Have you seen companies online offering free credit repair and wonder if it’s too good to be true? As they say, you don’t get something for nothing.
Some sites offer to help you repair your credit for free by automating letters to the credit bureaus for you. The truth is that generic templated letters to credit bureaus are easily ignored, particularly without evidence to back up your claim.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as free, fast credit repair. There are ways to fix credit yourself for free that we outline in this post, but they can be time intensive.
Read on to learn about the best legal and free credit repair options available to you.
Dispute Items on Your Credit Report
Every consumer is legally entitled to dispute false items on their credit report. A credit bureau that receives a complaint must look into it and respond within 30 days.
While that may sound optimistic, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not only do you need to be extremely organized and compile plenty of evidence, but it may take multiple claims over a few years to actually make any progress with the credit bureaus.
The bureaus will always take the side of the lender if the lender doesn’t acknowledge a mistake. You may need to shift tactics several times before anything happens. You also need to reach out to every credit bureau that is reporting the error independently.
While this process can be frustrating, it is certainly possible to dispute items on your own.
Read our step-by-step guide to help you through the credit report error dispute process.
Pay Bills on Time and Pay Down Debt
The largest destroyer of a credit score is not paying your bills on time.
Making your minimum payment on time each month will eventually help repair your credit score. If you are struggling to put enough money aside each month to pay all your bills, create a household budget. Having a formal budget in place will help you spend less on non-essential items and keep you accountable.
If you are forgetful and simply don’t remember to pay on time, consider setting up automatic payments from your bank account.
Use Less of Your Credit
This may seem silly since you were trusted enough to get credit, but the credit bureaus don’t like when you use too much of it even when you pay on time. This is the second largest factor affecting your credit score.
If you consistently spend close to your total credit limit across all accounts every month, your credit score goes down. Many financial experts suggest using no more than 30% of your available credit every month.
Whenever you are offered the option to increase your credit limits, you should always do so.
Become an Authorized User of a Credit Account
Becoming an authorized user of a credit account belonging to someone with high credit can improve your score. You would need to find someone with good credit who trusts you and is willing to make you an authorized user.
When you get access to a line of credit, the entire history of that account appears on your credit report. Having long-standing lines of credit that you’ve managed on your report can raise your credit score.
There is no risk to you if the owner of the card fails to make payments on time, as they hold the sole responsibility of negative impact on the account.
It should go without saying, however, that if you don’t pay your share of the credit account on time you’ll likely make an enemy out of whoever made you a user!
When All Else Fails, Try a Credit Repair Company
If the free options don’t appeal to you, you can get paid credit repair without breaking the bank.
Many people wonder if credit repair companies can actually fix their credit or if they are just a scam. A credit repair company will not be able to repair the damage to your credit caused by late or missed payments. Where they can help is if your credit report has errors, or if your credit score is suffering from hard inquiries or overusing credit.
Errors on credit reports are frustratingly common. The Federal Trade Commission ran a 2012 study in which 26% of consumers had at least one error on their credit report that was serious enough to impact their terms on loans.
Since credit repair companies are specialists, they have relationships with the credit bureaus and make positive shifts to your score happen quicker. Legitimate credit repair companies will also outline their plan of action along with a timeframe up front so you don’t get charged for more than you need.
At RepairCreditQuick, we partner with some of the top-rated credit repair companies in the United States. Reach out to us for a free credit report and free consultation with a credit repair specialist.