In September of 2005 the United States Public Interest Research Group reported that over 80% of Americans have inaccurate, negative items reported on their credit reports. This costs consumers millions of extra dollars in increased interest rates each year.
That means that 80 out of every 100 Americans have inaccuracies and/or negative items on their credit report. Chances are you are 1 of those 80.
Everyone is entitled to one free credit report every year and you can obtain this report at annualcreditreport.com. The credit report that you receive at this site is sponsored by all three credit reporting bureaus and is a tri-merged report, meaning that it will include information from all three bureaus. It is imperative that everyone requests their personal report every year to keep track of inaccuracies. Also, if you have recently been denied for credit; you have a right to receive your credit report, for free, from the bureau that provided the information to the creditor.
Okay, so now you have your credit report and you have found erroneous information; what do you do? The answer to this depends on the severity and the amount of errors. If you only have a couple of errors on your report; you may want to dispute them with the bureaus yourself however; if you have numerous errors; it may be in your best interest to hire someone to help you.
There are several avenues of seeking help for credit repair. Let’s explore some of these.
*Non-profit credit counseling services: non-profit credit counseling services can help you consolidate your debt but before you decide to use this service be aware that by using this service you may further negatively affect your credit. The use of these services is noted as a derogatory remark on your credit report. Sure, you may be getting out of debt but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your credit score will improve.
* Attorneys- There are attorneys that offer credit repair services. From my research, the cost of attorney credit repair is in the thousands. There aren’t a lot of people with thousands of dollars to spend on repairing credit.
*Credit repair and counseling services- There are legitimate companies out there that can help you repair your credit. Beware of any company that guarantees they can totally eliminate all negative information from your credit report. Everyone has the right to dispute information on their credit report but it often takes diligent effort to get negative information removed and in some cases; the information is verified and irremovable. It is wise to also take into consideration that you may not want ALL negative information removed from your report. If your longest trade lines, in other words your credit that you have had for the longest period of time, is showing some late payments; it is true that late payments affect your credit negatively BUT not having established trade lines can be worse.
If you are considering using a credit repair service; make sure they are also able to counsel you regarding credit. Be sure to check their authority to do business in their state, if required and also check to see if they have a surety bond.
Shop around for prices. Just because one company charges you $3000.00 and another only charges $500 does not mean that one service is better than the other. There are reputable companies out there that can help you without charging an arm and a leg.