A poor credit score can keep you from getting loans and raise your insurance and interest rates. Bad credit can even make it harder to get a job and rent a home, but a credit clean-up can make a positive financial difference in your life.
You can improve your credit on your own, but credit repair companies offer fast credit repair to save you time and a lot of work.
What Do Credit Repair Companies Do?
A credit repair company works on your behalf to remove inaccurate, negative information from your credit history. They communicate with the credit reporting agencies listed on your credit report to erase incorrect claims.
Typically, they start by getting a copy of your credit report from the three credit-reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Then they’ll communicate with the agencies and creditors by mailing letters on your behalf to dispute the charges you believe are incorrect.
Who Should Use a Credit Repair Company?
Should you pay someone to fix your credit? This question doesn’t have a yes or no answer because it depends on several personal factors. You may benefit from using a credit repair company if:
You would rather pay for credit repair than spend time doing it yourself.
Your credit score is lower than you think it should be, and you don’t understand why.
You’ve tried to remove inaccurate information without success.
You believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft or have multiple fraudulent reports in your credit history.
You want continual credit monitoring to prevent inaccurate derogatory information on your credit report.
People who can afford the cost of credit repair can save themselves the hassle and tedious letter-writing necessary to remove mistakes from their credit reports.
Are Credit Repair Companies Legal?
Credit repair companies are legal in the United States, with one exception. Georgia passed a consumer protection law in 2007 that made credit repair services a misdemeanor to attempt to stop credit repair scams.
Only the individual, a non-profit organization, or a lawyer can attempt or offer credit repair. A repair credit service business working for profit can not legally operate in the state.
Do Credit Repair Companies Really Work?
Yes, credit repair companies work. They contact credit reporting agencies to remove inaccurate information from your credit reports, which can boost your credit rating immediately.
A credit repair specialist will suggest how you can improve your credit score further. They might recommend that you apply for the best credit card to rebuild credit or offer advice on how to pay down your debt faster.
If negative information on your credit report is correct, they may offer advice about a repayment plan to help you remove those reports. They may also recommend a credit counseling service that can help.
How Much Do Credit Repair Companies Charge?
The cost is different for each credit repair business.
Some credit repair services work by subscription. You’ll pay a monthly fee as long as they’re working on your credit. Other companies work on a pay-by-deletion model and charge a fee for each item they successfully remove from your credit report.
Some credit restoration companies charge a one-time fee to fix credit, and the amount may be different depending on how many problems they need to deal with on your credit report.
The average monthly fee for credit repair is about $70 – $90 per month, but it can cost as little as $19 or as much as $150. Companies that charge a one-time fee usually charge from $170 to $400.
Some credit repair services also charge a set-up fee, commonly called a “first work” fee. The amount can range from $19 to over $100.
Most people who decide to fix their credit can find a company that works within their budget.
How Can I Fix My Credit Score by Myself?
You can do it yourself by requesting a copy of your credit report from the three credit report agencies and disputing any inaccurate information you find in what’s known as a 609 dispute letter. You can find 609 dispute letter templates to help you through the process.
If they refuse to remove the information, you can send what’s known as a 611 method verification letter asking them to explain how they investigated the matter. As you can see, handling this yourself isn’t impossible, but it can be time-consuming.
Credit repairs companies handle all the contact and letters for you and promptly reply to any further information they receive to save you the hassle.
You can also take several steps to improve your credit score going forward:
Strive to pay all your bills on time, especially credit cards and loans.
Pay down your debts as fast as possible with careful budgeting and planning.
Avoid applying for new lines of credit or anything that will create a credit inquiry or a “hard pull” on your credit report.
What to Look for in a Credit Repair Company
If you have trouble deciding which credit repair service is best for you, or if you’re worried that a business is a scam, follow these tips about how to find a legitimate company to help you fix your credit history.
Each company should outline what they’ll do for you and how much it will cost. If you look at a company’s website and are still asking, “How much is credit repair a month?” or any other questions about what they charge, you should look for a different option.
Look at the small print of each company for things like hidden fees, extra charges, or expensive add-ons that you can get included in the cost of services at other companies.
While no company can guarantee they’ll be able to remove any item from your credit report or improve your score, they should offer the option of a refund if they can’t. Some companies advertise no cancellation fees or payments after you cancel, but that’s not a perk.
Look for companies willing to refund your money if they can’t get the job done for you and ones that make the terms of their money-back guarantee clear and easy to understand.
A Good Track Record
Credit repair companies that have been in business for years must be doing something right to stay in business. Look for companies that have been operating for at least five years.
Credit repair scams and illegitimate companies probably won’t last five years before they’re shut down by the FTC or stop getting enough clients to stay in business.
A Free Consultation
You should be able to get a free consultation with no strings attached from a good credit repair company. They’ll look at your credit reports to analyze which entries damage your credit and which help before making suggestions about what they can do for you.
You shouldn’t have to sign up or pay up-front for this consultation. No credit repairs service can see if they can help you without seeing your credit reports first.
Signs You Should Avoid a Credit Repair Company
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a legitimate credit repair service, here are the signs that you should avoid a company and look for help somewhere else.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act makes it illegal for credit repair companies to charge up-front fees for services they haven’t performed. This Act is why legitimate credit repair companies charge “first-work fees” and set-up fees anywhere from 5-15 days after you sign up rather than at the time you sign.
Any credit repair service that demands payment on sign-up is breaking the law. The more they want in advance, the more likely they charge so much up-front because they’re a scam.
When you sign up with a credit repair business, you should get a clear contract that states your financial obligation for the service and exactly what the company will do on your behalf to fix your credit.
Any company that doesn’t offer a contract in writing is one you should avoid.
Unclear Terms or Answers
If you ask questions and they give unclear answers or keep putting you off without providing simple, straightforward information to address your concerns, they’re probably a scam.
You should be able to speak to someone and get answers to any questions you have about their pricing, their service, and when you can expect to start seeing results if their service works.
Long Contract Terms
The monthly subscription model lends itself to unscrupulous companies. They might string clients along to keep them making payments much longer than they should.
Most people who use legitimate credit repair services can expect improvement in their credit reports within one to six months. If a company tries to keep you paying for months far beyond that, you should look elsewhere.
No company should guarantee that they can remove anything from your credit report or raise your score. Legitimate companies can usually erase incorrect claims, but they can’t guarantee results.
If a company guarantees that it can do these things, you should question whether they’re being honest. And if they promise they can remove any or all negative items from your report, whether those items are inaccurate or not, you should not use their service.
Potentially Illegal Practices
Some companies use unethical and illegal methods to try to remove every negative item from a credit report, whether those items are accurate or not. Others try to help you establish a good credit rating through illegal means. Never get involved with companies that do any of the following.
Creating a New Credit Identity
Illegitimate companies may give you a new 9-digit number and tell you to apply for credit with that number instead of your Social Security Number (SSN). The number they provide might be an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a number a business uses instead of an SSN for tax purposes.
The number also could be the SSN of a deceased person or one gained through identity theft. They may call it a Credit Profile (or Privacy) Number (CPN). If they encourage you to apply for credit using that number, they’re committing fraud and pushing you toward an illegal act.
If they don’t give you a CPN but encourage you to make false statements of any kind on loan applications or other paperwork, the company is leading you to commit fraud.
Performing a Clean Sweep
Avoid any company that encourages you to dispute everything negative on your credit report. They can’t remove accurate information, and the attempt to do so can cause legal problems.
Some illegitimate credit repair companies use what’s known as a “clean sweep” to try to clean up credit reports. This method involves sending multiple disputes in a short time to every claim in the hopes that the creditors will miss one 30-day window to respond.
This tactic is illegal, so never work with a company that does this.
Other Red Flags
Other things to watch out for when you’re looking at credit repair agencies include:
Telling you not to contact credit bureaus on your own
Promising credit fixes in less than 30 days
Unclear information about what exactly they do on your behalf
A confusing cancellation process
Avoid any credit repair companies that throw up any of these red flags. Stay away from companies that demand up-front payment or use illegal tactics to try to clear your credit report.
Companies like those can waste your money and cause you legal problems that could hurt your ability to borrow money.
What Are the Best Credit Repair Companies?
We’ve researched and found the eight top credit repair companies for 2022 and beyond. We hope our credit repair company reviews help you decide what to do about your credit.
Credit Saint Credit Restoration is one of the most popular and trusted names in the industry. Their packages and payment terms are clear and easy to understand, and they’re happy to answer all of your questions about credit and their process.
When you sign up with Credit Saint, they’ll create an account for you on CreditSquad.com. They’ll talk you through your credit report and history to find the items you think are fraudulent.
The people who work at Credit Saint are so confident they can help you improve your credit, they stand behind their service with a 90-day money-back guarantee. The staff is caring, compassionate, and passionate about educating clients about their credit and financial management.
You can choose between three packages, depending on the level of help you need. The prices don’t include sales tax.
Clean Slate: $195 first-work fee and $119 per month. This package is the most aggressive, with unlimited challenges to all three credit bureaus, score analysis and tracking, and Experian monitoring.
Credit Remodel: $99 first-work fee and $99 per month. This option covers ten challenges to the three bureaus in each dispute cycle, score analysis and tracking, and Experian monitoring.
Credit Polish: $99 first-work fee and $79 per month. This package is their least expensive, with five challenges to the three credit bureaus per dispute cycle, score analysis, and score tracking.
Credit Saint provides you with an online portal to monitor changes to your credit and see what they’re doing every step of the way. This top-rated credit repair company also analyzes the positive items on your credit report and offers advice to improve your score even further.
The Credit People is one of the best credit repair companies for people on a tight budget. Their first-work set-up fee is one of the cheapest in the industry at only $19. The company has helped over 100,000 people fix their credit reports since 2001.
They offer a free credit consultation where they look at incorrect claims on your credit report and analyze your history for ways to help you improve your credit.
Once you pay the first-work fee, the company will give you access to an online dashboard where you can examine your credit and watch the improvement every month.
This credit repair company has what they call an Unbeatable Satisfaction Guarantee. If you’re not happy with the service, you can get a refund for the previous month.
The Credit People has a simple pricing structure. You can choose between a monthly subscription or a flat-rate plan for six months of service.
Subscription: $19 first-work fee and $79 per month. You don’t have to sign up for a minimum number of months.
Flat-Rate: $419 total for six months of service. This plan offers a $74 discount over paying monthly for six months.
They also offer a discount for married couples on the monthly plan. If one spouse signs up within three days of the other, both will get $20 off their first monthly payment.
Get started for only $19
Their money-back guarantee
In business for 22 years
Only a C+ rating at the BBB and doesn’t pay for accreditation
This credit repair service has helped over half a million people fix their credit since 2004. Unlike many other companies in the industry, Lexington Law is lawyer-backed, so you can be sure the tactics used to improve your credit are legal.
Like most businesses of this type, they offer a free consultation about your credit and how they can improve it. They claim to have removed over 10 million items from clients’ credit histories.
They offer you the option to choose a focus track if one particular type of debt is the problem. You can choose to focus on problems caused by medical bills, a divorce, a national emergency, student loans, time in military service, or identity theft.
The lawyers at this service can suggest amendments to things like your divorce decree or help you understand your consumer protection rights if you’ve been in the military or suffered high medical bills.
People whose credit has been affected by national emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can choose to focus on those issues to repair their credit.
Lexington Law offers three packages for different levels of credit repair help. The set-up fee is $14.99, but they regularly offer a discounted price of $4.99.
Basic: they challenge the incorrect items on your credit report and communicate with your creditors on your behalf.
Concord Premier: bureau challenges and interventions plus TransUnion alerts, a score analysis, and other useful features.
PremierPlus: everything included in the other packages plus cease & desist letters, a FICO score tracker, credit monitoring, and identity protection.
If you sign up with a family member, you can both save 50% on your first month’s payment.
Been in business for almost 20 years
Free credit education
Only $4.99 to $14.99 to get started
Rated C- at the BBB and doesn’t pay for accreditation
This credit repair company is one of the oldest and most well-established businesses in the industry. They’ve been helping people remove inaccurate negative items from their credit histories since 1989.
They offer a free consultation, and after you sign up, the company starts working on your case within 48 hours. The user interface lets you keep tabs on your progress and communicate with the Sky Blue team.
Sky Blue offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee. At any time during the first 90 days, if you’re not satisfied, they’ll issue a full refund of what you’ve paid them. They also let you pause your monthly payments to stop the service temporarily.
Sky Blue also has one of the largest and most comprehensive credit education libraries online. You can benefit from the information on the website without spending any money. The information there is free for anyone to read.
Sky Blue offers one of the best pricing structures in the business. You can get everything they offer for one price with no hidden fees, upgrades, or added-on charges.
Individual package: $79 first-work fee and $79 per month for one person
Couples package: $119 first-work fee and $199 per month for two people
The couples package represents a discount of $39 per month on one person’s service.
An A+ rating at the BBB (though they don’t pay for accreditation)
Creditrepair.com offers three packages at different price points for every credit history need. When you get a free credit consultation, they’ll recommend the package they think will work best for your situation, and it’s not always the most expensive option.
The company opened its virtual doors in 2012. Since then, they’ve issued over 23 million challenges and corrected over 7.5 million incorrect items on clients’ credit reports. They performed over 189,000 free credit evaluations in 2020.
Over 70% of their clients see an increase within six months, and 85% of those clients see their score increase by 40 points.
Unlike many credit repair services, CreditRepair.com doesn’t make it easy to see exactly how much their packages cost. The prices don’t appear with the package details.
You have to find the Frequently Asked Questions page from a link at the bottom of the site. They appear to offer three packages, each with an advertised first-work fee amount.
Basic: $69.95 first-work fee and $69.95 per month. This option is for people with a handful of negative items to dispute.
Moderate: $99.95 first-work fee and $99.95 per month. The most popular package is a mid-priced option for people with a few more issues with their credit reports.
Aggressive: $119.95 first-work fee and $119.95 per month. The Aggressive plan is the most expensive choice aimed at people with multiple inaccuracies in their credit history.
The company offers discounts for referrals and veterans. If you refer a new client or you’re a veteran, you can get up to 50% off your first-work fee.
In business over nine years
A lower monthly fee on the basic package than many other companies
Offers text alerts
Helped over 830,000 clients
Doesn’t pay for accreditation and has a D score at the BBB
Doesn’t offer a refund if you’re dissatisfied with the service
This company offers the standard free consultation, and once you sign up, you’ll get an online portal to see your case and its progress. They also provide same-day service to start working on your credit history the day you sign up.
LendingTree, a well-respected 24-year-old business that connects borrowers to prospective lenders, acquired Ovation in 2018, making the company even more trustworthy.
Ovation offers two packages with different benefits and prices.
Essentials: $89 first-work fee and $79 per month. This package lets you dispute anything you believe is inaccurate on your credit report.
Essentials Plus: $89 first-work fee and $109 per month. In addition to disputing items with the credit reporting agencies, this package includes validation letters to creditors, letters of goodwill, recommendation letters, and TransUnion credit monitoring.
Customers can benefit from several potential discounts. If you switch from a different credit repair company, you’ll get a $50 credit toward your monthly payments. Referrals earn you $30 per person or $50 per couple toward your account.
Couples can get a 20% discount for each person. Seniors (65 and older) and active or retired military will receive a 10% discount on services.
Accredited and carries an A+ rating with the BBB
Lots of potential discounts
Financial tools to help with budgeting and planning
Backed by LendingTree.com
$89 first-work fee
Offers custom options for their plans but doesn’t reveal the options or pricing on the website
If you’ve ever worked with any company you had to email for support, you should appreciate Pyramid Credit Repair. You can reach support by phone 24 hours a day, any day of the week. A real person will answer your questions and concerns any time you call.
Pyramid has helped thousands of people improve their credit during the decade they’ve been in business. They have a staff of almost 300 people who work with the credit bureaus on their clients’ behalf.
Clients get an attractive customer dashboard to monitor their progress and financial tools to help with planning and budgeting. They don’t charge your card on sign-up, but the first-work fee appears within 5-15 days.
The average time it takes to see an improvement is within 45 days.
Pyramid Credit Repair offers two credit repair packages and one option for those who want continuous credit monitoring.
Singles: $99 first-work fee and $99 per month.
Couples: $198 first-work fee and $198 per month
24/7 Protection: $29.99 a month. This package protects you from identity theft and future errors.
You can start the 24/ Protection plan with a $1 trial month, and it even includes $25,000 in insurance against identity theft.
Veterans can get a 20% discount on credit repair services. They also offer a discount you don’t find with many other credit repair businesses: Teachers can get a 15% discount.
This credit repair service appears to be a fast-growing business despite higher prices. Inc. Magazine listed The Credit Pros in their 5,000 fastest-growing American companies for six years in a row and named them one of the best 50 places to work.
They make fixing your credit a risk-free proposition. If the company can’t get incorrect negative items removed from your credit report, you’re entitled to a full refund. You have to verify this by producing a copy of your reports from the three credit bureaus to show no changes when you ask for a refund.
Unlike many other credit repair services, The Credit Pros lists their management team profiles online. The website is set up much like a BPO or consulting firm, which gives it more legitimacy, but it can be confusing to navigate.
The Credit Pros offer three packages. They all include unlimited credit disputes, identity theft monitoring, financial planning tools, and debt management tools.
Money Management plan:$119 first-work fee and $69 per month with access to one debt management account
Prosperity plan: $119 first-work fee and $119 per month with more than one debt management account and a Slash Rx subscription
Success Plus plan:$149 first-work fee and $149 per month for everything in the other plans plus a membership to National Credit Direct
The Slash Rx subscription in the two higher plans offers up to an 80% discount on prescription medication.
The National Credit Direct offered with the Success Plus plan is a company that lets people with bad or no credit purchase household goods and electronics on a credit plan. Clients can get a $500+ credit line with this plan at 0% APR to help them build credit by paying on time.
An A- rating at the BBB (though they don’t pay for accreditation)
Offers bilingual services
In business for 12 years
Webchat support option
90-day money-back guarantee
High first-work fees
Top plans are expensive
Unclear differences in some service offerings
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
You probably have more questions about credit repair companies and how to fix your credit. We’ll summarize the most important points and answer as many questions as possible to help you make the best decision for your situation.
Do I have to find credit repair near me?
The good news is that you don’t have to find a local credit repairs service. These companies usually operate online and can help you no matter where you are in the US. You don’t have to go to an office or see anyone in-person to fix your credit.
Are credit repair companies scams?
The top credit repair companies are legitimate businesses that can help you remove inaccurate information from your credit reports to boost your credit score. Some companies that advertise credit repair and claim to remove accurate information from your credit history may be scams.
Are monthly fees illegal in credit repair?
Credit repair companies are prohibited by law from charging fees before they work on repairing your credit, but monthly charges are not illegal. These companies are allowed to charge a set-up or first-work fee that appears soon after you sign up. The following payment will be the first monthly fee to cover work done during the previous month.
Are credit repair companies legal in the United States?
Yes, for-profit credit repair companies are legal in every state except Georgia. This fact doesn’t mean that every company you see advertised is legal, just that the industry as a whole operates legally in the US.
How many months will I need to pay for credit repair?
The length of time you’ll pay depends on how many incorrect items are on your report. Some companies have a limit of 5-15 disputed items per month. For a monthly subscription, budget for three to seven months. Some companies offer credit monitoring which is an ongoing charge for as long as you want the service.
Can I still fix my credit if the negative information is accurate?
You can work toward fixing your credit even if the late payments, charge-offs, and other items are accurate. One quick way to start credit repair is to talk to a credit counselor who will advise you on your next steps.
Can credit repair companies remove charge offs?
If the charge-off is incorrect, they can dispute it, but even the best company to repair credit can’t remove accurate negative information with legal tactics. If the charge-off is legitimate, the only way to remove it is to negotiate with the creditor and get them to agree to remove it if you pay all or a portion of the amount owed.
How do credit repair companies remove negative items?
When you indicate that information on your credit report is inaccurate, the credit repair service will dispute that entry with the credit reporting agency through a letter. The agency will contact the creditor in question, who has 30 days to respond. If the creditor doesn’t prove that the claim is valid, the agency will remove it from the report.
Are credit repair companies worth it?
These companies save you the time and hassle of disputing incorrect reports on your credit history. You’ll benefit from the boost in your credit rating after removing negative items without having to spend time handling the process yourself.
Can a credit repair company remove student loans?
Credit repair services can remove student loans that are inaccurate or paid but still show up. If the information is accurate, they can’t remove it.
How do credit repair companies remove late payments?
If the information is incorrect, they’ll dispute it with the reporting agency the way they do with charge-offs, collections, and other dings on your report. The agency will verify the information with the creditor. If the late payment report is correct, they can’t remove it.
Do credit repair companies hurt your credit?
A legitimate credit repair business won’t hurt your credit. The industry would go out of business in a month if people paid them to fix their credit, and it ended up damaging credit scores instead. However, a scam company that uses illegal tactics could hurt your credit and potentially cause legal problems.
Can legitimate credit repair companies guarantee results?
No, they can’t guarantee that they can remove negative items or that your credit score will improve. Some companies offer a 90-day money-back guarantee or other assurances that you’re not wasting your money.
Final Thoughts on the Top Credit Repair Companies
The best credit repair companies we’ve reviewed have several things in common.
They have years of experience and tens of thousands of clients, clear contract terms and pricing, and no too-good-to-be-true guarantees. They can look at your credit reports for free and offer suggestions about what they can do.
They also suggest how you can take control of your credit rating and take steps to improve your credit and your financial life. The companies range from budget-friendly to more expensive options for those who need more help.
We hope we’ve helped you find a credit repair service that’s right for your budget and your personal credit repair needs.
Repair Your Credit, Build New Credit. It’s Your Money.