If you have a poor credit score, it can make you less competitive when applying for financial products. You may pay a higher interest rate or you might not qualify for a loan at all. Having good credit can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run, especially on big purchases like a home or a car. But building and maintaining a strong credit score takes time. You can work to repair your credit yourself or you can pay a company to do it for you. Before you do, learn how to spot a scam and what steps are required for real credit repair.
A reputable credit repair agency will analyze your credit reports and identify errors. These can include tax liens that don’t belong to you, foreclosures that aren’t in your name and credit card balances that have been reported incorrectly. The company will then contact the credit bureaus to dispute the inaccurate information on your behalf. You can also dispute items yourself by writing a letter to each of the credit bureaus. The Federal Trade Commission has a template you can use if you’re not sure how to word your dispute.
Once you’ve disputed the inaccurate items on your credit report, it’s important to focus on paying down debt and improving your utilization ratio. Credit utilization is 30% of your credit score, so it’s one of the most important factors you can address. If you have credit cards with high balances, try to pay down the amount owed or ask for a line of how to fix my credit increase on existing accounts. In addition, try to limit new credit card applications until you have a better credit score.
Some companies will also offer you credit-building advice and financial planning. These can help you build a budget, manage your finances and develop an action plan to improve your credit. Sky Blue Credit Repair, for example, offers a flexible subscription plan and 90-day money back guarantee. It’s also a top-rated credit repair service with excellent customer reviews.
Another option for repairing your credit is to sign up for free credit monitoring. These services will send you alerts in case your credit utilization changes or if your account goes into collections. They can also alert you when a potential identity theft occurs and provide tools to help you protect your credit.
Be wary of any company that makes overblown claims or guarantees to fix your credit within a specific period of time. This is likely a scam, since building and improving your credit score requires consistent on-time payments and healthy financial habits. It’s also important to remember that a negative item on your credit can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. If you have serious issues, it might take a few years to overcome them. Taking the right steps can ensure you’re able to access financial products with lower interest rates and better rewards.