Credit Repair and the Truth About Bad Credit; American Financial Solutions Provides Tips on the Reality of Managing Negative Credit

Seattle, WA April 20, 2012

Having good credit has become as much of an asset in todays society as owning gold and property were 100 years ago. With good credit people pay less in interest on major purchases, may pay less for insurance and do not have to worry about potential credit checks by employers. Credit repair businesses offer consumers a way to clean up negative information in a credit report, but the service may not deliver on all that it promises. Below, Becky House, Education Director for American Financial Solutions' provides important information when considering using a credit repair business.

First and foremost, says House, people need to know that whatever services a credit repair agency is providing, consumers can do themselves for the cost of some stamps. This is important because credit repair fees can run into the hundreds of dollars.

In addition says House, these agencies do not have magic wands. They cannot eliminate accurate, negative information any more effectively than an individual. In fact, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is illegal to erase timely and accurate negative information in a person's credit file.

There is also a set of laws called the Credit Repair Organizations Act that governs credit repair agencies. Under the law:

  • The company must provide the consumer with a copy of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and any applicable state laws, before a person can do business with them.
  • After someone signs a contract with the agency it must wait three days before performing any services. This three day period is to allow the consumer to change their mind and not incur any charges.
  • The company cannot charge or collect money until they have fulfilled the services promised to the consumer.
  • The company cannot suggest that someone create a new credit file by using a false Social Security number or using an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is illegal.

For consumers, it is important to know how to make positive changes to a negative credit report. The first step is to obtain a copy of all three of the reports by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

Next review the reports and look for any possible errors. If there are errors contact the credit reporting agencies and dispute the information. A non-profit credit counseling agency such as American Financial Solutions can help you with this process at no charge.

Finally look for ways to add positive information to the credit report. Some methods that work well for many consumers are using a secured credit card, obtaining a share secured loan through a credit union, or asking a family member or friend to co-sign on an account.

Improving a negative credit record is not something that can be done over night. It takes time to move away from the negative accounts and time to build a history of positive accounts. Beware of anyone who promises they can repair credit reports quickly and for a fee. Remember the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Contact a non-profit credit counseling agency today for more information and help managing credit, debt, budgets and the financial future.

American Financial Solutions (AFS) is a non-profit 501(c)3 financial education and credit counseling agency that helps people find solutions for managing their money and improving their financial lives. Since 1999, AFS has helped individuals across the United States through one-on-one counseling, classes and the use of debt management plans. AFS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). AFS is also accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. On FacebookTwitter and Google+.