February 09, 2016


Credit Health ›

Is Credit Repair a Real Thing?

If you've fallen on financial hard times, you may find your mailbox flooded with advertisements for credit repairs services. You also might have started paying a little more attention to those TV ads, and you may even be wondering if those spam e-mails can actually help you.

If you don't have an expert-level understanding of how credit scoring works, credit repair may seem like it's too good to be true. But, the truth is that credit repair is very real.

You Can Control Your Credit Score

The biggest myth that holds people back from improving their credit is the idea that you can't control your credit score. Given enough time, you can make your credit score anything you want it to be.

While there are a number of different scoring models, the factors are always similar. Do you pay your bills on time? Do you owe too much on your credit cards? Do you have too many new accounts showing that you're desperate for credit or too few accounts to show a reliable payment history?

The most important thing to remember is that your credit score isn't permanent. Late payments and collections that are dragging your score down now will slowly see their impact on your score lessened until they are removed entirely in a few years. No matter how bad your credit is now, you can work your way up to a perfect credit score.

Credit Repair Companies Might Help But Aren't Needed

The fact that your credit score can be controlled means that credit repair companies can potentially help you. However, you aren't required to work with a credit repair company or a lawyer to rebuild your credit. They aren't doing anything that you couldn't do on your own — they're simply selling their in-depth knowledge of credit repair.

Like with any business, there are some great credit repair companies, some that are outright scams, and some that are in between. If you think about using one, it's important to thoroughly search for reviews and complaints and to do a reality check on what they promise. Any promised results should be backed by a money-back guarantee along with a proven track record of following through. From there, it's simply a matter of deciding if the cost of the credit repair service is worth it to you or if you'd rather spend your own time repairing your credit.

How to Start Repairing Your Credit on Your Own

If you want to work on your own credit, it's simply a matter of learning where to start. Let's start by using the free annual credit report mandated by the federal government. Visit the official page: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action  Please do not confuse this free service with the pay services offered by all of the agencies. Then, there are three key areas you need to research.

  1. How credit scoring works so that you can start building good habits for the future and ensure that your credit score is as high as possible.
  2. How to settle existing debts including how to contact creditors to negotiate payment plans or lump sum settlements as well as how you should request that your account be reported to the credit bureaus so that it doesn't negatively impact your credit.
  3. How to challenge negative items on your credit report so that you don't lose points for things that shouldn't have been listed or that the creditor doesn't have adequate documentation for.

To get started, visit the credit section of our bookstore.


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