Having a good credit rating is one of the essential tools for leading a successful economic life. Although most people don’t give their credit reports much thought, good credit allows for many things that are usually taken for granted: credit cards, car rentals, hassle free loans and apartment rentals, etc. Every time you miss a payment to a creditor, the creditor will report this to a credit bureau, and it will be added to your credit report. If you do this too often or let loans go into default, you will find yourself needing to engage in credit repair, as you will be consistently turned down for credit cards and most other types of loans.

If you turn to the internet or classified ads when beginning your research into credit repair, you’ll likely notice many, many offers from companies offering credit repair services. Most of them market themselves aggressively and claim that they can fix your credit report quickly for a fee. You should be very wary of dealing with these companies – not only are many of them scams, in most cases, you can repair your credit more effectively.

It’s important to understand that there is nothing a credit repair company can do that you can’t do yourself. In other words: even though they may imply so, a credit repair company is not in cahoots with the credit bureau, and cannot get poor marks on your credit rating “erased.” What’s most likely to happen is that the credit repair company will encourage you to obtain your credit report from the credit bureau, and to challenge negative items on the report.

In some cases, credit repair companies will even go so far as to engage in activities of questionable legality. Namely, they will encourage you to start a “new” credit rating through a change of address and banking information. This practice is not legal, nor is it usually effective. A far better approach to credit repair is to do it yourself. If you search online you’ll find many sites offering step by step advice – your best bet is to look at advice from a government source or other trusted organization.

The best approach is first to obtain your credit report from the bureau. Once you have the report, examine it carefully, and challenge, in writing, any errors on the report. Only challenge items if there are genuine errors – if your report is error-free, you will have to engage in the traditional methods of credit repair. The best way to start is to obtain a secured credit card and use it regularly. In this manner, you will be to repair your credit rating slowly.

By being patient and making smart budgeting decisions, you will be able to pay your creditors on time. In doing so, you will eventually prove to them that you are suitable for credit. Although credit repair in this way is a slow process, it is the only truly effective one. This do-it-yourself approach will be far more successful in the long run than employing a credit repair company.