Should You Pay for Credit Repair?

Let’s make it plain: anything a credit repair service can do you can do for yourself – for free. But if you aren’t the do-it-yourself type – do you watch videos about how to fix your sink? – then you might want to hire a professional. Should you pay for credit repair? That’s up to you. But what you must understand is that accurate negative information on your credit reports cannot be removed. For that, you’ll need time, patience, and perseverance.

What is Credit Repair?

Credit repairs entails hiring a company to “fix” your credit reports. That is, to dispute mistakes and errors on credit reports issued by Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Be careful, though, since the reality is that some firms also will try to have accurate negative items removed from your report, using various means such as mucking up the process. Some of these tactics are borderline illegal, if not outright, and are hardly ever successful.

How Can I Tell if the Company is a Scam?

Perhaps the top scam is to demand payment upfront before services are even rendered. This is against the law under the Credit Repair Organizations Act and is a big red flag. To skirt this requirement, some unscrupulous firms will structure monthly payment plans. Be on the lookout.

You’re also likely to be dealing with a scam company if it claims it can remove negative credit info, even if that info is up to date and accurate. This cannot be legally achieved.

Another sign that a company is on the take is that it asks that you dispute accurate info in your reports, or if it doesn’t explain your rights. You do know that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can dispute errors yourself; you don’t need to pay for it. To the contrary, some bad actors may advise you to not contact the credit reporting agencies.

What’s more, it’s very uncool to advise you to mislead credit companies about your accounts or modify your identity to try to alter your credit history.

Bad companies will also deliberately make deceptive or erroneous claims about services they may offer, while others are straightforward. Ever heard of the credit repair company Lexington Law, for example? Check out Lexington Law reviews for more on what we mean.

How Much Do Credit Repair Companies Charge?

You’ll likely be billed a monthly fee for services from the last month. Some companies will charge you per item removed.

What Can I Do by Myself?

The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report from all three agencies, with the proviso that negative but accurate info will stay put for seven to 10 years.

If you spot info that is flat wrong, you can file a dispute with the agency that reported it. In addition, you should reach out to the creditor that is relaying the inaccurate info and request that it correct the file.

If an outstanding debt is accurate, your best bet is to find a way to pay it off. If you can’t, then you may need another strategy such as debt settlement.

So, should you pay for credit repair? Again, that’s your call. You may not want to take the time to do it yourself, and that’s fine. Your main job, then, is to find a legit company to help you. And don’t forget that while some of the info in your credit reports may be, ah, unpleasant, if it’s accurate it stays unless you can pay it off or until it falls off naturally.

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