How do I begin repairing my credit history? How does credit repair work?
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.
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The "Ask Experian" team