Credit Repair Services

If you're one of the 68 million score-able Americans with a bad or poor credit
score—lower than 601—you've probably wondered if removing negative items
can help your standing.

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What Is Credit Repair?

Credit repair involves fixing your bad credit in any way, shape or form. But when most people use the term "credit repair," they’re referring to the process of disputing errors on credit reports.
You can go through the dispute process for free with each of the credit bureaus on your own. This involves filing a formal dispute with the credit bureau(s) in question either online or by mail.
In your formal dispute, you want to provide a detailed explanation of the error and include any supporting documentation you have along with it. Learn more about disputing errors on your credit report.
Many people don’t have the time to do their own credit repair or don’t understand how to make their case. So they look into hiring a credit repair company to dispute errors for them. These companies can charge a fee for their legwork—more on how that works below. There are times when the extra help is valuable. For example, if you have multiple errors across credit reports or you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
This article looks at both types of credit repair—DIY and paid—starting with credit repair businesses, since there’s a good chance that’s what someone is means when they use the term, credit repair.

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How Does Credit Repair Work?

To get to the heart of what credit repair is and how credit repair companies operate, we went to Dr. Randy Padawer, senior vice president of product with Credit.com.
“Credit repair leverages your legal right to three standards: Credit reports must be 100% accurate, entirely fair and fully substantiated,” Padawer said. “Too many lesser credit repair companies skip over those last two standards—which involve communicating with your creditors—in favor of depending on simple credit bureau disputes by themselves.”

What You Get with Credit Repair Services

Repair Your Credit History

Credit repair companies work with the credit bureaus and your creditors to challenge the negative report items that affect your credit score. They ensure your credit history is up-to-date, accurate and honestly reflects your finances.

Monitor Your Credit Profile

24x7 Credit Monitoring and Alerts powered by TransUnion or another provider lets you stay aware of the changes and updates on your report. And it provides customized information and advice about how those reported items affect your score.

Build Your Financial Future

Customized tools, educational approaches and proven technologies offered by credit repair companies guide you through the tasks and action items you need to take in order to maintain a healthy score and accomplish your credit goals.
Here’s a good example of when a reputable credit repair service can help you do something you may not be able to accomplish yourself. If you have a collection account that’s been sold to a few different debt collectors, it can appear on your credit report multiple times. That information is accurate but having that one debt dinging your credit score multiple times doesn't meet the “fair” standard that Padawer mentioned.
Errors are more common than you might think. And if you have items on your credit report that aren't 100% accurate, entirely fair and fully substantiated, you want to consider credit repair—either do-it-yourself (DIY) repair or by hiring a professional.
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study found that 1-in-5 consumers have an error on at least one of their credit reports. You can check your credit reports for errors by getting free copies every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com.
You can also get your free Experian credit score and a credit report card that are updated every 14 days on Credit.com. Your credit report card shows where you stand in the five key areas that make up your score—payment history, credit utilization, account mix, credit age and inquiries. Your report card also gives you tips on how to improve your standing in each area if needed. And checking your report card and score doesn’t hurt your credit in any way.

What Do Credit Repair Companies Do?

A good credit repair company first pulls your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus in order to pinpoint your credit issues. Why all three? Because each credit reporting agency has its own “data furnishers” (aka lenders, credit card companies, debt collectors, etc.), that report your credit information to them. And there may be errors that appear on one of your credit reports, but don’t appear on the others
79% of consumers who disputed credit report errors were successful in removing them
Once any errors have been identified, you then give a credit repair company any supporting documentation you might have. For example, if there’s a bill on your credit report that your husband or wife was actually responsible for under your divorce decree, you can use that document to prove it shouldn’t be impacting your credit.
In some cases, it's difficult to determine what to include as far as supporting documentation goes—that’s another way a credit repair company can help. For example, if you’re a victim of identity theft and a fraudulent account appears on your credit report, it can be tough to prove it isn’t yours because you don’t have any documents that relate to the account.
When the bureaus and data furnishers receive the dispute and supporting information, they then work with the credit repair company to determine if the item should be removed from your credit report. The major law governing your rights when it comes to credit reporting is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but it isn’t the only law on your side when it comes to credit repair.
“A good credit repair company will scrub questionable credit report items against other laws—like the Fair Credit Billing Act, which regulates original creditors; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which oversees collection agencies; and others that address medical illness, military service, student status and other life events,” Padawer said.

Top Credit Repair Companies

Credit repair is the process of removing questionable negative items from your credit report. According to rankings from across the internet, these are the top picks.*

#1 Lexington Law


Overall Score

9.5

Average review site rating
  • More than 500,000 clients helped
  • More than 10,000,000 negative items removed in 2017
  • Fraud alert and identity theft protection included
Overall Score

9.5

Average review site rating
Call 833-337-8439 Visit Site

#2 CreditRepair.com


Overall score

9.0

Average review site rating

  • Best value at $49.95 per month
  • More than 1.5 million negative items removed in 2017
  • ID theft protection available

#3 Credit Saint


Overall score

8.7

Average review site rating

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Free consultation with a credit report
  • A+ Better Business Bureau accredited

#4 The Credit People


Overall score

8.2

Average review site rating

  • Only $19 to get started
  • More than 200,000 satisfied clients
  • 6-month satisfaction guarantee

#5 Ovation


Overall score

7.8

Average review site rating

  • Accredited member of BBB A+ rating since 2004, offering affordable and flexible programs to fit most budgets
  • Proven results removing all types of inaccurate negative accounts
  • Dedicated personal case advisor and 24/7 online account dashboard

#6 The Credit Pros


Overall score

6.8

Average review site rating

  • $119 month, unlimited disputes and free credit monitoring
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau

*Ranking information is based on a compilation of reviews from the following third-party review sites: Bestcompany.com, Credible.com, BadCredit.org, and TheCreditReview.com. Credit.com has examined each review on the third-party sites listed and compared those sites' findings with the individual credit repair services' websites to derive the Credit.com reviews shown here.

How Long Does Credit Repair Take?

Getting negative and inaccurate information off of your credit reports is one of the fastest ways to improve your score. Since credit bureaus have to respond and resolve a dispute within 30 days—a few exceptions can extend this to 45 days—it’s a short timeline. The timeline is particulary important when consumers want to buy a house, get a new car or open up a new credit card and don’t have time to wait to build good credit organically.

Trusted Leaders in Credit Repair

The law affords all Americans consumer protections regarding their credit. Lexington Law helps consumers understand those rights and leverage them to help ensure a fair, accurate and substantiated credit report.
Get Started Today
That doesn’t mean a credit repair company can tell you exactly when your credit score will improve. Some consumers’ credit issues are more complex than others. There's never a guarantee when it comes to credit.
“Since every case and credit report is unique, no professional firm can ethically predict an outcome,” Padawer said. “When picking a credit repair company to fix your bad credit, don’t ask about the future. Instead ask what real clients have experienced in the past.”

How Much Do Credit Repair Companies Charge?

The price of credit repair varies depending on the company, the state you live in and what type of services you need. Before you sign a contract, be sure you understand what you’re signing up for, how much you'll pay and when you will be charged.
Note that under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies are prohibited from demanding advance payment. That means they can’t charge you before any work is completed.

When Should I DIY Credit Repair?

Fixing your own credit is an option. And any ethical credit repair company will tell you that.
“If your situation is simple, and all you have are an obvious error or two, you may want to try a round of credit repair on your own,” Padawer said.
When trying to fix your credit, be clear and concise in your disputes with the three major credit bureaus. And get your documentation in order. You can mail a dispute letter or you can submit it online at each of the credit reporting agencies’ respective websites.
Remember that you need to dispute each error with each bureau. No bureau will clean up your credit report with its competitors! Find more about DIY credit repair here.
If you decide to hire a credit repair company or a law firm, such as Lexington Law, to help repair your credit, make sure you’re working with a reputable and ethical company.

Are There Legitimate Credit Repair Companies?

You may have seen ads for companies that promise your credit score will see “a 100-point jump immediately!” Sounds fishy, right? That’s because it is. In fact, it’s illegal for a credit repair company to promise results like that and any company that does so is one to steer clear of.
There are other red flags to keep an eye out for when looking for a reputable credit repair company.
“The FTC prohibits credit repair companies from charging for credit repair before work is complete,” Padawer said. “Run fast from anyone who asks for money upfront or who promises a new credit file overnight.”
Here are some of the things you want from a credit repair company.
  • It knows your rights and wants you to understand them too. Before you sign any contract, a reputable credit repair company will explain your consumer credit rights to you and answer any questions you have about those rights.
  • It wants to know your story. It’s important for a credit repair company to understand why you want to dispute an item on your report so it can make sure the three standards Padawer mentioned—accuracy, fairness and full substantiation—are upheld by data furnishers and the credit bureaus.
  • It explains, in detail, what it can do to represent you to the credit bureaus. Any good credit repair company knows what it can and can’t do for you and should be able to outline its services, so you fully understand what you’re getting.

How to Improve Your Score beyond Credit Repair

There are a lot of reasons that your credit may be in rough shape. Most are related to your spending habits. And, if you missed a few payments or your debt levels are too high—think over 30% of your total available credit limits—disputing errors won’t help you. You’ll have to make some changes to improve your credit scores instead. And you may have to wait a bit to see an uptick.
Most negative information can take up to seven years to age off of your credit report, though the effects on your credit score will lessen over time, so long as no new blemishes emerge.
That shouldn’t dissuade you, however, from getting started. Remember, a bad credit score can cost you some serious cash. Over your lifetime, you can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bad credit score. That’s a pretty shocking number, and it should be.
Bad credit means higher loan interest rates and higher insurance premiums and that all adds up over the years. Bad credit can hold you back from achieving major life goals like buying a house, going back to school, taking a dream vacation, or even retiring when you want. Fortunately, you aren’t necessarily saddled with bad credit for life.

Key Points to Remember About Credit Repair

  • It can be difficult to navigate the complex world of the credit industry yourself, especially when it comes to disputing negative information on your credit file.
  • Don’t expect results overnight. Credit repair takes time and requires regular credit monitoring and a change in how you approach your personal finances.
  • It's never a bad idea to consult with a credit expert if you're unsure of a law or any methodology regarding credit repair and credit services.
  • Dealing with debt also goes hand-in-hand with taking a closer look at your spending habits and finding ways you can fall back and save.
  • The credit repair process is lengthy and requires patience, especially if you have a sizable credit history.
  • If you do enlist the services of a reputable credit repair company, such as Lexington Law, you can cancel the service at anytime.
  • Educate yourself on your rights as a consumer, including on what the Federal Trade Commission and Credit Repair Organization Act are.
[Disclosure: Credit.com and CreditRepair.com are both owned by the same company, Progrexion Holdings Inc. John C Heath, Attorney at Law, PC, d/b/a Lexington Law Firm is an independent law firm that uses Progrexion as a provider of business and administrative services.]