If you are drowning in credit card debt or medical debt and can’t keep up with your payments, chances are your credit score has already started to take a hit. As your credit score drops things will start to get more costly from insurance premiums to loans which can end up making you get even further behind. Instead of letting debt bury you in a cycle of late payments that end up lowering your score, get help while you still can. Credit repair companies in Washington can help you consolidate your debt and repair your credit at the same time.
Washington state is one of the more expensive states to live in. It has a much higher than average cost of living, with real estate and transportation costs far above the national average. These higher costs are likely related to the credit card debt levels in the state. The average person in Washington has credit card debt of $5,487, nearly $300 above average in the US.
As much as the debt levels are higher in Washington, credit scores are also high. The average person in Washington has a credit score of 734, 20 points above the national average. This is a solid credit score, but not everyone fits into this category. If you’re having problems raising your credit score or you need to improve a low credit score, one step you can take that can help is credit repair.
The Credit Services Organization Act (RCW 19.134) is a state law that applies some specific restrictions to credit repair companies operating in Washington. The main regulations put into place by this law include the requirements to:
Federal law also applies to these organizations, no matter where they operate in the country. In this case, the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) applies to any companies offering credit repair in the state of Washington and elsewhere. This law provides basic consumer protections, including limiting the way companies can communicate about credit repair to potential customers and how they can collect payments for service.
Credit repair is the process of removing derogatory marks from your credit report. A credit repair company typically will start by disputing items that are inaccurate such as wrong amounts and accounts that do not belong to you. They will then work with creditors to bring accounts up to date and remove derogatory entries such as late marks and past due marks. Depending on what is listed on your credit report and your long-term goals, they may ask you to consolidate your debt in order to help improve your score. Professional credit repair services in Washington will do many of the things you are able to do on your own to fix your credit, however, they have the time and knowledge to get it done more efficiently.
There’s no requirement to work with a lawyer for credit repair in Washington. It’s a common myth that you have to get legal assistance for this service, but it’s actually not the case. Any company following Washington state laws as well as federal laws is an option for you. You have a lot of freedom to choose which company you want to work with to settle your credit report mistakes.
In Washington state, credit repair involves 3 steps. They usually happen in this order:
Step 1: Getting your personal credit reports
To start, you need to request your credit reports from the 3 recognized credit bureaus in the US. These companies have been operational for years, collecting records of credit-related transactions you do and compiling them into credit records. The primary use of your credit reports is to calculate your credit score and to serve as a record of how you handle debt. As a consumer, you’re entitled to request at least 1 free credit report from each of the 3 bureaus every 12 months.
Step 2: Credit report analysis
Once you’ve obtained your credit reports, either as a digital copy or a physical paper copy, you need to spend some time going through all the entries. Since entries can go back even as far as 7+ years, there are likely a lot of entries to check. What you’re looking for is inaccurate information or false entries on any of the 3 reports. If you find any entry that contains incorrect information or that is on your credit report without reason, this means you need to move on to step 3.
Step 3: Disputing inaccuracies from your reports
The final part of credit repair happens when you find issues on any of your credit reports. These errors need to be amended, but you can’t do it yourself. The most common way to have issues with your credit report fixed is to send in a dispute letter to each relevant credit bureau to alert them about the mistake and request a corrective action.
Note: Although these actions all seem simple in isolation, the process of credit repair can take longer than you think. It’s not as simple as it sounds, especially if you identify errors that need to be corrected by a credit bureau. There’s usually a lot of communication that needs to happen before anything is resolved, which is why it’s good to have a reliable credit repair company on your side to keep your case in front of someone’s eyes as much as possible.
When you have bad credit, it may seem like you can never get away from your debts and negative history, but there is help available. A professional Washington-licensed credit repair company will be able to get rid of inaccuracies on your credit report that can increase your score by as much as 200 points, depending on your individual situation. They can also work with your creditors to consolidate your debts and in some cases remove derogatory marks as your accounts are brought into good standing. Just keep in mind that repairing your credit only works if you also make an effort to manage your money more effectively going forward.
Many credit repair companies will also offer credit counseling along with their credit repair packages. In almost all cases you can avail yourself of this as a standalone service if you need help learning how to manage your credit and your financiers more efficiently. Credit counseling will give you the tools and the knowledge you need to balance your budget and control your spending to prevent problems with your credit in the future. This is a good service for people who are on the verge of destroying their credit and those who are in the process of rebuilding their credit.
In Washington, you can see a lot of improvement to your credit score when you have inaccurate information removed from your credit report. These false entries can be highly detrimental when calculating your credit score, so having them removed will make a significant difference for you in both the short-term and the long-term as you continue improving your credit score.
The cost of credit repair in Washington varies depending on which company you work with. You can pay anything from $59 - $199 per month for this service, with the average cost being between $89 - $129 per month. Most companies will also add on a contract setup fee as a one-time charge when you begin working with them.
Credit repair is not a quick service. The average time it takes to finish the credit repair service in Washington state is 3 – 6 months. Even though credit bureaus need to respond to dispute letters about legitimate issues within 30 days of receiving them, this is not a guarantee that their investigation will conclude by this time. There’s no way to predict how long it will take, but if you assume the average time, you can plan accordingly.
All cities in Washington state are eligible for the same exact credit repair services as each other. There are no limitations on who can access credit repair if they’re working with a company that’s abiding by state and federal laws on credit repair operations. That means that whether you live in Seattle, Spokane, or Tacoma or a smaller city like Tukwila, Cheney, or Quincy, you can expect to have the same options when you need credit repair service.