Credit repair might sound like a fictional term, but it’s actually based on hard facts. Anyone with poor credit will likely be enticed by the idea of an easy way to boost their credit score. While this sounds great in theory, there’s a bit more to it than that. Credit repair is really a thing; however, you need to dig deeper before deciding whether it’s right for you.
What Is Credit Repair?
Your credit score might not seem like an important number most of the time. But when it counts, boy does it matter. Without a decent credit score, you’re going to have an incredibly difficult time finding competitive rates for a loan—if you can even get one at all.
The thing about having poor credit is that it can make your life hard in some of the most annoying ways imaginable. If you want to buy a car, for instance, you’re likely going to have to take out a loan to pay for it. With a poor credit score, lenders might not give you the money you need to purchase a car. This in turn can lead to all sorts of issues. What if you need a car in order to get to work? If you can get the loan, it’s going to come with higher interest rates to compensate for the perceived risk of your poor credit. This means you’ll have to pay back significantly more over the life of the loan.
But beyond just getting loans, poor credit can affect things such as employment or housing options. Clearly, you want to have your credit looking as good as possible. So what do you do if your score is really in the dumps? Credit repair can potentially help you out. It’s important, however, to understand what can and can’t be done with credit repair:
- Credit repair isn’t going to resolve your current debts. It’s more about removing older, negative marks on your credit report than it is about relieving your current debt issues.
- Credit repair isn’t going to be free. If you work with a company, they’re going to charge you for improving your credit score. Make sure you understand the specifics of this before entering into any agreements.
- There are certain thins that are disallowed under the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). You should review these before working with any credit repair organization. For instance, they can’t charge you before removing items from your credit report, or guarantee you anything. It’s a major red flag if a seemingly legitimate credit repair organization attempts to do any of these things.
Legitimate organizations will be upfront about what they can and can’t do for you. They will also follow the rules spelled out by the CROA. Finding organizations with a history of helping consumers can reduce the likelihood of you getting scammed by an apparent credit repair group. For instance, Lexington Law reviews at www.Bills.com show they have a long history, with some positive and some negative reviews, which is to be expected for a firm that works in this arena.
Who Needs Credit Repair?
When it comes down to it, does anyone really “need” credit repair? Maybe, maybe not. In some cases, it has helped people improve their credit score for a relatively low cost. But in other instances, people end up not really getting their money’s worth from it.
At the same time, every single person should do whatever’s in their power to improve their credit score as much as possible. These are a few things to consider if you have poor credit and want to make it better:
- Challenge any inaccuracies on your credit report with the reporting bureaus directly.
- Pay all your bills on time. Your payment history is the top factor in determining your credit score at 35 percent of the overall weight.
- Limit hard credit inquiries. A hard inquiry happens when you do something like apply for a credit card or another kind of loan. Doing this with high frequency can actually damage your credit.
- Consolidate debts or look for other methods to get your loans under control.
At the end of the day, credit repair can be a bit of a crap shoot. It works for some, and doesn’t work for others. What’s not up for debate, however, is that improving your credit score will drastically improve your financial health.