“In times past, your social security number was the most influential number known to man… However, there is a three-digit number that is giving the social security number a run for its money…”
– Cornelius J., The Credit Repair Book: The Credit Repair Company’s “Secret Weapon”
Have you ever thought about improving your credit score? Do you know how many benefits you may get if you finally manage to do it?
In fact, boosting your score may result in having lower interest rates for various loans and better lending options.
Keep in mind that this is a process that takes some time and effort, so it won’t improve overnight.
Here is everything you need to know about the best ways on how to fix your credit yourself or apply to credit repair companies.
What is Credit Repair?
Many companies in the American market are willing to help you improve your credit score by removing errors and negative marks from your credit report.
Often, this method yields positive results when the actual lender or credit bureau has made an error on your credit report. In such a case, the main task of credit repair companies is to find the error, do all the paperwork, and correspond on your behalf with the credit bureau until they remove the negative mark from your report.
However, most users want credit repair companies to fix their credit scores when there are no errors. If a low FICO score results from not paying your loans on time, there is little chance of credit repair success.
It is important to note that credit repair is different from debt settlement or credit counseling. We will go into more detail about this at the end of this article with a comparison chart.
How Does Credit Repair Work?
Credit repair is the name given to the process of discussing errors on your credit report by employees of credit repair companies. However, it should be noted that this is only one option.
To begin with, everything these companies do, you can do yourself if you have the time, desire, and a little knowledge in the field. Their job is to find an error on your credit report, gather all the supporting documents, and send the template dispute letters to credit bureaus.
Which of these can you do yourself? Everything, because the templates and instructions have been freely available on the Internet for a long time.
Moreover, the problem with credit repair services is that they cannot guarantee you a result. This process can take months or even years, you will pay money for each month, but you will not know if you will improve your credit score.
If you want to save money and still get a better FICO score, you may wish first to contact credit counseling agencies with financial experts. They can help you div out how to schedule your debts better and what your credit improvement plan should be.
Lowering your credit utilization, paying off all your loans on time, and gradually paying off your existing debts will give you a more predictable result in improving your credit score. You can add credit repair service to this list as a supplement but not as a primary tool to get results.
Credit Repair Loophole 609
The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that if you find any incorrect information on your credit report, you can use your right to write a letter of dispute to the credit bureau and ask for it to be removed. The negative mark will be removed if such an error exists – that’s what the 609 loophole says.
However, many articles or credit repair companies on the Internet claim that the 609 loophole will get you out of debt and not have to pay it back. Is it true?
The answer is no. It makes no difference what form you file your letter of dispute because the vital thing the credit bureaus look at is the error on your credit report. If it is accurate, they can remove it from your credit report.
Remember that some of the best credit repair companies are willing to promise you anything as long as you pay them money. So don’t believe that the 609 loophole will miraculously save your situation.
What is a Credit Repair Company?
An organization that helps you improve your credit score by disputing mistakes in your credit reports is called a credit repair company. They differ from credit counseling organizations because they do not help you learn to manage your finances better or pay off debts gradually.
Even the best credit repair companies do not work with your existing credit but only try to remove the negative marks from your previous loans.
It is important to note that while credit counseling agencies are nonprofit financial education organizations, credit repair services are provided by private companies for a reasonably high fee. One of the biggest problems in this area is scams because credit repair service does not require a license, and many scammers take advantage of that.
Before paying any credit repair company, ensure they are trustworthy, have authentic reviews, and work for results.
How Does Credit Repair Company Work?
Suppose you wanted to improve your credit score and asked a credit repair company for help. Then you pay a monthly fee for their services and a down payment for your work. What does the credit repair company do now?
- The first thing they do is look at your credit reports.
Their job is to find any possible mistakes so they can ask the credit bureau to remove the negative mark.
- Next, they fill out the paperwork and send it to the credit bureau.
The staff explains the situation on your behalf in these documents, shows the mistake, and asks the credit bureau to remove the negative mark.
- They can correspond with creditors and the credit bureau on your behalf for months.
Rarely the credit bureau agrees right away, so the credit repair company communicates with them and provides all the necessary information.
- If rejected, they may try to find another mistake.
However, this is rare; more often than not, after a rejection from the credit bureau, they will just let you know that the credit repair was unsuccessful. You will also be notified if everything works out and the credit bureau removes the negative mark.
Note that you can do all of the above for free if you have the time, inclination, and knowledge to do it yourself.
What is the Credit Repair Organizations Act?
The federal CROA is essentially a 1996 regulation that establishes the rules for such companies on a legal level. It contains all the nuances of cooperation with clients, and if you don’t comply with them, your credit repair company will violate federal law.
Knowing these rules, you can quickly identify fraudsters because no honest and reliable organization will not violate them. For example, these things are prohibited in the credit repair industry:
- Guarantee customers results before they start working.
- Advise clients to lie to credit bureaus or change their identity to avoid paying off old debts.
- Charge users for services before they have been fully provided.
At the same time, such organizations must:
- Warn customers that they can send credit bureaus on their own and free of charge.
- Explain to users that if a credit repair company violates CROA, they have the right to sue.
You can find all the instructions from reliable organizations about how credit repair works and how to do it yourself without the help of specialized companies.
How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?
Credit repair services are costly because they are not paid on a fixed basis but by the months the process lasts. Since it can take several years to appeal a mistake, the total cost can be as high as a few thousand dollars.
The credit repair industry works under different payment schemes:
- Monthly fee
In this case, you pay once every 30 days for the services provided in the previous month. Credit repair companies charge a monthly fee of $50 to $200.
- Pay per delete
In this case, the company only asks for payment when a negative mark has been removed from your credit reports due to their efforts. You will need to pay about $300 for each deleted item.
Try to choose credit repair companies with the second payment type because they work for results. With organizations that work on a monthly fee, you cannot be sure they are not stalling to get more money from you.
How Long Does it Take to Rebuild Credit?
Unscrupulous credit repair companies may promise to increase your credit score in 30 days, but let’s face it, this is not true because, officially, the credit bureau has 45 days to respond to a letter of dispute. So how long does the credit repair process take, then?
It all depends on your situation. If you have a bankruptcy mark on your credit reports, then even with credit repair services, you will need 5 to 10 years to recover from it. If the decrease in credit score results from a lender’s error who misstated some data on your credit report, rebuilding credit can take only a few months.
One thing we can say for sure is that the higher your credit score was, the longer it will take to recover. If you want to make a significant purchase and take out a loan, start working on improving your credit score 6 to 12 months in advance.
Guide to Choosing the Best Credit Repair Company
There are several factors you should consider when choosing a credit repair company:
Think about what kind of credit repair services you want. For example, do you want free credit monitoring? Is identity theft protection or debt management plans crucial to you? The answers to these questions can help you decide which companies are right for you.
The number of monthly disputes
Download your credit reports and see how many negative marks are on them. Think of each item as at least one dispute. Choose the total number of monthly disputes according to this number, or go to the company with no restrictions on this criterion.
According to the CROA, companies can’t give you any guarantees, so don’t do business with someone who promises to improve your credit score with a 100% guarantee.
Most companies have a monthly fee plan, which is not very profitable for you as a user because you might pay for no results. If you have the opportunity, it is better to choose organizations that work with pay-per-result; this scheme is called “pay per delete.”
If you have already found a credit repair company you want to work with, check whether it is legitimate:
- Read reviews on independent websites. Be sure to check that there are negative reviews because every company has unsatisfied customers; if there are none, you can say it is a purchased review.
- Read the rules set forth by the CROA. According to it, companies must only charge you for fully rendered services, explain your rights and options, and make no guarantees. If the organization does not adhere to these rules, do not contact them.
5 Signs of Scam Credit Repair Company
Before paying for credit repair services, check the company for these five red flags:
- The company suggests you lie to the credit bureau or make changes to your personal information to lose touch with your debts.
- The organization asks you to pay for a package of services before you start.
- The company staff refuses to terminate the contract at your request (you can do so without charge for the first three days of cooperation).
- The company employees say that you can’t do what they will do on your own – for example, send you letters of dispute.
- The company guarantees you the result in 1-2-3 months, even before you start cooperating.
When Should I Use a Credit Repair Company?
Of course, you can always deal with your negative marks yourself – there are many articles and videos on the Internet with instructions on this topic. However, you can delegate the credit repair process to professionals if you don’t want to waste your time or nerves on it.
To decide whether you should apply for credit repair services, answer these questions:
- Are you willing to spend $300 to $3600 for the services of such companies with no expectation of results?
- Are there errors on your credit reports that need to be corrected? If not, the chance of getting a positive result is meager; you may just be wasting your money.
- Do you have a lot of negative marks and accounts that you can’t deal with on your own?
- Do you want a new loan for a big purchase in the next 6-12 months?
- Have you tried sending letters of dispute to the credit bureaus?
If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes, you should contact a credit repair company. Otherwise, you can handle the task and save hundreds of dollars if you have the time and inclination.
Debt Settlement vs. Credit Repair vs. Credit Counseling
Often, users confuse these three radically different concepts. So that you can accurately determine which company you need, we have compiled a small table comparing them to each other:
|Credit Repair||Credit Counseling||Debt Settlement|
|What is the organization’s primary goal?||Help people improve their credit scores by removing negative marks on your credit report.||Help you learn to manage your finances, pay off all existing debts, and stay out of new ones.||Help you stay out of debt or some part of it by negotiating with your lender.|
|What kind of organization is it?||It is a private organization that may operate without a license but must comply with the Credit Repair Organizations Act.||It is usually a non-profit organization that provides adult financial education.||It is a private organization that negotiates on your behalf.|
|Can you do this task yourself?||Yes, you can do all of this on your own and for free.||Yes, but only if you spend a lot of time and effort studying the information on the subject. However, this is where a professional’s perspective can make a big difference.||Yes, you can negotiate directly with the lender.|
|How much do such services cost?||Companies often work on a monthly subscription basis; their price is between $50 and $100. Some organizations charge about $300 for a one-time fee when they succeed in removing a negative mark from your credit report.||The first consultation is most often free. Next, you also pay either a monthly fee or a package of services (such as a credit management plan).||You don’t pay anything upfront if you go to a trustworthy company. However, once the organization has settled your debt, you will have to pay them up to 50% of it.|
|How long does the process take?||Removing negative information can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years.||The process can take up to several years, but the result will lead you to a life without financial stress and debt.||The process can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years.|
|Does the process affect my credit score?||Contacting a company like this by itself will not affect your credit score. If they can remove the negative information from your credit report, your credit score will go up.||No, using a credit counseling agency will not change your credit score. But your credit score may decline if you take out a debt consolidation loan or do something else the counselor told you to do.||Yes, the debt settlement mark will remain on your credit report for seven years.|
It can be quite challenging to repair bad credit, much tougher than start building it from scratch. Now it’s your responsibility to demonstrate and prove the creditors that you understand your previous mistakes and are willing to work your way to improve this situation and make any future payments on time.
Don’t let a less than stellar credit score get you down because that can always be turned around with a little elbow grease. Remember that your credit score is ever-changing, meaning that you will want to develop and maintain good financial habits to show a good credit score; paying bills on time, not maxing out your cards and not taking on excessive debt.
Before you decided to start repairing your credit score, it’s necessary to review a free copy of the annual credit report and div out what your current score is.
How do I repair my credit?
Many people ask the question when they suddenly realize the need to improve it. One of the ways to perform this step is to do it yourself. It isn’t extremely hard but usually requires some time and effort.
The best way to build your score back up is to create good credit history. If you have no credit left, go to your bank and get a secured credit card. Your credit line will be the balance that you keep on deposit. Then, each month, make some charges – for example, all your gasoline – and wait for the bill to come. Then pay it.
If you charge and pay the next day, you haven’t accomplished anything, because you haven’t created any history. Even if this involves only small amounts, it is good credit history being built. If you have some credit accounts still open, then follow the same procedure with each account. Small charge – get billed – pay it off.
Don’t ever be a minute late! This is the quickest way to rebuild credit.”
Experts offer several significant steps to fix the issues. In general, this process includes defining the main problems with your personal finances, finding and eliminating errors, and improving the situation with overspending.
So, here are the basic steps towards having a good credit score again:
- Get a free copy of your credit report
The very first step is to div out what your current score is so that you know how much you want to boost it. Every consumer has the right to request a free annual report from any of the three major credit reporting agencies. Make sure you request the reports from all three of them (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). This way you can see if there are any errors in any of the reports you obtain.
- Eliminate and dispute any errors you find
All the information and details provided in these reports should be thoroughly reviewed for any mistakes that can later be disputed. Make sure you take your time to look through all sections including your payment history, credit usage, and length, as well as types of credit you’ve taken before. You can dispute any errors online, by phone or mail.
- Build a positive credit history from scratch
Getting a new secured credit card may be an option when your older accounts have already been closed. Keep in mind that opening a new secured card will require a deposit that is mainly the credit limit. Make certain you opt for a card issuer that will report your payments to the reporting agencies, as this information will help to boost your score much faster.
- Use credit wisely
Be more mindful of your spending and always pay down the balance on each credit card you take.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start, there is no need to panic. Professional credit repair companies can do this work for you and save you precious time.
Credit Repair Loans
People with poor credit history who are willing to boost their score may obtain a special credit repair loan. This option is meant to help improve the score in a short period of time provided that the borrower repays the loan in full and in time. Such loans don’t demand an excellent FICO score to get approved. Yet, they require having a steady source of income so that the consumer is able to pay the debt off.
The main benefit of this loan is that it will be reported to the three reporting bureaus, so this information will help to improve your score faster. Such loans may be obtained at a local bank, credit union, lending circles, or various online lenders.
Best Credit Repair Companies in 2023
Another way to improve credit score is to turn to legitimate credit repair companies.
If you start searching for the “top credit repair companies online” you may see numerous results.
Which is better and how can you avoid scams? The very first tip here is to look for feedback on such agencies. Stay away from websites offering free credit repair services with no feedback at all.
Moreover, reading the information in the bold print about the main features of the credit repair service isn’t enough. You need to look through the fine print thoroughly as well and check the reviews.
Do these companies really work? Or are they a waste of cash? Honest reviews and feedback from real consumers will tell you the truth. While every person wants to find the best credit repair company for less money, opting for a cheap service isn’t the best option.
You can spend some time and do your own research about the best services in your country, or rely on expert companies reviews. People are looking for reliability and quality among the most important features of such credit repair programs.
Here are the top three fast services that proved to be trustworthy and able to boost the client’s credit in a short time.
This online agency has been working since 1997 and gained its reputation due to quick expert help and reliability. Its services are the most expensive and cost $99 per month. This is probably the only drawback of this company.
Many potential consumers ask “Is credit repair legit?” Yes, credit repair reviews will help you understand why so many people choose this company.
They offer free online tools for their customers to track the results and provide an experienced three-step plan on how to change and improve the credit report. During the first four months, the majority of consumers have a 40-point boost in their TransUnion credit score.
There are plenty of CreditRepair.com reviews and the customer service works 24/7 to make each client satisfied. Call 1-855-200-2393 to get a free consultation.
Lexington Law credit repair reviews have proven that this service is one of the top-rated ones available these days. The company has been working since 2004 and already helped over 500,000 satisfied clients. The monthly cost is $89.95, and the clients have the right to cancel these services anytime they wish.
Maybe you will write the next positive LexingtonLaw review?
The phone number is 1-855-200-2394 where you can ask any further questions for free.
This is probably the oldest company from our credit repair services reviews. It has been around since 1989 and it still working 24/7 to provide the best results for their clients.
Its services are the cheapest and cost just $79 per month and every consumer receives a 90-day 100% money-back guarantee.
SkyBlueCredit repair reviews mention that the membership may be paused or canceled anytime upon request. However, almost all of the previous clients were satisfied and left positive feedback.
How Long Does It Take to Repair Credit
“If repairing one’s credit is as easy as sending some dispute letters to the credit bureaus then why doesn’t everyone have good credit?” ― Tyler Gregory
Nobody can say for sure how much time it will take to improve credit for a certain person. While some agencies claim to provide fast repair, this process is generally not that fast. It can take a minimum of one month but most likely up to 6 months or sometimes a year until a person gets a good credit score back.
While it can take longer to do-it-yourself credit repair, various top-rated online companies may do the same work much faster and provide results within a few months.
How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?
Depending on the strategy you select, this process may be completely free of charge or come with a little fee. Those consumers who prefer a “DIY method” of repairing their score can simply request a free annual report copy from all three agencies to review for any errors. However, the clients who trust credit repair companies and want to make sure everything is done perfectly and secure will need to pay a monthly fee of $79-$100 depending on the company. So, make sure you understand your current financial situation and act wisely.
How to Rebuild Credit
There are two main strategies to rebuild your score. Some people try to do it themselves, while others prefer to turn to a reputable credit repair agencies. There is no single best answer to all your financial problems. Each strategy has its benefits and drawbacks, so everyone decides what works best in his/her particular situation.
A good option for building, or rebuilding, credit is to use a secured credit card. It functions in the same manner as any other credit card, but uses cash as collateral against the credit line.
On one hand, taking a few of the above-mentioned steps to improve credit yourself doesn’t cost anything but will certainly take longer. Although, some people fail to conduct all the important steps or can’t div out what exactly they are required to do.
On the other hand, turning to an expert credit repair service will save you time but cost a little money. However, the whole process will be in the hands of professionals who know how to achieve results.
To sum up, it’s really essential to start improving your credit score as soon as possible. The main reason is that you never know when it may affect your life. People need good credit to apply for various lending solutions or mortgage, paying no or high deposit for rentals or utility services. It may even affect your career and potential promotions. Make sure you do your best to improve your financial habits and boost the credit score to become more financially fit.