Not only have we done a LOT of research, but we have also tested out and tried several companies both locally (South Florida) and national companies. Our objective was to provide a solid referral company that is:
The idea of having a local company whom our clients could meet with face-to-face was very appealing to us. But our experience was extremely disappointing as ALL of them were here today and GONE tomorrow! Not reliable and therefore not good enough for our clients.◊
Another challenge was affordability. We found companies charging anywhere from $350.00 to $2,500 for a single person. Some had payment plans and some didn’t. More often we saw companies charging a low start-up consultation/start-up fee with ongoing monthly fees until the credit repair was completed–whether that took 6 months, 12 months, or more who knows?!!!◊
We have a problem with this type of structure. From a business perspective, this type of arrangement although more “budget-friendly” on the front end, begs the question:
“If the company I hire is paid very little upfront but has on-going monthly fees… Are they not inherently incentivized to keep me on as a client for as LONG as possible??? After all, the longer I’m in their credit repair program, the more money they make! Can I truly trust that they are working on my credit as swiftly and aggressively as possible?”
The answer is NO. The likely result will be you paying MORE in the long run.◊
We also saw many companies charging different monthly fees for varying levels of service. Understanding your credit score & how to repair it can feel overwhelming enough. Then having to decide what level of service you need…well, how are you supposed to know that? We understand that everyone’s credit situation is different. Some folks will need more work than others.◊
Again, from a business perspective, one could argue that this type of structure demonstrates that they can and do “work less” on the lower-paying plans and could very well be designed to UPSELL you on a higher plan when you’re not getting results with a lower-paying plan. The ultimate result costs you MORE in the LONG RUN.
Most credit repair companies we checked out only talk about removing and/or disputing NEGATIVE items on your credit report as their scope of services. Yes, during their consultation they may discuss the need to build POSITIVE and ACTIVE trade lines (you need at least 3 to qualify for a home loan).◊
They may tell you to go get a secured credit card and pay it off every month so that it reports positively to your credit, but they don’t provide you any resources to obtain these trade lines. You’re on your own. More importantly, they DO NOT TEACH you how to USE these trade lines in the most effective way. In fact, folks can be paying off their credit line every month on time or even early, BUT their credit score is actually TANKING and getting LOWERED because they are not using it properly!◊
We have seen with our own eyes that there is the method to the madness…almost like a GAME you have to play…but they (the credit bureaus that determine your score) don’t make the rules of that game very easy to figure out.
Again, we’ve seen with our own eyes that the rules oftentimes don’t seem to make logical sense and they seem to constantly be changing. It’s one of the main reasons why we HIGHLY RECOMMEND you getting a trusted professional to handle your credit repair. It’s just too time-consuming and tough to do it on your own and we have yet to meet anyone who has successfully repaired their credit on their own.◊
And finally, another EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FACT that we discovered in our months of research that you don’t hear about at all (at least we didn’t until we had it happen to us). Most credit repair companies only disclose it in SUPER FINE PRINT and don’t discuss it with you until you discover it THE HARD WAY and ask them directly about it. Here’s the scenario:
You’ve been working with a company for 8 months now. They provide you with monthly updates & show you a score that’s improving with each round of activity. You’re feeling pretty good. After all, your mortgage broker told you to get in the 620-640 range for your mid-score. Not only are you there, you are at a 650! And when you check your own credit with the 3 bureaus, you’re at a 702/650/680. Whoo Hooo! Time to go have that mortgage broker started on a loan application to buy that dream home! BUT when he/she pulls your credit, your tri-merge FICO scores are 550/590/570!
The keyword in the above scenario is “FICO”. This is what lenders use. Often this is referred to as a “Lender Pull”. This score is NOT what you get when you pull your own credit (often called a “Consumer Pull”) and it’s typically NOT the score most credit repair companies will provide you because they are using a TOTALLY DIFFERENT scoring mechanism. For example,◊
TransUnion provides you what they call a TransRisk score. Keep in mind that the 3 Major Credit Bureaus (Equifax, Experian & TransUnion), are NOT non-profit companies. They are a business to make money. Don’t believe me? Just call one of them and see how quick they are to upsell you on a monthly credit monitoring plan. They’ll give you a free report as a teaser for a free trial period, too. But to get back to our original point on this subject, here’s the FINE PRINT from a credit repair company that uses TransRisk scores for their clients:◊
Our credit repair company “solely monitors your…TransRisk credit score, created and provided by TransUnion. Although the TransRisk credit score may provide a good measurement of credit score improvement and credit ranking, it should not be interpreted as a FICO® credit score or as the only factor in determining if [you] are eligible for credit. The relational formula provided is for comparison only. The TransUnion TransRisk score 3.0 ranges from 150 – 950. The FICO® score ranges from 300 – 850. It’s important to remember that while the two scores may correlate, they don’t predict each other exactly. For that reason, your…FICO® score may not be similar [to the score provided by us] if you were to access them today.”
Did you catch that difference in the scoring ranges? The TransRisk score has a point range of 800 (950 minus 150) points, whereas FICO® ranges by 550 points (850 minus 300)….that’s a difference in scale of 250 points!!!!
I’m sure you’ve read enough. Maybe you finally have some validation for all your frustrations in trying to restore your credit. It’s not your fault…the systems and resources we saw available seem to be DESIGNED to KEEP YOU IN THE DARK and perpetually keep you paying for ongoing credit repair and continuing to pay higher interest rates, required deposits, paying higher car insurance rates, getting denied for credit, the list goes on.
This is primetime to rent-to-own