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5 Steps for Fixing Credit and Improving Your Score

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In April 2018, the average FICO® Score in the U.S. was 704, which is a good score.1 Comparatively the average VantageScore 3.0 score in 2017 was 675.2 And even though average credit scores are in the good or almost good range, they vary by age, state and other factors. So, there are still plenty of us with lower than desired scores and plenty of room for fixing credit issues. While fixing credit doesn’t happen overnight, there are steps we can take right now to get the process started.

The steps to fixing your credit and credit scores include getting a sense of your finances, looking for any errors and pinpointing problem areas that you need to address such as overspending.  When you break it down, the five steps to fixing credit issues are:

  1. Know your credit score and get copies of your credit reports.
  2. Fix any errors on your credit reports.
  3. Maintain healthy credit accounts and start building a positive credit historyto help reach credit goals.
  4. Control your credit utilization and lower high utilization if needed.
  5. Keep an eye on the age of your credit.

It won’t be super easy. And it won’t be as fun as using your credit, but the relief you’ll feel when you can take out new credit when you need it will be well worth the time and effort you put into fixing credit issues.

1. Know Your Credit Score and Get Copies of Your Credit Reports

The first thing you want to do when fixing your credit is to find out your credit score and get copies of your credit reports.

You can get your VantageScore 3.0 score free on Credit.com and your FICO score for just a $1 once enrolled. You also get a free credit report card and an updated score every 14 days, so you can track your progress toward fixing your credit.

Your credit score is separate from your credit reports. And your reports don’t include your scores. But, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can get free copies of your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—once a year. You can access all of your free reports thru AnnualCreditReport.com. Or get your reports directly from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

You want your credit reports from each of the major credit reporting agencies, because each one can contain different information that impacts your scores. You rarely know ahead of time which agency’s report a lender will pull, so it’s important to make sure each report is accurate and that you’ve corrected any issues.

What You’ll See on Your Credit Reports

Your reports contain basic details about you—your name, birth date, address, etc. It’s important to review this information to make sure it’s accurate. It’s okay if your past addresses are listed.

Reports also show any financial legal issues you have, such as a bankruptcy, liens, judgments or wage garnishment. If one of these issues is bringing your credit scores down, take comfort in knowing these negative items eventually age off your reports.

Beyond that is creditor information, which makes up most of your reports. This includes different accounts you have—loans, credit cards, etc.—and their status (open/closed, in collection), balances, credit limits and payment details. It can also include dates of missed payments or late payments and when the accounts were sent to collections. It’s this information that’s used to determine your credit scores, which are broken down into five major areas:

  • Payment history, which is 35% of your FICO score, and includes your history of repaying account debts (VantageScore doesn’t reveal the percentages it uses.)
  • Credit utilization, which is 30% of your score, and shows how much debt you carry in relation to your credit limit
  • Length of credit history, or credit age which is 15% of your score, and shows how long you’ve had active credit accounts
  • Types of credit, which is 10% of your score, and shows the variety of your accounts
  • Credit inquiries, which is 10% of your score, and shows the number of inquiries made to your credit profile

Now that you understand what your reports cover and what goes into calculating your credit, the next step in fixing credit issues is correcting any errors you find on your credit reports.

2. Fix Any Errors on Your Credit Reports

Once you’re looked at your credit reports, you want to fix any errors you find. For most people, the process of fixing errors on credit reports is known as credit repair. Credit repair is something you can do on your own. Or you can turn to the help of a professional credit repair company for help with fixing your credit. Whichever option you choose, start as soon as possible.

If you do find errors, you won’t be alone. From October 2016 to September 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fielded 85,000 complaints about credit report errors.3 Fortunately,  federal law lets you dispute credit report errors with the credit bureau that’s reporting the error.

For details on fixing errors on your reports see How to Dispute Credit Report Errors on Credit.com. Or visit the Experian, Equifax or Transunion websites.

When contacting the agencies, use these basic guidelines to help navigate the process.

  • Dispute a mistake with each credit bureau that reports the error. Just because the same mistake appears on all three credit reports doesn’t mean disputing it with one of the bureaus will fix the error at the other bureaus.
  • Dispute errors for different accounts separately. It’s not uncommon to find multiple errors for different credit accounts on a credit report. And you want to dispute each account reporting an error separately. However, if you see multiple mistakes on the same account, you can group all those mistakes into a single dispute.
  • Be thorough in your dispute. See How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter for insight.
  • Seek help if you want it. You can dispute credit report errors yourself, but for some people, the process is stressful. If you feel overwhelmed, you can hire a credit repair company or law firm to help. Note that a professional credit repair firm will charge a fee for its services. A good credit repair company will never promise a “300-point jump in your scores!” In fact, that’s illegal. Instead, the company should be upfront about what they can do and will take payment only after they’ve helped resolve your situation.

If you have errors, especially inaccurate negative information, on your credit reports, you can see changes to your credit scores fairly quickly. Credit reporting agencies have to respond to disputes within 30 days, although some can take 45 days. And if the credit reporting agency sides with you, it must remove the mistake immediately. In a 2012 Federal Trade Commission study on credit report accuracy, four out of five people who disputed an error on their credit reports had a modification made to their reports.

Not all credit issues though are about errors on your credit reports. So, the next step—whether you have to dispute errors or not—is to maintain healthy credit accounts.

3. Maintain Healthy Credit Accounts

Your payment history is the most important factor in your FICO credit score and accounts for 35% of most scores. VantageScore doesn’t provide percentages, but the percentages used are likely similar to FICO’s. And even just one late payment can drop your scores significantly. Having a good payment history is critical to maintaining healthy credit accounts.

Fixing inaccurate negative information on your account is fairly easy. But, if you have accurate negative information on your credit reports, it can take a long time for it to age off.

  • Late payments: 7 years from the late payment date
  • Foreclosures: 7 years
  • Collection accounts: 7 years and 180 days from the date of delinquency on the original debt
  • Short sales: 7 years
  • Bankruptcies: 10 years from the filing date; 7 years for Chapter 13 cases
  • Repossessions: 7 years
  • Judgments: 7 years for paid judgments, longer for unpaid judgments
  • Tax liens: 7 years once paid
  • Charge-offs: 7 years from the date the account was charged off

To avoid the wait for a better credit score, maintain healthy accounts by paying debt off on time whenever possible.

More Factors for Building and Maintaining Healthy Accounts

The mix of your credit accounts makes up 10% of most credit scores and is another critical part of showing you can maintain healthy credit accounts. Your mix of accounts shows creditors and the credit agencies that you’re able to handle different types of credit. The two main types are:

  • Installment accounts, such as mortgages, car loans and student loans
  • Revolving accounts, including credit cards and lines of credit

Creditors want to see you can handle both types of credit responsibly. If you’ve only had credit cards in the past, a car loan or a mortgage can improve your credit score. It’s however rarely a good idea to take out a loan just to build credit.

Another factor in proving you can maintain healthy credit accounts is your history of applying for credit. This accounts for 10% of most credit scores. If you apply for several credit accounts in a short period of time, it can hurt your credit.

When you apply for credit, it results in a hard credit inquiry on your credit report. And any hard inquiry into your credit slightly dings your scores. As hard inquires fade into the past, they have less impact. A year is generally when a hard inquiry begins to stop hurting your credit scores. Bottom line: Apply for new credit only when needed. Don’t be lulled by the offer of a discount to open a new charge card at virtually every store you shop at.

When you’re ready to shop for new credit, such as a mortgage or auto loan, a good practice is to rate shop during a 14- to 45-day window, depending on the scoring model. Most credit scoring models will group inquiries by type in that time frame and not see them as unique hard inquiries.

4. Examine Your Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is the amount of revolving debt you have relative to your credit limits. More specifically, it’s your available revolving credit, which is your available credit limit, compared to your total credit debt or the amount you’ve actually charged on your cards or credit lines. It’s also the second most critical factor in how your credit scores are calculated

Say you have a single credit card or home equity line of credit with a $5,000 credit limit—this is your revolving credit. If you have a balance on that card or credit line of $1,100, that is your total credit debt. In this case, your credit utilization is 22%.

To protect your score, it’s best to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your credit limits. A 10% credit utilization amount is ideal. An amount of 30% or less shows creditors that you can manage your available credit responsibly without maxing out your credit limits.

Hint: If you pay a credit card off on time regularly, your issuer will likely see you as a good credit risk and increase your credit limit. Don’t however start charging more. Simply charge the same basic amount. Doing so will keep your utilization lower! Say you started with a $2,000 limit and charged just $200 a month, you had a 10% utilization. If your limit is raised to $4,000 and you continue to charge just $200 a month, your utilization is now just 5%.

If you do go over the 30% mark, you can most likely undo any small decrease in your credit scores by paying off those balances and getting your overall utilization back to 30% or less as quickly as possible. It’s best, if possible though, to keep your utilization to the 30% cap at all times.

5. Keep an Eye on the Age of Your Credit

The age of your credit accounts is another factor in your credit standing. It accounts for roughly 15% of most credit scores. It’s also a part of your credit utilization, which makes some credit better than no credit.

The age of your credit is calculated by looking at the age of your oldest account and the average age of all your accounts. If credit age is hurting your scores, you can’t really do much about it. You do, however, want to avoid closing your oldest accounts if possible.

If you don’t have any credit history, consider opening a credit card that you don’t use or use very sparingly. The card will at least be reported on your credit history and build up a history of its own. One note: It may be best to have a card that you use a little bit and pay off in full each month. Why? This will prevent the issuer from closing the card due to inactivity. When you apply for a new card, you can also find out about the issuers policies on closing cards for inactivity.

Rebuilding Credit May Be the Only Way of Fixing Credit

If you’ve made some missteps and have poor credit, the best way of fixing credit is sometimes to start rebuilding it. If that’s your situation, here are some tips to consider as you fix your credit:

  • Stay mindful of the five steps for fixing credit, because they also help you maintain good credit as you rebuild your credit.
  • Pay down credit card balances if your utilization is too high and refrain from making new purchases. In fact, you may want to put your plastic on ice as long as you aren’t risking the issuer closing the account.
  • Refrain from closing old credit card accounts, since it can affect your credit utilization and make it harder to build a solid credit history.
  • Even if you’re denied one kind of credit, that doesn’t mean you’re shut out from borrowing entirely. If your payment history, credit utilization or a mix of accounts are hurting your scores, opening new credit may help you rebuild credit faster. There are credit cards designed to help, called secured credit cards.
  • If you’re worried about taking out a credit card or can’t qualify for one, consider a credit-builder loan.
  • Consider paying outstanding collection accounts. Some newer credit scoring models ignore paid collections entirely.

 

Fixing Credit with a Secured Credit Card

If you have a poor credit history or a lack of credit history, a secured credit card may help you repair your credit and raise your credit scores. These require a deposit that generally serves as your credit limit. If you don’t pay your bills, the card issuer can withdraw the deposit. If you open one of these cards, it’s important to make on-time payments and keep an eye on your credit utilization.

Depending on your situation, a secured credit card can help you start fixing your credit in as little as six months. However, it may take longer to see a marked improvement in some cases. If your credit history is limited and you have no credit, then a secured card may be your best route, because you have no negative information to start with.

The secured credit card is a way to build and establish credit to obtain higher credit scores. If you haven’t been able to get approved for a traditional credit card, you’re still likely to get approved for a secured credit card, because there’s less risk for the lender. The card issuer will report your ability to pay the credit card on time and how you manage and use the balance to the credit bureaus.

Additionally, the security deposit you use to obtain the card is used if you default on your payment. Using the security deposit means that, even if you default, the card is paid because it’s secured by your funds. As such, the account won’t in collections due to nonpayment. However, this isn’t the case if the balance on which you default is higher than the amount of your security deposit.

Why Fixing Your Credit Is Important

There are many reasons to start on the path to credit repair. The biggest reason is that credit affects you every day. It affects the interest rates you pay on credit cards and loans, including mortgages, and can result in higher security deposits for rentals. It can also affect what you pay for insurance rates and what credit limits you qualify for. Good credit can also mean financial freedom where you don’t have to depend on cosigners to help you make purchases and secure loans.

So, if you need to fix your credit—or want to maintain your existing credit—use the five steps outlined here. And, no matter what your credit is today, don’t give up! If you build good habits over time, fixing your credit will be automatic, ongoing and not even needed because you’ll maintain good scores all the time.

This article was originally published January 29, 2016, and has since been updated by a different author.

 

1 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-the-average-credit-score-in-the-u-s/

2 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/state-of-credit/

3 https://www.fool.com/credit-cards/2018/07/07/are-there-errors-on-your-credit-report.aspx

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Credit Repair Companies

USA Credit Repair Review

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Consumers looking into credit repair companies are faced with many different options, some better than others. USA Credit Repair falls short of meeting our standards in several areas, including quality of services, pricing structure, and sales practices. Our review breaks down these red flags and more to help you make the most informed decision when approaching credit repair.


Pros Explained

  • Free consultation: Get a credit repair consultation before deciding if you want to commit to services.
  • Offers an accelerated service: If you’re in a rush, you can pay for faster results.
  • Cancel anytime: USA Credit Repair doesn’t lock customers in with long-term contracts.
  • Online portal: Track your progress via a convenient account management portal.

Cons Explained

  • Misleading claims: USA Credit Repair makes several claims regarding fees and guaranteed results that could easily mislead customers.
  • Lack of pricing transparency: The company fails to disclose pricing online, forcing you to talk to a sales agent to get a quote.
  • Website difficult to navigate: It’s hard to find the information you need on USA Credit Repair’s website.
  • No educational resources: We typically like to see credit repair companies provide value with free educational materials, but USA Credit Repair doesn’t make these available.
  • Doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee: USA Credit Repair promises results within the first 30 days but doesn’t back this claim up with any type of financial guarantee.

Types of Services

USA Credit Repair’s services are limited to the bare minimum typically required of a credit repair company. There are no clearly defined service packages, just a single membership option with few opportunities for customization.

Credit report analysis

The first step in USA Credit Repair’s process is a credit report analysis. A credit expert reviews your credit reports in depth, looking for negative items bringing down your score. Each item is carefully examined to determine whether you might have grounds to dispute it with the credit bureau.

Credit disputes

If USA Credit Repair identifies items in your credit reports that are inaccurate, they’ll contact the credit bureaus on your behalf to initiate the dispute process. This includes filing appeals if a dispute is initially denied.

If you believe a credit reporting error comes from the lender’s side, you can also have USA Credit Repair send a validation request to ask for proof that the debt is legitimate. Finally, the company handles goodwill interventions, which can be an option for a small number of people with a single negative mark but overall good credit. If the item is accurate but an anomaly on your report, you may be able to have it removed just by showing an otherwise positive payment history.


Optional Add-ons

Credit repair companies sometimes sell add-ons to their core packages for an extra fee. For example, they may offer credit monitoring or identity theft protection to be used in tandem with their credit repair services. USA Credit Repair doesn’t make any of these available, although it does provide one optional service to speed up the credit repair process.

Accelerated program

Unexpected credit reporting errors can hold up time-sensitive processes such as applying for a mortgage. If you’re on a tight schedule, USA Credit Repair’s accelerated program provides faster results for an additional upfront fee. However, the company doesn’t say exactly how much more efficient its accelerated program is compared to standard service. Without any guarantees, it’s hard to say whether this add-on is even worth it.


Customer Service

Like most credit repair companies, USA Credit Repair stays in touch with customers via phone and email. Operating hours are somewhat limited, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. EST. The company also hosts an online portal where customers can log in and check the status of their credit repair case 24/7.

Each customer is assigned a dedicated case representative who oversees their entire credit repair process from start to finish. While this is fairly common, not every company does it and it makes a big difference in the overall customer experience. With a designated case manager, you’ll always have someone to talk to who is familiar with your specific situation.


Company Reputation

USA Credit Repair’s reputation among customers is mixed. To the company’s credit, it has no complaints registered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which keeps a record of customer-reported issues related to poor business practices and potential legal violations. It also has an average 4-star rating on Google with mixed positive and negative reviews.

However, USA Credit Repair has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and a pile of concerning complaints. Many former customers claim that they were charged hundreds of dollars in advance for services that failed to produce results. There are also reports of harassing phone calls after discontinuing services with the company.

Just because a company doesn’t have any complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t make it automatically trustworthy. Most consumers don’t know about the CFPB complaint database, and it’s not uncommon for smaller companies like USA Credit Repair to have no complaints. In addition to vetting companies through the CFPB database, you should also look at other resources like the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Reviews.

If you have a complaint about the services of a credit repair company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.


Contract Duration

On its website, USA Credit Repair advertises that it has no contracts and offers a “month to month” service that customers can cancel anytime. But according to testimonials from former clients, this isn’t exactly the whole truth. Many customer complaints allege that company representatives convinced them to pay for multiple months ahead of time in one lump sum, typically in three-month quantities. Although this may not technically be considered a long-term contract, it’s a problematic practice, to say the least.


Cost

Our most pressing concern while reviewing USA Credit Repair was its pricing structure. First and foremost, the company doesn’t disclose its prices online. This is typically a red flag, as it forces customers to talk to a sales representative just to get a quote, which opens up opportunities for pitfalls. Pricing may vary by individual and plan, although according to the information we received and reports from customers, base pricing is around $99 per month.

With that said, an overwhelming number of former customers claim that they were charged upward of $300 in advance for multiple months of service. This typically appears to happen after the customer calls in and is convinced by a company representative that their credit repair case will take a certain number of months to resolve. Those who enroll in the accelerated program can expect to pay an additional $350 fee on top of regular service charges.

USA Credit Repair also publishes some misleading information on its website regarding its fee structure. The company advertises no upfront fees, but this is a moot point since the Credit Repair Organizations Act makes it against the law for credit repair companies to collect payment before services have been rendered. To make things worse, hidden in the website’s fine print is a disclaimer that states “an initial setup work fee will be charged within the first week or once initial work is completed.”

One other item we found missing was a discount for couples. It’s fairly standard for credit repair companies to give couples a break on fees when signing up since their reports share much of the same information. With USA Credit Repair, couples have to pay full price for two individual memberships.

The one silver lining is that USA Credit Repair’s initial consultation is free. Not every credit repair company does this. A free consultation is a good opportunity to ask the company hard questions about whether any items stand out on your report as potential errors. If the representative is unable to point to any legitimate mistakes, credit repair may not be necessary for you.

Remember that credit repair companies can’t work magic. If all the information on your credit report is accurate and there are no errors to dispute, you’ll only be able to improve your credit by keeping debt low and making consistent on-time payments.


The Competition: USA Credit Repair vs. CreditNerds

To see if USA Credit Repair was worth the $99 monthly fee, we compared it to CreditNerds, a competitor that offers free basic credit repair. Instead of collecting fees from its customers, CreditNerds makes money by referring clients to affiliate partners.

We were unable to find anything significant in USA Credit Repair’s service offering that wasn’t available through the free CreditNerds plan. If that wasn’t enough, CreditNerds provides some of the most advanced educational tools in the industry—also without charging a dime. CreditNerds gives USA Credit Repair a run for its money and is absolutely worth considering before you sign up for a paid plan.

  USA Credit Repair CreditNerds
Year Founded 2004 2007
Services Offered Credit repair Credit repair, funding
Customer Service Touchpoints Phone, email, client portal Phone, email, client portal
Upfront Fee $99.00 $0
Monthly Fee $99.00 $0


Verdict

Overall, we aren’t impressed with USA Credit Repair’s limited services, especially given the company’s relatively high fee of $99 per month. Several competitors offer complete service packages at significantly lower prices, many of which take a more effective approach that includes credit education and long-term financial planning. Even if USA Credit Repair did provide better value, the company’s advertising practices and lack of transparency make us concerned that customers could easily be misled and fall into traps.



How We Review Credit Repair Companies

Since the credit repair industry is well-known for leading consumers astray, we take a highly critical approach to reviewing companies. Our scoring system analyzes quality of services and pricing, comparing them to industry standards and best practices. We look at each company’s marketing language and flag any misleading terminology. We also give higher scores to companies that provide educational materials to help customers achieve long-term financial success.

Learn more: Read our full Credit Repair Review Methodology here.



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CreditRepair.com Credit Repair Review

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One of the most well-known credit repair companies, CreditRepair.com has been helping consumers address credit disputes since the late 1990s. But just because a credit repair company has spent decades in business doesn’t mean it offers the best services. While CreditRepair.com has a competitive range of plans, there are also a few red flags you should know about before you decide to enroll in credit repair services.


Pros Explained

  • Offers a free credit evaluation: Get a free online credit snapshot that includes your credit score, a summary of the negative items on your report, and suggestions for how to address them.
  • Choose from three service levels: CreditRepair.com offers options for basic, moderate, or aggressive credit repair based on your needs.
  • Robust educational library: Even non-customers can take advantage of the free credit information, videos, and interactive calculators at CreditRepair.com.
  • Mobile app available: Download the free CreditRepair.com mobile app to track your progress and get alerts.
  • Option for in-house credit monitoring: Two of CreditRepair.com’s three service packages include ongoing credit monitoring and alerts.

Cons Explained

  • Poor customer reviews: CreditRepair.com gets consistently poor feedback across multiple review sources.
  • Lacks full pricing transparency: Pricing isn’t disclosed up front on CreditRepair.com’s website, and you need to watch out for hidden fees.
  • Limited monthly disputes: Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll only get 15 to 19 disputes per month.
  • Not available in all locations: CreditRepair.com may be unable to offer services in your area of residence due to lack of local legal representation. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t disclose its service areas; you’ll have to enter your address to find out.
  • No money-back guarantee: Many competitors offer a refund if they aren’t able to remove any items from your report, but CreditRepair.com doesn’t have a similar policy.

Types of Services

CreditRepair.com offers three service packages with tiered levels of service. These are designed with the idea that not all customers need the same level of support in repairing their credit; some may just have one or two errors to be corrected while others are in need of a complete overhaul. This allows customers to save money by not paying for services they aren’t likely to ever use.

Direct Plan

The entry-level Direct Plan is the one most suited for individuals with an overall decent credit history, but who could benefit from correcting a small number of errors on their report. The plan comes with up to 15 disputes per month (five per credit bureau), a quarterly credit score update, and access to customer service as needed. However, CreditRepair.com will not dispute inaccurate hard inquiries on your report with this plan.

Standard Plan

The next step up is the Standard Plan. This package includes the same number of monthly credit disputes and credit score checks, but adds a few features useful to those with more extensive credit repair needs. In addition to your quarterly credit score, you’ll also get a personalized analysis as to what has changed and what could still be improved. Ongoing credit monitoring is included with alerts sent anytime there is a significant change. CreditRepair.com will also dispute hard inquiries on your behalf.

Advanced Plan

If you have extremely poor credit and need improvements that go beyond disputing inaccurate information, the Advanced Plan may be more suited to your needs. The package includes roughly the same credit repair benefits as the Standard Plan, although you’ll get 19 disputes per month instead of 15. However, the plan also comes with $1 million in identity theft insurance and access to personal finance tracking tools to help you better manage your open credit accounts.

Service Direct Plan Standard Plan Advanced Plan
Monthly items disputed 19 15 15
Credit score checked Monthly Quarterly Quarterly
Credit score analysis Monthly Quarterly  
Customer support
Credit monitoring  
Hard inquiry disputes  
Identity theft insurance    
Credit account management tool    

Optional Add-ons

Between CreditRepair.com’s three tailored plans, there isn’t much need for add-on services. With that said, the company does sell one optional extra that can be tacked onto any package.  

Quickstart Service

If you’ve just discovered errors in your credit report while in the process of a major financial event (such as applying for a mortgage), you’re probably on a tight schedule to correct the issue. CreditRepair.com’s Quickstart service charges a small one-time fee to automatically retrieve your TransUnion credit report from partner site Credit.com and load it into their system. This can save a bit of time as CreditRepair.com won’t have to wait to start looking through your report.

Pay close attention as you’re completing the checkout process on CreditRepair.com. The company automatically checks the box selecting Quickstart, and unless you uncheck it, you’ll be charged an extra $14.99 for a service that you may not want or need.


Customer Service

CreditRepair.com’s main customer service touchpoints are via email and phone, the latter of which is operated Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. MST.

Customers can also download a mobile app for easier access to their account dashboard and credit score tracker. The app is available for both iOS and Android and gets generally positive reviews with at least four-star ratings in both app stores.


Company Reputation

From an objective standpoint, CreditRepair.com’s services appear to offer good value with a broad range of services. Unfortunately, however, many customers seem to disagree. The company has a D rating from the Better Business Bureau, 62 complaints in the past three years, and a three-star average rating.

More worrisome is that CreditRepair.com has been the subject of 16 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the past three years and was even sued by the agency in 2019. According to the lawsuit, CreditRepair.com and a competitor owned by the same holding company, Lexington Law, both violated telemarketing laws and charged illegal credit repair fees before any service had been rendered. This violates the Credit Repair Organizations Act, which states credit repair companies cannot collect payment before providing their services.

If you have a complaint about the services of a credit repair company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.


Contract Duration

None of CreditRepair.com’s service plans are subject to contracts, meaning you can cancel anytime without penalty. According to the company, most customers need to pay membership fees for an average of six months to see results.


Cost

CreditRepair.com prices its services according to the table below, with fees ranging between $69.95 and $119.95 per month depending on the plan you choose. Those who select the Quickstart service will incur an additional one-time fee of $14.99.

  Direct Plan Standard Plan Advanced Plan
Monthly fee $69.95 $99.95 $119.95

To stay in compliance with the Credit Repair Organizations Act, CreditRepair.com calls its first month of membership fees a “first work fee”. This is because credit repair companies aren’t allowed to start charging monthly fees until they’ve already begun performing work. From a practical standpoint, this doesn’t change anything for the consumer, but it’s something to be aware of as you’re signing up for credit repair.


The Competition: CreditRepair.com vs. The Credit Pros

No two credit repair services are the same. To gauge how CreditRepair.com stacks up against the competition, we pitted it against The Credit Pros. Both companies charge similar monthly fees for their entry-level plans, although The Credit Pros’ most premium plan is pricier than CreditRepair.com’s most expensive option. The Credit Pros also charges a significant upfront fee whereas CreditRepair.com has none.

While The Credit Pros is higher in price, we find the difference justified. All packages include credit monitoring and identity theft protection, items CreditRepair.com only offers with higher-tier plans. The Credit Pros will also submit unlimited disputes on your behalf, while CreditRepair.com places a cap on the number of disputes per month at each of its service levels. Finally, The Credit Pros offers financial management tools to all of its credit repair customers that CreditRepair.com doesn’t match. These include bill payment reminders, a budgeting system, and automatic syncing with your open accounts.

  CreditRepair.com The Credit Pros
Year Founded 1997 2009
Services Offered Credit repair, monitoring, identity theft protection Credit repair, monitoring, identity theft protection, financial planning
Customer Service Touchpoints Phone, email, mobile app Phone, email, client portal
Upfront Fee $0 $119.00 to $149.00
Monthly Fee $69.95 to $119.95 $69.00 to $149.00


Verdict

Looking at CreditRepair.com’s plans and services, they seem to provide much better value than competitors, especially considering the inclusion of credit monitoring and identity theft protection with premium packages. However, we’re highly concerned with the volume of customer complaints and CreditRepair.com’s history of facing legislation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s best to proceed with caution with this company.



How We Review Credit Repair Companies

We assess a variety of factors to review credit repair companies, using a quantitative scoring system to assign each a total score out of five possible points. Our method looks at the services offered by each company, including the number and variety of plans available and their value in terms of pricing. We also look at each company’s reputation among customers and with third-party agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Finally, we walk through the customer purchasing experience to see what you can expect if you decide to enroll in credit monitoring services.

Learn more: Read our full Credit Repair Review Methodology here.




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Credit Repair Companies

ADR Financial Group makes its name as one of The Best Credit Repair Companies in the USA

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Your credit score plays a vital role when it comes to buying a car, purchasing a home or obtaining a loan for any other purpose like starting a business. In cases where you have a lower credit score, these purchases may become unrealistic and impossible to achieve. It may result in having to pay higher interest rates or putting down a large down payment. Having negative marks on your credit report will hamper your creditworthiness which is why it is important to stay on top of your finances. 

Within a short period of time, ADR Financial Group quickly raised to the top as one of the best credit repair companies in the United States. Founded by Alexis (“Lex”) DeWitt and Ratiq (“Rocky”) DeWitt, ADR Financial Group is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. ADR Financial  Group is dedicatedly assisting their  its clients with the removal of inaccurate, erroneous, and unverifiable accounts on their credit report. With a mission to deliver a clean credit profile to its their clients, ADR Financial Group also educates their clients on how to achieve the highest credit scores during restoration. 

ADR Financial  Group is not your typically credit repair company.  What separates ADR apart from all, is the fact that their program is personalized to fit their client needs,  rather than providing a generic procedure for all. Although credit is an important aspect of life it is not taught in schools or institutions. This is the sole reason behind the establishment of ADR Financial Group. Over the years, ADR helped many of their clients reach their financial goals . Till date, ADR has helped more than 700 families purchase their dream home, removed more than $17 million of debt from credit reports and deleted over 72,000 negative accounts.

Some of the services offered by the company are Full-Service Credit repair, DIY Credit Repair, Tradelines, Credit Education, Business Credit and Credit Monitoring. Moreover, ADR also teaches other entrepreneurs how to start their own credit repair company to help change lives. Check out their website www.badcreditcostmore.com if you’re interested in their services. 

In the next 5 years, the company plans to be a pioneer for all those who find difficulty in purchasing their homes. ADRs target is to help 5000 families in building a home of their dreams. Besides this, ADR plans to make financial literacy a topic of discussion in many schools and households. ADR is making a significant impact in urban 

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