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Q: I keep seeing advertising all over for credit repair services, many of which sound too good to be true. Do they actually work or is it a scam?
A: The short answer: yes.
Although not all of these companies are trying to trick or con their customers, these companies don’t do anything you can’t do yourself.
Unfortunately, bad credit isn’t something that you can just erase from your record. If you could, everyone would do it.
Credit repair companies can get false information removed from your credit report, but correct information won’t go away for a set amount of time: 2 years for credit inquiries, and 7 to 10 years for late payments or bankruptcies.
Play it safe and stay away from these companies altogether. These companies are, at best, a waste of your hard-earned money.
Instead, do the following:
- Check your credit report – after all, you are entitled to a free annual copy from each of the three major credit reporting companies;
- Ensure that no false or expired information (such as bankruptcies over 10 years old) is on your report.
If your report contains false, outdated or inaccurate information, you can dispute it by mail or at the credit bureaus’ websites. If you are not sure where to find them, do internet searches for Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Other than that, the only way to improve your credit report is by improving how you handle credit and waiting until the old information is off your report. Some credit card companies have services that can help, such as Chase Blueprint. Although it may take a while for your score to be as high as you want it, if you make conscious choices to be better with your money and use your credit responsibly, it should start improving within a matter of months.
Update: A Reputable Credit Repair Service
We found one credit repair service that we think may be worth the price of admission: CreditRepair.com. If, after reading our warnings above, you are still interested in getting outside help, they are worth considering. To learn more, start with our in-depth review.