Is credit repair company right for me?

Q: I want to buy a home within the next 5 years. My credit is on the low side, though. What would be the best way to up my credit score? I have been slowly but surely pay­ing some bills off. Are credit repair com­pa­nies a good way to go? If so, what should I look for in these companies?

–Angelle, Killeen, Texas


A: I think you should con­tinue your efforts to increase your credit score with the help of a coun­selor from the finan­cial readi­ness branch at Army Com­mu­nity Ser­vices on post or a coun­selor from a local affil­i­ate of the National Foun­da­tion for Credit Coun­sel­ing (www​.nfcc​.org).  A credit repair com­pany doesn’t have any magic tools at its dis­posal and the orga­ni­za­tions I men­tioned will be able to help you get on track with lit­tle or no cost—that’s not going to be the case with a credit repair company.

The top fac­tor in your credit score is “pay­ment his­tory” so mak­ing on time pay­ments every time is crit­i­cal. The folks at Fair Isaac Cor­po­ra­tion lay out the details of what goes into your score here at the myFICO web­site.  It won’t be magic but hard work and dis­ci­pline that get you where you want to be.

With the help of your coun­selor, you should build a bud­get that allows you to spend less than you earn and squeeze out more money to apply against your debt. You’ll also review your credit report to ensure it’s accu­rate and develop a plan to knock out your exist­ing debts. I wish you the best on your jour­ney! Good luck.



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Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product. You should seek policies and advice based upon your own particular circumstances. Sample loans are for illustration purposes only and are not a rate quote, pre-approval, or commitment to lend.

Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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