How Can I Repair My Credit the Right Way?

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Question: I’m looking for help to repair my credit. I made a mistake in joining a debt consolidation group and they have trashed my credit. Need to get it fixed ASAP!

A: Dear reader, I completely understand your urgency in wanting to repair your credit, especially after you hired a company to do so, and it made matters worse. There are reputable credit repair services out there. Though, unfortunately, some operate unethically and do not have their clients’ best interests at heart. I am glad you have remained committed to achieving your goal through a different strategy. Just remember that anything a repair company can do to help you, you can do on your own, free of charge.

Repairing Your Credit

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to rebuilding credit. It comes down to what’s currently on your credit report and the damage caused by the credit repair company. Without the details about your situation, it’s impossible to provide you with a personalized strategy. However, most credit rebuilding strategies focus on making on-time payments, reducing your overall revolving debt, maintaining a balanced credit mix, and limiting how often you ask for new credit.
A good place to start is to determine where you stand. You can request free copies of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com). You can get one copy from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Review each line carefully and make notes of balances and dates of the last payments. If you find any incorrect information, you should correct it immediately. To dispute incorrect information with one of the credit bureaus, visit their websites for detailed instructions on how to do so. It’s relatively easy, and can be done online. Then, review each of your accounts to determine how you can become current on your payments or reduce your overall debt.

Getting Extra Help

If your credit is in worse shape now than when you started working with the credit repair company, you will need some extra guidance. Consider enlisting the help of an NFCC-certified financial counselor from a national nonprofit agency. Unlike for-profit agencies, nonprofit credit counseling agencies are committed to educating consumers about managing their credit and learning methods to achieve financial wellness. A counselor will review your overall financial situation to develop a step-by-step strategy to help you rebuild your credit. Your counselor can explain how to negotiate with your creditors or explore debt relief options such as a Debt Management Program.
There are no shortcuts to rebuilding your credit, even with the right guidance. So, be patient, diligent, and disciplined. Once you reach your goal, it’s important you maintain your good credit score by using your credit wisely. Good luck.