The best credit repair services are here to help you get a better credit score by removing negative items which, ultimately, should mean you can take better loans in the future.
Credit repair is still a relatively new service yet already there are lots of companies promising to help you get back on track with your credit. While you should be wary of any service that claims it will increase your credit score by a certain number, this is something all of them hope to achieve by removing those negative items from your credit history.
You can do this yourself, of course. The process involves you contacting the three credit bureaus to find your credit reports, scouring them for negative items which you think may be contestable, then contacting the parties involved to argue them. This can be a drawn out, labor intensive, back-and-forth process. For that reason, many people pay for a credit repairs service to do it for them.
Credit repair services are usually attorneys and FICO specialists who have been working through this process for years. As such they know the best routes, have the best connections and can generally ensure the most likely positive outcome.
So if you've decided that a credit repair company is for you, or even if you're unsure still, then some of the best ones below are worth looking into. Since most offer a free initial consultation it can't hurt to make contact to see what they could do for you.
1. Credit Saint: Best overall credit repair
Best overall credit repair
Cost: $79.99-$119.99 per month | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, online chat | Credit report: Free
Credit Saint has one of the best success rates out there, at 95 percent, and comes with a confidence inspiring 90-day money-back guarantee. Unlike some services, this offers a truly unlimited amount of dispute letters, which are sent out immediately, meaning you should see results on your credit early. All that does mean this isn't the cheapest option, with a high top-end service price which gets you access to everything.
If you do sign-up (its number is 844-599-2960), 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 the review: Credit Saint
2. Sky Blue: Best for customer service
Best for customer service
Cost: $79 per month, couples $119 per month | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, mail | Credit report: Free
Sky Blue is a credit repair service that has some of the best customer reviews across the internet. This is thanks to decent pricing and a 90 day money-back guarantee but also superb customer care. There's a no pressure guidance at the start thanks to a free consultation then you get 15 inquiries made every 35 days across the three bureaus thanks to expert credit report reviews. If you're on a budget, another nice feature is that Sky Blue allows you to pause your service and billing, while you can choose your own billing date.
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. Users appear to love this all thanks to very rare full five star reviews on both ConsumerAffairs and the Better Business Bureau.
- Read the review: Sky Blue Credit Repair
3. Ovation: Best modern service
Best modern service
Cost: $79 - 109 per month, plus $89 first works fee | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, mail | Credit report: Free (first works fee covers)
Ovation is a relatively youthful company, around since 2004, that aims to appeal to the modern customer. This is thanks to a results focused approach with features like an accelerated same-day service and the ability to personalize goals. There is also a raft of educational materials that empowers customers to understand the process of credit repair so they can better improve their credit in the future too.
Pricing starts quite low, despite a "first works fee", but there is another tier which also adds features like unlimited validation letters, creditor goodwill letters and an official Ovation recommendation letter. All changes made can be seen online and all three credit bureaus are worked with. The result is an impressive A+ score from BBB and a 4.2 rating from ConsumerAffairs suggesting customers are mostly very happy with the service they received.
- Read the review: Ovation Credit Repair
4. Credit Pros: Best for speed
Best for speed
Cost: $19 - $119 per month, or individual deletions at $100 each | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, text | Credit report: Free
The Credit Pros, as the name suggests, is made up of FICO professionals and licensed attorneys. All of that means you get access to some very well informed guidance and action which should result in some of the fastest credit report changes in the industry.
In fact The Credit Pros 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. This seems to go down well as there's an A+ rating with the BBB and Trustpilot has a decent score of 3.5 from customers. The fact pricing starts at an industry low of $19 per month is just a bonus.
- Read the review: The Credit Pros
5. Pyramid Credit Repairs: Best for fraud repair
Best for fraud repairs
Cost: $99 per month | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, text | Credit report: Free
Pyramid Credit Repairs is one of the newest services out there, started in 2010, but it's also one of the best when it comes to fraud credit issues. The service might be at the higher end of the pricing bracket but that gets you a personal case manager, realtime credit updates, a money-back guarantee and no pesky start-up charges.
There is a couples discount where you get 50 percent off for the first month. The company says it hopes to see changes as soon as 45 days - but don't expect that as everyone is different. An online support service offers 24/7 access to your case while blogs and FAQs keep you educated on the process. A Trustpilot score of 4.5 makes this a very appealing service according to customer reviews.
- Read the review: Pyramid Credit Repairs
6. CreditRepair.com: Best for app and online support
Best for app and online support
Cost: $99.95 per month | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, online chat | Credit report: $14.99
The CreditRepair.com service is great for those that want tech as a priority thanks to the app and online 24/7 access to your account status. You get a free credit consultation initially then it's a fixed $99.95 per month making this nice and simple, if not cheap.
But with a claim that you could see as many as 40 points changed on your credit score in four months, it could be well worth the money. Of course we don't usually trust these claims but in this case this is a company with a four star Trustpilot review suggesting, largely, customers are impressed. The downside is that this is owned by Progrexion, parent company of Lexington Law, which has had that suit filed against it for illegal marketing and fee collections.
- Read the review: CreditRepair.com
7. The Credit People: Best for bespoke payments
Best for bespoke payments
Cost: $99.95 per month | Customer service: 24/7 | Contact: Phone, email, online chat | Credit report: $14.99
The Credit People service offers low entry prices and an attractive $19 seven day trial, making this ideal for anyone wanting to tentatively try a credit repair service. That said, this also offers an upfront six month payment option since it says most claims take this length of time to get a significant set of changes made to positively affect a credit score.
If you don't get results in 60 days you get your last month's fee returned to you as part of the company's guarantee. Email updates and a 24/7 online portal make access to your changes easy and a ConsumerAffairs rating of five stars makes this sound very attractive according to customers.
- Read the review: The Credit People
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How much does a credit repair service cost?
The price of a credit repair company charges varies depending on the plan and service that you are buying. All services will charge an initial setup cost and an ongoing monthly fee. For the basics, the services we reviewed charge $50 to $100 with an additional set up fee between $20 and $179. Most services also offer advanced credit repair plans where you can contest additional errors and have other credit monitoring features, and they cost between $20 and $40 more than the basic services.
How long does credit repair take?
It usually takes three to six months for a credit repair company to resolve your disputes. This varies depending on the complexity of your case because credit repair services usually have a max 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 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 study conducted by the FTC, up to 5 percent of people have an error on at least one of their credit reports. 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 is 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 Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA), an act that 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, the 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 monitoring services.
In our evaluations, we found most credit repair companies either assign a specific individual to work your case or divvy 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 aren’t as convenient. A personal case adviser is also generally better for customer comfort, as talking about sensitive personal information is uncomfortable, and trust is important.
Understanding your FICO® Score
Although 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent. 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 percent 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 percent 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.
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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.