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Credit Repair - Understanding The Basics

What is Credit?

Credit means that you are using someone else's money to pay for things. It also means that you are making a promise to repay the money to the person or company that loaned you the money.

Whenever a person applies for a loan, mortgage, a credit card or for any other purpose for which he needs to borrow funds from a lending agency, the agency will check the financial credit-worthiness of the person and based upon its assessment of the financial risk involved in the deal, the agency will decide upon the terms and conditions of granting credit. A positive assessment necessitates a sound financial background and a credit history with no bad remarks.

What is Credit Repair?

'Credit repair' is a process in which consumers with unfavorable credit histories attempt to re-establish their credit-worthiness. The process usually involves procuring a credit report from the rating agencies and then taking appropriate steps to address any apparent issues such as errors, omissions, misinformation, misreporting or misinterpretation. A consumer can then formally dispute those errors or issues which unjustly distort their financial healthiness and credit-worthiness. Various laws and regulations designed to ensure legal and fair undertaking of the credit repair process can then be utilized to formally and legally start the credit repair process.

Consumers are entitled to a copy of their credit report legally, if they have been denied a credit card or loan and if the information provided on the report is inaccurate, an investigation relating to true facts is necessary for a credit repair.

Why Repair Credit?

A consumer's credit record significantly influences his future purchasing power and his eligibility of availing any credit facilities in the future. A good rating, or score, can insure a low interest rate and loans for longer term for various purposes like credit card balances, car or home loans. A poor rating makes a consumer vulnerable to finance companies charging exorbitant interest rates and imposing various unnecessary repayment and loan terms. Considering the stakes and the consequences involved, it is absolutely imperative for consumers to understand the importance of repairing their bad or low credit ratings.

The Safe and Legitimate Way to Repair Credit

Credit repair can only be achieved through financial discipline and hard work. Any easy way out of a poor credit history is undoubtedly tempting, but it may lead to further financial difficulties in the future.

If a poor credit history is due to circumstances beyond a consumer's control, and they are able to somewhat make amends to their credit records after that time, then a creditor can be requested to upgrade credit rating because of a sense of customer loyalty.

Most creditors don't trust the customers defaulting on their debts, so it may be very difficult to obtain new credit. But once a person is able to demonstrate continuing income stability and prompt payment patterns, his situation can improve in a period of two to three years. This way, even in the case of bankruptcy, a consumer is likely to be offered charge and credit cards within a year or two if maintaining a steady income.

What is most important is evaluating the financial situation. If one finds that they are unable to make at least the minimum payment on outstanding accounts, a contact should be made with the creditors. Many creditors will appreciate the willingness to pay and are most likely to help set up plans for repayment. Avoid making promises which cannot be kept as a small payment is preferable to a large payment that never arrives. Sometimes a small contact can be enough to reduce payments and forestall more severe measures.

The next step is consulting a credit counseling agency. These organizations are staffed with trained individuals experienced in the credit field. A distinction needs to be made between these and the commercial "credit repair" companies who claim that, for a fee, they will undertake credit repair.

No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. But the law does allow one to request a reinvestigation of information in their file that may be inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic will do can be done by a consumer themselves at little or no cost.

The most important factor in credit repair is recognizing the legitimate and viable options available, recognizing what the scams are, and differentiating between the two. A poor credit history can make it difficult to obtain additional lines of credit making consumers fall prey to many unethical programs that target consumers with less- than-perfect credit. There are no quick fixes in credit repair. Common sense tells you that a third party doesn't know your credit history better than you. Through contacting credit bureaus, making your own corrections, consolidating your debts and budgeting, you can improve your own score. You don't need to pay someone to fix it for you. It's better to apply that money towards discharging your debt.

Summary

Understanding the basics of credit repair and knowing what exactly is needed in order to rebuild your credit history goes a long way to getting it resolved. However, you must be disciplined, find the right credit repair solution for you and not be tempted to fall back into debt.

Claire Bowes is a successful freelance writer and owner of http://www.uk-secured-loans-centre.co.uk where you will find further advice and information on all aspects of secured loans for debt consolidation, car loans and home improvement loans.

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Putin on the Ritz: Vlad dances at minister's wedding
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