Should You Pay To Fix Your Credit Score?
Posted by Richard on July 1, 2021
If you’ve got some dings on your credit, it can be tempting to think about hiring someone to clean it up. But is that a good idea?
Experts generally say no. For most of us, the changes a credit repair service offers are fixes we can make ourselves. Pay your bills on time every time. Keep credit card usage low. Stay out of tax trouble. Stay out of small claims court. Honor your rental agreements.
Hiring an unscrupulous company to repair credit might even do more harm than good.
It’s important to remember that it takes some time to repair bad or mediocre credit. There is no quick fix.
One way to keep on top of things is to get a copy of your credit report. As per the Federal Trade Commission, you’re entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at annualcreditreport.com.
If you see an item that looks incorrect, open a dispute with the credit reporting industry (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).
If you do need a quick fix, one area to focus on is the credit utilization ratio, which accounts for about 30 percent of your score. You can pay down balances on revolving debts like credit card balances. Pay off credit accounts, but keep them open. If you close an account, your available credit can go down, lowering your score. It’s a balancing act.
Experian recently added a free service called Experian Boost, which lets you add charges like cell phone bills that aren’t traditionally included in credit scores. If you consistently pay these on time, this could give you a small bump in your credit score. Experian says the service adds an average of 12 points to a user’s credit score.
Finally, you might benefit from credit counseling for the long term. Find a reputable company — the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a nonprofit that has been around since 1951.