According to a study that was done by the Federal Trade Commission, around 5 percent of American consumers have an error on one or more of their credit reports that could lead to less favorable terms on loans.
A credit repair company can remove these errors and inaccuracies on your credit report by disputing with the three major credit bureaus: (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Enlisting the help of the right credit repair service is an essential step in getting your credit back on track. Below, we go over our top credit repair services.
Our Top 5 Best Credit Repair Companies
Credit Saint: Best Overall Credit Repair And Customer Service
Why We Like It:
- Industry-leading 90-day 100% money back guarantee
- A+ accredited by the BBB
- 100% free no-obligation initial personal consultation
Credit Saint is our top choice for credit repair. They have been active since 2004 and offer three differently priced plans with basic to comprehensive services. Monthly fees range from $59.99 (which is the lowest out of all the companies we reviewed) to $99.99.
Credit Saint assigns a team of experts to assist you with the credit repair process and custom-tailors all of their credit challenges (rather than using form letters) to ensure maximum effectiveness. Over 95% of their clients see initial improvements in the first 45 days.
Additionally, Credit Saint keeps you informed about any updates in real time with their online customer portal. Their representatives are available by phone seven days a week until midnight Eastern time.
Contact Credit Saint
Lexington Law: Most Value-Added Services And Best Nationwide Service
Why We Like It:
- Free no-obligation initial credit consultation
- Since 2004, Lexington Law Firm clients saw over 81 million items removed from their credit reports
- Free FICO® score and credit report summary
- Identity theft protection and fraud alerts
- Educational resources such as articles, educational courses, and videos
Since 2004, Lexington Law has represented over 10.5 million clients with their credit. They are one of the longest-running companies in the credit repair space and serve customers in 48 US states.
Lexington Law offers three monthly plans with basic to comprehensive services that range from $99.95 to $139.95. Clients can seek assistance from dedicated paralegals and see real-time updates 24/7 through the mobile app or client dashboard.
Lexington Law's extended business hours allow them to be open from Monday to Friday 7 AM to 4 PM Mountain time.
The Credit People: Best Overall Value And Best Credit Repair Tracking
Why We Like It:
- 60-day 100% money back guarantee
- Low setup fee of $19 (the lowest out of all the companies we reviewed)
- Free 3-bureau credit reports & scores provided
- A+ from the BBB and FCRA certification
- Use exclusive promo code "TheCreditReview" to receive $10 off every month (only $69/month with our special discount)
The Credit People has assisted over 200,000 clients in the last 15 years. In addition to having one of the lowest monthly prices in the industry, they provide 24/7 assistance by phone or email.
The Credit People sends their clients updated credit reports on a monthly basis and updated credit scores every 90 days. They also offer a mobile app and customizable text alerts that allow you to view any progress and updates in real time.
The Credit People provides their services in 49 states (Oregon is the only state not serviced). Interested consumers can use our exclusive promo code "TheCreditReview" to receive $10 off every month.
Contact The Credit People
Why We Like It:
- 100% no-obligation free personalized credit consultation
- Personalized online dashboard and an Android or iOS app for real-time updates
CreditRepair.com charges a $14.99 TransUnion Fee (one of the lowest in the industry) and a monthly fee of $99.95, which provides credit disputes. In addition, they provide extra services such as 24/7 TransUnion credit monitoring, score tracking, and analysis.
Sky Blue Credit: Best Money Back Guarantee And Longest Time In Business
Why We Like It:
- 90-day 100% money-back guarantee and the only condition-free refund policy in the industry
- Low monthly pricing ($79/month) with free credit monitoring and FICO® score included
- Over 20+ years in the credit repair industry
- Free professional guidance on how to rebuild your credit for optimal FICO® score benefit
Sky Blue Credit has been offering their credit repair services since 1989, making them the longest-running credit repair company that we've reviewed.
They offer two plans with a monthly fee of either $79 for individuals or $119 for couples. Customers must purchase their credit reports for either $14.95 per month or a one-time fee of $39.95. Additionally, clients have complete control of their billing dates and can even pause their membership with a single click.
Sky Blue keeps an open line of communication and allows you to receive emails directly from the credit bureaus. Their fast dispute pace allows them to challenge 15 negative items during a 35-day cycle.
Sky Blue offers some unique services including debt validation, debt settlement, goodwill letters, and negotiation consultations along with educational resources such as a blog and articles on how to manage your finances and credit.
Contact Sky Blue
The Bottom Line
If you are dealing with damaged credit and you know it can be improved, credit repair is your best option. You can learn more about our top recommended credit repair companies here.
What is credit repair?
Credit repair is the process of finding and disputing inaccurate and unverifiable items on your credit reports from the three major bureaus.
Your credit reports show lenders your debt history and how reliable you are at paying them back. They include information such as your name, previous addresses, Social Security number, current and closed credit accounts, accounts in collections, and more.
Inaccurate items on your credit report negatively affect your credit score and may include items such as charge-offs, collections, late payments, tax liens, and more. It could even be something as simple as updating an incorrect address or account balance, or it may be something more serious like identity theft.
When you apply for a loan or credit card, lenders will look at your credit score and history to determine if you are eligible for one and what your interest rates will be. Landlords, utility providers, and potential employers may also authorize a credit check to determine your reliability. Having incorrect items on your credit report negatively affects your credit and makes it harder to qualify for a loan or other line of credit.
Credit repair can remove these erroneous items and help you attain good credit so you can receive the best loan rates, credit cards, and even jobs.
What items can be removed from my credit report?
Credit repair can remove a wide variety of items that may include the following:
- Bankruptcies: Bankruptcies generally drop off your credit report ten years after they were filed. The amount of time it takes also depends on the type of bankruptcy that was filed (for example, Chapter 13 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for seven years while Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for ten years).
- Charge-offs: Past due payments occur when debts are no longer collectible and creditors sell it to a debt buyer. The debt buyer will then attempt to collect the debt amount and additional charges like late fees and interest. (These should still be paid if possible.)
- Collections: Accounts in collections show the information of items (such as medical bills, loans, unpaid parking tickets, gas bills, or electric bills) and their respective information, such as if they were paid, unpaid, when they were opened, and the balance. These debts are usually sold to collectors multiple times so they are more likely to have errors. Pay off these debts strategically by first paying off the ones that affect your credit the most. Make these payments in full since paying them partially resets the start date of that item and causes it to stay on your credit report longer. Be sure to keep records of any payments you make in writing since collection agencies can accuse you of not having made any payments. Collections may take around 1 to 2 months for changes to be reflected in your credit report.
- Credit inquiries: These items remain on your credit report for up to 2 years and are recorded by all three bureaus.
- Foreclosures: These items appear on your credit report for up to 7 years.
- Judgments: Judgments are reported for up to 7 years after the lawsuit or until the statute of limitations has expired (which is generally less than 7 years depending on the state's law).
- Late payments: Late payments are usually reported when they are over 30 days late, although some creditors will not report it until a second payment is owed. Late payments and delinquent accounts are reported for 7 years after the final scheduled payment. Your credit reports will show exactly how late your accounts are (30, 60, 90 days, or more).
- Loan defaults: Defaults are reported until the loan is paid off in full.
- Past due payments: Past due payments are loan payments that are past their due date. Late fees apply unless the borrower is in a grace period.
- Public records: These include court-related items like bankruptcies, judgments, and tax liens. These listed items will show if the name, amount, date filed, and status of the account (paid or unpaid).
- Repossessions: These marks are reported for up to 7 years after they were initially listed and consumers remain responsible for paying off the remaining debt.
- Tax liens: Paid tax liens are reported from the payment date for up to 7 years. Unpaid tax liens stay on your credit report indefinitely, although credit bureaus can remove them after 10 years.
How long will fixing my credit take?
It generally takes around 30 to 45 days to see any changes reflected in your credit report once the disputes have been communicated with the bureaus.
However, seeing the full benefits of credit repair really depends on your circumstances. If you have many disputes with the bureaus, it will take much longer to get them resolved.
Is credit repair worth it?
Your credit score is a measure of your financial health and because it is used for a variety of reasons, improving your credit is certainly worth it if you are struggling with a poor credit score.
As a guide, here are the FICO® score breakdowns:
Excellent credit: 750+ Good credit: 700 - 749 Fair credit: 650 - 699 Poor credit: 600 - 649 Bad credit: below 600
Lenders generally require a score over 600 to acquire loans, and the higher your score is, the lower your interest will be, saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Building your credit back up and changing your habits gives you a chance to qualify for better loans and lines of credit in the future.
Does credit repair really work?
While there is no guarantee, removing a negative item from your credit report can positively affect your score if it had a negative impact in the first place. However, you should always aim to remove any inaccuracies for your peace of mind and financial health.
Can I repair my credit on my own?
Yes, you can repair your credit on your own. To do this, you need to acquire your credit reports from the three bureaus (you can receive a free copy of once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com). Once you find errors or inaccuracies, you can dispute these directly with the bureaus either online or by mail.
Due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the bureaus are legally required to respond to you in 30 days.
The advantage of DIY credit repair is that you can avoid the costs of credit repair services; however, This process can be time-consuming if you are not well-versed with the nuances of credit repair, so we recommend hiring a reputable company to help.
Why should I use a professional credit repair company?
A reputable credit repair company has experience finding and disputing errors with all three major bureaus since they know the ins and outs of the credit repair industry. They can also provide additional benefits such as tips to help you understand and improve your credit and free credit monitoring services which may help prevent identity theft.
What is the cost of credit repair?
The cost of credit repair depends on whether you try to do it yourself (which only costs time) or if you hire a service.
Credit repair companies charge a monthly fee for their services and a setup fee to pull your credit report. Their pricing will also depend on whether you choose a plan that does the minimum amount of disputes or one that provides other services such as credit monitoring or goodwill letters.
How do I choose the best credit repair company for me?
There are a few factors in determining which credit repair service is best for your situation:
- Pricing: Of course you will want to find a credit repair service that fits your budget, but the pricing and services offered vary greatly by each company. The pricing may include setup fees, a monthly fee, pay-per-removal fees, and/or monitoring fees, but be sure to choose one that will encompass your needs.
- Free consultation: A reputable credit repair service should offer you a free consultation in which a representative will review your financial situation and inform you of what they can and can't do.
- Attorney on staff: It is essential that a credit repair service has a licensed attorney on staff. The company should also be licensed, bonded, and insured.
- 24/7 account access: Most credit repair services offer 24/7 access to a client portal, either online or through a mobile app.
- Customer service: A credit repair company with great customer service should include an easy way to get in touch with a knowledgeable representative, either through an online portal, phone, chat, or email. Many companies offer personal case managers or a team to assist customers.
- Additional benefits: Credit repair companies may include extra services such as credit monitoring or educational tools ranging from blogs to PDFs.
- Industry experience: Longevity and experience is a great sign in the credit repair space.
How do I avoid scams?
Although there are some scam artists in the industry, the creation of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) has made it easier to weed out unlawful credit repair practices. The CROA "prohibits untrue or misleading representations and requires certain affirmative disclosures in the offering or sale of 'credit repair' services."
This act also doesn't allow for credit repair services to charge advance payment or surprise fees (the one exception being a setup fee to secure your credit reports), require credit repair contracts to be in writing, and allow consumers to have contract cancellation rights.
In short, be wary of the following red flags:
- An upfront payment (unless it is a setup fee to acquire your credit reports)
- No contract (credit repair companies are required to provide a written contract that includes cancellation rights for consumers)
- Guaranteed quick results
- Guaranteed credit score increase
- Promising to fix errors
- Suggesting the removal of legitimate negative information
- Asking you to lie
- Suggesting the creation of new credit profile
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