If you’re in debt or have poor credit, it can be pretty tempting to try to repair your credit on your own.

But should you really try to do it yourself, or should you work with a trusted credit repair company? It all

depends on your level of self-control and commitment to getting your credit back on track.

The advantage to using a credit repair service is that they often work quickly and effectively to improve

your credit score. They have longstanding relationships with banks and creditors that could help get you

a lower interest rate or better deal on settling your debt.

Pay on time every month.

If you ignore a bill, even if you don’t have the money to pay it, it won’t just go away. In fact, the situation

will get worse and worse the longer you ignore a bill. If you absolutely don’t have the money to pay, call

the creditor immediately to establish a plan for when you will be able to pay and how much.

Pay your balances down.

Work toward getting your balances below 20% of your credit limit on each card you have. For best

results, aim to get that number under 10%.

Build a rainy-day fund.

It’s essential to pay down your debt and pay all your bills on time, but you also need to have cash on

hand in case of an emergency. It may seem impossible to save when you’re barely making ends meet. If

this is the case, try having 10% of your paycheck automatically put into savings each month. If you don’t

even see the money, you’re less likely to miss it.

Check your credit report regularly.

You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major reporting bureaus. You

can request these by visiting annualcreditreport.com. You can also pay a small fee to get your FICO

credit score, which will help you understand where you stand in the eyes of lenders.

Respond to creditors.

Yes, their calls and letters can be downright annoying, but you won’t get anywhere by pretending your

creditors don’t exist. Respond to their inquiries right away; the sooner you work with them to establish a

payment plan, the sooner you’ll be on your way to improved credit.

Learn all you can about credit and finance.

Do your homework and work to learn more about credit and personal finance. If you spend a bit of time

to really understand how credit works, you’ll be more likely to make choices that have a positive impact

on your financial future.

Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire the help of a professional, start taking steps to repair your

credit today. A year from now, you’ll be so glad you did!