Your credit score impacts what you pay for car and home insurance which is why I invited Carol Uekert, today’s guest blogger to write today’s post. Carol outlines how to pick the right credit repair company for those who don’t want to “DIY.” Carol is the owner and founder of Accountable Credit Repair, a firm helping people legitimately repair their credit.
Changing our calendars to a fresh new year can cause us to reflect on what has transpired over the past twelve months. Many who do that resolve to initiate changes and renew a commitment or promise to themselves to do some things different. Along with people filling up the local gyms with a regenerated desire to get their bodies in shape, many take a look at their finances to consider ways they can improve their financial bottom line.
One thing to consider when reviewing your finances is to take a look at your overall credit profile. Pulling a credit report is a great place to start as you review and plan the future of your finances. Knowing what other people are reading about you, (and perhaps judging about you) can be an important piece of your overall financial puzzle.
Pulling a credit report is relatively easy and free at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/. This can be pulled once per year. It won’t give you your credit scores, but will give you a very detailed report from all three of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) showing personal information about your name(s), current and prior addresses, a brief employment history, and most importantly, your credit history, which will include both open and closed accounts. This history will include your past and current credit tradelines and their activity, a list of recent inquiries of your credit report and lastly, a listing of anything that is being reported that is negative or derogatory in nature.
Once you have pulled your credit report from that site or any other, it is important to take time to completely and carefully review everything that is reported. You have the right to have every item that is reported on your credit report to be, 1) 100% accurate, 2) verifiable by whoever is reporting on you, and 3) within the time-frame allowed by law for the particular item. If anything on your report is not completely accurate, is not correct or is obsolete, you have the right to have that item corrected or deleted. Even if an item is derogatory is and reporting on you, it is still required to be reported 100% accurately.
Billions of pieces of information are reported to, and are processed by, the three credit bureaus on a daily basis – the chance that an item is being reported inaccurately, is quite high.
Disputing an item as inaccurate with the credit bureaus is a relatively easy process. However, it can become tiresome and time consuming. Many individuals opt to hire a “credit repair” company to do this work for them. This is a company they hire that helps them by taking over the sometimes daunting and cumbersome process of correcting inaccuracies as well as guiding individuals in the best ways to build and restoring their credit.
So how does one pick a reputable credit repair company? First and foremost, I would recommend only choosing a company that has been personally recommended by an individual you trust. An individual who has either personally used the company, or are in a business that regularly recommends this particular company for the credit repair process to their clients (such as a loan officer, bank employee, an auto finance manager or insurance agent). Ask the person/people familiar with the company for a review of how the credit repair company did. Ask questions like, “did they do what they promised?”, “did they do the work and provide the results the company predicted?” and very important, “how does the company rate at communicating?”
The two most common complaints about credit repair companies from people who have had a bad experience are,
- The company failed to communicate and return calls or messages in a timely manner
- They did not do what they promised
After checking out the company with an individual or business who has actually worked with them or knows their reputation, contact the company and get a feel of their knowledge about credit, credit laws and how their process works. A reputable company will not solely be interested in helping you remove inaccurate or erroneous information, but will also be very interested in guiding you in ways to build and maintain your good credit.
Before you engage a credit repair company it is very important to read the contract they give you fully, and very carefully. It should outline in writing what they commit they will do. They are required by law to give you both State and Federal disclosure statements. It is also a requirement in the State of Texas, (and most other states have a similar requirement), for a credit repair company (AKA a Credit Service Organization) to have an annual registration filed with the Texas Secretary of State. Ask the credit repair company you are considering engaging if they are currently registered. Lastly, watch for Red Flags and avoid dealing with any company that makes grand promises to transform your credit overnight. That won’t happen! Beware of any company who claims they can have negative accurate information deleted. If a tradeline is reporting 100% accurately, it cannot be deleted.
A credit repair company will not do anything magical you as an individual can’t do yourself. But, a good company with a lot of knowledge and experience can take a big burden off your shoulders and can help put you in a position to get your credit profile very solid and strong.
Having strong credit is a very important part of your overall financial picture and can help you save money in the long run by helping lower interest rates on borrowed money and can even help lower your insurance premiums. Good credit can open up financial doors that poor credit keeps closed.
Carol Ueckert, Owner
Accountable Credit Repair