Do you know that your credit score can impact your life in numerous ways, from your ability to get a loan, to your chances of renting an apartment or landing your dream job?
According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission, 1 in 5 people have errors on their credit report that negatively impact their score. Unfortunately, this means that millions may miss out on getting approved for loans, credit cards, jobs, rentals, and other financial opportunities due to errors or inaccuracies in their credit report.
Let’s say you’ve recently checked your credit report and noticed some errors, such as a missed payment that you know you made on time, or a debt marked as “charged off” even though you’ve paid it off in full. Other credit report inaccuracies can include:
- Incorrect personal information.
- Outdated or inaccurate account information.
- Somebody opened an account in your name without your knowledge.
These errors could negatively impact your credit score and make it harder for you to get credit approval.
To fix these errors, you can start by contacting and disputing the inaccurate items on your credit report, to the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Once you send them your dispute the credit bureaus have 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) to investigate your dispute and remove any errors or inaccuracies.
If the credit bureaus don’t remove the errors, you can contact the creditors or debt collectors directly to dispute the information they’ve reported.
Another option is to work with a licensed (depending on the state) credit repair company. A good credit repair company can help you review your credit reports and identify any errors or inaccuracies affecting your scores. They can help you dispute those errors on your behalf and follow up with the credit bureaus and creditors until they correct them or not.
In addition to disputing errors, a credit repair company can also work with you to develop a plan to improve your credit score over time. They can guide you in managing your debts, paying your bills on time, and using credit responsibly.
However, not all credit repair companies are created equal. When looking for a reputable credit repair company, have these in mind:
- Reputation: Research and look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients. A reputable company will have positive reviews and a track record of success in helping clients improve their credit scores.
- Services offered: Ensure the company provides services that meet your needs. For example, if you need help disputing errors on your credit report, ensure the company specializes in credit report disputes. If you need help negotiating with creditors, ensure the company offers debt negotiation services.
- Transparency: A reputable credit repair company will be upfront about its fees and services. They should explain what they will do to help you correct the inconsistencies in your credit report, and how much it will cost. Remember, no Credit Repair Organization can guarantee the removal or credit score improvement and if they do, they cannot charge for their services until that happens. For example, if a CRO’s offer is to provide you with a consultation once they complete this consultation, they can charge for it. If that same CRO promises to dispute monthly, on your behalf to the credit reporting agencies or creditors; until they have completed that effort monthly, they cannot charge for that service until they have done so.
- Reputation: Look for a credit repair company that has a good to excellent rating at the Better Business Bureau or a similar organization. Look for companies that belong to reputable associations, such as but not limited to, the National Association of Credit Services Organizations (NACSO). Review other customer testimonials, the company should be able to provide you with a few. A good reputation indicates that the company has met specific standards of quality and professionalism with their services as offered to their clients.
- Legal compliance: Ensure the company complies with all state and federal laws governing credit repair services. For example, the Credit Repair Organizations Act requires credit repair companies to provide a written contract that outlines the services they will offer and the fees they will charge.
- Communication: Choose a credit repair company that communicates clearly and regularly with its clients. They should keep you informed about the progress of your credit repair efforts and be available to answer any questions.
Overall, credit repair involves:
- Understanding your needs
- Identifying and disputing errors or inconsistencies in your credit report.
- It may require negotiating with creditors to resolve outstanding debts.
- Providing you with a credit Audit or Developing a plan to help you manage your dispute process over time.
By working to improve the quality of your credit report, you may qualify for financial opportunities and achieve greater financial freedom. However, improving your credit report alone can be time-consuming, so many people choose to work with a professional credit repair company to help them with the process.
If you need help, we are here to serve. Please call us or visit our website and book an appointment with us today!