Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair: An Expert Guide

Do It Yourself Credit Repair

Do-it-yourself credit repair may sound like a lot of work. And it can be — but putting in the time and effort to see your credit score improve is worth it.

Living with bad credit isn’t just a nuisance; it can impact every area of your life. If you’ve finally decided to take matters into your own hands and fix your credit problems, you’ve made a wise choice. Now you may be asking yourself where to begin. Luckily, these days there are a lot of options for proactive and hands-on folks who want to take back control of their financial lives.

While much of the DIY credit repair information available out there can be helpful, the sheer volume can feel overwhelming — not to mention being sure you’re getting the right information. That’s why we’ve put together this short tutorial outlining three easy ways you can fix your credit problems.

As with every endeavor, educating yourself on the options available is the crucial first step. So let’s dive in and explore the credit repair process, including writing dispute letters, seeking the assistance of credit repair professionals, and finding the best eBooks on the topic.

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Dispute Negative Items by Writing Letters to the Bureaus

Negative entries on your credit report that are either erroneous or inaccurate can often be removed by simply writing a letter to the reporting agency. In fact, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that the credit reporting agencies must investigate any disputed entry a consumer discovers on their credit report. If the agency finds that the entry is erroneous, they must remove it from the report.

Writing a letter to the credit reporting agency or agencies that have listed the erroneous entries on your report is the easiest way to get them removed. The reporting agencies must respond within 30 days to letters sent to them disputing credit report entries — it’s the law!

They must complete their investigation into whether this disputed entry should remain on your report within that same 30-day period. For an entry to remain or be reinstated on your credit report, there must be compelling evidence of its accuracy.

Writing a letter disputing a credit report entry can be done either through the mail or online. If a letter is sent through the mail, it should be done via certified mail so the receipt date can be verified. When sending a letter, there are a few things to remember to ensure your letter gets processed and not rejected.

  • A separate dispute letter is required for each erroneous entry you are disputing.
  • Attach a recent copy of your credit report with the erroneous entry highlighted and with the front page included.
  • Keep your dispute letter clear and simple. State only the relevant facts, and explain the reason for disputing the entry.
  • Be sure to include copies of any relevant documents supporting your claim.
  • If you know who the furnisher of the disputed information is, send them an identical letter at the same time.
  • Keep copies of all your correspondence with the reporting agencies, along with dates sent.

Here is a link to a sample letter recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. If you want a faster method of disputing credit report entries, all three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — now allow consumers to file dispute claims online free of charge. Here are the links to each company’s online dispute page:

Credit Repair Software Helps Through Templates and Guidance

For those people who want a little extra help in repairing their credit, there are credit repair software tools available. Credit repair software still lets you take control of your DIY credit repair, but offers extra help in the form of step-by-step guidance and formatted templates for you to use.

In general, credit repair software tools work by scanning your credit reports (entered either manually or automatically through the software) and then allowing you to identify the entries you wish to dispute. Once the erroneous entries have been identified, the software takes over and can create, track and manage the dispute process, generate dispute letters, graphically display the progress of your disputes, and more.

Of course, these tools can be costly. However, depending on your credit report status, it may be well worth the investment. Here are some of the more effective and affordable credit repair software tools we’ve found.

DisputeBee ($49/month)

DisputeBee logo

Professional credit repair companies use DisputeBee, created in 2018, to streamline their operations. Consumers also use the software for to manage their personal credit.

As outlined above, meticulously preparing letters to send to credit bureaus, debt collectors, and creditors is a tried-and-true credit repair strategy. But consumers often lack the knowhow, expertise, confidence, and time to craft factual dispute letters to be most effective.

DisputeBee automates the process, making credit repair through factual dispute easy. Sense its creation, it has evolved into a complete credit management solution, combining automated dispute generation, progress tracking, credit report analysis, and educational resources to help users avoid problems in the future.

Importing a credit report is the first step. DisputeBee guides users through the import process and generates dispute letters in a few clicks. Credit bureaus often require rounds of correspondence before resolving issues. DisputeBee keeps tabs on the status of each dispute until each negative item is deleted.

Automation and organization features combine with intuitive design to make DisputeBee a leading credit repair software platform for businesses and consumers.

Credit Versio (24.95/month for basic, $29.95/month for premium)

Credit Versio logo

Credit Versio combines all the tools you need to diagnose, dispute, and repair credit in a single, easy-to-use, economical package.

What’s more, the service is essentially free — users pay for a subscription to pull reports from the three credit bureaus and postage for dispute letters.

Without affecting your existing credit score, the software automatically imports and analyzes your three-bureau credit report, locates negative entries, and uses AI to create an effective dispute strategy.

There’s also an extensive library of articles, videos, and tutorials to help users improve their money-management habits so they can stay out of credit trouble over the long run.

The basic version includes SmartCredit Money Manager and two monthly single-bureau reports and score updates. The premium version includes SmartCredit Money Manager with unlimited single-bureau reports and score updates.

Both versions allow unlimited disputes and provide monthly reports and scores from the three bureaus.

Credit Repair Magic ($97)

Credit Repair Magic logo

Credit Repair Magic prides itself on being the easiest-to-use credit repair platform on the market. Instead of asking users to pay a subscription fee, it charges a one-time fee for lifetime access.

Credit Repair Magic combines effectiveness, accuracy, and speed in a package that allows family members and even friends to access the software from any device, with automatic free upgrades for life.

Value-added services include:

  • An audio program with expert coaching
  • A bonus program with actionable information on how to increase your credit score
  • Interviews with credit experts on debt settlement
  • Information on obtaining free credit reports, mortgages, and credit score strategies

The point-and-click interface uses a step-by-step approach to guide users through the credit repair process.

Credit Detailer Personal Edition ($399.99)

Credit Detailer logo

Functionally the same as the much more expensive Professional Edition, the Credit Detailer for home users is a powerful credit repair tool. It contains information on credit repair regulations and consumer rights, and is designed for both effective credit repair and educational opportunity.

Simple, automated and customizable, Credit Detailer is worth checking out. An added bonus that comes with the Credit Detailer home package is one hour of coaching with a credit expert.

Customer and technical support make lasting credit repair feasible for consumers and businesses.

Personal Credit Software ($199.97/two-year subscription)

Personal Credit Software cover

Personal Credit Software automatically imports your credit information from the credit reporting agencies, and then walks you through the steps required to identify and dispute erroneous entries on your report. This software also comes with bonus products, tips and strategies included in the price.

The program teaches users:

  • How to add years of good credit to their credit reports
  • How to curb collections activity
  • Strategies to boost credit scores
  • Step-by-step methods to overcome bad credit and obtain needed transportation, housing, and personal loans

Credit repair software can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Plus, it’s designed to take the guesswork out of credit repair. Therefore, users who view a credit repair software purchase as an investment may see it repaid many times over.

The key is to use the credit repair process as a jumping-off point to better financial habits. Take the steps the programs above recommend and financial life may become much easier.

Teach Yourself with an eBook

Let’s face it, when you’re up against a system that’s as large as the credit reporting industry, educating yourself on your rights as a consumer is your best defense. Toward this end, it’s often worth spending a little money to read about strategies written by experts in credit repair and the credit dispute process.

A great place to begin this research process is to check out some of the current eBooks written on the subject.

When discussing eBooks on any topic, it’s important to realize that the information provided may or may not be the most accurate or well-researched. Oftentimes the editing and fact-checking that goes into a professionally published book is circumscribed in self-published eBooks.

That’s why we’ve done a little digging into the most recommended and best-reviewed eBooks on the topic. Here are some we can recommend.

“Credit Repair Kit for Dummies” by Steve Bucci (2020)

"Credit Repair for Dummies" cover

“Credit Repair Kit for Dummies” by Melyssa Barrett, Steve Bucci, and Rod Griffin (Kindle / Nook) is in its 5th edition as part of the ever-popular “for dummies” book series.

The authors keep the discussion on a high level, using easy-to-understand language to present practical advice and tip and detailed explanations of credit reports and scores.

The book contains sample letters for disputing errors, tips to boost low scores, an d copious recommendations on how to avoid, reduce, and eliminate mortgage, credit card, and other debt.

There’s also advice about how to keep a good credit score during a period of unemployment.

“Credit Repair: Make a Plan, Improve Your Credit, Avoid Scams” by Amy Loftsgordon and Cara O’Neill (2021)

"Credit Repair" cover

The financial industry is diverse rife with scammers out to steal your identity and take your money.

That’s why “Credit Repair: Make a Plan, Improve Your Credit, Avoid Scams” by Amy Loftsgordon and Cara O’Neill (Kindle / Nook) contains practical tips for steering clear of scammers along with advice for increasing credit scores, deleting credit report errors, and paying down loans.

The book guides readers on how to budget and manage debts, reduce expenses, negotiate with creditors, correct credit report errors, add positive information to credit reports, and rebuild credit after a setback.

“Credit Repair 101: Your Guide to Freedom!” by Richard Smith (2018)

"Credit Repair 101" cover

“Credit Repair 101: Your Guide to Freedom!” by Richard Smith (Kindle) is a story of how consumers have coped with credit struggles due to financial crisis.

Smith helps readers distinguish legitimate credit repair services from scams, understand their legal rights, and how to take steps yourself to improve their credit scores.

The book delves into the technicalities of credit monitoring rules and regulations, how credit counseling organizations can help, and steps every consumer with a poor credit history can take to regroup and build a better future.

“Perfect Credit: 7 Steps to a Great Credit Rating” by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (2018)

"Perfect Credit" cover

“Perfect Credit: 7 Steps to a Great Credit Rating” by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (Kindle / Nook) makes the case that improving your credit is a ticket to success on many levels.

Better yet is perfect credit, which can result in tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime because of its ancillary benefits.

Khalfani-Cox educates readers about the function of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, describes what it’s like to have no credit at all, and provides easy-to-follow steps for meeting the challenges of bad credit and achieving greater heights.

“Hidden Credit Repair Secrets” by Mark Clayborne (2016)

"Hidden Credit Repair Secrets" cover

Author Mark Clayborne completely revised “Hidden Credit Repair Secrets” (Kindle) in 2016.

It is among the most widely recommended books on credit repair.

It includes a detailed six-step dispute plan and a bonus chapter on credit repair companies and their techniques.

The book also presents over 15 sample letters and easy-to-follow chapters with actionable steps that bring results.

This book is still relevant and up-to-date because the fundamentals of credit repair don’t change.

“The Easy Section 609 Credit Repair Secret: Remove All Negative Accounts In 30 Days Using A Federal Law Loophole That Works Every Time” by Brandon Weaver (2015)

"The Easy Section 609 Credit Repair secret" cover

“The Easy Section 609 Credit Repair Secret” (Kindle) was written by someone who put this technique into practice for himself and dramatically improved his credit score, this eBook is filled with actionable information.

It focuses on a particular section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act called Section 609, which states that credit reporting agencies must provide consumers with a copy of their original signed contract from a creditor — which consumers seldom have access to.

Become a DIY Credit Repair Expert

They say knowledge is power, and that certainly holds true when it comes to credit repair. You never know if you’re doing all you can to fix a problem if you don’t understand it.

That’s why educating yourself through handy, easy-to-use software and accessible eBooks is a great way to achieve credit repair mastery.

Once you understand the details and how to overcome challenges, you’re on your way toward lasting financial stability and success.

We’re confident any of these carefully chosen solutions can help you achieve that.