Is bad credit ruining your chances of being approved for a home loan? Have you been quoted high-interest rates on your insurance premiums due to your credit score? Maybe that promotion you have been eyeing is out of reach only because of your credit rating; whatever the case, there is help available. Professional credit repair in Virginia can help remove negative marks and improve your credit so you can get the things you deserve. Read on to find out how credit repair works in Virginia and why you should consider using it to fix your credit.
The cost of living in Virginia is on par with the average cost of living in the US generally. It sits comfortably in the middle of other states, with real estate and basic necessities around average for the country. Despite the middle of the road living costs, Virginia has the second-highest levels of per person credit card debt in the country. The average person in Virginia has credit card debt of $5,951, which is much higher than the national average of $5,193 per person.
Virginia residents have good credit scores. The average credit score in the state of Virginia is 721, which is just above the national average of 714. If you’re having difficulty improving your credit score or you’re experiencing an unexpected drop in your score, you may want to look into credit repair as an option to correct inaccurate information that’s going into your credit score calculation.
The Virginia Credit Services Businesses Act (VA Code 59.1-335.1) is a state law that credit repair companies operating in Virginia must abide by. It includes a few specific regulations about how these companies should communicate with customers and provide service. Some of the main requirements for credit repair companies are:
Federal laws also apply to companies offering credit repair in Virginia. Namely, the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) is a federal law aimed at protecting consumers by reigning in what credit repair companies are allowed to do, how they should charge customers, and how contracts should be arranged.
A lot of law firms around Virginia offer credit repair services. However, you don’t have to work with a law firm unless you want to. There are no restrictions on who can offer credit repair services, as long as they’re abiding by all relevant Virginia state laws and federal laws. This is beneficial to you, since it widens the pool of possible companies you can work with, allowing you to choose with company you feel will get the job done right.
Virginia has a basic 3-step credit repair process. It roughly follows this order:
Step 1: Requesting copies of your credit reports
In the beginning of the process, you need to make a request for your credit reports from each of the 3 credit bureaus in the US. These bureaus are responsible for creating and maintaining their own database of credit-related transactions for individuals, then using that data to calculate credit scores for each person. While you can’t just look it up online, you’re legally entitled to request a copy of each credit score from these credit bureaus at least once within a 12-month period.
Step 2: Examining entries on your credit reports
Once you receive your credit reports either digitally or through the mail, it’s time to go through the entries individually and search for inaccuracies. Inaccurate entries can be anything from simple clerical errors to more serious cases of credit fraud. Unfortunately, simple errors are common on credit reports, so you need to look closely at every entry, especially any negative entries, since these have the biggest impact on your credit score.
Step 3: Disputing inaccurate credit report entries
Only if inaccurate information is found on your credit report can you advance to the next stage of credit repair, which is disputing those entries with the relevant credit bureaus. This process cannot be done to attempt to remove legitimate, accurate entries that happen to be negatively impacting your credit score. If inaccuracies are found, send in dispute letters to the credit bureaus with some evidence of the inaccuracy and request the entries be removed or corrected.
Note: Once you get to the dispute process, credit repair gets more complicated. While you’re technically allowed to do it on your own, you may face a lot of difficulty getting a credit bureau to listen to your request if you try to dispute an entry without knowing the proper procedure and the right types of evidence to supply in support of your case.
Using a professional credit repair service in Virginia has its advantages even though you can perform most of the same actions used to correct your credit. As an individual, you will have only so much time each day or even each week to spend following up with the credit reporting agencies regarding items you are disputing on your credit report. Sometimes a consolidation of your debts is the best way to reduce your overall DTI ratio, in this case, a professional credit repair agency can be very helpful. In addition to working with companies to reduce your overall due, they can help negotiate affordable payments that fit your budget. A professional credit repair company can ask for negative marks from the consolidated accounts to be removed as part of your debt consolidation plan. If you have accounts that are currently in collections, a professional credit repair agent can negotiate a settlement that saves you money and gets debt collectors off of your back.
Hiring a reliable Virginia-licensed credit repair company is the best decision you can make for your financial health. Always start by looking for reviews online or receiving a recommendation from someone you trust. Check the company or individuals' credentials prior to handing over any of your personal information, and make sure you verify that their registration and bond are in good standing. A good Virginia credit repair company will have clear pricing and let you know what can be done to improve your score before you commit to their services. While a no-obligation consultation is not mandatory, many of the top credit repair companies offer them so that you can compare rates and make an informed decision regarding their credit repair services. It is a good idea to check the BBB and also find out if there have been any complaints in regards to customer service or delivering on their promises. Credit repair is not free, so it is important to invest your money in a company that is able to help you improve your score through legal methods.
Virginia credit scores can be significantly impacted by credit repair, especially if there are many negative entries on your credit report that don’t belong. False credit entries can be very damaging. By removing these inaccurate entries, you’re resetting the information used to calculate your credit score, resulting in a more accurate, honest credit score that truly reflects your ability to handle credit.
Credit repair services in Virginia charge a monthly rate to account for the length and complexity of the process. You can find good companies offering varying services from $69 - $189 per month, depending on what’s included in the service. The average cost for a reputable credit repair company is $125 per month in Virginia.
No matter how well you present your case, credit repair can still take months to complete. In Virginia, the average time credit repair takes from start to finish is 3 – 6 months. Delays along the way can make the process take longer. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get a solid timeline for your credit repair case upfront. You just have to follow the process and diligently keep up with it.
Small or large, all cities in Virginia have equal access to credit repair from any reputable company operating in the state. As long as local and federal laws are followed, credit repair is available to residents of large cities like Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, or Roanoke as well as smaller cities including Tysons, Salem, Radford, or Martinsville. If you are having trouble managing your debts and can’t seem to find a way to lower your expenses on your own, hiring a credit repair company is a step in the proper direction that can lead you to a firmer financial future.