Credit Repairs in Three Days or Less: Fact or Fiction?

By Gina Pogol
Mortgage Credit Problems Columnist

Most people have errors on their credit reports--closed accounts reported as open, on-time payments shown as late, incorrect balances, etc., which can result in lower credit scores than you deserve. Rapid re-scoring services are legitimate and do exactly what they say they can do--remove inaccurate information from your credit report quickly and inexpensively--they charge about $50 per error. Rapid re-scoring services are used by mortgage lenders who are trying to help their applicants increase their credit scores and get the best mortgage interest rates they can.

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Legitimate Credit Repair to Correct Inaccuracies

Rapid re-scorers aren't doing anything that you couldn't do yourself, but considering that the average dispute takes hours of your time while you write letters, gather your paperwork, and mail certified packets to the credit bureaus, the cost of the service may well be worth the time saved. In addition, rapid rescorers have a special relationship with credit bureaus that allows them to get corrections to your credit report accomplished in a matter of days rather than weeks--critical when your are buying or refinancing a home.

Rapid re-scoring has limits though, and re-scoring services can't help everyone.

  • You can't deal with re-scorers directly. The services work with mortgage lenders only, not with consumers. If you're being offered instant credit repair from a non-mortgage lender, its probably a scam.
  • Re-scoring only works on inaccurate data. Rapid re-scoring doesn't do anything about negative credit history that you earned or disputes with creditors. It works wonders if you are the victim of identity theft or sloppy reporting by creditors, however.
  • You have to prove your case. Your best bet is a letter from the creditor admitting the error. If you don't already have such a letter, some re-scoring services will contact the creditors for you. This delay your re-scoring though.
  • There are no guarantees. Removing the error may or may not improve your score, and there's no telling how much any one trade line affects your score. However, the more recent and more serious the inaccuracy, the more likely it is to have a larger impact on your score.
These days, credit scores are key to mortgage underwriting because it's largely automated. Even minor errors can disqualify you for a prime mortgage and put you in bad credit mortgage territory. And when you are getting a mortgage, the normal way of correcting errors by writing to credit bureaus simply takes too long and can derail a home purchase.

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