Do you need to resuscitate your credit score? Doing it yourself will require a lot of time, patience and determination.
You will get used to having awkward phone conversations with debtors at your lunch every day, and the three credit reporting offices will always appear near the top of your phone's contact list.
You will find yourself on the phone with creditors at work, after work, on weekends and even while you sleep.
It is not surprising that people pay credit repair companies hundreds of dollars for a shortcut.
But not all credit repair companies are created equally. Credit repair companies use different pricing structures and employ unique repair strategies.
Then, before enrolling in a credit repair company, do your homework.
The best credit repair companies
Here are the top 10 credit repair companies in 2020:
1. Credit Saint
Better for: Total Results
With a BBB A + and consistently high customer feedback, Credit Saint should also be on his radar.
The New Jersey-based company comes with monthly packages ranging from $ 79 to $ 119.99 and "first job rates" between $ 99 and $ 195.
Credit Saints programs are the most aggressive in the industry. the remodeling of its intermediate program presents more challenges per cycle than the superior Lex Laws program.
If you do not see any changes made within the first 90 days, you will receive a full refund.
Credit Saint offers users a personal advice team dedicated to their case, online information resources and a schedule and progress report to help you track the company's work on your credit.
You will also receive regular calls from your team to keep up and on the way to success.
2. sky blue
Better for: Customer service
Very few companies will inform you if you really do not need help from a credit repair company. Sky Blue has a reputation as an exception to this rule. Your customer service staff offers free consultations that really have no conditions.
Sky Blue will also guide you in the little things you could be doing to keep your credit score in better shape. Sky Blue's suggestions tend to be well balanced and tailored specifically to your situation, unlike some companies that simply send general suggestions.
When you pay the Sky Blue price of approximately $ 80 per month, you will also appreciate the speed of the agency. The company gets to work within 48 hours and usually produces at least five disputes per cycle (each cycle is 35 days) on its behalf.
3. Lexington Law
Better for: Decades of Experience
It is not a family name outside the credit repair business, but Lexington Law has been an industry leader for almost three decades.
It is difficult to have the same conversations over and over again with different people, especially about sensitive things like your past financial mistakes. With your own personalized representative, you can save time and focus more on the little things that can make a big difference.
You can usually schedule appointments with your representative beyond normal business hours, which can be useful if you try to avoid awkward conversations on your phone line at work.
Lexington Law will not offer the lowest prices with a base price of around $ 90 per month as of this writing. And the company doesn't always receive unanimous praise in customer reviews, but it has a C rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The basic plan should be sufficient for most clients, but you can get even more support by paying more, including cessation and withdrawal letters and personal finance tools that you can also find elsewhere for free.
In general, most clients consider Lexington Law staff to be an expert and helpful partner while seeking to rebuild their credit.
Better for: Simplicity
You will not find a simpler and more direct name for a credit repair website than CreditRepair.com.
Ironically, the company's services follow the same meaningless logic that seeks to guide you out of credit purgatory.
CreditRepair.com has reduced its process to three steps:
- Check: Company representatives will review your credit reports from the three offices to find inaccurate information or derogatory marks that may be in dispute.
- Challenge: The company will send letters challenging disputable issues in its reports.
- Change: CreditRepair.com will follow up to make sure your reports are modified and repeat the "Challenge" step if necessary.
As you can see, such a simple service works best when you have a simple case of inaccurate data that is reported to the credit bureaus. CreditRepair.com can be relentless as it seeks to resolve erroneous data.
And you can track the progress of the company in your online account. The company tends to boast of concrete success rates, but the language is soft enough not to have a guarantee.
For example, the company could say that customers average a 30-point increase in their credit scores after four months. Before registering, please note that these results are not guaranteed.
CreditRepair.com costs about $ 100 per month as of this writing.
5. Credit people
Better for: Low cost credit repair
Someone looking for a solid option at a lower price might like The Credit People, another newer provider in the market.
Someone who wants to try a service without making a big commitment will really like The Credit People.
For $ 19, you can try the service for seven days to see if you want to continue with it (although you shouldn't expect to see credit score improvements within a week).
If you remain on board, The Credit People offers you a money back guarantee that you will see at least some positive results within 60 days.
You probably won't reach your target credit score within 60 days, but The Credit People think you'll like how things are going.
Credit People offers other price innovations, such as a flat rate of approximately $ 420 to access all its services indefinitely instead of paying month by month.
Usually, you need about six months with a company to optimize the results. Assuming you need help for six months, the flat rate of $ 420 would be equivalent to $ 70 per month, which is less than most of the Credit People's accredited competitors.
If you prefer a monthly rate, The Credit People charges $ 79 per month. (Unfortunately, you cannot opt for the flat rate if you start with the seven-day test for $ 19.)
Credit People offers customer service only during business hours (in the central time zone). While it does a solid job, the company does not offer many of the advantages and disadvantages, such as protection against identity theft offered by its competitors.
Better for: Married couples
Pyramid is another credit repair service that is committed to working to improve your credit score. Once you register, the company delivers your case to a live personal account manager that you can access by phone, text message or email.
This account manager will provide custom disputes to credit bureaus and their creditors, updating it along the way.
You will also get access to the online control panel, where you will find resources and updates in real time on the progress of your credit.
Pyramid Credit Repair comes with two services: singles and couples. Both come with a free evaluation, after which you can opt for coverage of $ 99 per month for singles and $ 198 per month for couples.
If you enroll in the couples plan, you can get a 50% discount on your first month of service. Both plans come with a 100% money back guarantee, pay-as-you-go services and credit reports from all three offices.
Better for: A strong reputation
Creditfirm.net could give you the best investment if you are looking for a less expensive credit repair service.
The company offers a fixed pay-per-use package for $ 49.99 per month.
That monthly fee gives you access to a thorough audit of your credit report by legal experts, unlimited credit bureau and query challenges, and more.
They also provide defense against collection agencies.
The company promotes an A + of the Better Business Bureau, which suggests increasing its credibility in the industry.
Creditfirm.net is also known for its speed, reviewing customer documents in an average period of 5 days.
8. Credit professionals
Better for: Comprehensive Financial Tools
Credit Pros gives you individual access to a certified FICO professional who works with you to create an action plan to repair your credit.
In addition to the standard features of most credit repair companies, Credit Pros offers identity theft restoration and writes cessation and withdrawal letters to its creditors, as well as letters of goodwill to the creditors and debt validation letters .
The company attracts applicants with a 90-second registration process, which you can go through on its easy-to-use site, which comes with a blog full of resources to improve and maintain good credit.
You can also access your customer portal there, with live updates of your credit and changes where appropriate.
Credit Pros comes with a basic package, CreditSentry Monitoring, at $ 19 a month, this package.
For your comprehensive services, you should consider the MoneyManagement package at $ 69 per month, the Prosperity Package at $ 119 per month or the Success Package at $ 149 per month.
Each of these packages comes with a unique set of benefits, such as budget tools, payment reminders, prescription discounts and store credit lines.
9. Pinnacle credit repair management
Better for: Fast follow-up of the credit repair process
This BBB-accredited business, highly reviewed at TrustPilot, promises faster credit repair thanks to the use of artificial intelligence technology.
Pinnacle Credit Management also partners with leading private lenders to obtain their approval and their path to financing as quickly as possible.
When you subscribe to Pinnacle services, you also get a credit mentor who will advise you in the process of improving your credit.
You also have access to a blog and a series of educational videos to teach you how to manage your credit successfully.
Pinnacle offers a free credit consultation, after which you can choose between the Standard Program and the Fast Track Program.
The standard program is $ 99 with a first-time work rate of $ 199. The Fast Track Program costs between $ 1500 and $ 2500.
The Fast Track Program is expensive, but gets an average of 80% of the negative counts removed from the credit profiles in the first 2 weeks.
10. ovation credit
Better for: Personalized service
Like Lexington Law, Ovation Credit establishes a personal connection with its clients and the company customizes its strategies based on their individual needs.
One of the main reasons for classifying the Ovation Credit on this list is your same-day service option. Most industry leaders need at least two days to launch their case.
Ovation can respond quickly and has customer service personnel in service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But it also pays more in advance.
Clients generally must pay around $ 89 the first month, and then, depending on the plan they choose, between $ 79- $ 109 per month.
Finally, the positive reviews of the company in the Better Business Bureau leave a good impression.
Credit repair companies that were not on our list
DIY or credit repair with fee?
Here is the first question to ask: Do you need help from a credit repair company or do you feel you can do your credit repair?
Modern consumer protection laws, combined with the ease of access to data on your smartphone, give you access to your credit score relatively quickly and easily.
With an application like Credit Sesame, for example, you can view your updated credit score at any time for free. You can also see the components of your score so you can better determine its accuracy.
If you see an inaccurate 90-day note on your student loan, for example, you can call your lender to correct the situation and then follow up with the credit reporting agencies to make sure the bad mark is removed from your registry .
In summary, your score does not have to be a mystery and you should not need inside information to solve a problem.
Why you should work with a credit repair company
But when you have a job, a family and other responsibilities, it can be a challenge. You may not have time to spend your phone leaving voice messages for credit managers and keeping track of the three credit reporting offices.
It may be worth paying $ 50 to $ 150 per month for someone else to do all this preliminary work, especially if you have several credit problems to solve.
If you have a complex situation and your score desperately needs help, a good credit repair company might be just what you need.
How do credit repair companies work?
Like any other professional service, credit repair is a specialization.
Of course, you could probably find out how to install a toilet or how to fix the frayed power cord in your vacuum. But it could also save a lot of time by hiring a professional to do the job quickly and efficiently.
You can even save money if you do something wrong and have to hire professional help to fix the disaster anyway.
Credit repair experts can help
Credit repair works the same way. Legal experts in credit repair companies spend all day every day negotiating with creditors and looking for solutions to mistakes.
They know what to ask for and how to make sure their records are updated. They are not distracted by their careers, their children, their pets or their sinks full of dishes as we can.
These small distractions can prevent us from continuing with a creditor and making sure they solve a mistake. If they are not corrected, these errors seem to multiply. The credit damage they do can cost a fortune at higher interest rates on a future loan.
They can also make us ineligible to borrow when we need it most, such as in an emergency or to execute a purchase on time.
Sometimes, we just need to call the professionals.
What do credit repair companies do?
A credit repair company must begin its work by determining exactly where to start helping you. Doing this generally requires a copy of each of your credit reports: TransUnion, Experian5 and Equifax.
The company must identify the problems that cause the most damage to your score. Typical problems arise from:
- Bankruptcies: Filing for bankruptcy can solve short-term problems while creating long-term credit problems.
- Tax liens: Whether local, state or federal, a government tax lien can reduce a large part of your credit score in the foreseeable future.
- Discharges: If a creditor has given up charging you a debt and canceled the debt, you can expect credit problems for years without intervention.
The existence of these and other pejorative marks in your credit reports does not necessarily mean that you have experienced these problems. Sometimes, simple report errors can become cancellations. Other times, a tax lien may have been resolved in reality but not reported as resolved to one of the three credit bureaus.
Fast and simple credit solutions
Your credit repair company should look for the fastest and easiest solutions to these problems. If some or all of your credit problems are the result of a reporting error, expect your repair company to start there and make remarkable progress.
Sometimes, you can even improve your credit score by requesting more credit, and your repair company can recommend this strategy.
But this approach can cause problems in the future if you really use the newly available credit, so you should exercise restraint.
Regardless of the strategy your company suggests, make sure you are monitoring the company's progress and understanding what happens when you ask questions.
Tips for working with credit repair companies
In many ways, our credit scores reflect our financial identity. With a low score, you will have difficulty buying a house or a car. You may even have to pay higher car insurance rates.
Trying to fix something as important as your credit score can leave companies that make big promises they can't keep vulnerable.
How to spot a credit repair scam
Other companies, of course, exist simply to convince consumers to hand over their credit cards and Social Security numbers without the intention of helping them.
It is quite easy to detect these scams and choose a legitimate credit repair company. Just look for telltale signs like:
- Badly designed websites: You can also observe unsecured servers (http: // instead of https: // in the URL).
- Strange Email Addresses: Email domain names that do not match the website's domain name or personal addresses such as @hotmail, @yahoo or @gmail should raise flags.
- Bad comments from third parties: Always check Better Business Bureau or TrustPilot for reviews, or simply do a Google search if you suspect a company.
- Advance payments: Although it is not always a scam, a site that requests payment before doing any work should make you suspect.
It is more difficult to detect a genuine credit repair company that simply cannot keep its promises. Be careful with companies that:
- Guarantee specific results: A money-back guarantee is one thing, but if a company says it can increase its score by 100 points or deliver results overnight, be careful.
- Prohibit contact: If a company asks (or requires) you not to contact credit reporting agencies or creditors, stay away. You should always have the freedom to intercede on your own behalf.
- Rely on the new credit: While opening more accounts can improve your credit score, you will also be successful in inquiries that result from your requests. Relying too much on this tactic can be counterproductive.
- Sell your cards: A credit repair company that immediately suggests that you open specific credit cards may be more interested in making commissions outside of your account than in repairing your credit.
- Show off internal knowledge: Yes, credit repair companies specialize in credit repair, but they should do so by offering persistence and efficiency, not secrets that nobody else knows. A company with a secret formula may not be real.
If you find a company you distrust, you can report it here to help prevent future consumers from falling into the trap.
The main companies mentioned above have a solid reputation and criticism.
Combine DIY and rate-based approaches
Federal law guarantees at least one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year. If you want to see what you are working on before committing to $ 100 or so per month, you can request your reports here.
However, the best approach may be a mixture of DIY credit repair and professional help. You can start with your own evaluation of your credit image and then ask for help from one of the major credit repair agencies.
In this way, you will participate more in the process and be the expert in your own credit situation before talking to the customer service representatives of the repair agency you choose.
Then, while tracking the progress your credit repair company is making, you will be a complete partner in the process. Even if you can't register every day, you can keep track of your score trends by registering once a week or once every two weeks.
This approach can also get you used to monitoring your score on a regular basis so you can quickly detect errors in the future.
Know what credit repair companies can and cannot do
Many people think that credit repair companies can undo any damage they have done to their credit score. This is not true.
You should help yourself by doing what you can to improve your score (or at least you can stop making things worse). Make sure you are:
- Payment of bills on time: We all get a little late sometimes, but don't let any invoice arrive more than 15 days late. Shoot to pay the bills early.
- Limiting queries: The more loans you try to open, even if you are only signing together for an adult child or friend, the more trauma your score will experience.
- Recognizing past mistakes: Ignoring old mistakes even when you can't pay off debts will serve as a deadweight on your credit report and complicate efforts to restore your score.
- Avoid overactivity: Human nature is closing annoying accounts once they are paid. But part of your credit score is derived from available credit, which means you can benefit by keeping some canceled accounts open.
While credit repair companies stand out for contesting their score problems, they shouldn't, and the best services will not, dispute aspects of their score that are absolutely true, such as a recent chain of late payments of 30 or 60 days.
However, if credit problems from years ago still pursue your report, your credit repair agency can help you persuade credit agencies to pay more attention to your recent successes and eliminate old problems from your list before.
Alternatives to credit repair companies
Although a good credit score can save you hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars in interest charges, some people simply don't like the idea of partnering with a for-profit company and paying $ 75 or $ 125 a month.
The same people may not have time for a DIY credit CPR project. They want an intermediate option.
Credit repair software
Credit repair software offers an intermediate solution. You can spend between $ 400 and $ 600 on software, and the program you choose can promise results.
What the software really offers is a set of tools to help you launch your DIY credit repair project. You will get templates for letters to creditors and offices. You will get contact information for credit reporting agencies and suggestions on the frequency of follow-up.
What will you not get? Any preliminary work that really saves you time. I said it before: I'd rather pay someone to do the preliminary work than pay someone to tell me how to do it.
You've probably heard radio ads for credit counselors that can help you find the light at the end of the tunnel.
You can find quality help for free at nonprofit credit counseling organizations, but you can also fall for a scam or even a den of identity thieves if you're not careful.
Be sure to work with an organization accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
A good credit counselor should review your free credit reports with you and then develop a plan. But don't expect the same level of attention you can find in a paid credit repair service.
If a nonprofit credit counseling agency starts pressuring you to take the next step or provide personal financial data, don't be afraid to step back or end the relationship.
You may be able to save money each month by consolidating part of your high interest debt into a lower interest loan, but you should not confuse these programs with credit repair services.
Eventually, consolidating your debt can lead to a better credit score, but the main objective of these loans is to better manage your debt.
In fact, you could see a credit score if you close several accounts at once.
I read many financial blogs and often see tips on how to negotiate with credit card companies or other debt collectors.
While you can convince a credit manager to eliminate some late payment charges or reverse some punitive interest rate increases, these agreements may end up hurting your credit score.
Make sure your credit card company is not reporting your negotiated debt as a cancellation to credit agencies, especially if you are spending a large amount of money to pay a lump sum debt settlement.
Obtain the agreement, and its implications on your credit score, in writing before paying.
With a summary of what the best credit repair companies have to offer, here is a look at some common questions related to credit repair.
How long does it take to fix your credit?
Your credit score can be affected literally overnight, a late payment could reduce your score up to 100 points. On the other hand, you can spend months working on your score before seeing improvements, maintaining a high credit score can be very delicate.
Expect to wait at least 45 days for your credit repair company to make even a change. Waiting two or three months is not unusual. For more complicated problems, your company may need between six months and a year to progress.
Even when hiring professional help, it is important to understand that credit repair is a long-term project that never completes completely. Even when your score returns to where you need it to be, you will want to keep a regular watch for report errors before they cause more damage.
How much will you pay for credit repair?
Different repair companies charge different rates, as you can see above.
On average, you should expect to pay between $ 75 and $ 150 per month to get a quality company in your case.
Some companies charge a flat rate, while others use a results-based approach in which you would pay for each derogatory comment that is removed from your record.
Your specific needs should guide you here. If you have to solve a dozen small problems, a flat rate could save you money. If you are only worried about a couple of problems, you may prefer a company with a results-based pricing plan.
Although credit problems are common, your exact combination of credit problems is unique to you. Give your company time to find the right solutions to your problems.
Do credit repair companies guarantee the results?
We all like guarantees, especially with something as important as credit repair. But credit reports, although they have become more transparent, still involve many nuances. Garantizar el 100 por ciento de satisfacción simplemente no es posible.
Dicho esto, debería poder encontrar una empresa para garantizar al menos alguna mejora. Algunos incluso ofrecen una garantía de devolución de dinero si no pueden dirigir su puntaje en la dirección correcta.
Esto puede ser lo más cercano posible a una garantía real de resultados de una compañía de reparación de crédito, software de reparación de crédito o incluso un enfoque de bricolaje.
De hecho, si ve una empresa que garantiza resultados específicos, como un cambio de 100 puntos en su puntaje de crédito, es posible que haya encontrado una estafa de buena fe, que trataremos a continuación.
Con la reparación de crédito, obtienes lo que pagas
Cuando su puntaje de crédito necesita una nueva vida y no tiene el tiempo o la energía para resolverlo usted mismo, puede encontrar ayuda de calidad de una compañía de reparación de crédito.
Tendrá que compartir cierta información personal, y puede terminar pagando de $ 600 a $ 800 en el transcurso de seis a ocho meses. Pero puede ver estos pagos como una inversión en su futuro.
Al reparar su crédito de manera rápida y eficiente, se posicionará para obtener mejores condiciones de préstamo en grandes compras en el futuro, lo que puede generar ahorros durante décadas.
Si puede arreglar su puntaje de crédito sin pagar tarifas, debe hacerlo. Pero si necesita ayuda, no debe dudar en llamar a uno de los profesionales que se enumeran aquí.