The Best Credit Repair Companies in the United States
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In the United States, your credit score has a huge impact on all aspects of your financial life. A bad credit score could disqualify you outright from financing major purchases, such as a house or a car. In addition, even if you do manage to secure a loan with bad credit, it’ll usually come with a hefty interest rate.
Improving your credit score can open up so many doors financially. You’ll be able to secure the best rates on mortgages, auto loans, and other personal installment loans. Also, lenders won’t ever have to think twice about offering you access to better credit cards and other credit products.
Unfortunately, according to a Motley Fool article, over a third of all Americans have a FICO score lower than 670, which many consider the mark for a “good” score. Sometimes, having a low score isn’t even your fault: approximately one in five Americans have at least one error on their credit report that could be dragging their score down, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Credit repair is a popular and effective option designed to fix all of these problems. By systematically targeting negative credit reporting errors, credit repair programs have helped lift many Americans out of a bad score. In this article, we’ll do a deep dive on credit repair in the United States and introduce our top 3 companies for you to consider.
The Top 3 Best Credit Repair Companies in the United States
There is no shortage of credit repair companies in the United States. However, few can boast track records as good as those of Credit Saint, Lexington Law, and CreditRepair.com. Here is a closer look at each of these three top companies.
Credit Saint is easily one of the most trustworthy and effective credit repair companies in the US. Founded in 2004, Credit Saint has successfully helped many of their clients achieve significant score increases. According to testimonials, their most successful clients are able to boost their credit score by 30, 60, or even 100 and more.
What makes Credit Saint stand out above their competitors? One main reason is that they set an industry standard with their 90 day money-back guarantee. Credit Saint allows you to try their services for a full 90 days (two 45 day dispute cycles) where you can get a full refund if they’re unable to remove any items.
In addition, Credit Saint has a great reputation on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have gotten BBB-accreditation. Not only that, they have had a BBB rating of A or higher since 2007. This is a very rare achievement that few credit repair companies can match.
Here is a full list of reasons why we like Credit Saint:
- 90 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Effective and Transparent 45 Day Dispute Cycles
- Reasonable Prices
- Flexible Cancellation
- Private Dashboard
- Highly Rated on BBB, Good Track Record
- No Fees When Requesting Credit Reports
For more details, check out our Ultimate Review Guide for Credit Saint.
Lexington Law is another highly-regarded company in the credit repair industry. Like Credit Saint, Lexington Law was established in 2004 with the goal of providing customers an effective and affordable way to combat credit reporting errors. To date, they have disputed over 220 million items on behalf of their clients.
Lexington Law distinguishes themselves from their competition with their staff. They publicly list all members of their staff on their website. You’ll notice that all of them have some form of legal expertise, whether that be through an accredited university, or past working experience. This helps you know that a qualified professional is handling your credit.
In addition, Lexington Law’s plans are extremely affordable. The base monthly rate for their plans is already lower than most other companies, and they notably do not charge an initial setup fee. This makes Lexington Law a great option if you’re on a tighter budget.
Here is a full list of reasons why we like Lexington Law:
- Staff Has Verified Legal Experience
- Experience & Popularity
- Reasonable Prices
- Offers Mobile App
- Free Resources On General Credit Improvement
- Flexible Customer Service Hours
You can learn more by reading our full Lexington Law Firm Review.
Compared to Credit Saint and Lexington Law, CreditRepair.com is relatively new to the scene. However, they have quickly grown to become another major credit repair company in the country. Since 2012, they have sent out over 23 million challenges and disputes on behalf of their customers.
CreditRepair.com outlines their process with three simple C’s: Check, Challenge, Change. They customize a specific game plan for each client, and always aim to take the most efficient route towards improving your score. CreditRepair.com makes it easy to track your progress through a personal online dashboard.
CreditRepair.com also focuses heavily on financial education. Instead of completely letting CreditRepair take the reins on your case, they encourage you to learn about your credit through resources available on their site. They have an extensive library of resources to help you with all things related to finance, from debt solutions to credit improvement.
Here is a full list of reasons why we like CreditRepair.com:
- Ongoing Credit Education & Support
- Simple Process: Check, Challenge, Change
- Reasonable Pricing
- Private Dashboard & Score Tracker
- Offers Mobile App
Best Credit Repair Companies By Specific Area
If you live in any of these specific areas, check out the following articles for more local credit repair recommendations.
Is Credit Repair Legal?
Yes, credit repair is legal in all 50 states. Despite this, you might come across warnings from reputable sources such as the FTC, which notes that many credit repair companies are scams. The IRS echoes this opinion, saying that there is “potential for abuse” by credit service organizations.
Unfortunately, it’s true that some credit repair companies are out there to hurt you. To prevent this, the federal government has put in place the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Here are some major provisions in these acts that you should be aware of:
- Companies are not allowed to demand advance payments. Apart from an initial setup fee, no company is allowed to charge you for services that they haven’t completed yet. Steer clear of companies that demand upfront payments.
- Companies cannot make promises unless they’re done in writing. If a company promises a certain score increase or a certain number of items removed, they must get that written in a contract.
- You have contract cancellation rights. Credit repair companies are required to give you a specified amount of time to freely cancel your contract before any work begins. The length of time depends on state law. In addition, check to see if the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule, which gives you three days to cancel certain sales, may apply.
Scams are an inevitable reality of the credit repair industry. So while credit repair is legal, make sure you only work with companies that follow the law.
What To Know Before Signing Up For Credit Repair
Before signing up with a credit repair company, there are a couple things you should know.
Credit Repair Takes Time
Patience is a virtue, but it’s even more important when it comes to credit repair. Though it may seem like credit repair is a magical service that can fix your credit overnight, the reality is that it can take many months to fix negative errors.
One reason for this is that under the FCRA, credit reporting agencies usually have around 30 days to investigate disputes. Thus, rather than seeing a gradual increase of your score over time, you may see sudden, periodic increases after each 30 day cycle.
Only Inaccurate Information Can Be Removed
One very important thing to note is that credit repair companies can only target negative, inaccurate information on your credit reports. This goes against many people’s expectations - companies cannot remove negative but accurate information from your reports.
Building Positive Credit History Is Still Your Responsibility
While credit repair can help you erase negative errors on your report, it cannot magically make positive credit appear in its place. You still have to do the hard work of making sure you pay off your debts on time. Doing this consistently is what will help you continue to maintain and improve your score over the long term, well after credit repair.
Credit Repair vs. Credit Counseling
Remember that credit repair only targets inaccurate reporting. Thus, if there aren’t any errors on your credit report, you could consider credit counseling instead of credit repair.
Credit counseling is usually a free service. A counselor will take a look at your credit profile and suggest how to attack your debts and slowly build up your positive credit history. Consider looking into the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) for more information.
Credit Repair vs. Debt Settlement
Credit repair does not help you settle debts. If you feel like you’re overwhelmed by your debt, consider a debt settlement company instead.
Debt settlement companies aim to negotiate a lump sum payment with your creditor that’s lower than the current amount you owe. It could potentially lower your monthly payments into something that’s more manageable. For more information, consider reading the FTC’s guide on debt settlement.
What Makes a Good Credit Repair Company?
So how do you distinguish between a good credit repair company and a scam? In general, the best credit repair companies share these five main traits:
- Transparency. This includes being transparent about their pricing, staff credentials, and how they’re handling your case.
- Good Track Record. The best companies have a long history of helping clients. You can learn a lot about a company by reading testimonials on Google or the BBB.
- Follows The Law. Every company must abide by the laws set forth in the CROA and FCRA.
- Offers a Money Back Guarantee. In the off-chance that a company is unable to remove any negative items, the best companies will give you a full refund on all services, no questions asked.
- Focuses on Credit Education. The best companies will also stress the importance of learning about your credit throughout the repair process.
At Credit Help Info, each credit repair company that demonstrates all five of these traits is awarded our Outstanding Credit Repair Company Award.
Common Red Flags
If a credit repair company raises any of the following red flags, we highly recommend staying away from them.
- Violating The Law. Companies that demand advance payments and make lofty promises that aren’t in writing are violating the CROA and FCRA.
- Removing All Negative Information, Even If Accurate. Credit repair agencies can only dispute negative information that is incorrectly reported.
- Not Transparent About Prices & Services. If a company doesn’t clearly list out the items that they’ll tackle, as well as the cost of their services, avoid them at all costs.
How To Compare Credit Repair Companies
There are many ways to compare credit repair companies. Here are three key factors to consider.
- Price. How much is the monthly cost? Or does the company use a pay-per-deletion pricing model? Are there any initial setup fees? It’s worth calculating the total cost of 6 months of credit repair for each company, and comparing them to see which one is the most cost-effective.
- Services. How many disputes will the company send out per cycle? Is it 5, 10, or unlimited? Consider whether it’s worth paying more for unlimited disputes. If you don’t have many errors on your report, you can pay less for fewer disputes.
- Money-Back Guarantee. Does the company offer a 90 day money-back guarantee? Or only 60 days? Depending on how comfortable you are with paying for credit repair, a longer money-back guarantee may be one of the most important factors.
How Do Credit Repair Companies Work?
Reputable credit repair companies typically have a three-step approach to fix your score. Here are each of them and what you can expect from each step.
Most, if not all credit repair companies offer some form of free initial consultation. This is to connect you with one of their credit repair specialists, who can introduce you to their services and show you how they can help. Some companies may even do a free audit of your credit report and note down areas of possible dispute. These include:
- Inaccurate or outdated personal information
- Credit accounts that don’t belong to you
- Incorrectly reported late payments
- Incorrect public records
- Incorrectly reported hard inquiries
Dispute Credit Reporting Errors
After coming up with a list of targeted items to dispute, the company will send customized dispute letters to the credit bureaus. You won’t have to do much on your end besides provide evidence for the disputes (such as a bank statement) if necessary. During this entire process, the company should provide a way for you to monitor your case progress, usually through a secure online portal. Some companies may email, call, or send you a physical report with your score’s progress.
Recommendations Going Forward
A good credit repair company doesn’t just stop at credit repair. They will analyze your credit report and suggest ways to continue improving your score going forward. This can include identifying which debts to pay off first, as well as suggesting financial products, such as a secured credit card, with which you can build up more positive credit.
In practice, step 2 and step 3 can be done together. It’s never too early to start building up positive credit. For more information, check out our article on how credit repair companies work.
Does Credit Repair Actually Work?
Yes, credit repair companies can help get negative errors removed from your report. Depending on the severity of these errors, your score could see an instant boost.
However, it’s important to know the boundaries of credit repair. Credit repair companies cannot help you pay off your debts, or otherwise help with managing your finances. Both of these things are also directly tied to your credit score, and you need to address them on your own.
How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?
Credit repair costs can vary from state to state. However, a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t have to pay more than $1,000 for around 6 months of credit repair. In certain states where the cost of living is higher, such as California and New York, that number might increase to $1,500.
It’s important to realize the different pricing models that credit repair companies use.
- Monthly Subscription. Most companies use a monthly subscription model, where they engage in credit repair services as long as you are still subscribed. Credit Saint is one such example: they offer plans ranging from $79.99 to $119.99 per month. Note that companies will often also charge an initial setup fee.
- Pay-Per-Dispute. Some companies charge per successful dispute. This can be a good option if you want proof of results before paying a fee. However, it’s also better suited for those with fewer errors to dispute, since costs can quickly stack up if your report is loaded with errors.
- One-Time Upfront Fee. A few companies charge a one-time upfront fee, which includes a package of predefined services. For example, a company may charge $499 for a credit audit, 10 disputes, and monthly updates until the errors are removed.
Many people look at the cost of credit repair and think of it as just another heavy, perhaps unnecessary expense during tough financial times. While this may be true, the impact of a higher score is proven to save you many thousands of dollars in the long run. Thinking of credit repair as an investment into your financial future can make the costs seem less overbearing.
How Long Does Credit Repair Take?
Credit repair doesn’t happen overnight. At the very least, it takes most people around 3 months to start seeing meaningful results from credit repair. For best results, many companies recommend 6 months of service.
Under the FCRA, credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to a dispute letter sent by a credit repair company. If you have multiple items to dispute, this back and forth exchange can take a few months, particularly if the credit bureaus require additional evidence on your end.
In addition, more severe types of errors can take more time to dispute. For example, an incorrectly reported late payment shouldn’t take too long to correct. However, investigating an account that you claim is not yours can take more time.
Is Using a Credit Repair Company Worth It?
When you sign up with a credit repair company, you are devoting significant money into their services. Though it may seem expensive, there are many reasons why using credit repair is still very much worth it.
- Professional Guidance. Though it’s definitely possible to fix your credit score yourself, legitimate credit repair companies have handled thousands of cases similar to yours. They know exactly what to look for in a credit report, and how to carefully craft dispute letters that have proven effective over the years.
- Saving Time. If you went about credit repair on your own, you’d need to analyze your credit report, gather evidence, write dispute letters, send them out, and keep track of responses. Hiring a company to do all this for you could help save significant time.
- You’ll Take Control of Your Credit. Studies have shown that investing money into a program is more likely to lead to action. If you’ve put off fixing your credit for a while, hiring a credit repair company could force you to pay more attention to your credit score and overall finances.
Who Has The Best Credit Repair Program?
In this article, we took an in-depth look into how credit repair works, and introduced the best companies in the nation. After considering all factors, Credit Saint has the best credit repair program that caters to most people looking to fix their scores.
We highly recommend reaching out to Credit Saint and asking for a free consultation. They’ll review your credit report and guide you towards the program that best suits your needs.
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When doing research, Credit Help Info relies on credible and authoritative sites. These research sources are provided so that you can see exactly where we get our information.
About the Author
Chris Morgan is a credit expert, who has been featured in Addition Financial, GOBankingRates, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and many other publications. He has read hundreds of books and resources on finance and the credit industry. Because he did this, you don’t have to. As a school teacher for over 20 years, Chris enjoys taking complicated material and breaking it down into manageable information that’s easy to understand.