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- Working with a credit repair company is not the only route to bettering damaged credit.
- If a credit repair company isn't right for your needs, consider handling the credit repair process yourself or working with a credit counselor.
- There is no quick fix to credit repair — even if a company advertises a quick turnaround.
While credit repair can be a means to improve credit, the process of working with a credit repair company isn’t right for everyone — and it isn’t your only option. Consider the alternatives to see if one may be a better fit for repairing your credit and expanding your access to financial products.
Do it yourself
The DIY approach to credit repair requires you to do the heavy lifting when it comes to fixing your credit. Because while a credit repair company may have additional expertise, it doesn’t have access to anything you can’t do on your own.
And it will cost a fraction of the price — likely no money at all. The process of repairing your own credit requires you to get copies of and study your credit report, file disputes for any errors found and await results. While it may feel intimidating, DIY credit repair will help you avoid additional monthly fees and ideally help you better understand your credit health.
- Can help you avoid additional fees.
- Step-by-step guidance is available.
- Can be empowering to handle it on your own.
- Requires more time than hiring someone.
- Can be challenging to communicate with credit bureaus.
- Removing disputes must be done in a very specific manner.
DIY credit repair is best for a patient consumer whose budget is already too tight to add on another expense.
Improve your payment history
Your payment history accounts for 35 percent of your total score, so if your credit is lacking, working to improve this can dramatically help your score. Your payment history includes any products that are credit related, like credit cards, mortgages, car payments and installment loans.
To do this you must pay your bills on time, pay previously missed payments and communicate with your lenders if you might miss a payment. When entering this process it is also smart to use automatic payments to avoid potential late fees.
- Can create a better monthly payment routine to ensure you don’t fall behind.
- Will decrease additional fees for late payments.
- No cost to an outside company outside of repaying missed bills.
- Can be a long process.
- Requires time for your score to see improvement.
- No additional expert support.
Improving payment history is best for those whose main driver of poor credit is missed payments and who are eager to take control of their finances.
Work with a credit counselor
If a traditional credit repair company is not the right experience for you, a credit counselor can be another strong option. This approach still does most of the leg work with the bonus of more attentive guidance and can be offered by nonprofits, often at no or minimal cost.
You will work with a trained professional who will take a deep look at your current spending habits, amount of debt and your credit reports. You then will receive a tailored action plan to address your financial issues. One approach here may be a debt management plan (DMP), which focuses on your outstanding debts.
- Advice tailored specifically to your financial situation.
- Potential to address and fix consistent financial missteps.
- The counselor may help with creditor negotiations.
- Some companies require a monthly payment for service.
- If your debt is more or less under control, it may not help.
The ideal candidate for credit counseling is someone who is willing to learn and adapt their spending habits.
If you find yourself in need of credit repair, you are not alone. But if the process of working with a credit repair company feels intimidating or is wrong for your needs — there are other options.
Consider a DIY approach, making payments or working with a credit counselor to improve your credit and have a better credit score.