Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
Bryan A. Schneider, Secretary  
Bruce Rauner, Governor
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Banks and Trust Companies - Tips

Credit Repair*

You might see or hear ads from companies that promise to "clean up" or "erase" your bad credit and give you a fresh start. They charge high fees, usually hundreds of dollars, but do not deliver on their promises.

If you are thinking of paying someone to "repair" your credit, remember this:

  • Negative credit information can be reported for seven years (10 years for a bankruptcy).
  • No one can require a credit bureau to remove accurate negative information before that period is up.
  • There are no "loopholes" or laws that credit repair companies can use to get correct information off your credit report.
  • No credit repair company can do anything you can't do for yourself.
  • A "money-back guarantee" does you no good if the company has gone out of business or refuses to make good on its refund promise.
  • The only way to "repair" bad credit is by good credit practices over a period of time.

Some credit repair companies promise not just to clean up your existing credit record but also help you establish a whole new credit identity. Remember, it is illegal to make false statements on a credit application or to misrepresent your Social Security number. If you use such methods, you could face fines or even prison. Beware of any company or method that:

  • encourages you to omit or lie about bad credit experience when you apply for new credit;
  • tells you to use a new name or address or a new number, for example, an Employer Identification Number (EIN), in place of your Social Security number in applying for credit; or
  • says it is legal to establish a new credit identity.

You can rebuild your good credit by handling credit responsibly. You may consider contacting a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) office. This is a non-profit organization that will provide help at little or no cost to you. For a CCCS office in your area, call 1 (800) 388-CCCS.

* Courtesy of The U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs

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