If you’ve recently been rejected for a loan because of your credit score, the best credit repair services aim to clean up your credit report to get you back on track. Credit reports are what loan companies like to look at when making their lending decisions, so getting credit repair can really help if you're looking into lending. Alternatively, a credit repair company also comes into its own when you notice something on your credit report that you don’t think should be there - these credit repair sites will work to find out where this potentially damaging item has come from and negotiate with credit bureaus and other relevant parties on your behalf to get it removed, if it is wrong. It could simply be a mistake that someone has made, or maybe something slightly more sinister, with fraud potentially at play.
An excellent success rate, top customer reviews and clear, fixed pricing make Credit Saint our top credit repair services choice. VIEW DEAL ON Credit Saint
While you may feel confident taking the fight on yourself, the best credit repair companies employ professionals such as attorneys and FICO specialists for whom making - and winning - such arguments is second nature. Successfully get the errors and erroneous items removed from your credit report, and your credit score could quickly improve, paving the way to make it easier for you to get credit and for the best personal loans to come at a cheaper price.
If debt is dragging your credit score down, the best debt consolidation companies can bring your debts together in one place and help get your finances back in order. Combine this with the efforts of credit repair services to make sure your credit report is free of mistakes, and your credit rating could start moving in the right direction too.
1. Credit Saint: Best credit repair service overall
Credit Saint has one of the best success rates out there, at 95%, and comes with a confidence inspiring 90-day money-back guarantee. Unlike some credit repair services, Credit Saint offers a truly unlimited amount of dispute letters, which are sent out immediately, meaning you should see results on your credit early. Given everything you receive, Credit Saint isn't the cheapest credit repair option, particularly when it comes to the all-in package.
However, if you do sign-up, following a free initial consultation - that lets you know your credit situation and potential actions to take - you'll have 24/7 access to your case status online and access to in-house legal staff.
The three step process that Credit Saint operates makes this service easy to use and with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and 4.7 score on ConsumerAffairs, it's clear customers are very happy with Credit Saint.
- Read our Credit Saint review
2. Sky Blue: Best for customer service
Sky Blue is a credit repair service that has some of the best customer reviews around. This is thanks to decent pricing and a 90 day money-back guarantee but also superb customer care. A free consultation means there's no pressure guidance at the start, and then if you do sign up, you'll get 15 inquiries made every 35 days across the three bureaus following an expert credit report review.
Lots of educational materials help teach you how to improve your FICO score now and in the future for a better credit that stays that way. Unsurprisingly, users wholly endorse the credit repair service that Sky Blue has to offer, and award extremely rare - but well-deserved - full five star reviews on both the Better Business Bureau and ConsumerAffairs.
- Read our Sky Blue Credit Repair review
3. The Credit Pros: Best for speed
As the name suggests, The Credit Pros offer all the expertise you might need to fix your credit. Employing FICO professionals and licensed attorneys, The Credit Pros provides access to some of the best-informed credit repair guidance that there is. What is more, the swift action that they take can result in some of the fastest credit report changes you will find.
So confident is The Credit Pros in its ability, the company promises that if you don't have at least one negative item removed from your credit within 90 days, you can have all your money back. The service overall seems to go down well with past customers, with an A+ rating being awarded to The Credit Pros by the BBB. That pricing starts at a remarkably low $19 per month is just a bonus.
- Read our The Credit Pros review
4. Pyramid Credit Repair: Best for fraud repair
Pyramid Credit Repair is one of the newest credit repair services out there, but it's also one of the best, particularly when it comes to fixing fraud credit issues. The service might be at the higher end of the pricing bracket but you will get a personal case manager, real-time credit updates, and a money-back guarantee. There's no start-up charges either.
In terms of speed, Pyramid says it hopes to see credit changes within 45 days - if you're not happy with the service across the first 90 days, you can also claim your money back. An online support service offers 24/7 access to your case, while blogs and FAQs will educate you on everything credit related in the process. An excellent Trustpilot score of 4.7 means it is a credit repair company that past customers appreciate too.
- Read our Pyramid Credit Repair review
5. CreditRepair.com: Best app and online support
The CreditRepair.com service is great if you need your credit fixing but like the impressive things that the best tech has to offer too. As well as the app and online 24/7 access to your account status, you get a free credit consultation initially. If you take up the offer, you will pay a fixed $99.95 per month - it's as straightforward as a pricing structure can get, but not the cheapest.
The formulation of a 'Game Plan' means you know exactly where you're heading, with most customers finding it takes six months to reach their credit destination. Education is a big deal at CreditRepair.com too. Some caution might be wise given the suggestion of some unsavory past practices, but an excellent rating of 4.4 on Trustpilot means there are plenty of happy customers out there too.
- Read our CreditRepair.com review
6. The Credit People: Best for bespoke payments
The Credit People is the ideal credit repair company if you need choice over how you pay for your service. There's a free consultation, but then importantly, the option to pay monthly or enjoy a discount if you sign up for six months - it's up to you.
If you don't get results, you can cancel and get some of your money back, but with along list of services on offer, including the option of a dedicated account manager and unlimited disputes, it's likely The Credit People will succeed. Email updates and a 24/7 online portal makes keeping an eye on progress easy, and with the company adopting a team approach to credit repair, there should be some credit improvement for you to see.
- Read our The Credit People review
How much does a credit repair service cost?
The price that a credit repair company charges varies depending on the plan and service that you are buying. Almost all credit repair services will charge an initial setup cost and an ongoing monthly fee. The services we reviewed charge up to $149 per month, with an additional set up fee normally no more than $20. Most services also offer advanced credit repair plans where you can contest additional errors and have other credit monitoring features, but they will obviously come at an extra cost too.
How long does credit repair take?
It usually takes three to six months for the top credit repair services to resolve your disputes. This varies depending on the complexity of your case because credit repair services sometimes have a maximum number of disputes they handle each month. If you have more disputes, it’s a good idea to send multiple disputes in the same letter and to investigate the number of disputes the credit repair service can file on your behalf each month. Some companies offer higher tiers of service that allow for more disputes per month and cost more money. In these cases, you must weigh the cost of a higher monthly fee against the cost of potentially employing the service for a longer contract. The credit bureaus have 30 days from the receipt of a dispute letter to respond and, in some cases, they may request further information from you. In accordance with the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA), the credit repair company should give you an estimated timeline or completion date in your service agreement.
Accurate derogatory marks on your credit report can stay there for up to 10 years, depending on the type. Late payments, charge-offs, student loan delinquency or default, repossession and foreclosures can stay on your report for up to seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on your report for up to a decade. Still, even with these marks on your report, you can work to raise your credit score by making on-time payments and lowering your utilization rate – two key factors that affect your credit score. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to repair your credit; it takes some patience.
How to choose a credit repair service
According to a Federal Trade Commission study, around one in five people who had an error on at least one of their credit reports were successful in getting it corrected after it was disputed. If the errors are more extensive due to identity theft or debt collectors adding multiple entries, a credit repair service can dispute inaccurate information on your behalf. They also work with your creditors and the credit reporting agencies to remove inaccurate, redundant or unfair information from your credit reports. Hiring a credit repair company could be seen as an investment, so here are a few guidelines to help you find the best fit for your situation.
Avoid companies with high upfront costs
Credit repair services that have a high upfront cost are best avoided. The high cost could be an indication that they are a scam. Credit repair services should only charge you for the work they have performed.
Know your rights
A reputable credit control service will inform you of your rights. The CROA, which governs what credit repair services can and can’t do, states clearly, “No credit repair organization may charge or receive any money or other valuable consideration for the performance of any service which the credit repair organization has agreed to perform for any consumer before such service is fully performed.” This means companies shouldn’t ask for payment before any work is completed. The CROA also requires that credit repair services include “the terms and conditions of payment, including the total amount of all payments to be made by the consumer to the credit repair organization or to any other person” in the initial contract to protect you against surprise fees and expenses.
Only use a service that informs you of these rights.
The best credit repair companies offer a wealth of educational resources to help customers learn about credit, credit scores, credit reporting and credit laws. It’s extremely helpful to have all the answers you need compiled in one place, especially if you have little to no knowledge about credit. It will also save you a lot of research. We preferred services that offer a variety of educational resources, as different people learn in different ways. For example, Lexington Law offers email subscriptions, eBooks, videos, articles and other educational mediums.
Beyond online resources, your point of contact should also educate you on your rights according to the CROA. Under the law, a credit repair company is required to disclose the Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law, which briefly explains your rights, though we recommend looking over the CROA in its entirety before hiring a credit repair company.
Use credit monitoring
Credit monitoring will allow you to see how the changes affect your overall report and credit score over time. Know how your credit report is changing is an important step in your journey toward better credit. Most accurate derogatory marks stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years, but with corrective behaviors, after a year or two the marks have less impact on your report. Most of the credit repair companies we recommend, including Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com, provide credit monitoring with their services. But if you choose a company that doesn’t offer credit monitoring, or if you try to fix your credit report DIY-style, check out our list of the best credit report services.
In our evaluations, we found most credit repair companies either assign a specific individual to work your case or split the work up between a team of people. We preferred companies that assign an individual case adviser, as it lets that person become more familiar with your case and establishes a single point of contact if you have questions or want to check on your progress. Companies that route your queries through a team of customer service agents work fine, but probably aren’t as convenient. A personal case adviser is also generally better for building a relationship with a customer, particularly as talking about sensitive personal information can prove uncomfortable - trust is important.
Understanding your FICO® Score
While credit repair can make a huge difference in your credit score by correcting inaccurate derogatory marks on your credit report, there are several other things you can do to improve your credit. The first step you should take is to learn how credit scores work. Lenders usually use FICO® scores to judge your creditworthiness. Your FICO® score is calculated based on five components: payment history, number of credit inquiries, credit mix, credit utilization and credit account history.
Because there are three credit reporting bureaus and each bureau may have different information, it is possible to have multiple credit scores. According to Nancy E. Bistritz-Balkan, vice president of communications and consumer education at Equifax (one of the three credit bureaus), each company uses slightly different metrics. “Consumers frequently ask why their credit scores are different,” she explained in an interview. “Not all lenders, financial companies and credit card companies report their information to all three major nationwide credit bureaus. They may report to one, two, all three, or none at all. In addition, each credit bureau has its own credit scoring model, and each lender has typically had its own lending criteria... In addition, lenders, financial companies, and credit companies report account information at different times, which can also impact credit scores.” Even with these differences, however, “The factor that can most significantly impact a consumer’s credit score is payment history,” she told us.
Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® score, so one of the best things you can do to repair your credit is to make consistent, on-time payments. One way to make sure you pay on time each month is to schedule automatic payments, which are easy to set up for most credit accounts. Even a year of consistently on-time payments can do wonders for your creditworthiness to lenders. “A derogatory mark doesn’t mean someone’s credit history stops,” Bistritz-Balkan said, emphasizing the importance of practicing good credit behavior even if you end up with some negative items on your credit report. “Remember: When lenders, financial companies or credit companies check someone’s credit history, they want to see a good track record of making timely payments."
Your credit utilization is both the amount of money you owe and the ratio of your debt to your available credit. This makes up 30% of your credit score. For example, if your limit on a credit card is $1,000, putting $300 on the card puts your utilization at 30%. There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for how much credit you should be using to maximize your score, but generally, keeping your balances lower is better, as creditors consider regularly maxing out your card or carrying debt close to your credit limit to be irresponsible credit behaviors. Paying off debts and using credit cards less frequently are great ways to start getting your credit utilization percentages in order.
The total length of your credit history makes up 15% of your FICO® score. A longer credit history makes it easier for lenders to gauge your long-term financial behaviors and, therefore, results in a higher score. Someone who just opened their first credit account would lose points for this, though it is still possible to have a good credit score with a relatively short credit history. You can use this information to improve your credit by holding on to your oldest credit accounts.
Credit inquiries and credit mix
Your credit mix and your credit inquiries or new credit make up the remaining 20% of your FICO® score. Credit mix is the different types of credit you use, including credit cards and loans. Having a good mix tends to be better for your credit score than having a bunch of credit cards, for example. But if you have only one or the other, it’s not a huge deal. New credit and credit inquiries are the number of credit lines you’ve opened or applied for within the past year. Hard inquiries to your credit hurt your credit score, so you should apply for new lines of credit only when you need them.
Types of derogatory marks
Credit reporting errors can occur at any step of the information transfer process, from your initial application for credit to the information provided by credit reporting bureaus. Many happen because of human error, typos or misreading or misinterpreting information. In some cases, errors on your credit report stem from more malignant activity, like identity theft. However they might originate, errors on your credit report, particularly erroneous derogatory marks, affect your credit. A derogatory mark is an item on your credit report that negatively affects your credit score. Here’s a brief overview of the most common derogatory marks.
A late payment can cause a minor ding to your credit, but the longer it takes you to make the payment, the worse it is for your credit score. To mitigate this, set up automatic payments on your credit accounts or, if you forget a payment, make it up as soon as possible. A mark for late payment stays on your credit report for seven years.
Sometimes lenders may charge off your account, which means they’ve given up on directly collecting the owed amount. In many of these instances, the lender then sells the debt to a third-party company, which tries to collect on the debt. A charged-off account stays on your credit report for seven years.
Bankruptcy is a legal procedure by which a person is relieved of certain debt obligations. Bankruptcy is a severe derogatory mark and can stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years, depending on what type of bankruptcy you file for.
Any legal judgments requiring you to pay a debt or damages can appear on your credit report for seven years. If it remains unpaid, it could stay longer, as local laws in some areas allow the debt clock to reset on unpaid judgments.
If a borrower has stopped making payments, a lender may attempt to recover losses by selling the collateral used for the loan. This often happens with severely late payments on mortgages. A foreclosure can stay on your credit report for seven years.