Credit Repair, Remove Negative Items: Can It Be Done?

by : David Kamau

You've seen them in advisements. Credit repair, remove negative items, reduce or eliminate interest, open a brand new credit file, lower your payments and other similar promises. Can it be done?

The promise of credit repair is alluring indeed. Scam artists know this and have been cashing in on it. Credit restoration scams and schemes are galore.

Many have fallen victim to these scammers and schemers. This is sad, as the people who get scammed are obviously in debt and financial trouble already. Some may have even lost their homes or automobile(s). Talk of heartlessness.

So, is it possible to fix your credit and remove adverse information? Well, as you probably know, there are three major credit reporting agencies in the US. This means that the task of information removal gets three times as difficult.

Credit repair companies (also known as credit repair clinics) often promise to clean up your file for a hefty or monthly recurring fee. Now let's take a look at how these companies operate in order to have a better understanding.

The credit clinics use three main strategies. One is to dispute everything on your credit file in the hopes of overwhelming the bureaus, such that they cannot verify the information within the legally required time frame. Does it work?

Well, credit bureaus know this tactic and will often dismiss such disputes as "frivolous". And, even if the information does come off, it could still be re-entered somewhere down the road once verified.

The second strategy is to advise you to stop making payments until a point where the creditor or debt collector gives up. At this point, the creditor or collector might be willing to accept a fraction of the original debt. But there are problems to this too.

One problem with this technique is that it can wreak havoc on your credit report for years to come. Credit repair companies might promise to negotiate removal of the negative items on your behalf as part of the bargain, but this is not a guarantee.

Another problem to this is that the amount of forgiven debt is often considered income, for which you have to pay tax. Say hello to (potential) tax problems.

Even if a collection agency agrees to remove negative information from your report in exchange for payment, it can only remove what it has reported. Since accounts may have exchanged hands several times, any previous information will still show, and hurt your credit score.

The third strategy that credit repair clinics use is advice you to establish a new identity by obtaining an employer identification number (EIN). You then build a new credit report using that number as your social security number. This is tantamount to creating a false identity and could open you up for legal problems.

But don't lose hope. Bad credit information removal is possible. The time it takes depends on your particular situation and personal effort.

Most reputable credit repair consultants agree that self credit repair is the best way to go. And it costs you nothing but your own time and effort. You may actually be doing yourself a great favor by avoiding credit repair companies.

How to get started? You need to learn and use certain strategies, and some plain old guts. Though not rocket science, credit repair (remove negative information) strategies are beyond the scope of this article.