Here Are The 5 Best Credit Repair Companies In 2019
Are you trying to repair your credit fast and you’re wondering if you should hire a credit repair company to do it for you?
If your credit score is suffering, it can result in higher interest rates, lenders denying your loan applications, and even having difficulty getting approved for an apartment or car loan.
Luckily for you, a legitimate credit repair company can help get your credit back on track.
Credit repair companies are worth considering if your credit score is very low and you don’t have the time or know-how to try to fix it yourself. Credit repair companies can save you a ton of time and actually improve your credit score.
But before you hire one of these companies to get to work on repairing your credit, it’s important to know what you're looking for and to choose the best credit repair company for your specific needs.
As you might have guessed, not all credit repair companies are created equal. As you compare your options, here are five of the best credit repair companies:
Learn more about each of these companies and about how to choose the right one for your credit repair needs.
5 top credit repair companies
While there are a lot of reputable and solid credit repair services vying for your patronage, here are our top 5 favorites.
1. Lexington Law
2. Sky Blue Credit Repair
3. Credit Saint
4. The Credit Pros
5. The Credit People
4 reasons to hire a credit repair company
Your credit score is one of the most important assets you have at your disposal.
Because if you have good credit, you have access to funds when you need them—no matter how much land you own or how much cash is in your account.
When you have access to credit, you’ll be able to take out an emergency loan when you need it.
This is why checking errors and raising your score is so important. And there are many reasons that hiring an agency to do this makes sense.
1. Credit repair services know what they're doing
For a credit repair company, credit repair is their business—it's what they do all day, every day.
These companies know what factors affect your credit the most, they know what to dispute, and with their years of experience and all their resources, they'll probably even catch things you missed.
Credit repair companies also know how to communicate with your creditors, which is half the battle.
And if you’ve had any dealings with them yourself, you know it’s not always easy.
But credit repair companies know your consumer rights inside and out, so when they communicate with creditors, everything is out on the table.
2. Credit repair services can save you time
Look, DIY credit repair is definitely an option, and if you have an unlimited amount of free time, you can go through the process yourself.
You can dispute credit report errors, call your debtors, and mail letters to credit bureaus. And follow up, again and again.
But aside from possibly missing something, the process will definitely take up a lot of your time—there's no way around it: credit repair is an extremely tedious process that requires multiple calls, multiple letters, and sometimes months of waiting.
A credit repair company does all this work for you. And they know what they’re doing, so they mail the right letters, craft the right responses, and inform you of the progress.
3. Credit repair companies can save you (a lot of) money
Did you know that having poor credit can cost you a ton of money?
It's no secret that insurance premiums and interest rates are usually much higher for people with less than stellar scores—and truthfully, the difference between having an excellent credit score vs a poor credit score can result in you saving more than $100,000.
Let's look at an example:
Say you had a credit score of 770, which is considered very good. And you're shopping for a house and you take out a $300,000 mortgage.
With a 770 credit score, you might get an interest rate of around 4.1% and so over the life of the loan, you end up paying nearly $220,000 in interest.
Now, let's say 630 credit score instead, which is considered "fair".
On that same $300,000 mortgage, you might end up getting an interest rate around 5.7% instead, since you are a riskier borrower. And you'd end up paying around $326,000 in interest over the life of the loan. [source]
Same house, same mortgage, but because your credit score is in excellent shape, you end up saving around $116,000 on your mortgage. All thanks to your credit score.
And if a credit repair service can help you clean up your credit score, you could be getting a ton of breaks and saving a ton of cash.
4. Credit repair companies have a lot of clout
Most creditors aren't going to believe you actually know all your consumer rights, even though you have them.
For example, if you didn’t know you had the right to have a negative item removed (like a repossession) from your credit report after seven years, you wouldn’t know to ask for it. (And a creditor sure wouldn't volunteer that information to you).
While most of the time these items automatically fall off, it’s not unusual for them to still be on your credit report.
But credit repair companies are well-versed with those rights and the letter of the law and they know what to look for.
Because they do stay informed about consumer rights and laws, credit repair services can write letters that hold more clout than yours—this is often because when they do contact creditors, they do so within these boundaries, leaving them little room for debate.
11 things to look for in a credit repair company
If you’re like the rest of us, you might be a little uneasy about hiring a credit repair company.
After all, the industry sometimes gets a bad rap because of the dishonest companies that used to prey on unknowing consumers.
But that all changed when the Federal Trade Commission implemented the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA).
This act was intended to crack down on shady practices by credit repair agencies, as it “prohibits untrue or misleading representations and requires certain affirmative disclosures in the offering or sale of ‘credit repair’ services.”
That’s not to say that every credit repair company is now above-board.
But they are required to give you full disclosure, which has created the emergence of some very reputable services that are easy to research.
But since they are not all created equal, there are a few very important factors you should look for when finding yours.
The first thing to do when trying to find out if a credit repair company is reputable is to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Now, this won’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know, but you'll at least be able to see if the company has had any unresolved complaints or are flagged as fraudulent.
The next thing you can do is check for online reviews by simply Googling the company, and see what real life people are saying.
Social media is often a good place to find out what people think of a service, too, as are other reputable websites.
2. Fair pricing
Just like with anything else, the price for these services can run the gamut.
But a truly reputable company will offer reasonable pricing, and a range of options.
After all, if you’re already having financial problems, gouging you for outrageous fees won’t help your situation.
3. Handling disputes effectively
You’ll be able to tell if the company is good at doing this by checking their reviews, but once you hire them, you should keep an eye on what they’re actually doing to help you.
Make sure their services are actually working before continuing to pay them.
4. Free consultation
Reputable credit repair companies will offer you a free consultation before they get started. If they don’t, don’t even think about hiring them.
If they can’t assess your initial situation to see if you’re a good fit, there’s no way for them to know if they can actually help you.
5. Good track record
When you’re checking the reviews, look for clients who give specific information about how the service helped them.
In other words, you might find several reviews from people who claim the company helped them raise their credit score by a certain number of points. Bottom line: look for companies whose previous customers can attest to their success.
6. Bonded & insured
Good credit repair companies should be bonded and insured.
After all, they have access to very sensitive information from all their customers, and bonding and insurance safeguards you against that information being compromised.
7. Customer service
You'll be dealing with whatever company you choose on a regular basis, and you'll probably have questions along the way and concerns you need addressed.
In doing so, customer service is a huge factor. And you should be able to reach them in a timely manner and have regular contact.
If a company has poor customer service, you probably won’t have to look far for bad reviews and complaints.
But aside from that, you’ll probably know how they rate in this area during your free consultation. If you feel uncomfortable in this stage, you probably need to keep looking.
8. Turnaround time
The time it takes your credit repair company to deliver results is imperative.
After all, you probably hired them to speed up the process of improving your score. Again, check reviews and see how long it took them to clean up the credit of others.
Also, many companies charge for their services by the month. So if they fail to deliver any results in that first month, it may be time to move on to someone else.
9. Educational resources
Reputable credit repair companies are concerned about helping you clean up your credit, and part of this is providing educational material that teaches you how.
While they shouldn’t be a permanent fixture in your finances, you should be able to employ them to help with your credit and then learn how to keep your score as high as you can.
10. Credit monitoring
Most credit repair companies offer credit monitoring services, which can help keep you informed of fraud, or just let you know when a negative item has impacted your score.
Monitoring is an essential service I recommend anyway. So why not find a credit repair service that offers it built in to their price?
11. Reasonable claims
Any reputable service is not going to make grandiose claims that none of their clients can attest to.
Examples of reasonable claims would be the ability to get incorrect negative items removed from your report, and raising your credit score by a reasonable amount.
In other words, if a company promises everyone who hires them is guaranteed an 850 credit score, avoid them like the plague.
You should also avoid companies who promise to remove even legitimate negative items.
What is "credit repair", anyway?
Credit repair is simply taking steps to fix your credit score, and the process itself may include different actions, depending on the individual problems.
Some credit reports need extensive repair, especially if someone has had problems with fraud. But others contain a few minor errors that can be resolved quickly.Also, credit repair involves some changes in behavior for the individual seeking the repair. For example, because payment history counts for the largest part of your score someone repairing their credit will need to begin paying on time.
Credit score factors
Almost all creditors and credit bureaus use the FICO® model for scoring credit, which uses several factors and algorithmic elements to give you your score.
It’s critical to understand these credit score factors that affect your score to understand exactly what credit is.
You need to understand the rules before playing the game!
Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score.
Basically, if you have a habit of paying your bills on time, a new lender will view you as a good credit risk. That’s why it is the most important factor in your credit.
Depending on your situation, a credit repair company may work to get items removed that mistakenly reflect a negative payment history, which would usually mean that the entire account does not belong on your report. When an account is removed, the payment history is removed, and your score goes up.
Credit utilization, or your "amounts owed", makes up 30% of your credit score.
This basically tells lenders how much of your available credit you’re using. If your credit utilization is "high"—which most credit experts will tell you is around 35% of your available credit—then lenders may view you as a poor credit risk ready to default on your loans.
For example, if you have a $5,000 limit on your AmexCard and your balance is $2,000. You would have a "credit utilization" of 40%, which is definitely on the higher end.
A credit repair company may advise you to pay down some of your balances as quickly as possible, and they might also advise you to open more lines of credit to expand your available balance.
Length of credit history
Your credit history length makes up 15% of your credit score.
And you have to have at least one account for six months before you can even have a FICO® score, because it’s impossible to predict someone’s creditworthiness without anything to go on.
But just having a longer credit history doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a good score.
For example, someone with a one-year track record of on-time payments will have a better credit score than someone with a 15-year history of late or missed payments.
Credit mix accounts for 10% of your FICO® score, and simply refers to the different types of loans you have.
Basically, a combination of loan types looks better than just one type of loan.
For example, someone with a retail account, car loan, and mortgage will have a better score than someone with just retail accounts, if all other factors are the same.
New credit also accounts for 10% of your score, and it just means that people who open several accounts in a short period of time are viewed as a credit risk—especially for those with short credit histories.
What do credit repair companies actually do?
The whole purpose of credit repair companies is, of course, to help you raise your credit scores. Here's how the process generally plays out:
1. Free consultation
When you contact one of these services, they usually start with a free consultation, during which they’ll talk to you about their services, fees, and potential results.
3. Disputing any errors
If they find any potential mistakes, then they'll get to work and begin disputing those errors, which can include items that shouldn't have been on your credit report to begin with (such as hard inquiries), or items that should have already fallen off.
They'll also send requests to the credit bureau and creditors to validate your information if they feel there is a chance for mistake or fraud.
In addition to dealing with creditors on your behalf, the credit repair company may also offer a consulting service, which could include advising you to open new accounts to add positive activity to your reports, or they might advise you on which accounts should be your top priorities.
How much does credit repair cost?
Depending on how you choose to approach your credit repair, the costs can vary quite a bit. (And it's actually possible to repair your own, just keep in mind it will take time and you’ll be dealing with your creditors yourself).
DIY credit repair: $0
If you do decide to go it alone, it shouldn’t cost you a dime (okay, maybe some postage fees).
You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the major bureaus every year, which you can request at Annual Credit Report.com. You would then just begin the process the same way the credit repair companies do.
Professional credit repair: $70-$130 per month
The thing about credit repair companies is that they all have their own pricing model.
Some charge flat fees, while some charge by the month, and there are others who even charge separately for deletions.
But typically, the prices range from about $70 to $130 per month—this doesn’t include the setup fee most of them charge, which can run you around the same amount of a monthly payment or upwards of $200.
Are credit repair companies worth the cost?
Obviously, this is a personal decision that will depend largely on the state of your credit.
But the main consideration is how much you're paying in interest because of a poor credit score, or how much you will be paying in interest if you take out a new loan.
Let's take a look at an example.
Say you're about to take out a car loan with a five-year term on a new car. If you have what is considered excellent credit of 760 or above, you could qualify for a loan with as little as 2 or 3% interest rates.
But, if your score is below 600, you could be looking at more than 15% interest tacked onto your loan. That’s a huge leap and a LOT of interest.
To see the comparison more clearly, a $20,000 loan taken out for five years at 3% will end up costing $23,000. But that same loan at 15% will cost you $35,000 in the long run. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change!
Of course, this can apply to loans you already have too. If you're already paying a high interest rate, clean up your credit and try to refinance.
This is helpful with mortgages, car loans, and even personal loans. Just be careful about applying for too many at once so you can keep your inquiry numbers low.
How long does it take to repair credit?
The time it will take to repair your credit depends a lot on its current state.
How many errors are listed? How many accounts do you have? Have you been the victim of fraud?
All these questions factor into the time it takes to solve your problems. But, most credit repair companies can give you an average timeframe for seeing results.
This varies, but usually they guarantee some results within 30-60 days. This doesn’t necessarily mean your credit will be perfectly cleaned up by then, but most people do see an improvement during this time.
For factors like identity theft or fraud, there could be some important legal matters to clear up that will take longer than average. This can also be the same for credit reports with a lot of mistakes.
Also, the speed of the improvement can be slowed if your credit repair company has to submit multiple disputes, trying to clear up identity issues and erroneous data.
For most people, credit repair is an ongoing process that can take as little as a couple of months or as much as a year. But here is an overview of the timeframe to give you a more complete idea.
Beginning the credit repair process: a few hours to a week
Depending on how you're handling your credit repair, this beginning process can vary in time quite a bit.
If you’ve hired a credit repair company, this time period includes consulting with a representative, ordering your credit reports, delivering the credit reports, and setting up a plan—it can be a matter of a few hours or a week of back and forth phone calls or online communication.
Disputing credit items: 30 days or more
The actual process of disputing your items might take no longer than a day: you or your credit repair company will decide which items to dispute and start crafting the letters.
But the credit bureau then has 30 days to contact your creditors and respond to the inquiry, which is what takes up the majority of the time.
At this point, the creditors may require further information and it will be up to you to provide any documentation they might need. If they do reject a dispute, you may be able to re-dispute the items and provide them with more information.
This process can be fairly lengthy, especially when you’re tackling the job yourself one item at a time. But a credit repair service should be able to speed this up quite a bit.
Entire credit repair process: 3-6 months
All in all, credit repair should take no more than six months.
This includes disputes, some back and forth with creditors, and the resolution of the items. This is, of course, assuming you’ve hired a credit repair agency. Keep in mind, however, that it could take longer, depending on how much work has to be done.
When doing it yourself, the process might take a bit longer because you may be disputing one thing at a time. You may also not have as much success getting items removed, and it may take you longer to keep the process going.
Using a credit repair company vs DIY credit repair
By now, you can probably see why it might be a good idea to hire a credit repair service, especially if you're short on time. But let’s break down the pros and cons in an easy-to-read format.
Hiring a credit repair company
They put a stop to debt collection letters and phone calls
You have to pay for the service, sometimes up to $200
You don’t have to talk to creditors
There are some shady companies you have to look out for
They're experts in this field and know what to dispute and how to handle it
You usually have to pay for the service, even if you don’t get good results
The process is usually much faster than you could do on your own
They usually provide credit monitoring
DIY credit repair
You have to do all the legwork yourself
You have complete control of the process
You may not know how to dispute erroneous information properly
You’ll learn a lot about credit and credit repair along the way
It may take longer to see results (if you see any at all)
You'll have to negotiate with creditors on your own
How to avoid getting scammed
Here's the sad truth: there are some shady establishments out there that will try to get your money without doing much of the work they promise. But the good news is that the government pays attention to these practices and have placed regulations around how they do business.
Here are some things to be aware of:
You can also do your diligence and check these companies out with the Better Business Bureau—they don’t necessarily have to have an A+ rating to be reputable, but they should at least have a good track record for addressing problems.
If you’ve had trouble with your credit and are looking for a legal way to fix it, credit repair could be the solution for you.
A legitimate company will offer you sage legal advice and do the legwork you may not have the time or knowledge to do yourself.
They are also apt to get much better and faster results than someone trying to do it on their own—after all, they have trained professionals who handle these matters every day and know exactly what items they should address on a credit report.
About the Author
Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.