Credit Repair a Fallacy?

in Credit, Credit Cards

A valid question, can you actually repair your credit (and good name) after you have “gone off the rails”? I think the answer (as usual) is maybe, but it will most likely never be like your original credit profile.

Not The Best Thought Out Plan

I guess that is Kind of Repaired?

If you have had your identity stolen, or some other nefarious event happen which has caused your good name to be dragged through the muck and slime, it may be possible to get back to a relatively clear name (again, I am not positive on this one), however, if you have simply gone off the rails, and let things get away from you, Credit Repair won’t get you back to “good as new”.

Much like with your car, if you have a major accident you can repair your car so that it works again, but it will not be like the car you first bought, and if there is lethal damage that just cannot be cured (at least not in a short time), much like a bent frame in a car can rarely be repaired.

If you have declared bankruptcy, you are not getting your Credit Rating or Good Name back to Lilly White in a long time.

Is it worth paying to get credit repair? I suppose it depends is an answer on that as well, but if you have had everything “go pear-shaped” in terms of your credit (by your own hand), then maybe what you need to do is figure out how to live without credit for a while. If you have somewhere to live, then living on cash and what you make might be better than trying to get your “Credit Rating” back in line. My guess would be that Credit Repair is something you do (if at all) a good while after you start living within your means.

{ 3 comments }

  • WT August 2, 2013, 1:03 AM

    I think it all depends on the individual, but I can tell you from personal experience that I was able to rebuild by Credit Rating/Score. I think to your point – the key is that there likely needs to be a fundamental shift in how you view/manage finances.

    Several years ago – I was younger and didn’t know anything about managing my finances. No one had ever really explained the importance of it. At university, they were pretty much giving credit cards away, and I treated it as “free” money.

    Over the years, my credit limit “magically” increased and more and more pre-approved credit cards were being sent to me. Again, “free” money (or so I thought).

    I eventually found myself unemployed but continued to use my credit cards until they were all maxed out. They ALL went to Collections Agencies, when I was unable to make the minimum payments, and I began dreading whenever the phone rang. I was still living at home and my parents finally found out, when a message was left on our machine from one of the Collection Agencies.

    Luckily my father helped me address all the outstanding debt with the Collection Agencies but by that time the damage was already done to my Credit Report. I had never even looked at it before – but one day I realized I was 30 years old and still living at home. I felt trapped because I still didn’t understand how to manage my finances but knew I was financially shackled with (what I felt were) limited options in life.

    It was at that point that I decided to get self-educated. I researched everything I could on managing finances, subscribed to blogs and was/am a sponge. I finally ordered (January 2009) both my Credit Report and Credit Score online – and found out that I had a Credit Score of 559 with TransUnion. Based on the Report I was in the bottom 5 percentile of the population with a Credit Worthiness of “Very Poor”.

    I was determined to rectify this – but I knew from my research that it would take time (6-7 years for “delinquent accounts” to fall off the report). I also noticed that I had incorrect information on my Report (some accounts that were closed – still appeared opened with an outstanding balance). So I took care of that first. I also knew that I needed to build up “positive” credit history again, but because my credit was so bad – my only option (in my mind) was to get a “secured” credit card. I put a $2,000 security down and received a secured credit card that I managed properly – paying off the balance every month.

    To cut a long story short – I’m happy to say that my Credit Report is “pristine” now. I order both reports from Equifax and TransUnion twice a year to verify. My Equifax Credit Score is: 759 and my TransUnion Credit Score is: 829.

    I can’t say for certain but I’d like to think that my Credit Rating/Score is better now than it ever was before (even before my run in with collections agencies). This is because I now understand both how to manage my finances better but also how Credit Reports/Scores “work”. I understand the impact of utilization ratios, delinquencies, length of credit history (i.e. not necessary closing old accounts), etc.

    So, I agree that a lifestyle change was definitely needed for me to rectify my credit rating/score. But for me, I needed to hit my “rock bottom” to provide the necessary motivation to change – and that change resulted in a much improved credit rating/score. It can happen, but it takes determination, understanding and time.

    Reply
  • AskRoss July 16, 2013, 9:23 AM

    Hey big guy, you make an excellent point. When the collectors are calling and the landlord is threatening to evict you, you don’t care about the impact on your credit history. You are and should be in survival mode. Number one priority is getting the black beans to consistently add up to more than the red beans.

    But once that is accomplished, the sooner the better you turn your attention to understanding your credit report, and taking all possible steps to get it back on track.

    Time is a great healer. I’ve seen these circumstances hundreds of times; and yes, you can actually make your credit history better and stronger than before!

    But there will always be a small subset of credit challenged who never turn their attention to the matter – and they end up paying the price for the rest of their lives.

    Trust me – it’s worth the effort. I can show you lots of examples of people who followed my advice and grew their scores back from the 400 level to mid high 700’s.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 16, 2013, 6:47 PM

      @Ross, paint me skeptical on this, but I suppose it can happen, my concern would be anyone who gets into this kind of trouble, may have issues rebuilding their credit without changing their lifestyle (as well).

      Reply

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