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Do you need credit repair or debt consolidation? Is it best to use a firm or do it yourself?

Once a year, I order my free credit report from Veda, which holds a data bank of about 10 million Australian credit files.

I check it over for errors, information that needs updating, and so forth. I have not needed to complain to Veda to correct an error, but 3 out of 10 Australians who order their credit report have needed to do so. The correction process is called credit repair, and is especially useful before applying for a loan so as to improve your credit score.

If I need time to pay a debt, I contact the company I owe money to directly and agree on payment terms. But many Australians are permanently stretched financially with car loans, credit card debts, and electricity bills. And so for these 31% who suffer financial stress, good advice on debt relief is needed. The advice could be to enter into an informal payment arrangement, prepare a budget (and stick to it), or take out a debt consolidation loan.

A whole industry has grown up to deal with credit repair and debt management in Australia. The financial regulator, ASIC, has now published an unflattering report on the industry, finding it to be riddled with very high fees and poor service. ASIC suggests using the free services which are available, if you cannot do it yourself.

To look at my commentary upon the ASIC report click Are credit repair and debt relief companies worth using? ASIC has its doubts.

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