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Free Credit Repair: Is Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair Really Free?

Last Updated: December 11, 2018

If you have a low score, starting to repair your credit is one of the smartest decision you can make. Unfortunately, many things can go wrong along the way. The result is often a score that won’t budge or even one that drops. Below, we discuss the hidden costs of do it yourself credit repair and lay out the case for considering professional help.

Education

Before employing any do it yourself credit repair strategies, you have to educate yourself on the subject. Unfortunately, doing so is not as straightforward as it might seem. Though the internet provides mountains of information, this is not always a good thing. First, that information can be wrong, which sends you down a dangerous path. Second, the sheer magnitude of it is overwhelming. What happens when multiple sources give you conflicting advice? How will you choose which to follow? This is the first way in which free credit repair is not entirely free. Between work, friends, family, and every other aspect of life, your time is limited. You must ask yourself if you want to spend it learning about credit or if you’d rather outsource it to a trained professional.

Time

The second factor you should consider is time. As we explained above, do it yourself credit repair requires a commitment to education. Though you could catch on quickly, learning the intricacies of credit will likely take a considerable amount of time. Additionally, there are many steps that you must take down the line that are time-consuming too. An example is checking your credit report for mistakes. First, you have to carry out the process of applying for the report. Next, you must go through it looking for errors. Lastly, you will have to find contact information, write a letter, compile documents that back up your claim, and mail them in. Lengthy ordeals like this are yet another way you pay for free credit repair.

Frustration

The free credit repair journey is a long one. Generally, it involves educating yourself, correcting errors on your report, assessing your score, and a variety of other tasks. As you might imagine, going through this process leads to a significant amount of frustration. The following are the examples of one thing that can frustrate you in each of the steps listed above.

1. Education

You browse the internet looking for do it yourself credit repair methods. Instead of finding a simple guide, you come across conflicting information, complicated ideas, and vocabulary that you are not familiar with. You become overwhelmed and give up.

2. Correcting Errors

You assess your credit report and find that there is an error. As a result, you write a letter to a credit bureau asking for a cancellation. After weeks or months of waiting, they tell you that your documentation was insufficient and you should try again.

3. Assessing Your Score

You obtain your score, but you don’t know what it means. Your provider gives you a word to describe it, like “fair,” but no further information. You try to figure out what the consequences of your score are, but you hit a wall.

4. Mistakes

When trying to employ do it yourself credit repair strategies, there are many places you can make a mistake. You might learn something about a credit repair guideline that is true, but you employ the wrong tactic in achieving it. Not having expert knowledge on the subject puts you at risk of making mistakes that will cost you. Is it really free credit repair if a small error can set you back significantly? The following are a few traps that you could fall into.

5. Closing Credit Cards

If you read online that having too many sources of credit is bad for your score, you may take the logical step of closing most of your cards. Unfortunately, this is not always the best move. In fact, closing a card usually lowers your score rather than raising it.

6. Applying For a New Card

On the other hand, you might look at your credit history and see a significant amount of issues. For this reason, you want to turn over a new leaf and open up a brand new card. Even though you are committed to paying it in full and on time, your score drops because you took out another line of credit.

7. Paying an Old Debt

Every debt has a statute of limitations, which is the amount of time it takes for it to come off your record. An example of where this applies is paying an old debt. You might think that paying it down is responsible, but it could lower your score instead. The reason is that the debt you paid could have been close to coming off your report, but you making a payment restarted the statute of limitations.

8. Try to Wait Out Old Issues

The opposite of paying an old debt is trying to wait out a new one. You might think that you can wait until the statute of limitations is up on one of your obligations. Then, your score drops dramatically and stays that way until the statute of limitations is up.
Though these four mistakes are some of the most common, there are hundreds out there that could harm you. A professional will know these pitfalls, but you may not.

A Credit Score That Won’t Budge

One result of mistakes is a static credit score. Wherever you stand on the scale, you stay there month after month. As somebody with limited knowledge, you likely will not know if this is normal or not. How long do you wait before investigating if you made a mistake or not? If it has been too long, where do you start when searching for errors? These questions are tough to answer. No matter what, a credit score that won’t budge despite your do it yourself credit repair goals is incredibly frustrating. At best, you will second guess yourself and experience stress over your score. At worst, you will have made a mistake and not know how to remedy it. If you outsource instead of trying to employ free credit repair methods, you can avoid the anxiety and mystery of an unmoving score.

A Credit Score That Drops

The only thing worse than a score that won’t move is one that goes down. Though you never think this will happen when you embark on your do it yourself credit repair journey, it is a common outcome. The most likely explanation is one of the mistakes we explained above or one of the many we did not. Whichever it is, using free credit repair to raise your score frequently leads to the exact opposite outcome: A credit score that drops.

The Alternative

So what is the alternative to all of these dangers? The answer is employing professional help. Many benefits come from this strategy, but some of the most crucial include having an effective plan, saving time, minimizing frustration, avoiding mistakes, and ensuring a higher credit score. Though the positives are numerous, these services are still quite cheap. For a low price, you can buy your time and peace of mind, which are invaluable.

We must admit that there are many do it yourself credit repair success stories out there. Plenty of people manage to educate themselves, correct errors, and raise their scores through responsible habits. Still, a portion of those who try end up paying for their so-called free credit repair in a variety of ways. At the very least, obtaining professional help is worth exploring.

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