Credit repair is big business, and there are many companies that will promise to help you get out of bad credit problems. There are a number of legitimate resources that can help you in improving your credit score but there are also a number of less than reputable companies out there that will take your money but offer you few (if any) valuable services. A few basic tips will help you see the difference:
Seek professional help
If you are in over your head, and your credit is so bad that you cannot get a loan and may even be facing bankruptcy, you may want to seek help from professionals. There are a number of financial professionals that can help you with credit repair:
Bankruptcy lawyers and bankruptcy advisors: Bankruptcy lawyers can help represent you in bankruptcy proceedings. Advisors can help you decide whether to apply for a bankruptcy and how to proceed once you do decide to file.
While getting a bankruptcy lawyer and filing for bankruptcy can be upsetting and can dramatically affect your credit score for many years, it can also give you a chance to start over financially and can help you reestablish good credit again in the long run.
Credit repair companies and credit counseling companies: These companies can help you by acting on your behalf with credit companies, by advising you on what you can do to repay your bills faster, and by helping you make better financial decisions.
Accountants and tax services: Accountants and tax filing services can help you make the most of your money by making sure that you do not end up overspending on taxes.
Bankers and bank officers: Most banks today want to not only help you keep your money but are willing to work with you to make the most of it. As a banking service, many banks today offer free investing advice, saving advice, and personalized meetings with bank officers that can help you figure out your money situation.
Lenders and bad credit lenders: How you deal with lenders will determine how well your credit score works. Avoiding too many inquiries by not applying for too many loans, establishing long-term business relationships with bankers, and doing business with bankers in an organized and professional way (i.e. paying your debts on time) will go a long way towards giving you a credit rating. In turn, a good credit rating will make it easier to deal with lenders.
Credit Repair Companies
Many companies out there advertise that they can help you with credit repair, but the quality of these services – not to mention what they offer – varies widely. Some companies really can help you with credit repair while others are actually under investigation for suspect business practices. If you decide to seek help from a credit repair company, be sure that the company is legitimate and offers you viable services.
In general, you should be looking for non-profit credit counseling services rather than credit repair companies (some of which are really just lenders offering home equity loans anyway, which are of limited use to you if you want to improve your credit).
Check to make sure that the company has good standing with the Better Business Bureau and clients who are happy with the credit repair services they received from the company. Always read the paperwork carefully before you sign and make sure that you understand how much you are paying for and how much you are paying.