Call it a coincidence. Call it savvy marketing. Whatever you call it, there always seems to be a spike in credit repair advertisements when end-of-year and holiday bills arrive. Maybe you’re staring wide-eyed at a balance that’s higher than you expected, wondering how you’re even going to keep up with the minimum payments. This kind of uncertainty can the stage for bad decisions. So, before you scramble and sign-up for credit repair services, take a deep breath and realize you have more control than you think.
Risk vs. Reward: Is credit repair worth the cost?
It’s important to remember that some credit repair services are legitimate businesses, able to follow through on their claims. Unfortunately, the reputable companies reside in a corporate landscape littered with scam artists and opportunists. If you’re willing to devote enough time and research, it’s possible to separate the upstanding services from the scams, but as NerdWallet columnist Liz Weston points out, “If you’re able to do that kind of research, then you can certainly figure out credit repair and do it yourself.”
While the trustworthy credit repair companies aren’t necessarily too good to be true, there’s a good chance they’re too costly to be worth it. When you consider that many of these services charge monthly fees ranging from $30-$100, the boost in your credit rating may not justify the ongoing expense.
Good credit isn’t the result of tricks and trade secrets. It’s established by applying solid financial habits over time. The same holds true for credit repair. While there may be some additional steps required to clean up your credit report , rebuilding good credit requires a consistent commitment to responsible money management.
Credit unions exist to ensure the financial success of their members. Educating people on proper credit management is part of that mission. If you’re drowning in debt and struggling to regain your financial footing, your credit union could be the lifeline you’re looking for. While they may not advertise it, many credit unions offer free credit counseling for their members. Discussing your current challenges with one of the credit union’s representatives can be the first step towards putting those struggles behind you.
Repairing damaged credit is no walk in the park. But with a little hard work and dedication and the guidance of your credit union’s financial professionals, you can be on the way to reclaiming the good credit you deserve.