Top Credit Repair Services
It can be a little frightening to realize just how much of an impact that a poor credit score can have on your life. Everything from housing availability and insurance premiums to job offers depends on whether or not your credit is acceptable to others.
If your credit ratings are less than ideal, calling one of the best credit repair companies to help you start the cleanup can make the difference between quickly improving your credit--or digging yourself deeper into a hole. In researching options to repair my flagging credit, I realized that there are a lot of less-than-savory credit repair companies. So I want to save you time, effort, and energy by sharing an overview of the best credit repair companies that I could find.
How the Best Credit Repair Companies Work
Before I launch into why these are some of the best credit repair services available, it's important to talk about the steps that go into actually rebuilding your credit. Unfortunately, waving a magic wand and uttering "Abracadabra" will not result in an immediate fix, and repairing your credit can often be a time-consuming and confusing process.
I've selected these organizations as examples of the ultimate way to improve credit safely and efficiently because they excel at these core competencies:
Trust Ratings from Recognized Leaders
While the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating system is considered by many to be the gold standard in trust ratings, there are other organizations whose stamp of approval provides validation such as industry publications like Inc. and Business Insider.
Knowing that your credit repair specialist will be able to provide you with specific results such as reducing the number of bad debts on your ratings and more gives you peace of mind.
Clear, Consistent Pricing
Don't trust organizations whose website is unclear about their pricing model. You need to know upfront what the costs associated with starting a repair of your credit score.
Easy Access to Support
When you're dealing with something as important as your personal credit rating, you need to know that you can quickly get the support that you need and deserve either on the phone or via email.
Understanding the perfect way to repair your credit is not generally something that you can scan through once on a website and fully understand. The best credit repair companies are willing to provide you with a free consultation to make sure the service is a good fit for your particular needs.
While many organizations are available that can help you move towards an acceptable credit score, the best credit repair companies will never ask you to do anything that is illegal or unethical. If you're requested to obtain false information from the Internal Revenue Service or use an invalid Social Security number, that's a pretty good indication that you've chosen the wrong credit repair company! Immediately report any credit repair specialist who asks you to falsify information by contacting the FTC.
Fortunately, I discovered that not all credit repair services are bad. Some of these organizations are entirely legitimate and offer a valuable service to consumers who are simply having a rough time and need help. After extensive research, the companies that come out on top as the best credit repair companies are:
Additional information can be found by reading the articles on credit repair companies in the Guides portion of this review.
Benefits of Finding the Best Credit Repair Companies
Not all consumers realize that your credit score is actually a compilation of three different scores from the major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This combined FICO score helps organizations determine your risk for becoming seriously delinquent - or not paying - your debt over the next 24 months. Here are some of the benefits you'll reap from excellent credit:
- Reduced insurance rates
- Lower cost of capital for personal loans
- Improved interest rate offers from credit card companies
- Utility companies such as gas, water and electricity may waive connection fees or deposits
- Waived deposits on rental units such as boats, RVs and apartments
- Free or reduced-rate mobile devices
Why do you receive all these benefits by improving your credit rating? The best credit repair companies can help you understand how this works: when you lower the risk that you're going to default on payments, organizations are more willing to accept you with the understanding that you'll be a long-term (and profitable!) customer.
Companies don't benefit when they have to repossess your expensive new iPhone or Corvette--they benefit when you continue to pay your bills fully and on time. They're willing to provide you with a smaller benefit upfront (reduced or no deposit) when they have a high comfort level that you'll continue paying your bills (good credit rating). The optimum way to repair your credit is by working with a trusted agency and continuing to pay your bills on time.
Why it Pays to Repair Your Credit
I get it. You're thinking "Why should I go to the time, effort and energy of repairing my credit? Who really cares about this seemingly arbitrary number?". Unfortunately, the answer to that question is "Nearly everyone". Your credit rating follows you throughout life, and impacts important questions such as:
- Whether or not you can get approved for a primary or secondary mortgage
- Interest rates on major purchases such as homes, boats, and vehicles
- Whether or not you get that important promotion at work
- The interest rate that credit card companies charge you for funds
- How high your car insurance premiums are
How to Fix Issues with the Best Credit Repair Companies
Five critical factors that go into calculating your credit scores, such as your debt levels, payment history, age of your accounts, the types of credit that you have outstanding and the number of inquiries against your credit score. Keeping all of these factors in balance is critical to maintaining and improving your overall credit score.
The most important factor in determining your credit score is your overall payment history. Making up 35% of your total FICO score, payment history takes into account how many times you've paid your bills late, and exactly how late they were paid. What's interesting to note is that certain types of late payments have a heavier impact than others; for instance, paying your mortgage late is a huge red flag and can drop your credit score by double digits if you're more than 30 days late and make it extremely difficult for you to refinance your home.
Amounts You Owe
Of course, it makes sense that owing a great deal of money to a wide variety of organizations might make it a little tough to get additional credit, which is why this criterion makes up 30% of your credit score. Maintaining a high balance on your credit cards and your overall credit utilization (the amount of credit you're using as a percentage of how much credit you have overall) is also a deciding factor that goes into this calculation. In general, the best credit repair services look for ways to discharge--or get rid of--bad debt that hits your credit report and consolidates payments to make it easier to pay them off.
Credit History Length
College students or individuals just out of high school and just starting out in the world will not have had as much time to build up a positive credit rating as others. Since this factor could swing either way, it is weighted at only 15% of your overall credit rating. Having a short credit history doesn't necessarily mean that your credit will be poor, but it could make it more difficult to make major purchases since you haven't had time to build up a positive credit rating.
New Accounts Opened
Every time you open a new credit account, that fact is reported to the credit bureaus and they consider it when calculating your overall FICO score. Why is this important? For instance, if you were to open a number of accounts at the same time and then run up huge bills--you might have more difficulty paying for them than if you were starting out more slowly. My list of best credit repair companies can help counsel you on removing some of the older credit requests. However, this factor is only around 10% of your overall credit score.
Types of Credit
There are several types of credit that you should know about: installment loans, revolving credit (credit cards), mortgages, and store accounts. Each type of credit that you have points toward credit maturity--or the ability to safely utilize the monies that you have available. This final factor is also weighted at around 10% of your overall FICO score.
Learn more about the 5 different parts of your FICO score online at MyFICO.com.
Working with the Best Credit Repair Companies
After reading through the list, it may seem like many of these items are things that you can address yourself, and perhaps you could--if you had the right contacts available and were able to take the time to continuously follow up with the three credit reporting agencies as well as the creditors. Where credit repair agencies really excel is at offering you with a quick and consolidated way to noticeably improve your overall credit rating without sending your frustration levels through the roof! Trust me, I tried going the DIY route to restore my credit, and that led to phone calls that weren't returned, a blazing headache for days on end and a credit score that was still much lower than I wanted.
The Best Credit Repair Companies
Sky Blue Credit Repair Review
- Exceptional customer service
- Accelerated challenge program: Challenge 15 disputes in 35 days
- Risk-free 90 day guarantee
- Easy online application gets you started quickly
- Personalized advice to improve your FICO score
- Monthly monitoring fee required
- Online chat is not available
- All communication is via email
As one of the top credit repair services, Sky Blue has been in business since 1989. This particular credit repair agency is bonded and has an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau, and the generous cancellation policy provides you with an opportunity to "try before you buy". What really attracted me to Sky Blue was the opportunity to repair my credit and my husband's credit at the same time. They understand that the foremost way to repair credit is through information, so Sky Blue provides you with the knowledge and training that you need to improve your score now and keep it moving in the right direction in the future. By initiating a large number of disputes with the various credit agencies quickly, Sky Blue is able to achieve some of the fastest improvement results available by credit repair companies.
Lexington Law Credit Repair Review
- Credit summary reports help get you on track
- One of the largest credit repair companies, serving half a million customers
- Targeted to greatly improve your credit and prepare you for future purchases
- In business since 1991
- Offers online account management
- Higher initial and monthly fees
- Requires more administration by customer
In my opinion, Lexington Law is one of the best credit repair companies on the market, due to their high success rate, reasonable monthly fees and proactive creditor intervention. Not only do they work directly with creditors to provide customers with relief from debt collections, but they also email you anytime there are negative factors that impact your credit score and provide you with $25,000 in identity theft insurance.
- Monthly contract that can be cancelled anytime
- Bonded and registered with Attorney General Offices
- Actively challenges late payments and charge offs
- Dedicated account manager
- Identity theft protection
- Monthly fee can be difficult to afford
- No phone service during off-business hours
- No live chat services
CreditRepair.com believes that the prime way to repair credit is through active communication with the credit card reporting companies and by providing customers with the information they need to make good credit decisions.
National Credit Advisor Review
- Industry leader for 7 years
- 92% success rate in improving credit
- Personalized strategy
- No dedicated account manager
- Higher fees than some competitors
With the FTC finding errors or inaccuracies in over 25% of credit reports, you might be paying more for credit than you really should be paying. When you dispute these terms, you can save money, improve your credit score and qualify for credit faster than you ever have in the past. Credit analysts work closely with customers to ensure your credit is repaired quickly and easily.
Park View Credit Review
- Money back guarantee
- Disputes a high number of items per month
- Personalized strategy
- Free initial consultation
- No after-hours help
Park View Credit has a slightly different business model than their competitors in that they do not charge anything until after your initial consultation has been completed. They also offer discounts to veterans, spouses, family members and friends and have a customer support team review each case on a monthly basis to keep you on track with your goals.
Learn from the Top Credit Repair Companies
As you can see, the ideal way to repair your credit is to stay diligent and informed about how your credit is being used. Every time you apply for a credit card, this information is reported to the three credit reporting bureaus and it can negatively affect your FICO score. Keep this in mind the next time a store is offering you a tiny discount just for opening a credit card account!
There are some great tools available online that will allow you to do some of the same things that you'll be paying credit repair services to do for you, and many of them are available on the USA.gov Federal Trade Commission website. There you can learn how to file a complaint, report inaccurate information and even get free copies of your various credit reports. However, the government cannot directly assist you to repair your credit score, that can only be accomplished by some of the best credit repair services around.
Best Credit Repair Companies Recap
Don't let credit problems get you down! While it may take some time to come back from a challenging credit situation, you'll soon find that the perfect way to repair credit is to jump in there and take the plunge to work with a credit repair specialist. Find the right organization for you with my easy to use guides for each company. It's important to know that credit repair agencies can only do so much--if a portion of your report is accurate, no one will be able to get it removed. Your best bet is to continue paying down your revolving credit lines and stay as current as possible on all of your bills.
Best Credit Repair Companies FAQs
Will my credit score go up by closing inactive credit cards?
When lenders are deciding whether or not to approve you for a loan or financing they first look at your credit report to determine whether you can manage credit sensibly. For that reason, your FICO scores are very important to maintain. The algorithm used to calculate your credit score is based on a number of factors including outstanding credit lines. So, these aren't necessarily red flags but they can reduce the amount your may be eligible to receive for a mortgage loan or lender. Rather than closing inactive accounts, instead, make a deliberate effort to pay your bills early or on time, maintain low credit card balances, avoid opening unnecessary new accounts, and work towards lowering your total outstanding debt.
What is credit repair?
Credit repair is a process that locates errors in your credit report, disputes questionable claims and actively monitors the three bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). A credit repair service's main objective is to improve your tri-merge reports through a determined strategy that works best for you. In addition to correcting these errors, credit repair looks at identity theft as a contributing factor.
Credit repair is something a lot of people consider – each individual credit history will determine the most suitable credit repair strategy. Be mindful that it takes a customized plan-of-action to start the credit repair process.
What is my FICO score?
Your FICO score is a rating used by lenders to determine if you are a suitable candidate for a loan. Created by Fair, Isaac and CO, their algorithm uses the numbers noted on your credit report to come up with a number somewhere between 300 and 850. The lower the score, the "riskier" you are considered so if your score is around the 300's you'll be deemed a bad credit risk. Here's the breakdown of how each FICO is calculated:
- Credit established (10%): the number and types of accounts
- Recent inquiries/ newly opened accounts (10%)
- Length of credit (15%): Time length of account activity since being opened
- Amount of credit debt (30%): Dollar amount owed on accounts
- Past payment history (35%): Includes late payments, wage attachments, past dues
Will my credit score go up by closing inactive credit cards?
Lenders first look at your credit report to determine whether you can manage credit sensibly. With that being said, it's important that your FICO scores are in good standing. Rather than closing inactive cards, opt to make a cautious effort to pay your bills on time, maintain low credit card balances and work towards lowering your total outstanding debt.
Why should I consider credit repair?
A credit repair company can help you achieve your financial goals through a customized action plan that best suits your lifestyle. It is a great way to get an analysis of your credit so that you can take the necessary steps to improve your score.
What are credit counselors?
Credit counselors and trained individuals who will work with you to make better financial decisions. They look at several factors including your personal life obligations, finances and goals in order to determine the best way to budget your cash flow.
How can credit be legally repaired?
Credit repair aids in removing errors in your credit report so that your credit score increases. Through ensuring that all information on your credit report is accurate and true, your credit can vastly improve. Inaccuracies can be verified and removed through effective credit repair.
What is my FICO score?
Your FICO score is a rating used by lenders to determine if you are a suitable candidate for a loan. FICO scores are gauged from 300 and 850. The lower the score, the "riskier" you are deemed by the lender.
Is credit repair worth it?
If you have ever been declined a credit card or you have not been approved for a loan, it is because of your poor credit. You must look at the impact of your credit history because it essentially determines your credit worth and what you can and cannot get approved for. Credit repair will help find flaws in your credit report so that you can ultimately obtain a higher credit score and eventually get approved for those credit cards and loans you were once denied.
How is your FICO score calculated?
Here's the breakdown of how each FICO is calculated:
- Credit Established (10%): Number and types of accounts
- Length of Credit (15%): Time length of account activity since being opened
- Amount of Credit Debt (30%): Dollar amount owed on accounts
- Past Payment History (35%): Includes late payments, wage attachments, past dues
What are the costs involved in credit repair?
When it comes to improving your credit, the cost of credit repair is indefinitely worth it. Every company offers a slightly different rate and various services but your average monthly fee for credit repair runs around $90.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is an amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It takes necessary measurements to ensure that consumers are protected in all areas of truthfulness, equality and confidentiality. The benefit of FCRA is that is allows you to directly participate in credit repair so that you are aware of where you stand and how to improve.