Apr
24
2013

Key to improving scores is making payments on time, not hiring credit repair

Dear Experian,

I paid a credit repair specialist $1,800, and seven months later my score has only improved a little. I need help to improve my score. Can you guide me?

- DSG

 

Dear DSG,

There is nothing a credit repair company can legally do for you that you can’t do for yourself – for free. What’s more, credit repair services are prohibited by law from taking your money until they fully complete the services specified in a written contract. Perhaps you should ask for refund.

There are two key components to credit scores. The first is making all your payments on time, every time. If you have past due accounts, work to bring them current and pay off any outstanding debts.

The second is your utilization rate, or your balances as compared to your credit limits. High balances on your credit cards have a very negative impact on your credit scores. Reducing balances will help restore your credit scores more quickly.

For those reasons, the money you lost with the credit repair firm would likely have helped your credit far more if it had been used to pay off or reduce your existing debts. To get a better sense of where you need to start, get your personal credit report. It’s free once every 12 months. Focus on accounts with late payments and high balances.

If you feel there is inaccurate information on your credit report, follow the instructions provided with your report to submit a dispute. You can do so online, by phone, or by mail.

Also consider purchasing a credit score when you request your report. Along with the score you will receive a list of the risk factors from your credit report that are most affecting the score. Those factors can serve as a guide for how to change your credit behavior.

If you would like to speak with an Experian representative who will go over your personal credit report with you in detail, consider our Experian Credit Educator service. You can sign up online at http://www.experian.com/consumer-products/credit-educator.html. The relatively small fee for this service may be just the investment you need to make to change your financial future.

Thanks for asking.

The “Ask Experian” team

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