When it comes to credit repair after bankruptcy you have essentially three options:
1) Hire a credit repair company
2) Buy credit repair software
3) Do it yourself (free!)
Before we go further, for the purpose of this article “credit repair” means the removal of any inaccurate or obsolete negative information from your credit report – not the removal of accurate non-obsolete negative information from your credit report.
Okay, now that we’ve defined “credit repair”, let’s look at each of the three credit repair options in more detail:
1) Hire a credit repair agency.
You can hire a credit repair company, which usually costs a few hundred dollars or more. The advantage here is it saves you some time.
The downside to hiring a credit repair company is that it can be expensive as mentioned above, costing a few hundred dollars or more.
If you do decide to hire a credit repair company, choose one very carefully. Stay away from credit repair companies promising to delete accurate non-obsolete negative items from your credit report.
Why? Because even if the credit repair company gets lucky and does manage to remove any accurate non-obsolete negative items from your credit report it may only be temporary – the credit reporting agencies update their files on a regular basis, so any accurate non-obsolete negative item that was removed from your credit report can re-appear again in the future.
While we’re on the topic of “non-obsolete” versus “obsolete” negative information on your credit report, let’s look at how long negative information can remain on your credit report: Most negative items can remain on your credit report for up to seven years from the date they were included in your bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for ten years from the date it was filed, while a Chapter 13 can remain on your report for seven years from the date it was filed.
2) Buy credit repair software
There are a number of credit repair software programs on the market today. This option is typically less expensive than a credit repair company because you are doing the work. It also saves you time from having to compose your own letters.
Here’s how most credit repair software works: You load it onto your computer, fill in the blanks with your information, and then print out the customized dispute letters the software creates.
The risk you run here is that the credit reporting agency may not investigate the dispute and respond by saying they believe your dispute is “frivolous and irrelevant”. Why? Because when they see any sort of form letter they may think you are using a credit repair company.
3) Do it yourself
This is usually your best option, and it’s free. You just need to know exactly what to do when it comes to credit repair. You can start by visiting each major credit reporting agency’s website and reading their instructions on how to dispute any inaccurate or obsolete negative information on your credit report. The three major credit reporting agencies are: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.
In addition, you can also pick up a book on credit repair. One word of warning though: Some books and courses encourage you to do illegal things: For example, creating a “new” identity. Stay away from these! Others are excellent resources when it comes to showing you how to remove inaccurate or obsolete negative items from your credit report.
If you have discharged or dismissed bankruptcy and want to repair your credit, there are some specific steps you need to take. I have seen very few credit repair books that even mention them. In After Bankruptcy Credit Solutions, I go into detail on each one.
For example, if you are applying for a home loan after bankruptcy, any inaccurate or obsolete negative information on your credit report can cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in extra interest – if it doesn’t prevent you from qualifying for a loan. There is a way that you can get these negative items on your credit report removed or updated in as little as 48 hours!
So now you know what options you have when it comes to credit repair. Bottom line: Doing it yourself is usually the best, and most inexpensive, option when it comes to credit repair after bankruptcy. It just takes an investment of time on your part – but it can be well worth the effort.
Remember, if you have a discharged or dismissed bankruptcy on your credit report there are some specific steps you need to take when it comes to credit repair. Keep this in mind if you choose the “do it yourself” option and plan to shop for a book on credit repair.
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