.
You might be successful with your own DIY credit repair plan, but like so many consumers, you also might strike out or simply be too busy to follow through with the process on your own. You should not underestimate the potentially significant time commitment which can be involved with the DIY approach.
Credit repair is helpful because it is a finite service that provides long-term benefits. Once you have successfully challenged your questionable credit reports, your credit score will improve.
Credit scores depend upon fair and accurate credit reports, and a professional credit repair service may help in bringing you that outcome.