Living with bad credit can cause problems in many areas of your life, from the way your potential employers view you to your ability to purchase a house. It is no wonder a substantial number of people with bad credit turn to credit repair services. Bad credit can prevent you from acquiring a new credit card and incur very high-interest rates on your mortgage or auto loans.

There are many ways to recover from a bad credit score. In fact, you can even do the entire process online by yourself for free. But you will have to put in maximum work in exchange for minimal cost. The more you can achieve by yourself, the less you pay and vice versa.

If you want to repair your credit score, there are three options available. The expenditure can be very polarizing, from zero cost to several thousand dollars. Here is what you can expect to pay for each option:

1.    DIY Credit Repair: Zero – under $30

2.    Credit Repair Software: $30 – $40

3.    Professional credit card repair services: $15 – $90 for setup + $30 – $100/month

DIY Credit Repair: Zero – under $30

If you are short on cash and you cannot afford to seek professional credit repair services, you have an option to do the entire process by yourself. But keep in mind that you will have to dedicate a lot of patience and hard work into research before finally applying what you have learned. This process can cost you $0 up to $30. 

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The first step will be getting your credit report and carefully inspecting for errors. Errors are not common, but they can happen. If you notice any mistakes, make a copy of your report, highlight the errors, and send it to the concerned credit bureau.  Credit Bureaus maintain an online form where you can raise your claim to remove errors from your report. If you use the available online report, it should not cost you anything.

You also have the option to mail your report physically. Some experts have noted that you will have a much higher chance of getting your mistakes cleared if you send it through physical mail. If you prefer this option, you should send your report through registered mail and request for the return receipt. The total expenditure of sending to all three bureaus can set you back around $30.

Credit Repair Software: $30 – $40

Repair software can prove to be very basic or in-depth depending on its price. Repair software is somewhere between a DIY method and professional repair service. You can also get repair software that aids you in making your disputes. Credit repair software can range anywhere from $30 up to $400. The higher the cost, the more you receive from the platform.

On the basic side, you can buy the software for a very minimal cost. It will come with a dispute letter template and instructions on how to manage each case relating to errors on your credit report. This form of software usually starts from $30, however it is possible to get it for far less. Some are as low as $2.

On the more in-depth and comprehensive side, the software consists of a template letter for specific situations, which can even be auto-filled in certain cases. Generally, these software set notifications to track your dispute progress. Some consists of a native credit score tracker while some even employ credit card specialists to deal with your situation or in case you run into trouble.

Professional credit card repair services: $15 – $90 for setup + $30 – $100/month

This procedure involves seeking the help of professionals to repair your credit score. These professionals do the same thing you would do if you opted for a DIY credit repair method. The difference is that these professionals are state-licensed attorneys. They will perform all the legwork and settle disputes on your behalf. You will be updated on every stage in the process.

It can save you a lot of time but will cost you the most. You will have to pay an initial set up fee, followed by monthly installments. The installments can cost from $60 to $100 till you are content with the service.

Warning: Credit repair services have also attracted a lot of negative attention due to scams and frauds. Most of the credit repair services are scams, and it is important to be vigilant. However, legitimate credit repair services do exist and can provide you with essential help. Some things to keep in mind are:

•    Make sure the firm’s attorneys are state licensed

•    Another important factor is that only attorneys with a license to work in your state can stake claims on disputes

•    If the firm maintains attorneys on staff, it is most likely to be a fraud

•    They are also not allowed to charge fees upfront. They can only charge if they confirm that your credit score has improved.

•    It is also not possible to guarantee a credit score increase. If the firm assures an increase, it is likely a scam

Conclusion: There are many ways to increase your credit score, but it is important to not pay for what you don’t need. If you are interested in a mortgage, losing a few hundred dollars in order to save a thousand is a wise choice. On the other hand, if you have no plans on applying for a loan or a credit card and is only looking to improve your credit score, paying for expensive services might be an overstretch.

Also, keep in mind that credit repair services can help you but in limited ways. Avoid unrealistic expectations. Pay for what you need and contact your providers if they include features that you don’t need.