CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — So many people here in the Coastal Bend, and across Texas and the rest of the country are trying to dig out debt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the three major credit reporting agencies are offering all consumers free weekly credit reports through 'annualcreditreport.com' till April 20, to help you better protect your financial health due to the pandemic.
So we've asked the Better Business Bureau about what you can do about fixing your credit, and what to watch out for when choosing to work with credit repair specialists Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian.
Whatever information's been reported to them, about you by your creditors, determines, in part what you can do, at least financially.
We spoke with Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau asking what's the difference between the three agencies?
"It's just a matter of who your creditors are reporting to," Galan told us.
The information will remain on your record for several years.
"If we're talking a bankruptcy. that typically stays on your record about 7 years," she said.
Galan also described what can happen if "derogatory remarks" are listed on your report.
"So a derogatory remark typically means that you have been late on payments, or you're continually late, or you have let a balance go without making any sort of payment on it," Galan said.
Your repair report can be repaired by an individual.
Of course, if you have the time, patience, and knowledge to do it right, and on your own.
Otherwise, think about hiring a credit repair specialist.
But make sure to ask questions up front.
"They can't come and tell you that your credit is gonna be completely fixed 'cause there are no guarantees," Galan adds.
BEWARE OF CREDIT REPORTING COMPANIES THAT:
- Remove accurate negative info from your report
- Create a new credit identity for you
- Ask you to pay first before providing services
This list shows what you want to watch out for.
And of course, you want to know how much will it cost?
That will depend on each individual's situation.
In Texas, credit repair businesses are not required to be licensed, however, according to website firstcardpayments.com, some municipalities may require the repair business get a surety bond.
That way, you, the consumer, are protected in the event the repair business causes you harm or fails to perform any losses are covered by the bond.