Ever been in a situation where you’ve had to pay higher interest than others for a loan? Or had a loan application declined? Many people only realize the importance of a healthy credit score when they need cash urgently. Fortunately, US consumers can use credit score repair to get their rating where it needs to be, which is where credit repair companies come in. To speed the process along, we’ve reviewed the top companies in the industry, offering some insight into this critical but often underappreciated financial service.
Ranked #1 in Challenging Inaccurate Credit Data
This New Jersey-based company has been in the credit repair business since 2007, boasting an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. Apart from an aggressive team that has helped thousands of customers improve their credit scores, its credit repair service highlights include a free phone consultation and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Trusted attorneys helping to fix your credit
This Utah-headquartered company has been in business since 2004 and is the largest among the credit repair law firms in the US. The team’s vast experience—including the removal of over 50 million negative items from credit reports in nearly two decades—ensures that pretty much all your credit repair needs are fulfilled across its three payment plans.
Take the first step to improve your credit
Established in 2004, Ovation is a LendingTree company founded by a credit repair attorney team. The Florida-based company has helped improve over 120,000 credit profiles and, apart from its top credit repair services, is known for credit education and monitoring.
Top Rated Credit Repair Company
Hailing out of New Jersey with an A+ BBB rating, this firm is known for its AI-driven personal credit management system. Founded in 2009, it has been ranked among the fastest-growing companies in the business and offers many features that go beyond credit score repair services, such as dark web monitoring, bill reminder, and pharmacy savings.
There are multiple companies providing legitimate credit repair in the US. Some are better than the rest, though, so to tell apart the wheat from the chaff, we looked at a whole lot of factors. Read on to learn more about the criteria we used in our assessment.
First things first, our search for legit credit repair companies started with the services they offer. Since some variations exist, we made sure that all the outfits on our list cover the most critical fronts. Let’s quickly look at the kind of services you should expect from a credit repair agency.
The most basic, but important nonetheless, is what is known as credit report repair. Credit bureau reports sometimes contain inaccurate or incomplete information, which results in a low credit score. The firm challenges such information on your behalf.
This, however, is usually not enough to improve your credit score substantially. In such cases, good credit repair companies can provide services like creditor intervention and debt validation to get your creditors from reporting disputable information to credit bureaus. They may also work with debt collection agencies to alter the way doubtful accounts are reported.
Some companies that repair credit may do so by challenging the legitimacy of the reported debt. These firms further offer services, such as credit score tracking and credit-related education, which do not directly affect your credit score but can help you maintain a good credit rating in the long run.
Finally, we also checked if the firms offered their services across the US. Note that not all firms have the credentials to offer nationwide services. Those with broader geographical coverage, therefore, had a slight edge over the rest.
Unfortunately, credit repair is one of those businesses that see tons of fly-by-night firms promising the moon to customers and then disappearing without any sign. It’s not that there aren’t any new legitimate credit repair companies at all. However, the years spent in the business do impact the legitimacy of a company’s services and the trust and expertise it has developed over the years. That’s why, while comparing the best companies, we have given a preference to those outfits that have been around for a while.
When looking at the fees charged by credit repair agencies, we need to consider whether they adhere to the guidelines of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). CROA regulates how a credit repair company can charge customers. This includes not charging any upfront fee and not penalizing you if you decide to cancel.
Then, the fees should fall within industry standards and should be clear to understand. Complicated fee structures or hidden charges are a definite red flag. Sometimes, what may appear extremely cheap credit repair services can end up costing you a lot.
So, we reward companies with clearly stated charges. In fact, even if the fee is slightly higher, we do not consider it an issue as long as the company’s service record justifies it and all the components are known to the customer before they sign on the dotted line.
In this, as in any other industry, reputation plays a significant role in separating the very best credit repair services from the just good. So, in addition to figuring out how long a company has been in business, the opinion of past customers shouldn’t be ignored either.
There are many resources on the internet with detailed credit repair reviews for these businesses which provide a more objective picture of the quality of services than the one painted on the company website.
That’s why we dug deep through the most popular forums as part of our review process, focusing on performance consistency and sync between what the company claims and how it actually performs.
To pick the best credit repair agencies, we considered several other aspects that, while not critical, improve the overall quality of service:
US credit repair companies are governed by two federal laws. Every state also has additional rules. Let’s look at the all-important federal laws first.
Enacted in 1970, this law made the credit repair process legal in the country after it was found that credit reports weren’t always accurate. The law offers the following protections to American citizens:
This law to regulate the credit repair industry was passed in 1996 after consumer watchdogs discovered rampant abuse within the industry. The law grants you the right to hire a qualified third party to dispute credit report discrepancies on your behalf while ensuring that credit repair companies do not employ predatory practices to make things worse.
The CROA defines a credit repair company as one that provides services related to maintaining the accuracy of the consumer’s credit report. The law also outlines that a credit repair agency cannot:
Additionally, before you sign the contract, credit repair companies must disclose in detail all the services they provide and the related costs. You can’t be penalized for canceling a contract or forced to sign away your rights to cancel or seek damages in the case of sub-par service. Finally, the law gives you the right to sue the credit repair agency up to five years after the service was provided.
Credit repair is legal in all fifty states in the US, with each having its own industry regulations. In general, most state laws include the clause that credit repair firms must have state-licensed attorneys on their staff. The absence of legal team members with a credit repair specialist certification for certain states is why even the top rated credit repair companies aren’t always eligible to practice across the country. Other state-related aspects may include systems for fee assessment, prohibited activities, mandatory disclosures, and advertising standards. The laws for each state are available online and can also be found by getting in touch with the state attorney general’s office.
Despite all the laws in place, you can still be the victim of credit repair scams. If you find that the company you hired is not following federal and/or state laws, you have the right to sue it and/or file a formal complaint against it.
You can report fraud on the website of the Federal Trade Commission. You can also file a complaint with the attorney general’s office in your state. These complaints do not necessarily result in punitive action, so you will have to file a civil suit too if you want further action. However, if authorities receive several complaints against a credit repair agency, they can fine it, force its closure, or even file a class-action lawsuit.
Credit Saint ranks high among the cheap credit repair companies, courtesy of its versatile payment plans. For simple credit repair, which includes score analysis, challenges to credit bureaus, and creditor interventions, you can opt for the affordable Credit Polish plan. This keeps you from having to pay for the bells and whistles included in the more aggressive Credit Remodel ($99.99/month) and Credit Slate ($119.99/month) plans.
Credit Saint also scores high for its excellent record with the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Reputation counts for a lot in this business; however, Credit Saint goes beyond that with some really helpful features, such as a free credit repair consultation over the phone and a 90-day money-back guarantee. The team also educates clients on improving credit in the future.
Everything’s not perfect, of course. While the longer-term monthly fee charged by Credit Saint is on par with industry rates, if not lower, they have a hefty initial work fee. More importantly, the firm’s services are not available nationwide. There are a few states, especially in the South, where the firm’s credit repair services are currently not offered.
Lexington Law, as the name suggests, differs from most other top credit repair agencies in that it is predominantly a team of credit repair specialist attorneys and paralegals, which we consider a big plus. We also like the firm’s personalized approach, with a paralegal assigned to every client to ensure the best services and credit management advice.
Another major point in Lexington Law’s favor is its industry experience. Apart from the breadth of its services and the length of its stay at the top of the business, the firm is also recognized among fast credit repair companies, having pioneered and patented technologies for quicker outcomes.
Its three payment plans, ranging from $89.85 to $129.95, cover everything you will need to up your credit score. However, we have found the monthly fees to be on the higher side. The higher plans also include some services like identity theft protection that you don’t require from a credit repair company. The firm offers sizable discounts at times, especially for friends and family members, so you should check for these before you sign up.
In addition to the high credit repair services cost, the firm also has a low BBB rating. At the time of writing, it stands at D, which means that it is not BBB accredited currently.
Ovation is primarily a credit repair law firm with an A+ BBB rating, an excellent record with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and some of the best credit repair companies reviews. We particularly appreciate its sophisticated website, which reflects well on the overall quality of services. The site has clearly marked sections for credit education and monitoring, and as a paying customer, you also get to track the progress of your cases. Other positives include free consultation, a friendly refund policy, a personal case advisor, and ease in adding custom features to the plan.
The two payment plans—Essentials ($79/month) and Essentials Plus ($109/month), with $89 as the initial work fee for both—ensure affordable credit repair. You also have the option for fast credit repair services with a $25 add-on. The outfit offers discounts, including 10% for military personnel and seniors, 20% for couples, and a $50 credit if switching from another credit repair service.
The most notable downside is that the Essentials plan lacks some crucial features, such as credit monitoring. Then, despite having been around in the business for a long time, the company does not seem to have worked on as many cases as the other firms. Finally, Ovation’s services are not available in a few states, including Minnesota and South Carolina.
While The Credit Pros is a relatively younger firm, it has earned a position among the most reputable credit repair services because of its technology-driven approach to fast credit repair. This is reflected in the strategies it uses to contest discrepancies in your credit report and even something as simple as the Android and iOS apps that help you keep track of your cases easily. The company also boasts of consistently high ratings with the BBB and Trustpilot.
Other advantages include one-on-one consultations with certified FICO professionals, discounts for couples, and unlimited dispute letters with all payment plans. This last feature can bring down your credit repair cost if you foresee many challenges in your credit report.
The firm’s credit score repair services, whose prices range from $69/month to $149/month, include features like identity theft monitoring, bill reminders, budgeting software, and SlashRx, a pharmacy savings program. On the flip side, some customers may feel that they have to pay extra for features that do not directly impact quick credit repair. The firm also provides a credit monitoring and ID theft monitoring service at $19/month, but it doesn’t include credit repair.
On the negative side, the biggest issue is the high initial work fee ($119) for the two lower-tier plans and $149 for the highest plan. Moreover, like many other top firms, The Credit Pros doesn’t provide services in some states.
Regardless of whether you choose to stick to the companies on our list or look elsewhere, you’ll need to pick the one that works best for you. How to do that? Here’s a handy guide to help you shortlist the best credit repair service providers for your needs.
The first step, of course, is to study your annual credit reports carefully. You are eligible for a free report from each of the three credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian—and you should go through each as they have differing information. While going through the reports, look for derogatory marks, especially any errors. These reports sometimes even mix up addresses and account information, and a careful study helps identify such errors right away.
Familiarity with the issues in your credit report also makes it easier when assessing the best credit repair companies as you know precisely the services you will require. Plus, you can be prepared with the answers and documents that the company will require from you, making a fast credit repair service likelier.
Before you get down to shortlisting possible candidates, it is a good idea to understand the laws pertaining to credit repair. This includes both federal and state-specific laws. This will prepare you when assessing the claims made by different credit repair companies and also prevent the likelihood of you being taken for a ride. It will also give you an idea of what is possible through credit repair and what isn’t.
While we have tried to give you detailed insights into various aspects of credit repair, it is always good to do a bit of your own research and shortlist a few companies. Your research should include going through online customer reviews. You can also consult resources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint database, the Better Business Bureau reports, and the attorney general and corporate commission offices in your state. Find out if the firm has attorneys who can practice in your state.
During the research, you should also evaluate other options to figure out the best way to repair credit for you. For instance, certified nonprofit credit counseling services are available in some states that can provide free credit repair services or guidance. In simpler disputes, such as a medical bill that you have paid but which hasn’t been reported in full, you can also challenge the discrepancy on your own.
Research also helps in figuring out other ways to improve your credit. For example, did you know that there are credit cards to repair credit that offer special credit-building perks? This is just one thing to consider if you need to improve your score.
Most reputable credit repair companies, including those on our list, offer at least one free consultation. Any legitimate credit repair team will try to clearly inform you of the things it can get done and those that fall outside its scope so that you have realistic expectations. This can obviously help you in the shortlisting process. While interacting with the company representatives, you can also gauge if the team’s communication process works for you. Any friction at this stage can make the subsequent process painful.
While a broad idea of the credit repair services cost should also be obtained during the previous stages, this is where you get into the details of the fees for different services. By this stage, you wouldn’t have more than a handful of vendors under consideration. Talk to the company reps to understand the fee structure properly. Evaluate the overall credit repair cost based on different scenarios, and select the firm whose reputation, service portfolio, and fee structure matches your needs.
Once you have finalized the best credit repair company to work with, go through the contract with care before signing it. Given the different kinds of related services under the credit repair umbrella, it is always prudent to know beforehand what credit repair companies are promising you, how much you are being charged for each service, and what recourse you have if you are not satisfied.
Yes, the FCRA, a federal law passed in 1970, has made credit repair legal in all fifty states in the USA.
A low credit score means that you will have to pay higher interest rates, resulting in higher charges on your credit card balances and more expensive loans. In the worst case, you may not even be eligible for a loan. Repairing your credit will allow you to get better loan terms.
Credit score repair involves reviewing your credit reports from the three credit bureaus and working to remove negative inaccurate information. This means disputing inaccuracies and negotiating with creditors. You can either manage the process yourself or hire a credit score repair company, to do it on your behalf.
If the late payments mentioned in your credit reports are inaccurate, reported by mistake, outdated, or resulting from fraud, credit repair will remove them. Legitimate items where you have actually made a late payment cannot be removed.
Credit repair often involves substantial time and effort in dealing with credit bureaus, creditors, and debt collection agencies. While consumers can certainly get this done on their own, hiring a credit repair specialist can help save some time and much of the effort. Also, given that the top companies in this field are backed by years of experience, the likelihood of more negative items being removed from your credit reports is higher.
Every credit repair process is different, and the time taken will depend on the specific issues in your case. On average, however, credit repair companies need six months to take care of all negative items that can be removed.