Unfortunately, as millions know, there are many real, long-term risks when it comes to having a poor credit score. A low credit score can cost you thousands and significantly hamper your future. These scores are often driven by financial errors that were made by either reporting companies or the individual in question.

There are ways to fix these scores, either for free or by paying a for-profit company known as a credit repair organization. However, these services can get expensive, and it begs the question: Is it worth paying someone to fix your score?

The answer is…maybe. It depends on you.

It is important to keep in mind that there is nothing that a credit repair agency can do that you couldn’t do for yourself. A legitimate credit repair agency will:

  • Contact a company that has made a negative report on your credit, on your behalf, and try to have the score removed.
  • Contact the credit reporting agency itself and try to address fraudulent or mistaken claims. 

In some instances, credit repair companies may offer financial education as well. This is part of a broader effort to improve financial literacy.

Remember: You can do this, too. All you need is to obtain a free copy of your credit report. From there, you can identify where there may be errors, where you owe money, and where you are delinquent in payments. Each of these companies or debts may have different procedures, and if you find your identity has been stolen and accounts have been opened in your name, there is a whole array of procedures that you may need to utilize in order to clear these issues up.

However, it is important to realize that you can do all of this on your own as well. Keep in mind, it may take time, persistence, patience, and organizational skills. If an account was opened in your name, you may need to involve law enforcement in order to clear all of these issues up. However, it can be done, and it can be done on your own. Furthermore, using a credit repair agency isn’t cheap, and in many cases, they may be addressing issues that would fall off of your credit report in a short time anyway.

If you have the money – but are worried that you don’t have the skills or time – you may want to take advantage of one of these services, provided that you can make sure that the company is respecting your rights and isn’t a scam. However, if you are comfortable making calls, doing research, and sending letters on your own, you can save yourself the money and try to skip using a credit repair company.