Fixing Your Credit Report with Credit Repair

Correcting errors on your credit report may raise your credit score within 1 to 6 months.

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Correcting errors on your credit report may raise your credit score within 1 to 6 months. According to a Consumer Reports Investigation, 34% of participants have found at least one mistake in their credit bureau report. These “material” errors could affect your credit score making it more expensive or impossible to borrow. Removing these errors does not guarantee an increased credit score however, in most instances those that have corrected errors will see their scores improve.

We’ll explain the process of credit repair and the options available to the consumer.

The True Definition of Credit Repair

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a consumer may dispute any inaccuracies appearing on a credit report directly with any of the reporting bureaus. The information must be verified as accurate withing 30 to 45 days, or the credit bureau is required to remove the disputed item.

Credit repair is the act of restoring or correcting a poor credit score by disputing inaccurate negative information with the credit bureaus. A dispute is sent directly to the credit bureaus with verifying documentation, pointing out errors on a credit report asking for them to be removed.

In general, credit repair doesn’t remove accurate and verifiable negative items on your reports. For example, a derogatory mark for a legitimately missed payment cannot be removed by credit repair. This item will eventually be removed automatically from your credit report after 7 years.

How does credit repair help you?

Back in 2013, according to the FTC 20% of consumers discovered mistakes on at least one of their credit reports compared to 34% finding errors in 2021 according to a Consumer Reports investigation.

Credit repair will help you by removing negative items on your credit report so lenders can see a true picture of your credit history. Removing errors and mistakes increases your chances of getting approved for a loan and may help you qualify for a lower interest rate saving you money in the short and long term.

Here are some of the errors a credit repair process can uncover and get corrected:

  • Accounts that belong to another person with the same or similar name as yours.
  • Bankruptcies or foreclosures that are
  • Same debt listed more than once (possibly with different names)
  • Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent
  • Incorrect balances that can lead to incorrect credit utilization amounts.
  • Accounts with incorrect current balances and/or incorrect credit limits.
  • Inaccurate data or personal information, like misspellings or old addresses.
  • Positive items that should be listed on your credit report that are missing.
  • Open accounts that are recorded as closed.
  • Closed accounts that are marked as open.
  • You’re an authorized user on an account but reported as the owner.

Will credit repair improve my credit score?

There’s no guarantee that credit repair will increase your credit score, but the odds are in your favor if inaccurate negative information is removed. For those consumers who have corrected errors on their reports, many have seen an increase in their scores.

‘Small errors’ that are disputed such as misspelled names, wrong birth dates or incorrect addresses are not likely to increase your score. These errors should still be corrected to avoid delays with lending applications in the future.

There is an exception to the above-mentioned ‘small error’ disputes. If your misspelled name resulted in another person’s debt being attached to your report, once removed you will see an increase in your credit score.

How Do I Repair My Credit?

Credit repair may seem overwhelming if you have many items to dispute. It may be worth it to spend money on a professional credit repair service depending on your budget and your confidence level submitting disputes on your own.

Repairing your credit for free

A cost free way to clean up your credit includes these steps to follow

  • Request your credit reports: The first step in cleaning up your credit is to pull your credit reports from the main three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Review your credit reports: After you request your credit reports, look through each one and verify that the information listed is accurate. Check for discrepancies with your personal information (like name and address), account information (like balances, credit limit, payment history) and bankruptcy and collection data (if your info was sent to a collection agency).
  • Dispute credit report errors: If you find any errors on your credit report, start a dispute as soon as possible.
  • Wait 30-45 days for the verification process. A free copy of your credit report will be provided so you’re able to confirm the information has been removed.

When requesting your credit report, you’re able to download your credit reports for free once every 12 months by going to Annual credit Report

Using a credit repair service

Lack of time, knowledge or confidence are a few of the reasons many consumers choose to hire a professional credit repair service. Credit repair companies are equipped with a specific skillset and consumer credit knowledge. They have the expertise to get the desired results saving a creditor the time and the hassle of learning the dispute process.

As a consumer advocate IAPDA stresses the need for the public to be aware of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). Under the CROA, credit repair companies are not permitted to request or receive payment until they've completed the services they've promised. No form of upfront payment is legal.

The process of using a service

  • The credit repair company will first analyze your credit to determine where the issues are.
  • They will consult with you regarding what services they provide to correct any issues.
  • When hired they will communicate on your behalf with the credit bureaus, creditors and collection agencies to resolve your issues.
  • Disputes are made on your behalf and the company will keep you posted with the progress.

The key service most credit repair companies offer is filing disputes. Disputes are a process for removing damaging information from your credit reports.

The credit repair company will send dispute letters to each credit bureau on your behalf and follow up with any additional information requests. It can take several sets of these letters to resolve all the issues on your credit reports.

While these companies are only supposed to dispute inaccurate information, they will often dispute any negative information that appears on your credit reports.

When disputing a negative item, even if it does belong to you, if the creditor doesn’t respond to the dispute because they don’t exist anymore or they are just lacking the resources to respond on time, the negative item must be removed from all 3 of your credit reports. This is not a likely outcome for negative information accurately posted on your reports.

As mentioned, most accurate information cannot be removed from your credit report. One exception, though without guarantees, is collection accounts. Collection agencies may not have the information needed to verify your debt, especially if it’s an old debt that has passed from one collector to another. It is worth disputing collection accounts even if you believe them to be accurate.

IAPDA can provide you with a certified, licensed professional that specializes in Credit Repair solutions. Get the professional help you need. Click the "Free Consultation" button for a free consultation.


How much does credit repair cost?

DIY credit repair is free. When purchasing a credit repair software there is usually a one-time cost ranging from $30-$400. Online applications will generally come with a monthly cost up to about $30. Hiring a credit repair company to do the work for you will vary depending on the number of months in the program averaging about $100 for every month services are provided.

Is credit repair legal in every state?

Credit repair is legal in every state with each state having its own industry regulation. Most state laws require that credit repair companies employ a state licensed attorney on staff.

How long does credit repair take?

The amount of time will vary depending on the number of inaccuracies and disputes. Typically the process will take 1-6 months, those with a large number of errors will be on the long end of the timeline.

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