The credit repair industry is large. In the United States, one in five citizens has an unfair credit score. This happens due to mistakes on their official records. Sadly, information collected by Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion is not always correct. Through repair, you can eliminate errors to boost the total. But are professional services a must?
The law allows every consumer to open formal disputes. This requires time, patience, knowledge, and mastery of written correspondence. Checking the score and collection of reports is the easiest part. The rest includes meticulous analysis and formal communication with different parties — lenders, bureaus, and (sometimes) collection agencies. Many consumers opt for credit repair agencies to save time, and this is not the only advantage.
When DIY Makes Sense
In the least complicated cases with a couple of mistakes, you can save money by opening disputes on your own. For example, check this article for advice on removing false bankruptcies. Note that results do not come quickly. Every bureau will investigate your claim within 30 days, and it will ask for additional proof if your evidence is insufficient.
You could also raise the score by rebuilding, rather than repairing. Common methods include adjusting the credit utilization ratio and adding more data to the records. The former shows how much of your available credit has been used. The lower it is — the more favorable. Experts recommend keeping the proportion below 11% for the best results. For instance, if you have three credit cards with a total limit of $10,000, you should have a balance of under $110.
To reduce the rate, you may also increase the limits or request a new credit card. Note that utilization is calculated based on revolving credit only. If you do not qualify for a standard card, get a secured one instead. It is easier to get as you have to make a deposit. Additionally, you may gain up to 12 points by adding information through Experian Boost.
When Professional Repair Is Indispensable
Here are the reasons to resort to the services of professionals:
- You want to avoid the hassle: Convenience is the first advantage of delegated repair. Accomplished analysts will scrutinize your records to find the most consequential mistakes. They will work out a unique strategy and handle all the tasks on your behalf.
- You want quicker results: Secondly, consider the speed. How fast do you need your score raised? As repair is their job, the staff knows all the ins and outs of calculation and enhancement. This means you will usually achieve a boost faster. For example, a team of professionals will collect ample evidence from the get-go, which makes redisputes unlikely.
- You need additional services or products: Major repair providers will not only analyze and dispute reporting flaws. They may offer a range of add-ons like identity theft protection, TransUnion alerts, a credit line, or the official FICO tracker. Customers may track progress through web portals or proprietary apps. For example, the Lexington Law application is one of the best-rated ones.
- You want to avoid the same problems in the future: Aside from dealing with all the difficulties of repair, the companies also improve their customers’ financial literacy. They provide diverse educational resources to help you become a conscientious borrower. You can learn how the score is formed and what common mistakes pull it down. Sometimes, there is also a credit line to assist with rebuilding.
- Your score makes rebuilding complicated: If your score is low but justified, there is no way to remove data from the records. Any provider offering to do this breaks the law. Borrowers with extremely unfavorable scores may only rebuild them through diligent repayment. The main difficulty is that a bad reputation makes most loans inaccessible.
In this case, the company may devise a smart strategy to help you cope with the challenging task. Some firms have partnerships with credit providers, so you may still get a new loan for rebuilding purposes. You need to rewrite your history by making payments on time and being diligent with other obligations.
Credit fixers allow their clients to save time and achieve quicker results without the typical hassle of DIY repair. If you do not have the time or expertise to liaise with lenders and bureaus, a trusted firm is your best bet. The only difficulty is choosing a company that will deliver on its promises.
To find a trusted provider, consider multiple factors. First, examine the reputation and legal status. This information is easily accessible via the BBB site. Check the number of complaints against the firm over the past three years, and the way it responds to negative comments. Customer feedback is not always reliable, but it highlights recurring issues. It may also be found on sites like Consumer Affairs and TrustPilot.
Upon signup, you may be charged the so-called ‘first work fee’ or ‘setup fee’. All firms have a monthly rate, but the length of their billing cycle varies. Every 35-45 days you will be charged between $79 and $129.95. There are no contracts, so you can terminate the service at any moment. Finally, check the money-back guarantee. At the very least, you should be able to get a refund if the company fails to achieve any results within the first 90 days.
Image Source: BigStockPhoto.com (Licensed)