I hear from so many smart, hustling moms who are eager to move out of a crisis situation like a bad relationship, bad job, or bad town — and land on their feet. They might be ready to buy a house, or need to buy a new, reliable car. Maybe this is you. Perhaps you need a cash infusion to your business, or refinance student loans / credit card debt / medical bills.
But your credit score is low. Or: Your credit is completely shot.
Maybe you have missed payments, racked up too much debt, or maybe there are errors on your credit reports that you don't know how to fix.
You need credit now, but repairing your credit, increasing your credit score and cleaning up your reports is daunting — complicated, expensive, and time-consuming.
Yes and no.
Credit is overwhelming for a lot of people. But it is not unmanageable. You can teach yourself how credit clean-up and repair works. It is certainly not impossible, or even hard. It just takes time and discipline.
And let's get real: If your credit is poor, credit management is probably not your jam.
Hiring a credit repair company can seem even more overwhelming. So many have horrible reputations, are expensive, and it is hard to know which ones are scams that will just waste your precious time and money.
Credit repair companies
Thankfully, there are a handful of credit repair companies that are affordable, transparent and reliable.
I like The Credit People — an affordable, quick and automated system to dispute and remove errors from your credit report. They will resolve errors on your credit reports, including:
- Late Payments
- Identity Theft
Do credit repair companies really help?
Yes, a reputable credit company will go through your credit reports, find errors and try to get them removed, potentially bump up your credit score.
The Credit People works like this:
1. Sign up. Fees start at $19.
2. You quickly get access to a dashboard, which, within 48 hours, will have reports from all three of the major credit agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. The Credit People at this point have generated a credit-repair program for you.
3. The Credit People will ask you verify the info on the dashboard, and upload proof of identity, like a copy of your passport (I had one handy), or your driver's license.
4. You are matched with a service rep, who will call you to tell you about the process. He or she then starts to aggressively challenge and have removed any questionable items on your credit reports. These include legal actions like liens and bankruptcies that aren’t yours, incorrect dates, duplicate items, debts that should have been aged off the report, debts that can’t be verified, and misspellings that could have a negative impact on your score.
5. The whole time, you have access to a personal dashboard, so you can see what The Credit People is doing to repair your credit report and score, and watch your score improve.
Here is a quick (funny and cute) video that explains how they work:
5. Once you achieve your goals (refinance loans, consolidate credit cards, get a mortgage on a home, or buy a car, get a high credit score — whatever your dream), then cancel your subscription, and go on with your badass, high-credit life.
How much does credit repair cost using The Credit People?
This is the most important question, right? In the case of The Credit People, the initial 7 days is $19, and then $79 per month after, or a full 6-months of service for $419 — a $55 savings. These rates are lower than most of the top-rated competitors, and with a money-back guarantee.
The welcome video underscores that it can take six months or more to really repair your credit report, and improve your credit score, so that turns into hundreds of dollars invested in something that you are legally allowed to do yourself.
But consider this: If you were good at managing your credit, you likely would not be in this spot. Don't take it personally — millions of people struggle with lousy credit.
Also, this is an investment in time and money. If, say, you wanted to buy a $25,000 car, and your credit is below 620, you are likely to pay close to 18% interest, or $13,000 in interest over a 5-year auto loan. If you could raise your score to 720, you would qualify for 6.5% interest, and only pay $4,350 — a $8,650 difference.
In other words, a $400 investment could save you $8,650 with just the purchase of a car. That could be many times higher if you were refinancing loans, or buying a home.
Over a lifetime, the difference between good or even average credit, and bad credit, could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Plus, as I am a huge proponent of outsourcing, a professional credit repair company has the expertise, time and manpower to devote to beating your credit score into shape. The Credit People claims it has successfully worked with more than 100,000 clients.
The Credit People review
I became a Credit People customer, even though my credit score is 810. My experience was great. Here is what I liked:
- Founded in 2001 — so it's not a silly startup.
- Great customer service. I used the chat on the home page when I had questions even before I bought a membership, and found it quick, thorough and helpful. The call with my customer service representative was helpful, friendly and he knew his stuff.
- The site promises: “You’ll continue seeing improvements in your credit each month for as long as you’re with us. We will continue working on your credit until we’ve accomplished the best results possible for you.”
- Simple pricing (no weird ‘report fees' or other nonsense you might see with other companies).
- Industry's lowest pricing.
- The company's “Ultimate Guarantee” aligns with industry best practices, in which you never pay for work upfront and can cancel anytime.
- Mentions in the New York Times, SmartMoney, USAToday and other publications I trust.
You can also call The Credit People at 1-866-938-4299.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.