Best Credit Repair Companies of 2023
Credit repair companies are organizations that can help you improve your credit scores by disputing incorrect information on your credit reports and negotiating with creditors to remove negative items. The best credit repair companies offer flexible pricing and other benefits to help consumers take control of their finances and improve their credit quickly.
With the right credit repair company, you can ensure all inaccurate information is removed from your report and take steps toward improving your overall financial situation. In this article, we will review some of the best credit repair companies available in 2023 so you can find one that meets your needs and budget.
What is credit repair?
Credit repair is the process of fixing inaccurate, misleading, or incorrect information in your credit score and credit report. It involves reviewing your credit report, challenging errors on these reports, and requesting the removal of negative information. Credit repair companies specialize in repairing credit scores and reports for individuals and businesses seeking financial stability. These companies work on behalf of their clients to identify errors, contact credit bureaus and creditors, and negotiate on their clients’ behalf.
To ensure positive outcomes, credit repair companies work with clients to develop a personalized credit management plan that provides strategies for improving credit scores and financial stability in the long term. Credit repair is an essential step if you have bad credit and want to get approved for loans or other types of financing.
How does credit repair work?
When you hire a credit repair company or work to repair your credit yourself, the process starts with reviewing your credit reports from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and noting errors and other items that could adversely affect your credit. These might include late payments, unpaid bills, collections accounts, and other negative entries.
Once you have a list of items that are incorrect or may be hurting your credit, a credit repair company can help you with the process of disputing incorrect items and negotiating with creditors to remove or adjust these items from your credit report. As these items are resolved or removed from your credit report, your credit score will improve over time, and with it, your ability to qualify for a mortgage, car loan, credit card, or other forms of financing.
Credit repair takes time, and there is no guarantee that a credit repair company can directly help your credit. The best credit repair companies are transparent about their process, fees, and their ability to achieve results for customers.
While credit repair companies can help improve your credit scores, you should also build positive credit habits, such as paying bills on time and keeping credit utilization low. With patience, perseverance, and the right strategies, it is possible to improve your credit score over time.
How much does credit repair cost?
The cost of using a credit repair company varies based on several factors, including the company you choose, the services you use, number and severity of your credit issues, the complexity of your case, and how long your case takes to resolve. Some credit repair services charge a flat fee, while others charge per item removed from your credit report.
In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for credit repair services. While the upfront investment of using a credit repair company may seem high, successfully repairing your credit can ultimately save you money in the long term by improving your access to loans and lower interest rates.
If you set out to repair your credit yourself, there are no costs aside from getting your credit reports and paying off old debts that may be damaging your credit.
Tips for choosing a credit repair company
Before choosing a credit repair company, research and compare options from multiple providers. By doing your research, you can find a provider that’s right for you, with an offering that can help you improve your credit.
Consider these factors when considering a credit repair company:
Reputation: Check out online reviews to see what experiences others have had using each company. Be sure to look for a history of successfully helping users rehabilitate their credit.
Available services: Consider offerings from multiple companies, and determine whether the companies you’re considering offer all the services needed to resolve your credit issues. Many companies offer packages as well as some add-ons that may be helpful.
Cost and fees: Review the pricing for each provider you consider. Evaluate the total cost of working with a particular company, including set-up fees and monthly maintenance charges, if applicable.
Transparency and communication: Ensure you fully understand each company’s process and possible results before signing any contracts or agreements.
Success rate and track record: Look for testimonials and contact a representative to ask about past successes they’ve had in helping customers improve their credit scores. This information can indicate how effective the company’s service is likely to be in your case.
Experience and qualifications: Find out how long the company has been in business and ensure that staff members are qualified. Pay particular attention to any certifications that representatives hold and ensure they know about consumer debt laws and regulations related to credit and credit repair.
How to verify legitimate credit repair companies
Before choosing a credit repair company, you should ensure that the company you’re considering is legitimate and reputable. Several companies in the credit repair industry have developed a reputation for failing to follow through on promises to help users. It’s vital to avoid less reputable companies if you want to improve your credit.
To verify that a credit repair company is legitimate, consider factors like online reputation, reviews, and ratings, as well as the experience and qualifications of representatives.
Some signs of potentially disreputable companies that you should avoid include:
Prepayment: Requesting large payments upfront before the company renders any services is a big red flag.
Over-promising: Making exaggerated guarantees or promises about results by phone, email, or in company marketing materials is also a bad sign.
Pushing repair alternatives: Some less reputable companies may offer to create a “new” credit identity, including using an Employer Identification Number instead of a Social Security Number. Avoid this strategy, as it will not actually improve your credit.
Opacity: Less reputable credit repair companies sometimes refuse to provide written information about their services and fees, such as contracts or disclosure statements.
Blank checks: Avoid doing business with any company that asks you to sign blank checks, forms, or other incomplete documents.
No references: Good credit repair companies should be able to provide testimonials or references. Refusing to provide references from current customers indicates poor business practices and a low success rate.
Poor online reviews: Research the company online to read reviews from past customers and ensure that any staff members have the proper qualifications and credentials. Also check with third-party ratings agencies like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau to make sure that there are no unresolved complaints or other legal issues against the company.
Blanket recommendations: Advising you to dispute all negative items on your credit report, regardless of accuracy, should be taken as a bad sign. Most people have some negative items on their credit, so it’s usually not appropriate to dispute everything.
Controlling communications: If you’re setting out to repair your credit, you may need to contact credit bureaus multiple times. A company that instructs you not to contact the credit bureaus directly may have poor motives.
Expunging recent bankruptcies: Chapter 7 bankruptcies typically stay on a person’s credit report for 10 years from the filing date. Chapter 13 bankruptcies stick around for seven years. If a company tells you it can get a bankruptcy removed sooner, its reps may be over-promising.
Charging for no work: Some companies try to charge consumers high monthly service fees but perform little work in return. Keep an eye out for this when checking out company reviews.
By taking these steps and doing proper due diligence, you can ensure that you’re working with a reputable credit repair service to help you reach your financial goals.
Pros and cons of credit repair companies
There are many ways you can repair credit. There are advantages and disadvantages when using a credit repair company that specializes in removing negative items from your credit report. While some companies can be effective at repairing your credit, using a credit repair company also increases your risks of being scammed or being charged considerable fees with no guarantee of success.
Faster results: Working with a credit repair company may help you repair your credit much faster than if you tried to do it on your own.
Expert advice and negotiating skills: Good credit repair companies employ qualified professionals who can provide expert advice and guidance. These companies also have the knowledge and experience to negotiate with creditors on your behalf.
Transparent and upfront pricing: Reputable credit repair companies are transparent about their fees and services, allowing you to make an informed decision about whether to work with them and, if so, how best to use them.
Comprehensive services: Some credit repair companies offer robust services that can help improve your credit score and access to financing. These may include dispute resolution, debt consolidation, and negotiation with creditors or collection agencies.
Legal protection: Besides improving your credit, credit repair services can protect you from unfair practices, such as harassment by debt collectors or false information on your credit report.
Satisfaction guarantee: Some debt relief companies provide a satisfaction guarantee, so you can recoup some or all of your money if the company fails to meet its promises or does not deliver the expected results.
Access to tools and resources: Credit repair companies often provide helpful tools and resources, such as credit score tracking and debt repayment calculators, that help you manage your finances in the long term.
High costs: Credit repair services may be expensive, especially if you need to sign up for a long-term program or utilize multiple offerings.
Risk of a scam: Some bad actors have hurt the reputation of the credit repair industry in general. Be wary of companies that make false promises or guarantees that sound too good to be true.
No guarantee of success: Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that credit repair services will successfully remove inaccurate or negative items from your credit report.
Negative impact on credit score: In some cases, signing up for credit repair services may temporarily lower your score. This is because doing so requires you to submit disputes and other paperwork that creditors may see as red flags.
Limited monitoring: Some credit repair companies only monitor reports from one of the three credit bureaus, so you may need to monitor your other credit reports yourself.
Lengthy timeline: Depending on how severe your credit issues are, it may be a while before you see any improvement in your credit score, let alone gain access to lower rates or better financing options.
Difficult oversight: It can be challenging to check on the progress of your credit repair services, especially for smaller, less-established firms. You often have to take a company’s word on their progress.
Inability to make changes: You may be unable to make changes to your credit report without involving the credit repair company in the process.
DIY credit repair
If you aren’t sure whether you want to use a credit repair company, the good news is that there’s nothing that a credit repair company does that you can’t do yourself if you’re willing to invest the time and effort.
The first step is to obtain a copy of your credit reports from each of the three main credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). Carefully review each report and identify any errors or inaccuracies, as well as any other items negatively impacting your credit—like old loans that are in default.
Once you identify items that are hurting your credit, it’s time to take action. Start by disputing errors with the credit reporting agency and the creditor reporting the error. This process may take several weeks or even months to work out, and you’ll need to repeat the process for each item with each of the three credit bureaus.
After you address any errors, review old or bad debts that could be hurting your credit. For loans that are past due, in default, in collections, or otherwise lowering your score, contact creditors to negotiate an amount to pay off the debt.
You’ll need to have the cash to resolve each debt, so create a budget to save up money that you can use to pay down outstanding debts. Late payments and past-due interest can significantly impact your credit score, and many creditors may be willing to negotiate smaller sums to resolve open accounts.
Finally, once you resolve outstanding items hurting your credit, commit to paying all bills on time. It may take time, but by taking these steps, you can gradually improve your credit and achieve financial stability.
How to maintain good credit after it’s repaired
Once you repair your credit—regardless of whether you used a credit repair company—it’s essential to set yourself to maintain good credit going forward. Periodically checking your credit score, staying organized, and keeping a close eye on your bills and other obligations can help you reach your financial goals.
Here are a few easy steps to maintain your credit once it’s fixed:
Check your credit report regularly. Regularly checking your credit report can help you stay on top of any new activity affecting your score. To check your credit, consider utilizing a third-party credit-tracking service like Credit Karma. Also remember that you have the right to access a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once each year, and doing so will not hurt your credit.
Pay your bills on time. Pay all of your future bills in full and on time to avoid having late payments reported to credit bureaus.
Manage debt wisely. Try to limit your outstanding debt by ensuring you only take out loans or lines of credit when necessary and when you have sufficient income to cover the monthly payments. Also, make sure you are paying off existing balances as quickly as possible.
Don’t close unused accounts. Closing unused accounts may reduce the number of inquiries appearing on your report. However, it can hurt your overall score by increasing your credit utilization rate and shortening the average length of credit history associated with those accounts (one factor used in calculating scores).
Don’t open new lines of credit too often. Avoid opening too many lines of credit too frequently, as this could signal financial instability to lenders and make you look like a higher credit risk when being considered for new loans or lines of credit.
Monitor your spending habits. Keep track of how much money comes in and out of your accounts each month. If you find that you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, it could harm your credit score. Consider trying apps like Rocket Money that can help you identify and cancel unused subscriptions.
Even after you repair your credit, the most important thing you can do to keep your credit in good standing is regularly monitor your credit score. Keep track of how your credit score changes over time, updated account balances, and items appearing or dropping off your credit history. This will help you determine what strategies are working and which ones you need to adjust to maximize your chances of achieving a good credit score.
Debt settlement vs. credit repair vs. credit counseling
Debt settlement, credit repair, and credit counseling are all different options you can use to improve your financial situation. Where credit repair involves disputing errors on your credit report and negotiating with creditors to resolve bad debts, debt settlement focuses exclusively on negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount of debt you owe.
Credit counseling, on the other hand, can help you better understand your financial situation and create a plan for managing debt in the future. However, if part of your plan involves repairing your credit, you’ll need to take those steps on your own or with the help of a credit repair or debt settlement specialist.
When deciding which service is best for you, consider each in the context of your specific financial goals and objectives. Ultimately, the option that is right for you depends on your needs and financial goals.
Debt settlement can be a good choice if you need to reduce a large amount of debt quickly, and credit counseling can provide guidance on how best to manage your debt and get back on track. Credit repair may be a better choice if you have errors on your credit report or are specifically concerned with improving your credit score so you can one day buy a house or secure some other form of financing.
Credit repair vs. bankruptcy
Many consumers look to credit repair or bankruptcy as potential solutions when facing financial difficulties. Credit repair is one strategy that focuses on disputing errors on a credit report and/or negotiating with creditors to resolve bad debts or get back on track. Bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a legal process that can allow you to discharge some or all of your debts and negotiate payment plans for others.
While both of these options can provide some form of relief, they differ significantly in their approaches and their long-term impacts on your credit and finances. While credit repair aims to improve your financial habits and creditworthiness, bankruptcy —though much more onerous—offers much more of a fresh start by wiping out debts.
Here are some examples of who each of these options is best for:
Credit repair: Credit repair is ideal if you have a low credit score due to missed payments, defaulted debts, or errors on your credit reports. If you have these issues, credit repair can help you improve your credit score by resolving errors on your credit reports, negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount owed, and setting up payment plans to pay off debts over time.
Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy is better if you have fallen behind on payments, are overwhelmed by your debts, and are unable to pay them off. By filing for bankruptcy, you may get a fresh start by eliminating large parts of your debts or restructuring your payments to be more manageable. However, bankruptcy should only be considered a last resort, as it can have long-term consequences on your credit score and broader financial future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is using a credit repair company worth it?
Whether a credit repair company is worthwhile depends on the individual and the severity of their credit issues. Using a credit repair company may be helpful if you are unable to resolve your own issues. However, if you only have a few small errors on your credit report, you may be able to handle those issues yourself and avoid the cost of a credit repair company.
How long does it take to improve your credit?
The time required to improve your credit varies based on the severity of the credit issues you’re working on and whether you’re working on them yourself or using a repair company. In general, it can take a few months to several years to rebuild your credit score. Patience and consistency are key when working to repair your credit.
What’s the fastest way to repair your credit?
The fastest way to repair your credit is by requesting copies of your credit reports, paying down balances, disputing inaccurate items on your credit report, and setting yourself up to pay all future bills in full and on time. A reputable credit repair company may be able to help you take steps to resolve issues that are harming your credit more quickly.
What do credit repair companies do?
Credit repair companies provide services to help consumers improve their credit ratings. Services include assisting people to obtain copies of their credit reports and scores, disputing and removing inaccurate items from their credit reports, negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates or payment amounts, and creating budgets and debt payment plans. Credit repair companies may also provide additional resources such as educational materials or access to legal assistance if necessary.
Can credit repair companies remove bankruptcies and collections?
Credit repair companies can help remove previous bankruptcies (more than seven or 10 years old, depending on the type) and collections from your credit report. Repair companies can also contact the creditor or collection agency on your behalf to negotiate a resolution. Alternatively, if old bankruptcies or retired debts are still appearing on your credit report in error, a credit repair company can help have them removed.
How long does a repo stay on your credit report?
A repossession can stay on your credit report for two to seven years, but this can vary based on individual circumstances. It typically will stay as a negative item until the credit bureau removes it or if you successfully dispute the situation and have it removed. However, once you can get a repo dropped from your credit, this could help improve your overall score significantly over time.