Home & Mortgage
Do you know what your credit score is? You should know--your financial life may depend on it. If your credit score is lower than 550, you will find it practically impossible to get approval for loans or credit, or to obtain a credit card. You will also be charged higher interest rates than what regular borrowers get. So if you do have a low score, you need to improve it as soon as you can. That means going into debt management, consumer credit counseling, and credit repair.
What is credit repair? It is the process of improving your credit score by getting information changed on your credit reports. There are different credit reports compiled by three major nationwide credit reporting agencies, which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They compile these reports from information that is sent to them by your creditors.
How do I get my credit report? You can purchase it from the agencies, ordering your reports from their websites. However, an agency has to provide you with a free report if you have recently been denied credit or employment because of its report on you, so you may be able to get your report that way. (Follow the instructions on the letter or denial that you receive.)
Can I get a free credit report online? Yes, it is possible. The law says that you are entitled to a free copy of your report once every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting agencies. You can order your free report online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Make sure you don?t confuse it with similarly named websites that may try to trick you into signing up for a paid membership program.
Can I do my own credit repair? Yes, but you need to obtain recent copies of your credit reports. Once you have them, you can look for items that are out of date, inaccurate, or incomplete. Use the reinvestigation form included on the credit report to list down these items and send it to the agency for verification. They will investigate and report back to you within 30 days, and if they are unable to verify the information, it will be removed from your report. That should help to improve your credit score.
Should you hire a credit repair firm? Only if you do not intend to do your own credit repair. Credit repair firms can be expensive, however. They usually claim to be able to improve your credit score by 100 to 150 points, and charge around $500 for doing so. If you do hire a company to do your credit repair, make sure it offers some kind of money-back guarantee if it is not successful.
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