Many people who live in South Carolina suffer from poor credit or even bad credit. Many times these low scores are a result of mistakes and errors listed on their credit reports. Did you know that on average, as much as 80% of consumer credit report has at least one error? Credit reports that have several errors can lead to lower scores which can make securing new lines of credit difficult. Credit repair companies are dedicated to helping South Carolina consumers fix errors on their reports and repair their scores legally.
South Carolina is known to be an affordable state to live in, being just under the national average on the cost of living scale. Housing is especially affordable in this state when compared to other more expensive states further north. If you look at the level of credit card debt in South Carolina, it matches the cost of living well, being just $30 under the national average at $5,166 per person.
Unfortunately, credit scores in the state don’t fare as well. The average credit score in South Carolina is 693, 21 points below the national average of 714. While anything above 670 is still considered to be a good credit score, it may be more difficult to access the best mortgage rates and loan terms without a higher credit score. If your credit score is low because of credit fraud or errors on your credit report, you can benefit from credit repair to amend your credit report.
In South Carolina, the Consumer Credit Counseling laws (SC Stat 37-7-101) are legal requirements placed on any companies that want to offer credit repair within the state. These companies are required to:
Along with these state laws, there federal Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) also applies for any company that does credit repair within the US. This law is more broad than the state law, but it does require companies to provide written contracts to all customers, restricts how payment can be charged, and dictates how companies must describe the credit repair process, among other things.
While you can choose to work with a lawyer to do credit repair in South Carolina, it's not necessary. There is no official requirement for credit repair to be done by a legal service provider, so you can choose to work with any company that you are comfortable with that operates within the state. Some law firms in South Carolina do offer credit repair service, but a lot of other legitimate credit service providers can do the same service.
In South Carolina, the credit repair process involves these 3 main steps:
Step 1: Getting credit reports sent to you
The first thing you have to do is request your credit reports from the 3 major credit bureaus in the US. These credit bureaus maintain credit reports based on information that’s reported to them from businesses you interact with. You are entitled to request at least 1 free credit report from each bureau once every 12 months. Request a soft copy or hard copy of all 3 credit reports.
Step 2: Going through your personal credit reports
When you have access to your credit reports, it's time to go through them carefully and look at each entry individually. What you're checking for is entries that have inaccurate information or that are incorrect. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for credit reports to contain some errors. The problem is that these errors can cause your credit score to be miscalculated, which might leave you with a lower score than you should have. The good news is that incorrect entries on your credit report can be removed through a dispute process.
Step 3: Disputing inaccurate information in credit report entries
Take note of any inaccurate or incorrect information on your credit report so that you can send dispute letters to the credit bureau that produced the report. Dispute letters need to contain evidence of the falsity of an entry, which can be used during the bureau's own investigation of the entry. Once these letters are sent off, you are likely going to need to follow up a few times before the process is complete.
Note: Although credit repair sounds fairly straightforward, each step takes a little longer than you might expect. The only simple part of this process is requesting your credit reports. Once you get to the stage where you need to dispute an entry on a credit report, the process can slow down dramatically and may stop entirely if you don't provide the right information at the right time. This is why you're recommended to work with a licensed South Carolina credit repair company.
You can work to repair your credit on your own. You will need to get a copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies. If you notice mistakes, you can dispute them individually. This entails sending a letter or email to the credit reporting agencies in addition to sending paper letters to the creditors themselves. This will often be a lengthy process and regular follow-up is essential if you want the mistakes to be removed. You can also work on your own to pay down your debts and have lenders remove late notations from your credit report. If you are in need of consolidation, while you can do it on your own, it is often difficult and the rates you will get are not as low as those that a professional service will be able to negotiate. A South Carolina credit repair company will be able to do the same things you can to fix your credit, but more efficiently and with quicker results.
Credit repair agencies will be able to spend the time needed to dispute inaccurate items on your credit report and follow up to ensure they are removed. If you have late marks or charge-offs on your credit report, credit repair agents can spend time negotiating with your creditors to bring your account to current and have those marks removed. Old debts and expired debts can bring your score down as well. A dedicated credit repair company can work with credit reporting agencies to drop these from your credit report to help improve your score. For consumers that are battling with high amounts of debt, a consolidation is also an option. This can also be managed by a credit repair company on your behalf.
Inaccurate items on credit reports that are not a result of a person’s spending habits are one of the most common causes of lower scores. Even though these entries are not nefariously placed, they can cause problems for consumers' scores. Let’s talk about some of the mistaken entries that may be leading to your lower score. There are three major credit reporting agencies. They are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Creditors will report information to each of the major credit reporting agencies and depending on the type of account, also to some less common agencies. The credit reporting agencies seldom share information, which can lead to inaccuracies from one place, but not from the other. For example, if you paid off an account or even opened a new account, but the creditor only reported it to one agency, it will still show up as unpaid or not at all on the others. Reporting agencies also will keep reporting a debt that has already expired.
If an expired derogatory mark is still being reported by the credit agencies, it can lower the overall credit score. Information that is mis-merged is also another reason for low credit scores. In this case, someone with a similar name or address may have their information merged with yours. If their marks are negative, it can drag down your score as well. When a creditor provides information that is incomplete or inaccurate, it can also lead to mistakes in a person’s consumer report.
The amount your score can improve depends highly on how much is wrong with your credit report. Credit repair only helps when there are inaccurate or incorrect entries present on your credit report, so if you don't have anything wrong you won't be able to benefit from credit repair. However, if your credit report does contain inaccurate information, you can potentially see a huge increase in your credit score by removing these false entries.
The average cost for credit repair in South Carolina is between $79 to $199 per month. However, since there are many companies offering credit repair throughout the state, you can find similar service available for anywhere between $59 to $249 per month. Depending on which company you decide to work with, most may ask for an additional upfront contract setup charge. This is a one-time payment that is often lower than the monthly charge.
If you're planning to do credit repair in South Carolina, expect the process to take between 3 to 6 months. Although credit bureaus are supposed to respond to dispute letters within 30 days of receiving them, it's unlikely that you'll get the issue resolved this quickly. There are many delays that can happen throughout the process, especially while investigating the accuracy of a credit entry. Working with a legitimate credit repair company can help you to do the process as quickly as possible, but nothing can guarantee a short timeline.
All cities in South Carolina have the same access to credit repair as one another. Larger cities like Charleston, Columbia, or Mount Pleasant can access the same credit repair companies as smaller cities like Marion, Dentsville, or Bishopville. As long as the company you want to work with is properly licensed and following local and state regulations, you are not restricted from working with them.