How Does Credit Repair Work?

Woman looking at bills and receipts on floor
Dear Experian,

How do I begin repairing my credit history? How does credit repair work?

- BLR

Dear BLR,

What is Credit Repair?

When people mention credit repair, they are often referring to organizations that charge a fee, promising to remove negative information from your credit report. The most important thing to know about credit repair organizations is that there is nothing they can do for you that you can't do for yourself.

If you feel there is inaccurate information appearing on your credit reports, you have the right to contact each of the three credit reporting agencies and dispute that information for free. You can dispute information on your Experian credit report online, by phone, or by mail. The easiest, fastest and most secure way to dispute information is online at www.experian.com/dispute.

Credit repair companies do not have any special rights or privileges when it comes to disputing information on your credit reports. They are regulated by the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). Before paying for services with any organization promising to fix your credit, be sure you understand your rights under this federal law. Here are just a few of the things the law requires. The organization:

  • must provide a written contract specifying the services it will provide
  • must allow three days for you to withdraw from the contract
  • cannot advise you to make false claims or alter your identity, which could make you guilty of credit fraud
  • cannot take any payment until it fulfills all of the terms of the contract
  • cannot promise to remove accurate information from your credit report in return for payment

You may also want to learn more about how you can repair your credit before contacting a credit repair company to do it on your behalf.

Improving Your Credit

The single most important factor in credit scores is paying your bills on time. If you are trying to improve your credit scores, it may be more beneficial to use the money that would be spent on hiring a credit repair firm to pay down any outstanding debts on your credit report and bring any past due accounts up to date.

Once your accounts are current, the most important thing you can do is make sure all of your payments are made on time, every time.

You may also want to consider ordering your credit scores from each of the three credit reporting agencies.

When you receive a credit score, it should come with a list of the elements in your credit report that are most affecting your score. Paying attention to this list will help you determine what changes you can make to further increase your credit rating going forward.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through April 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.