Can I hire someone to guide me on improving my credit?
December 12, 2015 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I have looked up my own credit scores, but I'd like to hire a professional to help analyze my credit history to make a plan for improving it. I started an LLC and I really need to improve my personal credit score. Can I hire someone to help me do this? I'm in Columbus Ohio if that matters. Thanks!
posted by crawltopslow to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried basic resources like Credit Karma already?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:57 PM on December 12, 2015

If you think you might be interested in (eventually) buying a house, a mortgage broker can do this for you, and probably free. Their aim of course would be to get your credit up to snuff enough to buy a home.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:57 PM on December 12, 2015

The way to improve credit is to pay down debt and to pay promptly. There are no other magic bullets for this.

There are 'credit repair' places but the advice you'll get there is to challenge late payments or charge offs, or to suggest some really sketchy things (like changing your SSN.)

If you need help with managing money or for a plan for how to move forward with your business plan, a fee-based Certified Financial Planner, or a CPA/Accountant might be the right answer for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:20 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I got good advice from a mortgage broker about my credit report. He said I should pay off any outstanding collections, especially the smaller ones. I have been using Credit Karma to track my credit score. There are all sorts of sites with lots of advice about repairing your credit. I, too, have been intrigued by the idea of paying someone to help me, but the prices that I have seen have not justified the work, and the reality is, that time is the one thing that helps credit- either to write letters contesting items/asking for proof of items on your credit report, or time to rebuild credit.
posted by momochan at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2015

If you do want to go the route of either asking for a "goodwill" removal of a derogatory mark or trying to have late payments removed by challenging the recordkeeping behind them, there is a lot of info on online forums like creditboards and ficoforums.
posted by salvia at 10:02 AM on December 13, 2015

Best answer: The forums at have helped me immensely. With the help of those folks, in the course of a few years I've improved all three of my scores from the mid-500s to 800+. While I don't have recommendations for a specific resource to help, here are some main points I've learned / researched that will get you 80% of the way there on your own.

Roughly two thirds of your score is comprised of payment history and credit usage - about a third each.
- Keep your overall usage under 30% of your credit limit, both on any one card and aggregate across all cards.
- 1-5% usage is ideal. A very low percentage is better than showing a completely zero balance; this shows you're actually using the credit and doing so responsibly. Carry this balance on only one or two cards, but rotate this activity across your cards over time if you have several, to keep them active.
- Late payments hurt. Not a whole lot you can do about those except let them age off. Some lenders are open to "good faith" removal of an isolated late payment - but are certainly not obligated to do so. DO dispute any late payments you don't agree with, or on accounts with lenders that no longer exist.
- Do NOT rush right into paying collection accounts, especially if they are old. These are by far the most snowflakey things on your report that really need individual attention, based on what they are, the amount, how much, etc. Search the forums for a 'PFD', or 'Pay for Dismissal' letter. Whatever you do, if you choose to pay off a collection account, first attempt to get in writing from the collection agency that, in exchange for payment, they will remove the item completely from your report and not simply mark it as paid.

The other third is a mix of items which you have a mixed level of control over:

- Age of history. You have no control over this, obviously, other than to let time help.
- Average age of accounts. Don't constantly open new accounts; keep key low-interest, high-rewards bank cards open long-term.
- Account types / number of active accounts. Don't go out and get a car loan just to expand your portfolio, but a variety of credit types on your report does improve your score slightly, except for 'consumer credit' like Lending Tree or other finance options that are typically no collateral, higher interest loans targeted towards people with poor credit.
- Inquiries. Don't apply for new credit unless you absolutely need it. You can shop for auto or mortgage loans, but do so within a 30-day window and they shouldn't count as multiple inquiries.

Hopefully this will help somewhat. Feel free to memail me if you have more individualized questions, I'll be happy to share my knowledge.
posted by SquidLips at 10:17 AM on December 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

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