If you’re looking to repair your credit, credit repair companies are a popular option.
Of course, many of the services credit repair companies offer can be done by individuals. However, if you’re unsure where to start, or have considerable outstanding debt, credit repair companies can save you time and give you leverage.
We’ll start things off with an overview of how credit repair works, and what the benefits of are, before getting to our list of the best credit repair companies, what they offer (and what they’ll need from you).
Benefits of Credit Repair
When a whole team of credit repair experts get to work on these action items, it will feel like the the stars are starting to align. If you’re ready to strengthen your credit, clean up your credit report, and open the gates to opportunities, this list is for you.
Regardless of your credit situation, whether it’s no credit, poor credit, or little to no credit, you’ll benefit from this guide. Now that you know how it works, here are some of the benefits.
About Credit Saint
Credit Saint was founded in 2004, and has offered a variety of credit repair services backed by reliable customer service. Credit Saint also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee with no strings attached. The guarantee states that if they are unable to remove inaccurate items from your report, they will provide a full refund. This allows subscribers to try the service at no risk.
The company offers three main plans depending on your level of credit repair. While the setup fees may be a bit high, the monthly fees are competitive. Credit Saint provides efficient service with a 95% success rate within the first 40 to 60 days. You can also take advantage of their 24/7 customer support. They currently have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
About Lexington Law
For over 15 years, Lexington Law has established a reputation as a trustworthy and reputable credit repair company. Lexington Law offers credit repair options for both individuals and couples. The company can help you resolve problems with your credit, as well as act on your behalf to engage creditors and all three major credit reporting agencies.
What distinguishes Lexington Law from other agencies is that you are working with actual legal experts. Therefore, if you are trying to repair your credit to get a mortgage loan, you will get professional guidance with an emphasis on helping you get into a house.
Lexington Law offers free consultation from licensed attorneys. They provide advanced services, multiple discounts, and a dedicated specialist who will handle your case.
What Do The Best Credit Repair Companies Do?
Since the Credit Repair Organizations Act was passed in 1996 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit repair services have improved dramatically. But despite these improvements, some companies continue to give the industry a bad name. To help you spot a credit repair scam, we’ve included a list of what you should expect from a legit credit repair company. Here’s how they work.
1. Clear Expectations and Terms
Credit repair companies are not miracle workers. Even the best agencies out there have limits as to what they can do for your credit report. Therefore, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What should you reasonably expect from a company?
- Improve your credit score between 5 and 50 points
- Improve your credit score within 45 days to six months
- Contact all creditors and request to remove or correct false reports.
- Provide expertise, education, and resources to help you raise your credit score.
- Monitor your credit report for new entries
- Give you an account and possibly an online dashboard
If a company promises that they can raise your credit score by hundreds of points faster than anyone out there, they are probably offering false promises. Most companies will tell you upfront what is possible and what is not.
2. Accreditation and Reputation
There are dozens of credit repair agencies in the industry today.
However, only a few agencies rise to the top. There is a reason for this. They have built a long-standing reputation in the industry as a trustworthy company. For instance, companies such as Lexington Law and Credit Saint have been around for at least 15 years.
There are several ways you can find out about a company online. You can visit the Better Business Bureau, check out their social media page, and look at customer review sites.
Make sure the reviews you are reading are legitimate reviews from real customers. Try to avoid going to the company’s website to read customer reviews.
3. Effective Dispute Strategies
It does not matter what bells and whistles a company offers if it can’t clean up your credit.
Before you sign on for service, make sure that the company has a proven record for getting results. A reputable credit repair agency should be able to do the following:
- Remove negative items from your credit report
- Engage directly with creditors on your behalf
- Engage with all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion)
- Correct errors on your credit report
- Monitor your credit report and respond quickly when new items arise
If a company can provide these services and correct your report, you should see your score go up.
But a credit agency cannot magically make your score skyrocket. They can only clean up your report so that your score improves over several months.
4. Ongoing Credit Monitoring
Why do most companies charge a monthly fee? Because they offer continuous monitoring.
If any new reports come in, they can identify them and report them. Credit monitoring should be included in your monthly fee package. You should not have to pay extra for it. Credit monitoring should also include instant notifications and transparent reporting.
Before you choose a company, make sure you understand their monitoring process. Find out how often they report and if they offer instant notifications. Also, ask the company if they monitor all three credit bureaus. A company should provide a comprehensive monitoring service so that you don’t miss any item on your report.
5. Reasonable Turnaround Times
One of your first questions to an agency may be how long it takes to repair your credit.
How quickly they can clean your report depends on several factors, such as:
- How long it takes for creditors to respond and correct or remove items
- How many items are on your report or mistakes they have to fix
- The nature of the items – some can take a long time to fix
- The tools and strategies that the company uses to fix your credit
- The reputation and experience of the company
Most companies claim that they can fix your credit within 45 to 60 days. What they mean by this that they can remove certain items or correct the information. However, it can take several months for you to see a difference in your score. Your score has more to do with the credit bureaus than it does the credit repair companies.
6. Competitive Fee Structure
Don’t judge a company’s pricing structure until you know what you are paying for.
Some agencies will charge you more, but give you more services. Likewise, other companies may give you a rock bottom price but do very little. Approach, the pricing structure as an investment. What is the ROI for how much you are shelling out? Most companies have a monthly fee that typically ranges from $79 to $99.
Also, some companies may charge a startup fee that ranges from $10 to $100. Look at the pricing structure, review the services, and ask yourself if what you are getting is worth the cost. From there, you can determine which service is best for you.
7. Offer A Free Consultation
Almost every credit repair company in the industry gives you a free introductory consultation.
Some companies will even give you a free bare-bones credit report. During your initial consultation, the agent will likely tell you about the company and outline their services.
This is your chance to ask as many questions to determine if the company is right for you. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Do you have a fixed or adjustable price program? What is the pricing structure?
- Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
- Can you guarantee that my score will improve? (The answer should be “No”).
- What your strategy for improving my credit report and score?
- How quickly can I expect to see changes in my credit report?
You may also want to ask the company about working with attorneys and providing references. Last, you also need to find out what your role is in cleaning up your credit.
7. Provide Educational Resources
One of the main features that genuinely sets a credit repair company apart is their willingness to educate you. What this demonstrates is that they are not just in it for the money. Look for a company that provides free resources. The best companies offer resources that are open to the public, not only subscribers.
Educational resources may also include professionals who take the time to talk to you one-on-one and provide their expertise. They take on the role of consultant or financial counselor, as much as a credit agent. They are willing to go the extra mile to help you get proper credit and keep it.
8. Superior Customer Service
As a customer, you must be able to trust the credit repair company with your most private and personal information. The only way that they can earn your trust is by offering exceptional customer service. What does excellent customer service look like?
- The company is always transparent and realistic with you.
- They offer 24/7 customer service without the wait.
- You know precisely what you are paying for without the guesswork.
- The company provides ongoing communication and notifications about your credit report.
- The company returns your phone calls or emails promptly.
- Your customer service agent is friendly, empathetic, and helps you find solutions.
The bottom line is that the company is dependable, responsive, and fair in all areas of its operation. Your financial interests are their priority. Furthermore, they are always acting on your behalf.
9. Fiscal Responsibility
A reputable credit repair company should never give you the impression that they are shady in any way.
They are financially responsible in all areas of their business. Since credit repair agencies are dealing with thousands of customers, they should be bonded and insured.
They should also have a business plan in place that ensures long-term success. If you feel in any way that the company is not honest or does not act with integrity, you should find another company.
What Do The Best Credit Repair Companies Look At?
There are five things on your credit report that companies review including:
1. Your Overall Credit History
After seven years, companies or agencies are supposed to remove items from your credit report. However, not all companies do. Furthermore, credit bureaus do not always take action against these companies to remove outdated items.
As a result, these lingering items can affect your credit score and keep it from going up. The credit repair company reviews your entire history to find errors in the reporting. They analyze every single item and every claim.
2. Payment History
The company will go through and look at your entire payment history. They can view payments that you have made to numerous companies, including landlords, utilities, and creditors. Every time you made a late payment to any of these businesses, they report it to the credit bureaus.
Sometimes your payment history is digitally recorded using automation software. For instance, whenever a utility company receives and records a payment, the transaction automatically goes to the credit bureau as a report item.
3. Your Debt
A credit repair company will review how much debt you owe to a creditor. This is where they find a lot of mistakes. Creditors are not always good at updating your balances. Therefore, your report may state that you owe $10,000 when you owe $1500 to the creditor.
The credit repair agency will confirm the balances with all the creditors and request corrections as needed. The lower your balances are on your report, the higher your score will climb.
4. Loan Types
There are several different types of loans, such as:
- Credit card
- School loan
- Car loan
Loan types can also be grouped into loan terms, length, or other conditions of the loan. If you have several different types of loans on your credit report, it can affect your score. This is why a credit repair company will try to clean up any loans that have been paid but not removed.
Try to avoid opening up any new lines of credit while the credit repair company is trying to clean your credit report. Every time a credit card company or auto dealer does a credit a check, it can affect your score. Every time you open up a new line of credit, it affects your score.
This makes it more difficult for the company to clean up your report.