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If your credit score is low, it could be due to errors on your report. This is very common, and it can significantly lower your score and make it difficult or impossible to be approved for a credit card, car loan or mortgage.

If your credit report contains inaccurate information, take the necessary steps to dispute it and have the mistakes corrected. A credit repair company may be helpful in some cases, but it might not be necessary.

What a Credit Repair Company Can and Can’t Do

A credit repair company can help you dispute inaccurate information. You can do that on your own as well, but if your report contains several errors, or if you have been a victim of identity theft and criminals have opened several fraudulent accounts in your name, it might be too complicated and time-consuming to dispute all of the errors yourself. A credit repair company can write to the credit bureaus on your behalf to dispute the errors and provide the documentation that is needed to correct them.

In most cases, a credit bureau is required to investigate a dispute within 30 days of receiving the information. That can help you correct mistakes and repair your credit score quickly so you don’t have to put your financial goals on hold.

A credit repair company cannot remove negative information from your credit report if the information is accurate. Bankruptcies, liens and accounts in collection will stay on your credit report for several years, and there is nothing you or a credit repair company can do about it.

How to Find a Reputable Company

There are many legitimate credit repair companies that follow the law and respect consumers’ rights, but there are also a good number of scams. If a company promises to raise your credit score by a specific number of points, don’t believe it. If a company tells you to dispute correct information, don’t do it. It’s also illegal for a credit repair company to charge you before they complete any work on your behalf.

A reputable company should explain your rights and be clear about what they can and can’t do to help you. They should listen to why you want to dispute information and request documentation to support your position. They should not promise you instant results.