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Credit Repair Companies

5 steps to repair your credit

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If you’re like a lot of Americans, your credit score might be lower than average, and your debt might be higher than what you’d like.

A bad credit report or a low credit score can make your financial life difficult and more expensive in many ways.

By Colin Nass, CFP®, AEP®, RICP®

You might be aware that a low credit score affects your ability to borrow money, but did you know:

  • Individuals with bad credit are charged higher interest rates for loans and credit cards.
  • Insurance companies check credit scores and often charge drivers with poor credit higher premiums.
  • Landlords check credit histories when making rental decisions.
  • Utility companies check your credit to determine whether a security deposit is required.
  • Some employers check your credit before extending a job offer.

All of these are reasons to take action to repair your credit sooner rather than later.

Poor credit can be an even larger problem for pastors or church workers who often find themselves in lower-paying positions. Student loan debt and credit card debt can be two of the biggest contributors to bad credit.

If you suspect that your credit is not the best, plan to repair it as soon as possible. We’ve all seen or heard advertisements for credit repair, but you don’t need to spend additional money on these services. There’s nothing that a credit repair company can do to improve your credit that you can’t do yourself.

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Take these steps to repair your credit:

Step #1: Request current copies of your credit report

You’ll need to review your credit report to determine what negative items are affecting your credit score. To obtain free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

It’s a good idea to order all three credit reports because some creditors and lenders might only report to one of the credit bureaus. Because credit bureaus don’t typically share information, it’s possible to have different information on each of the reports. Obtaining all three reports will provide a complete view of your credit history and allow you to repair your credit at all three bureaus.

Step #2: Review your credit reports for errors

Read through your credit reports thoroughly. There’s a lot of information included, especially if you have a long credit history. They each contain your personal identifying information, detailed history for each of your accounts, any items that might have been listed in public record (such as a bankruptcy, for example) and the credit inquiries others have made to your credit report.

Step #3: Decide what you need to repair

Here are some types of information to consider:

  • Incorrect information, including accounts that aren’t yours, payments that have been incorrectly reported late, etc.
  • Past due accounts that are late, charged off (more than 180 days delinquent) or sent to collections.
  • Maxed-out accounts that are over the credit limit.

Dispute errors. Once you’ve reviewed your credit reports, you have the right to dispute any information that’s inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can’t be verified. Credit reports come with instructions on how to dispute information online, but you can also file disputes by phone or mail.

Filing your dispute online or by phone might be the fastest and easiest method, but you’re left without a paper trail. Using certified mail is perhaps the most secure method since you’ll have proof of the mailing date. This is important because credit bureaus have 30 to 45 days to investigate and respond to your dispute.

Include a copy of your credit report with your dispute and copies of any supporting documentation. You can also send your dispute directly to the bank or creditor that listed the information on your credit report. They’re under the same legal obligation to investigate and respond to your dispute.

If your dispute is successful, your credit report is updated, and the bureau will alert the other credit bureaus and send you an updated credit report. If your dispute is not successful, your credit report will be updated to show you disputed the information. You’ll have an opportunity to add a personal statement to your credit report. It will not affect your credit score; however, a personal statement provides additional insight into your dispute.

Step #4: Bring past due accounts up to date

Once you deal with any errors on your credit report, concentrate on your payment history. It impacts 35% of your score. So, multiple past due accounts on your credit report will significantly hurt your credit score. Aim for any past due accounts to be reported as “current” or at least “paid.”

Make payments on accounts that are past due but not yet charged off to bring them current.

When you pay a charge-off in full, your credit report will be updated to show the account balance as $0 and the account as paid. The charge-off status will remain on your credit report for seven years.

Address any accounts sent to collection agencies. Pay the account in full if possible. Collection accounts will also remain on your credit report seven years after they’re paid.

Step #5: Pay down high account balances to below your credit limit

Your credit utilization, the ratio of the amount of revolving credit you’re using compared to your credit limit, makes up 30% of your score. Maxed-out credit card balances decrease your credit score and add costly over-the-limit-fees. Ideally, credit card balances should be below 30% of your credit limit.

Most of us will have a limited amount of money in our budgets to put toward credit repair each month. So, you need to prioritize.

First, focus on accounts that are in danger of becoming past due. Bring as many accounts to current status as possible.

Next, work on paying down credit card balances and eventually paying them off.

Third, address accounts that have already been charged-off or sent to collection.

Once you’ve done this, making timely payments and keeping your balances below the credit limits will help your credit score and add positive information to your credit report.

Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Your credit score might drop as you go through the credit repair process, but this doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. Continue adding positive information to your credit report and your credit score will increase over time.


Colin Nass, CFP®, AEP®, RICP® is the Senior Manager, Financial Planning at MMBB Financial Services. He uses his 20+ years of financial planning and investment experience to assist members in achieving financial goals.

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational / educational purposes only.

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Credit Repair Companies

The 21 Year-Old Looking To Help 1,000 Families Raise Their Credit in 2021

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Vernell Watts is a credit repair expert, author, founder of Fortune800 – a credit repair company that has already helped hundreds to fix their credit score and develop healthy credit habits. His career started at a well-known credit repair company. Realizing that their techniques weren’t the best, he took time to study and build his own company. Currently, through his business, videos and his new book “The Credit Reset,” he is looking to help 1,000 families to permanently repair their credit in 2021.

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Vernell Watt is well ahead of his years. At the young age of 18, he started working for a nationwide credit repair company. He was a natural. Landing hundreds of clients and building good relationships, he earned good money and lived a comfortable life. “I was making amazing money and was able to buy myself a new car. I loved it.” some may have been content with their success, but Vernell began to dig deeper. He heard from his clients that they were not happy with the results of the service. Less than one percent of the clients he signed to the service saw any improvements in their credit score. “I couldn’t believe it. I knew I had to do something.” And he did. He left his job and began to study. After some time of studying, he realized that this company and many others were not offering the best solutions to their customers’ needs – he found his new niche. Build a credit repair company that actually helped it’s customers improve their credit score.

At 19 years old, Vernell launched Fortune800, a new kind of credit repair company. Designed to actually produce results, Watts saw huge success very quickly. Within four months, he had scaled his business to 6 figures and achieved a 55% success rate in improving his customers score. One of his reasons for his success is his blended method. Based on his studies of credit and credit companies, he developed his “blended technique,” a technique that simultaneously helps remove negative credit history while building positive credit accounts. This method allows his customers to see long lasting results. “One thing that I think is important is focusing on building credit, not offering a quick fix.” The second reason for Watts’ success is his knowledge. He has realized that knowledge, not age or experience is the key to mastering credit. Whether a client purchases his repair service or one of his books, Watts looks to help them understand the way credit works and how to understand it.

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His new book The Credit Reset is the perfect resource for anyone looking to fix and build their credit. Whether you are looking to build credit, buy a home, or prepare for a large purchase, this book gives you everything you need to get results in repairing your credit. He presents very detailed information in a very simple, easy-to-read 100 page blueprint. When asked what his motivation was to help others, he responded, “Your credit can be your largest asset or your largest liability. I want to help people make it an asset.”

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Credit Repair Companies

Do credit repair services work?

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You probably already know about the importance of having a good credit score. It can increase your chances of getting approved for credit products and help you secure lower interest rates. If your current credit score is less than stellar, you’ve perhaps considered using a so-called credit repair company. But do credit repair services really work and are they worth it? We take a look.  

What is a credit repair company?

Simply put, it’s a company that offers to improve your credit score in exchange for a fee.

A quick online research reveals a large number of these companies. Some also advertise their services in print media, as well as on TV and radio.

The way most credit repair companies claim to work is by helping you remove inaccurate or unverifiable information from your credit report.

They will start by requesting a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). After going through the report, they will devise a strategy for disputing any errors or inaccurate information in the data that may have a negative impact on your score.

Do credit repair services work?

There are currently no reliable statistics regarding the effectiveness of credit repair services. There is also insufficient data on the impact these services have on customers’ average credit scores.

That isn’t to say they don’t always work. If you can find a legitimate credit repair company that is able to identify errors, mistakes and unverifiable data on your report, they can help you get it removed. This could raise your score. Of course, nothing is guaranteed.

Many credit repair companies will claim to have helped thousands, if not millions, of people by removing negative credit entries and improving their credit scores. But short of asking a close friend or family member who may have used their services and been pleased with the outcome, there is really no way to know for certain.

Are credit repair services really worth it?

That depends.

The reality is that most of the services that credit repair companies offer are things that you can do yourself. For example, reviewing and disputing errors on your credit report is something you can do without professional help.

That being said, the process of disputing claims can sometimes be tedious. You will most likely need to contact several parties, including lenders and credit reference agencies. You might also have to wait a considerable time for a response.

It’s understandable that you might prefer to focus your time on other things. That’s when contacting a credit repair company to do the dirty work for you could help.

Naturally, it is only worthwhile if there are actually mistakes or errors on your report and the credit repair company’s efforts lead to their removal.

Bottom-line

In a nutshell, some credit repair services can work, but whether you really need them is up to you. Before you contact them, take time to really think about whether you will be getting value for your money.

Just as importantly, don’t forget to do your homework to establish whether the company you plan to use is legitimate, particularly if they contacted you offering services. You can start by checking online reviews on sites such as Trustpilot.

The kind of services that a company is offering can also tell you whether a company is credible or not.

For example, be wary of companies that guarantee to improve your credit score. Also be sceptical if a company promises to remove negative but accurate information from your report before it’s automatically removed (such as bankruptcies, CCJs and IVAs).

Finally, companies that ask you to make full payment before it provides its services is best avoided.


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Is it Free to Repair Your Credit Alone?

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You can repair your credit score by fixing errors – for free – without the help of anyone. There are credit repair companies that can help you repair your credit, but those services come at a price. It’s also a great time to start your credit-repair journey alone because the credit bureaus have opened up access to track your progress yourself!

What Does a Credit Repair Company Do?

Credit repair is defined as fixing your credit reports to raise your credit score. Borrowers with negative marks on their credit reports are often tempted to enlist the help of credit repair companies, but the truth is, you can fix your own credit reports alone.

A credit repair company can’t randomly raise your credit score just because you paid them (if they advertise this, beware). What credit repair companies can do is help you remove inaccurate information and accounts from your credit reports. They can contact your creditors for you, and with your permission, look at your credit reports to see if there are errors that need to be corrected.

However, you don’t need a credit repair company to do any of this, because it’s your right to dispute incorrect information yourself and have it fixed for free.

Dispute Inaccuracies Yourself to Repair Credit

Is it Free to Repair Your Credit Alone?Credit repair by a dispute is the process of correcting errors on your credit reports with the goal to improve your credit score. For example, say you had an account in collections and you paid it off, but it’s been a few months and the credit bureaus haven’t reported it as resolved yet. You can file a dispute with that credit bureau, send proof that you paid that collection account off, to have it accurately reported on your credit reports to improve your credit score.

It doesn’t cost you anything to file a dispute – except maybe your time and energy. If you have multiple errors on your credit reports and don’t have the time to resolve them, then a credit repair company may be worth your time. But if you only have a few things that need to be corrected, then doing it yourself saves you money.

If your credit reports are littered with inaccuracies and you don’t have the time or know-how to resolve them, then visit our resource center for more information on credit repair companies.

What Can I Fix on My Credit Reports?

For a dispute to be considered, you typically need to provide proof that the disputed account is inaccurate. This means you may not be able to “fix” every negative mark on your credit reports.

If you filed for bankruptcy and it’s reported as such, you can’t simply report that bankruptcy as inaccurate to remove it from your credit reports. The credit bureaus have up to 30 days to investigate the account you disputed, and if proven inaccurate, they remove it. If they find that the account is correctly reported, it stays on your credit reports.

Here are some examples of what you can dispute:

  • Accounts or information that were the result of identity theft or accounts that aren’t yours
  • Incorrect personal information such as your birth date or past addresses
  • Duplicate accounts
  • Payments that were reported late but were actually on time
  • Inaccurate loan balances
  • An account’s status (active, closed, past-due)
  • Hard inquiries that you never approved
  • Accounts that should have been included in bankruptcy

You can file a dispute online for free with all three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. In many cases, you need some kind of proof that a disputed account is inaccurate, so it may be wise to gather supporting documents such as receipts, verification emails, or screenshots to increase your chances of it getting removed. Sometimes, a credit bureau may not need any proof to remove inaccurate information, but that usually depends on what you’re reporting.

Checking Your Credit Repair Progress

Due to the pandemic, the credit bureaus are allowing all consumers the opportunity to request their credit reports for free each week. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit reports so you can keep track of your progress, check on disputed accounts, and make sure your credit reports remain accurate.

Normally, you only get one free credit report from each bureau every 12 months. The recent havoc has created the need for borrowers to keep track of their financial wellness, so weekly access is available until April 2022 – so jump on it while you can!

No Errors? Build Credit Other Ways

Errors can happen, but bad credit could simply be the result of past mistakes, financial instability, job loss, divorce, or just a lack of credit history. If your credit reports are accurate and you have nothing to fix, then building a credit history with new credit could be the path to take.

Installment loans are a great way to build a payment history since installment loans such as mortgages and auto loans typically last for years. If you completely pay off an installment loan without any mistakes, it could boost your credit score significantly and possibly increase your chances of getting future credit because you’ve proven your ability to repay borrowed money.

Many borrowers start off their credit history with a car loan, and other bad credit borrowers can get back on track with one, too. It’s not always easy to get approved for an auto loan when your credit score isn’t great, but we want to help.

Bad Credit Lending Opportunities

If taking on an installment loan to build your credit score is the route you want to take, let us guide your way at Auto Credit Express. We’ve spent over two decades cultivating a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that specialize in assisting borrowers with less than perfect credit. To get matched to a dealer in your local area, complete our free auto loan request form.

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