You have options – should you go local? Should you call a big, well-known agency? What about the mixed (often negative) reviews you’ve seen floating around about ‘company x’? How do you know who’s really going to help you?
As you might guess, we’ve nursed a few headaches. We’ve consulted countless consumer reviews, industry sources & expert research. And we’ve drilled down to find the best credit repair companies worth your money, and your time.
Sky Blue comes highly recommended as one of the longest established firms in the industry. We like their track record of exceptional customer service, and appreciate the simple one package-one price cost structure.
$59 per month entitles you to the firm’s dispute of 15 items on your report (5 items per credit reporting agency) every 35 days. Sky Blue touts this as ‘the quickest pace in the industry’ on their website (other firms may disagree).*
Sky Blue’s customer service is consistently lauded by customer reviews and industry publications. The initial evaluation the firm does for all new customers can sometimes reveal cases where a potential customer would be better off simply fixing whatever may be ailing their credit themselves. Remarkably, Sky Blue has been known to inform their potential clients of this in lieu of charging them for services.
The firm’s 90-day satisfaction guarantee (or your money back) is uncommon for the industry, but well-appreciated. We also like the $20/month couple’s discount, bringing your total monthly bill down to $99 per month if you’re planning to sign up with your spouse.
We’re not fans of the additional one-time fee of $39.95 for a credit report pull, or the potential for Sky Blue to require additional credit report pulls in the future (depending on how long your repair process takes). Customers may instead subscribe to a Credit Monitoring service for $14.95 per month, wherein any necessary credit report pulls are included.
Exceptional customer service, an A+ BBB rating (though not accredited), and its simple pricing structure merit Sky Blue the top spot in our recommended credit repair company list.
* More on that note: it’s important not to be swayed by any firm’s claim they will “work faster than any other company.” The practice of spamming letters and notices to reporting agencies en masse is ill-advised, and is a sure-fire way to have your letters & disputes outright ignored. This is the case whether you’re doing your own credit repair, or having a company do it for you. Any legitimate credit repair firm will work methodically, yet at the quickest rate possible, to maximize reporting bureau response-rates.
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The Credit People took the runner-up spot in our 2018 credit repair company ratings.
We love the 60-day 100% money-back guarantee, and the flat up-front payment option if you’d prefer not to pay a credit repair company month-to-month. These two features alone help The Credit People stand out from the pack.
We like how straight-forward the service offering is: one all-inclusive package including credit repair with “results in 60 days” and monthly improvement thereafter, customer access to credit reports & scores, phone support during business hours, among other benefits.
Their ‘Monthly Membership’ costs $79/month, with a $19 7-day trial option if you’d prefer to test the waters before paying full-price. Or, you can skip the monthly fees altogether, and opt for the $379 Flat Rate Membership.
The Credit People’s program is our hands-down top pick if you expect to be with any given company for 5 months or longer. With the average credit repair program requiring 6 to 7 months to complete, according to The Credit People, the Flat Rate Membership is a bargain.
If the up-front rate doesn’t fit your budget, their monthly payment plan is still quite budget-friendly. The Credit People also offer free credit reports & scores, further bolstering the firm’s affordability. Surprisingly, most other companies tack additional charges on your account for this very-necessary feature.
Customers can cancel their membership any time by phone during business hours, Monday thru Friday. Some reviewers we consulted experienced somewhat lengthy hold times with The Credit People’s phone support – 20 minutes or so, at a time. However, the firm’s customer support tends to be rated helpful & friendly.
A $20/month couple’s discount is available on each of your first 3 payments upon signing up. The fine print states this discount is quoted in total, meaning it’s $20 off your full bill each month (rather than $40). And, the couples’ discount is evidently not available if you’re considering the Flat Rate Membership option.
Lexington Law rings in as a close 3rd (or, 2b) in our review of the best credit repair companies.
You’ve probably seen Lexington ranked highly all over the web. There are a few reasons for that:
- Over 26 years in the industry
- One of the largest credit repair firms in the nation
- An established history of results
- Good marketing
We love the direct access to a personal case representative. You’ll speak to the same person (or person(s)) each time you call Lexington. The human issues behind a person’s bad credit can often be very delicate. While a dedicated account rep may not be that important for some, a familiar voice will likely be a huge plus for most.
We like their long, deep history of getting results fixing credit for their clients (reported the removal of over 9 million credit items from their customers’ credit reports in 2016 alone). Lexington Law has dedicated lawyer teams spanning 21 states, and its customer support is available 7 days a week by phone, email or online chat.
Their pricing is relatively complex. Lexington Law offers three service levels: the basic Concord Standard at $89.95 per month, Concord Premier at $109.95 per month, and PremierPlus at $129.95 per month. The basic plan is all you need for Bureau Challenges & Creditor Interventions (the two things a firm will actually do to repair your credit).
The Concord Premier is their “most popular” plan, and offers upgrades over the Standard package including InquiryAssist, Score Analysis, ReportWatch and TransUnion® Alerts. Going all the way up to the PremierPlus adds Cease & Desist Letters, a FICO® Score Tracker, Identiy Protection, and Personal Finance Tools.
We would recommend first considering the basic Concord Standard plan, and only upgrading to the Concord Premier if you do not already have an active credit monitoring service (either through a Credit Card provider, or elsewhere). If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line, and you foresee needing to send C&D letters to debt collectors and/or creditors, the PremierPlus package appears to be for you. However, for most, the most expensive plan doesn’t seem to be necessary.
Discounts are offered: a family/household discount of 50% off your spouse’s first month of service (not your full bill).
Remember how we said researching credit repair companies is potentially headache-inducing? That warning especially holds true with Lexington Law. Reviews from past customers abound on the Internet. You’ll read an article explaining how great Lexington is, then read a customer review saying the complete opposite.
One thing we’ve found with credit repair companies: patience is critical.
When your credit report needs repair, and you hire a firm, you need to count on at least 2-4 months to begin to see results. Lexington Law will begin working on your case right away upon your sign-up, but the speed of changes in your report ultimately up to how quickly the three major credit reporting agencies respond to Lexington’s inquiries.
Lexington Law’s own website states their clients see an average of 24% of the existing negative items on their credit reports removed within the first 4 months of service.
We’ve heard from many customer reviewers of their dissatisfaction when they didn’t see results in the first month (or two). This is a common complaint not just with Lexington Law, but many other credit repair agencies. Our advice: be patient & stay in communication with the firm you’ve hired. The first 4 months after hiring an agency should tell you enough about whether the firm’s services are working for you.
We love Ovation Credit’s affordability at $59 per month for their base-level package. Most firms charge a ‘First Month’ fee, and Ovation’s not any different.
A potential stumbling block: the first month’s fee for the Essentials plan is $89, a full $30 higher than the advertised price. Every month thereafter is billed at the $59 per month rate, and we wouldn’t count the extra ‘Month 1’ amount as a reason not to hire the firm. However, it’s certainly something new customers should be aware of.
Upgrading to the Essentials Plus plan isn’t necessary except for those with especially complex credit report situations. The ‘Plus’ plan adds unlimited debt validation and creditor goodwill letters, and TransUnion credit monitoring.
We like the added touch of the personal case advisor (similar to Lexington Law). Once again, the ‘familiar voice factor’ can potentially play a huge role for you depending on the specifics of your credit situation.
We don’t necessarily admire the additional fee structures (it’s 2018, we need companies to clearly price their services) for the “Fast Track” and “Identity Optimization” services, one-time fees of $25 each. However, the Fast Track option can be useful if you’re looking to apply for a loan very soon, so the extra fee may-well be justified on a case-by-case basis.
Their A+ rating on the BBB website is particularly noteworthy in an industry where most firms find trouble maintaining high ratings with the Bureau. Perhaps more impressively, Ovation appears to actively respond and work with customers who leave a complaint or review on their BBB profile.
Ovation offers a 20% discount for couples, as well as a unique “competitive upgrade” discount of $50 off your first bill if you’re transferring service from another credit repair company. Senior and military discounts are also available on request.
Ovation’s integrates its client education with its unique angle on a social media strategy (for a credit repair firm). The firm kickstarted the #BetterCreditLife hashtag, and posts helpful (albeit sometimes non-original) tips using the tag while encouraging others to do the same.
The firm’s start date in 2004 makes Ovation a relative newcomer to the industry, so their track record lacks the history some other companies in our ratings boast. However, the firm’s affordability, available discounts, and the abundance of ways a customer can contact Ovation buoy its #4 rating in our list.
We like CreditRepair.com’s simple pricing structure: one package & one price. $99.95 per month entitles you to the firm’s full-service offering.
Along with Lexington Law, CreditRepair.com is another very well-known, established brand in the credit repair industry. In fact, the same company who owns Lexington also owns CreditRepair.com. The two brands offer similar service, a key difference being the latter’s simpler pricing.
The firm is active on social media, with an audience of over 100,000 followers on Facebook at the time of this review. CreditRepair.com ran a campaign in early 2016 with the hashtag #CreditAcrossAmerica, where they answered customer questions about credit via short videos. A number of customer testimonial videos have also been uploaded to the page.
Granted, a credit repair company isn’t likely to upload negative reviews to their Facebook page. The reviews you find there will all be positive. Like most any other company, and with just a little bit of digging – you can find a fair share of negative reviews for CreditRepair.com, too.
The negative reviews often deal with heightened expectations new customers may have. The CreditRepair.com ‘About’ page, at the time of this review, illustrated (using a bar graph) the removal of 7% of their past customers’ negative items from their reports every month, starting in Month 1.
It’s important to consider: this figure, while likely accurate as an average, is exactly that: an average. While results with a credit repair firm in Month 1 are indeed possible with any legitimate credit repair firm, they should not be expected.
CreditRepair.com offers a $100 couple’s discount off your first combined bill. Interestingly, you need not be married to receive this discount (meaning you could, conceivably, sign up with a close friend & share the discount).
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What is a Credit Repair Agency?
Credit repair is a term used to describe a proactive approach to improving a personal credit score and report. This can include activities like contacting credit agencies about mistakes on a report.
A credit repair agency does the work on behalf of customers to improve a credit score and report.
Credit repair is also considered learning how to practice using credit well. This aspect of credit repair involves education and consistent practice.
Credit repair agencies are generally known to provide educational services in addition to reaching out to credit bureaus for their customers.
Why Hire a Credit Repair Agency?
1. Time & Convenience
Even if you know how to repair your credit yourself, you may need to get in touch with an agency for additional help.
Thus, the common reasons for hiring an agency to repair your credit: time and convenience.
Just because you can do your own credit repair doesn’t mean you have the time to do so. Everyone seems to have a hundred items on their daily to-do list, adding ‘repair credit’ to that list may be an uncomfortable thought for some.
Note: This doesn’t mean you should put your credit repair in the hands of an agency and forget about it.
We recommend getting familiar with how these agencies work so that you’re educated on what their process will look like, and what your role my be during the repair.
2. Expertise & Experience
Credit repair agencies make it their business to do one thing especially well: credit repair.
Reputable agencies have teams of professionals who know applicable laws and standard procedures.
For someone who has no experience dealing with bureaus, creditors and potential legal issues, a credit repair agency can be the best solution.
Before doing your own credit repair, you will have to figure out what you need to do and how to do it. If you don’t have the time for that (see above), hiring a credit repair agency might be a logical step.
When you hire an agency to help you repair your credit they will usually be happy to give you the information you need to help keep your credit in good standing.
Instead of hunting around the internet for information, you’ll have a resource you can turn to for answers to your questions.
3. More Than Credit Repair
Some agencies offer other services, such as goodwill letters and legal services.
Issues with a credit report or score are not isolated. Looking for an apartment, buying a home, getting a new job or applying for a loan are all examples of times when credit scores and reports are necessary.
Depending on the kind of help you need, you may want to consider an agency that can assist in another area while they’re helping you repair your credit.
What to Consider Before Hiring an Agency
1. Your Expectations
A credit repair agency cannot guarantee successful credit repair for any given customer.
The truth is: every individual person’s credit situation is unique, and inevitable circumstances may exist – preventing even the best agency from cleaning or removing certain items from a given customer’s report.
Even though you might commit to paying a company’s fees, remember: you’re paying for a service, not a guarantee.
No one can promise to completely repair your credit, or improve your credit score.
Some reputable firms offer money-back guarantees if you do not see results, or if you’re unhappy with the service. Examples including:
A firm’s “money-back guarantee” may be a welcome comfort, but it should not be conflated with an expectation for “guaranteed results.”
Some firms offer pay-by-results pricing. Essentially, you would only be expected to pay the company per item removed from your credit reports.
This would be about as close to a “results guarantee” you can get from a respectable, reputable agency.
An example: Credit Pros. However, Credit Pros still charges a base fee after a customer’s first few days in the program.
A report published in 2013 by the FTC on the U.S. credit reporting industry found that after fixing errors on a credit report, one in 20 consumers had their score go up by more than 25 points.
The same report found that one in 250 consumers had their score go up by more than 100 points.
When you sign up with a repair company, make sure you’re not going in with unrealistic expectations and goals.
Ask questions, understand the realistic possibilities your credit situation presents for possible repair, and understand your choice firm’s payment structure before you “sign the dotted line.”
2. Your Unique Case
It may be likely something on your credit report is inaccurate.
The aforementioned 2013 FTC report on the credit reporting industry found one in five consumers had errors on their report.
But there’s no way to tell exactly what these errors are: they could be serious or small, like inverse numbers in a zip code.
For minor errors, you could potentially save the money you would spend to have an agency investigate on your behalf. You can retrieve your reports, and learn how to work with the bureaus yourself.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about why you want to hire a credit repair agency.
Was your identity was stolen? Did a family member use a credit card in your name without your knowledge? Are there other major, sensitive items on your report needing attention?
You may feel more comfortable having experts handle your case, rather than attempting it yourself.
3. Your Needs & Goals
Most credit repair agencies offer more than one service, even if they say ‘credit repair is all we do’.
When you sign up, a firm will likely ask if you also want to add additional services.
Some at an extra cost to you, others for free.
Think about your basic needs and goals. Knowing what these are before signing up to pay a monthly fee will help you decide what you do and do not need.
You may also want to think about some of the more unique services offered by certain credit repair agencies.
If you’re applying for a new job, or need help with a legal claim, consider one of the agencies offering assistance in these areas.
Repairing Your Own Credit
If you want to find out how to repair your credit yourself, we have a guide for that.
The Federal Trade Commission notes you can potentially save your money instead of going to a credit repair agency.
Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs says: “No credit repair company can do anything you can’t do for yourself.”
Hiring a repair agency largely comes down to:
- Saving time
- Mitigating the potential headaches involved in dealing with creditors & reporting agencies
However, an essential part of repairing your credit is educating yourself. This is the only way to ensure you have the tools to take control of your credit report and score once your credit is fixed.
Spotting Credit Repair Scams
There’s a lot of ‘credit repair noise’ out there.
Too much of the noise is coming from ‘fly-by-night’ companies promising results they simply cannot deliver.
Here are a few things a credit repair company cannot promise to do (no matter what they advertise):
- Boost your credit score by a certain number of points
- Remove a negative item that is accurate
- Help you receive a loan without knowing the specifics of your case
- Guarantee your credit score will improve
- Tell you not to contact the credit bureaus yourself
- Give you a “new credit identity”
The FTC offers a list and more details of what credit repair scams look like.
A major sign that a credit repair service is a scam: when the agency demands payment before providing services.
Each of the companies we research approach payment differently, so be sure to know what you’re getting and when.
Key Tips for Hiring a Credit Repair Company
1. Go in With a Plan
Take a look at what you want for your future: the goals you want to achieve, and why you want to achieve them.
If you know you need help with applying for a new job or starting a business, look for an agency who can help you reach those goals.
Consider your expectations & turn your goals into a plan by using the ‘SMART’ acronym. Plan goals that are:
Taking the time to plan helps to ensure you won’t find yourself paying a repair company for years without seeing any results.
2. Do Your Research
Before signing up with a credit repair agency, you should know how to get your credit report for free.
Annualcreditreport.com is a free service backed by the FTC that sends your credit report to you every 12 months.
This is where your research starts: by knowing what is on your credit report.
Doing your research also means knowing your rights.
Of the important things the credit repair agency you choose is obligated to inform you: your right to cancel credit repair services within three days of signing up.
3. Know What You’re Paying For
Don’t rely on the agency to repair your credit just because you’ve paid them.
We touched on this before, but believe it’s worth repeating: educate yourself on what credit repair is, and how the agency you hire will work to repair your credit.
With your goals in mind, separate what the agency is going to do and what you’re going to do to fix your own credit.
Ask the representative(s) working on your case to give you regular updates on your file’s progress.
4. Ignore the Testimonials on the Company’s Website
Publishing testimonials and case studies on a given credit repair company’s website is important for building trust with their potential customers.
However, when it comes to credit repair, we recommend completely ignoring the reviews the company posts on their site.
Instead, aim to give more attention to fair and unbiased points of view on the particular company and their services.
Perhaps most importantly: ask around and do your research before committing to a monthly program.
5. Consider Doing it Yourself
Before signing up with an agency, think about how much time and energy it would take for you to do your own credit repair.
On average, a repair program may take 3 months to a year to help you fully improve your credit.
Looking at your report, score and goals, it may be possible for you to handle your credit repair in the same amount of time.
If you run into any problems while DIY’ing, or are unable to get the results you want, you could then consider approaching an agency.
6. Verify Removals from Your Credit Report
Credit bureaus have 30 days to verify a dispute sent to them. If the dispute is not verified after 30 days, the item is removed from the report.
To a customer, it may appear their credit report has improved. Even though the deleted record may in-fact be accurate.
You may get lucky – and the item may never reappear on your report.
However, the lender can eventually report back to the bureau, and the disputed item can be found to be valid and re-added to the customer’s report.
Pay close attention to what items a firm claims have been removed from your reports. If you know certain deleted item(s) are accurate, be prepared for the items to potentially re-appear in the future.
Do I have to hire a company to repair my credit?
The short answer: No.
If you have a particularly complicated repair with numerous items to clean-up, hiring a professional firm may make sense.
However, if your report is only marred by one or a small handful of errors, you could potentially save money by learning how to repair your credit on your own.
Will paying off all my debt repair my credit?
Paying off your debt will likely contribute to improving your credit report and score, but truly repairing your credit requires time & patience.
Rather than just paying off debt, consider a few different tactics that will help build your credit for the long term.
I saw an advertisement for a company that said my credit score can be increased for a low, one-time fee. Is this a scam?
Here’s where you have to take a close look at what the agency is promising, and trust your gut.
If you’re wondering whether the offer you’re looking at is a scam, that may be a sign in itself of the company’s potential illegitimacy.
Is the firm promising to increase your score by a specific amount, or making a promise based on claims of what they’ve been able to do in the past?
Sometimes the best rule to follow is the simplest:
“Doubt means don’t” (Oprah Winfrey).
Before You Buy
In summary: hiring a professional firm can help consumers rebuild damaged credit due to financial hardships, such as foreclosure or identity theft.
A reputable agency employs professionals who are experts in working with creditors and credit bureaus.
We’ve reviewed the 5 best credit repair companies in our rankings at the beginning of this guide:
For the DIY inclined, credit repair does not have to be a complicated process, especially if you have only a few errors on your report.
If you choose to hire a company to help, however, make sure you know these 3 things first:
- Your expectations
- Your rights
- Why you’re hiring the firm
If you sign up for a credit repair firm’s services via a link or phone number on this page, PreventLoanScams.org may receive a commission for the recommendation. We appreciate this compensation for our efforts in conducting research and maintaining the PreventLoanScams.org website.
Factors important to you (the actual individual who may need their credit repaired) are what ultimately weigh into our rankings the most: affordability, a company’s ability to get results, and customer support. We only recommend companies whose service we can trust, regardless of potential monetary benefit.