Raise Your Credit Score
How To Improve Your Credit Score
It can be a little frightening to realize just how much of an impact that a poor credit score can have on your life. Everything from housing availability and insurance premiums to job offers depends on whether or not your credit is acceptable to others.
If your credit ratings are less than ideal, calling one of the best credit repair companies to help you start the cleanup can make the difference between quickly improving your credit–or digging yourself deeper into a hole. In researching options to repair my flagging credit, I realized that there are a lot of less-than-savory credit repair companies. So I want to save you time, effort, and energy by sharing an overview of the best credit repair companies that I could find.
How Credit Repair Companies Work
Before I launch into why these are some of the best credit repair services available, it’s important to talk about the steps that go into actually rebuilding your credit. Unfortunately, waving a magic wand and uttering “Abracadabra” will not result in an immediate fix, and repairing your credit can often be a time-consuming and confusing process.
I’ve selected these organizations as examples of the ultimate way to improve credit safely and efficiently because they excel at these core competencies:
Trust Ratings from Recognized Leaders
While the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating system is considered by many to be the gold standard in trust ratings, there are other organizations whose stamp of approval provides validation such as industry publications like Inc. and Business Insider.
Knowing that your credit repair specialist will be able to provide you with specific results such as reducing the number of bad debts on your ratings and more gives you peace of mind.
Clear, Consistent Pricing
Don’t trust organizations whose website is unclear about their pricing model. You need to know upfront what the costs associated with starting a repair of your credit score.
Easy Access to Support
When you’re dealing with something as important as your personal credit rating, you need to know that you can quickly get the support that you need and deserve either on the phone or via email.
Understanding the perfect way to repair your credit is not generally something that you can scan through once on a website and fully understand. The best credit repair companies are willing to provide you with a free consultation to make sure the service is a good fit for your particular needs.
While many organizations are available that can help you move towards an acceptable credit score, the best credit repair companies will never ask you to do anything that is illegal or unethical. If you’re requested to obtain false information from the Internal Revenue Service or use an invalid Social Security number, that’s a pretty good indication that you’ve chosen the wrong credit repair company! Immediately report any credit repair specialist who asks you to falsify information by contacting the FTC.
Fortunately, I discovered that not all credit repair services are bad. Some of these organizations are entirely legitimate and offer a valuable service to consumers who are simply having a rough time and need help. After extensive research, the companies that come out on top as the best credit repair companies are:
Additional information can be found by reading the articles on credit repair companies in the Guides portion of this review.
Benefits of a Credit Repair Company
Not all consumers realize that your credit score is actually a compilation of three different scores from the major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This combined FICO score helps organizations determine your risk for becoming seriously delinquent – or not paying – your debt over the next 24 months. Here are some of the benefits you’ll reap from excellent credit:
- Reduced insurance rates
- Lower cost of capital for personal loans
- Improved interest rate offers from credit card companies
- Utility companies such as gas, water and electricity may waive connection fees or deposits
- Waived deposits on rental units such as boats, RVs and apartments
- Free or reduced-rate mobile devices
Why do you receive all these benefits by improving your credit rating? The best credit repair companies can help you understand how this works: when you lower the risk that you’re going to default on payments, organizations are more willing to accept you with the understanding that you’ll be a long-term (and profitable!) customer.
Companies don’t benefit when they have to repossess your expensive new iPhone or Corvette–they benefit when you continue to pay your bills fully and on time. They’re willing to provide you with a smaller benefit upfront (reduced or no deposit) when they have a high comfort level that you’ll continue paying your bills (good credit rating). The optimum way to repair your credit is by working with a trusted agency and continuing to pay your bills on time.
Why it Pays to Repair Your Credit
I get it. You’re thinking “Why should I go to the time, effort and energy of repairing my credit? Who really cares about this seemingly arbitrary number?”. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “Nearly everyone”. Your credit rating follows you throughout life, and impacts important questions such as:
- Whether or not you can get approved for a primary or secondary mortgage
- Interest rates on major purchases such as homes, boats, and vehicles
- Whether or not you get that important promotion at work
- The interest rate that credit card companies charge you for funds
- How high your car insurance premiums are
How to Determine Your Credit Score
Five critical factors that go into calculating your credit scores, such as your debt levels, payment history, age of your accounts, the types of credit that you have outstanding and the number of inquiries against your credit score. Keeping all of these factors in balance is critical to maintaining and improving your overall credit score.
The most important factor in determining your credit score is your overall payment history. Making up 35% of your total FICO score, payment history takes into account how many times you’ve paid your bills late, and exactly how late they were paid. What’s interesting to note is that certain types of late payments have a heavier impact than others; for instance, paying your mortgage late is a huge red flag and can drop your credit score by double digits if you’re more than 30 days late and make it extremely difficult for you to refinance your home.
Amounts You Owe
Of course, it makes sense that owing a great deal of money to a wide variety of organizations might make it a little tough to get additional credit, which is why this criterion makes up 30% of your credit score. Maintaining a high balance on your credit cards and your overall credit utilization (the amount of credit you’re using as a percentage of how much credit you have overall) is also a deciding factor that goes into this calculation. In general, the best credit repair services look for ways to discharge–or get rid of–bad debt that hits your credit report and consolidates payments to make it easier to pay them off.
Credit History Length
College students or individuals just out of high school and just starting out in the world will not have had as much time to build up a positive credit rating as others. Since this factor could swing either way, it is weighted at only 15% of your overall credit rating. Having a short credit history doesn’t necessarily mean that your credit will be poor, but it could make it more difficult to make major purchases since you haven’t had time to build up a positive credit rating.
New Accounts Opened
Every time you open a new credit account, that fact is reported to the credit bureaus and they consider it when calculating your overall FICO score. Why is this important? For instance, if you were to open a number of accounts at the same time and then run up huge bills–you might have more difficulty paying for them than if you were starting out more slowly. My list of best credit repair companies can help counsel you on removing some of the older credit requests. However, this factor is only around 10% of your overall credit score.
Types of Credit
There are several types of credit that you should know about: installment loans, revolving credit (credit cards), mortgages, and store accounts. Each type of credit that you have points toward credit maturity–or the ability to safely utilize the monies that you have available. This final factor is also weighted at around 10% of your overall FICO score.
Learn more about the 5 different parts of your FICO score online at MyFICO.com.
Tips & Advice
As you can see, the ideal way to repair your credit is to stay diligent and informed about how your credit is being used. Every time you apply for a credit card, this information is reported to the three credit reporting bureaus and it can negatively affect your FICO score. Keep this in mind the next time a store is offering you a tiny discount just for opening a credit card account!
There are some great tools available online that will allow you to do some of the same things that you’ll be paying credit repair services to do for you, and many of them are available on the USA.gov Federal Trade Commission website. There you can learn how to file a complaint, report inaccurate information and even get free copies of your various credit reports. However, the government cannot directly assist you to repair your credit score, that can only be accomplished by some of the best credit repair services around.
Don’t let credit problems get you down! While it may take some time to come back from a challenging credit situation, you’ll soon find that the perfect way to repair credit is to jump in there and take the plunge to work with a credit repair specialist. Find the right organization for you with my easy to use guides for each company. It’s important to know that credit repair agencies can only do so much–if a portion of your report is accurate, no one will be able to get it removed. Your best bet is to continue paying down your revolving credit lines and stay as current as possible on all of your bills.