There’s no “easy fix” when it comes to fixing a bad credit score. I mean let’s face it – you didn’t get into your credit nightmare overnight, and you can’t you shouldn’t expect to fix it within a few weeks. This will take months, possibly years.
If your score is hindered by hard inquiries on your credit report the big three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – will report them for up to 7-years, and up to 10 years in the case of personal bankruptcy.
Any credit repair service claiming to be able to legally remove accurate information from your credit report is not telling you the truth.
It takes time and hard financial work to see yourself through a debt repayment that will truly repair your credit.
Do not confuse a private, for-profit credit repair service with a non-for-profit credit counselors.
A certified credit counselor is on your side. They can help you create a weekly budget, a plan to get out of debt, checklist for improving your credit score, and tips on how to cut your expenses.
According to the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection – most credit repair companies charge a fee for tasks you can do yourself for little to no cost. Credit repair agencies, legitimate or not, will try to charge as much as thousands of dollars to do it for you.
If you’re looking for the best debt advice, we recommend nfcc.org – they’re a true non-profit credit counseling service for U.S. consumers.
Beware of deceptive credit services
The Credit Repair Organizations Act of 1996 was created to combat fraudulent credit repair services that often claim they can automatically fix your credit score, apply for a home mortgage loan, or get approved for a credit card.
Credit repair claims are often fraudulent and pitched to vulnerable, indebted people. Credit repair services sometimes engage in illegal behavior which can land you in hot water with the law.
The FTC keeps a file of companies that engage in stealing credit files, Social Security numbers, or have a history of deceptive practices.
Court cases also show repair clinics advised clients to create new identities with IRS Employer ID Numbers (EIN), which resemble a Social Security number, and using it instead of their Social Security number to apply for credit.
Still other credit repair agencies used a “shotgun approach” by challenging every item in a credit file, hoping to inundate the credit bureau until it submits, and permanently removes the information. It doesn’t work that way. Even if the info is removed, a credit bureau has the right to repost the information if it is accurate.
U.S. Credit Repair Regulations
You can read all of your rights by visiting consumer.ftc.gov.
- Credit repair companies cannot require you to pay them a fee until they have completed the credit repair services they promised.
- You can cancel your contract with any credit repair organization for any reason within 3 business days from the date you signed it.
- Credit repair companies are required to disclose your credit score to you when they receive a copy from the major credit bureaus – Transunion, Equifax, Experian. You can also go onto each other bureau websites to request a copy for your own records (once per year).
Get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com – it’s the only federally authorized partner for free consumer credit reports.
Check for errors on your report – you can also petition creditors and ask them to remove judgments such as late, or missed payments. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?
Always be sure to check out any organization claiming to offer credit repair services. Contact your local consumer protection agency, the BBB if a company is claiming to be a non-profit, but is.
Keep in mind, non-profit status doesn’t assure legitimacy.
In our review we vetted the best debt relief companies you can work with.