Credit report mistakes are much more common than you might think. And, while you can remove inaccurate information from your credit report yourself, the process is often frustrating and time-consuming. Credit repair companies can make this process easier by doing the work for you — analyzing your credit, and disputing any mistakes directly with creditors and the major credit bureaus.
So, if you’re ready to leave poor credit behind, check out Money’s guide to the best credit repair companies of 2021 below.
Our Top Picks for Best Credit Repair Companies
Best Credit Repair Reviews
Monthly fee: $79.99 – $119.99
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Options for every budget
- Clear pricing policies
- Online sign-up available
- Limited availability
- First work fees between $99-$195
- No online chat
Credit Saint is our pick for Best Overall because of its clear pricing policies and array of affordable and comprehensive package options.
The packages — which range from $79.99 to $119.99 — differ in how many claims they’ll dispute a month, from five claims with the basic “Credit Polish” plan to an unlimited amount with the premium, “Clean Slate” plan.
Credit Saint offers a free consultation to evaluate your particular situation, your credit scores from the three major bureaus and identify the next steps you should take. Once you sign up with them, the company assigns an advisory team to your case and schedules calls to keep you informed.
Credit Saint also offers a score tracker to alert you to any changes in your credit report, and a 90-day money-back guarantee if you don’t see any changes in your credit history after three months.
The company offers three credit repair packages: Credit Polish, Credit Remodel and Clean Slate.
|$99 one-time initial work fee||$99 one-time initial work fee||$195 initial work fee|
|Dispute up to 5 items per monthly cycle||Dispute up to 10 items per month||Unlimited monthly disputes|
|Goodwill intervention letters to creditors||Experian monitoring||Experian monitoring|
|Goodwill intervention letters to creditors||Goodwill intervention letters to creditors|
|Escalated information requests||Escalated information requests|
|Disputes for bankruptcies and repossessions||Judgment disputes|
Monthly fee: $79 – $119
- 90-day money-back guarantee, no conditions
- 50% off a month for couples discount
- Repair up to 15 items every 35 days
- Online sign-up available
- No monthly credit monitoring
- No financial tools, such as budgeting
- Monthly disputes limited to five per bureau every 35 days
Sky Blue Credit Repair has a two-tier pricing model that allows you to take advantage of all its services for a flat rate of $79 a month, or $119 a month for couples (both married or unmarried partners).
According to the company, the credit repair process takes approximately six months to complete and you cancel any time without incurring penalties. Although Sky Blue is no longer registered with the Better Business Bureau (companies have to pay annual fees to stay accredited), they boasted an A+ rating when they were, and consumer comments were largely positive.
Their credit repair plans include:
|Sky Blue Credit Repair Services
$79 p/m ($119 p/m for couples)
|Dispute up to 15 items (5 per credit bureau) every 35 days|
|Customized dispute letters|
|Statute of limitations research on reported debts|
|Credit score guidance|
|Credit rebuilding counseling|
|Debt settlement and negotiations consultations|
|Debt validation, goodwill and cease and desist letters|
Monthly fee: $79 – $109 per month
- Multiple available discounts
- Cancel any time
- Financial management tools available with both plans
- Parent company LendingTree has a solid reputation
- Credit monitoring only provided with Essential Plus
- Phone-only application process
- No 24/7 support
Ovation Credit Repair stands out for its many discounts. They offer a 20% couples discount and 10% discounts for seniors and members of the military. They also offer a one-time credit of up to $50 if you switch from another credit repair agency or refer a friend.
The company offers two levels of credit repair:
|Essentials Plan – $79 p/m||Essentials Plus Plan – $109 p/m|
|$89 one-time initial work fee / $79 monthly fee||$89 one-time initial work fee / $109 monthly fee|
|Free consultation with a credit expert||Free consultation with a credit expert|
|Personalized credit dispute options||Personalized credit dispute options|
|A case advisor that will oversee the process from start to finish||A case advisor that will oversee the process from start to finish|
|Personalized dispute options||Unlimited dispute and goodwill letters to creditors|
|Personal case advisor||TransUnion credit monitoring|
|Financial Management Tools||Official Ovation recommendation letter for future potential lenders|
- Financial management tools and credit monitoring included with every plan
- Live chat available
- Certified FICO professionals
- No setup fee
- Basic credit repair package only includes one credit dispute
- 24/7 phone support isn’t available
Monthly fee: $69 – $149
While many credit repair companies offer extra perks only with its premium plans, The Credit Pros offer really useful financial management tools, even with its least expensive package.
Tools include bill reminders, a budgeting system service and real-time account sync. Each plan has a complimentary credit monitoring solution, but The Credit Pros also offer multiple tools to track inaccurate personal finance information, from dark web monitoring to social security number trace and payday monitoring.
The company’s free consultation is available in both English and Spanish, something not common in the credit repair industry. Do note, however, that their initial work fee is higher than many other competitors’ — $119 for their low- and medium-tier plans and $149 for their premium plan.
There are 3 packages to choose from:
|$119 one-time initial work fee||$119 one-time initial work fee||$149 one-time initial work fee|
|One credit dispute per month||Same features as the Money Management plan||Same features as the Money Management plan|
|Updated free credit reports every 60 days||Unlimited number of monthly credit disputes||Unlimited number of monthly credit disputes|
|Goodwill letters||Discounts on medication||Discounts on medication|
|Debt validation letter||No credit line||Discounts for National Credit Direct products|
|Cease and desist letters to lenders||Credit line from National Credit Direct|
|Access to the company’s legal network|
|Personalized action plans with certified FICO professionals|
|Credit line from National Credit Direct|
Monthly fee: $79 or $419 six month flat-rate
- Simple pricing structure
- FCRA-certified consultants
- Low one-time first work fee ($19)
- 24/7 account access and online enrollment
- No credit monitoring
- No financial management tools
The Credit People have two credit repair options and a clear-cut pricing structure: $79 a month or a $419 flat rate membership for a six-month plan.
What sets it apart from other credit repair companies is its satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with The Credit People’s services, you can cancel without paying for that month and receive a refund for the previous month’s payment.
Both memberships include the following credit repair services:
|The Credit People Membership
$79 p/m ($119 for couples)
|$19 initial fee|
|$419 flat-rate pricing for a six month membership ($69.83 p/m)|
|6-month satisfaction guarantee with flat-rate membership|
|Credit reports and credit score|
|Action plan focused on raising your credit score|
Monthly Fee: $89.95 – $129.95
- Long, proven track record
- Online contact options
- Employs attorneys and paralegals
- Free credit report consultation
- Credit monitoring only available with the priciest plan
- Financial management tools only available with Premier Plus plan
- Pending legal action from the CFPB
- No satisfaction guarantee
Lexington Law is well-known in the credit repair industry, with years of experience and almost nationwide availability (every state except in Oregon).
Because it’s a law firm and its staff is mostly attorneys and paralegals, the company is said to explore every legal avenue to correct inaccuracies in your credit report. Their account reps — often paralegals — offer personalized support over extended hours, seven days a week.
The company also uses credit monitoring software and has a highly rated mobile app where users have 24/7 access to their credit score analysis and counseling plan.
However, Lexington has also had its share of legal problems. It’s the subject of multiple lawsuits — including legal action filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, alleging that the company uses unfair telemarketing practices. The company claims that the practices were actually carried out by third parties they contracted.
Despite this, Lexington Law remains a powerful player in the industry and does offer the advantage of having an experienced law firm handling your case.
Available credit repair packages:
|Bureau challenges||Bureau challenges||Bureau challenges|
|Creditor interventions||Creditor interventions||Creditor interventions|
|Score analysis||Score analysis|
|TransUnion alerts||TransUnion alerts|
|Cease & desist letters|
|FICO score tracker|
|Identity theft protection|
|Personal finance tools|
- AI software analyzes your credit reports to identify negative items
- Automatically generates dispute letters based on your credit situation
- Keeps track of your credit score and disputes with an easy-to-read dashboard
- Monthly plans include identity theft insurance
- You must mail the dispute letters yourself
- No credit experts to assist you
- No money-back guarantee
- No credit consultations
Even though you can repair bad credit yourself, at no cost, the process can be time-consuming and stressful.
Credit repair software, Credit Versio, can help streamline this process.
The company’s software uses artificial intelligence to scan your credit reports for negative items that are lowering your credit score. It then organizes them according to the credit bureau that reported it.
If you find a mistake and would like to dispute it, the software can generate tailored dispute letters based on your credit information and the reason you believe that item is inaccurate. All you have to do is print out the letter and mail it to the credit bureau.
Credit Versio offers three plans that include unlimited dispute letters and monthly credit reports and scores. Two plans give you access to SmarCredit’s credit monitoring platform. The most expensive plan gives you access to IdentityIQ, an identity theft protection service.
By connecting to these services, Credit Versio can keep track of any changes to your credit report in case you need to send out more dispute letters.
|Unlimited disputes||Unlimited disputes||Unlimited disputes|
|Monthly 3-Bureau reports & scores||Monthly 3-Bureau reports & scores||Monthly 3-Bureau reports & scores|
|Identity insurance up to $1 million||Identity insurance up to $1 million||Identity insurance up to $25,000|
|Credit monitoring alerts from TransUnion||Credit monitoring alerts from TransUnion||Credit monitoring alerts from TransUnion|
|Access to Smartcredit Money Manager||Access to Smartcredit Money Manager||Access to monthly identity theft monitoring by IdentityQ|
|Two monthly Transunion Report & score||Unlimited Transunion Report & score updates|
Other Credit Repair Companies We Considered
As we researched the credit repair industry, there were some companies that didn’t quite meet the standards we’d set. These are some of them:
- Simple process
- Educational blog
- Zero info about their staff’s qualifications
- Pending legal action from the CFPB
- Unclear information on their three plans
AMB Credit Consultants
- 6-month money-back guarantee
- Online enrollment available
- Discounts for couples
- One easy-to-understand plan
- Advises against using AnnualCreditReport.com (the only federally authorized site to obtain free credit reports)
- Must pay for a credit monitoring subscription before initial credit consultation
- Expensive one-time enrollment fee of $149 or $198
- Extra fee for third-party credit monitoring
Pyramid Credit Repair
- 50% discount for couples on their first month
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Extended customer service hours
- No upfront fees
- More expensive than the industry average
- Higher than average fees
- Expensive one-time enrollment fee of $149
- Not available in some states
- Sparse information
Pinnacle Credit Repair
- Two Fast Track options for results within 15 or 60 days
- Fast Track Elite option gives access to personal credit mentor
- Connects account members to their network of lending partners
- Fast Track tier costs between $1,500 and $2,500
- High first-work fee of $199
- No free consultation available
- Limited information on the website
- Low monthly fee of $49.99
- Cancel any time
- Unlimited disputes to creditors
- 24/7 service
- Monthly credit monitoring not available
- No guarantee
- No debt settlement services
- Outdated website makes it hard to navigate
- Customers must send in credit reports themselves
Credit Assistance Network
- Cancel anytime
- No flat monthly payment, as you pay for concrete results
- Issues cease and desist letters to collection agencies
- High first work fee of $179 per individual, and $279 per couple
- Complicated pay structure charges fees for each deletion
- No monitoring
- Contradictory and false information on its website
- Unsecured website
- 24/7 customer support
- Two options for victims of identity theft
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- High first-work fee of $199
- Only removes negative items
- No credit monitoring
- Won’t pull your credit report
Credit Repair Guide
What To Know Before You Pay for a Credit Repair Company
Credit repair takes time
It can take from three months to a year to see an improvement in your credit report.
Not all negative information can be removed
Late or missed payments, hard inquiries, charge-offs, repossessions and debt collections can only be removed if the information is inaccurate or outdated.
You should stay away from companies that guarantee they can remove accurate information from your report or promise you a new credit identity, for example. For steps on how to deal with negative items that cannot be removed, read our guide on how to repair bad credit.
You have to do some of the legwork
You may have to provide credit repair agencies with documentation to support disputes of negative information on your credit report.
Most companies have setup fees
Most credit repair companies charge an initial fee (also called setup or first work fee) that can range anywhere between $15 to $200. This fee is used to set up your account, which may involve gathering your personal and financial information and creating a strategy plan for your particular credit situation.
Credit repair companies can’t charge you in advance for their services
Once you pay the setup fee (if required), companies can’t make any additional charges unless they prove that the services offered to you in contract are being fulfilled.
Legitimate credit repair companies should include a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights
Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA), credit repair companies must give you a written contract outlining their services before receiving any payment from you. The agencies must also give you a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law,” a document that is meant to inform you of your right to order credit reports and dispute inaccurate information yourself.
You have the right to cancel any services without incurring any penalties within 3 business days
The CROA also states that you have the right to back out of a contract within three business days without any charges or cancellation fees. This is also stipulated by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC)’s Cooling-Off Rule.
How Credit Repair Agencies Work
Each credit repair company has its own way of doing things, but most of them follow a four-step process:
The credit repair company will walk you through the process, pull your credit reports from all three bureaus and determine if you’d be a good candidate for credit repair.
Limited power of attorney and written consent.
The company’s representatives will inform you if they find mistakes in your file, and send you a written contract giving them limited power of attorney, that is, the legal right to act on your behalf.
With your legal consent, the company goes on to dispute inaccuracies with your creditors and the major credit bureaus. Once they’re notified, credit reporting agencies must then investigate within 30 days of receiving a dispute. Once they confirm them as errors, they’ll remove them from your credit profile.
A good credit repair company will track the disputes’ progress and update you on the status of each disputed item. They will usually send progress reports along with an updated copy of your credit report so you can review the changes.
How to choose the right credit repair company
Check for Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) compliance
CROA establishes clear directives that legitimate credit repair agencies should follow, and it’s important to ensure the company you choose is compliant in every step of the process.
Companies must provide a written contract explaining in detail the services they will provide, how long it will take for them to get results, any guarantees they offer and the total credit repair cost for their services.
You have the right to walk away without penalty within three days of signing the contract if it does not satisfy your requirements.
Read customer reviews
Sources like Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Yelp are useful starting points in gauging customer experience. They each have their own way of offering feedback and evaluating companies, with the BBB giving an A-to-F grading system and Yelp offering its well-known star ratings, for example.
These websites are helpful, but we recommend complementing what you read with further research — after all, most people post reviews when they’re unhappy with a service, not when they’re satisfied.
Having said that, if you read multiple reviews alleging similar types of issues, you should certainly consider it a red flag.
In our search for the best credit repair companies, we focused on those that received mostly positive consumer feedback across multiple review websites.
Check the Regulatory Agencies
The credit repair industry is tightly regulated and must abide by the provisions of multiple consumer protection laws.
One of the agencies overseeing the industry is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal organization that protects consumers from fraudulent or predatory practices by banks, lenders or any type of financial institution — including credit repair companies.
When searching for the right credit repair company, it’s a good idea to check the CFPB complaint database and check how many complaints — if any — have been filed against the company you’re considering.
Compare fees and turnaround times
Reputable credit repair companies will list their prices and services clearly, so consumers can select the right package for their needs easily. Turnaround time should be reasonable, and the company must keep you updated about the progress.
Look for personal finance tools
Besides their standard credit repair services, many credit repair companies include features like financial tools, guidance and expert advice, satisfaction guarantees, credit monitoring, and identity theft protection services.
A free credit consultation can be particularly useful, because you can get a professional evaluation before committing to the service.
Difference between debt settlement, credit repair and credit counseling
As we said above, there are different ways to repair your credit.
Debt settlement, credit repair and credit counseling are all in the personal finance sphere, but it’s important to note the key differences between the three services.
|Debt settlement service||Credit repair service||Credit counseling service|
|For-profit service||For-profit service||Non-profit, but may charge a service fee|
|Resolves your debt and makes a deal to pay it off at a reduced amount||Identifies and repairs mistakes on your credit report||Provides debt and money management advice, but does not renegotiate overall debt|
|Involves stopping debt payments until a settlement is reached.||Communicates with creditors and reporting bureaus to get mistakes corrected and removed from your credit report||Negotiates payment plans with creditors to protect you from debt collectors or late fees|
|Will impact credit negatively for up to 7 years||Improves credit by removing reporting mistakes||Improves credit with debt management plans|
|Hurts chances of getting loans or credit cards||Increases the possibility of being approved for loans and credit cards||Increases the possibility of being approved for loans and credit cards|
|Best as a last resort||Best for people who don’t have the time to repair their credit themselves||Best if you’re having trouble making payments and need some help|
If you’re interested in using a credit counselor, The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers low-cost debt counseling, debt consolidation, and debt management plans.
7 Warning Signs of a Credit Repair Scam
The credit repair industry has had its share of controversies and scams. It’s important to recognize the red flags indicating a company or agent you’re dealing with might be engaging in some questionable practices.
DIY Credit Repair
Credit repair companies are helpful if you can afford the service and don’t have the time to dispute the items. However, do note that you can fix your own credit — and at no cost. There are also ways to improve your credit score without the help of a credit repair agency.
Free credit reports from the three main credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are available at AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you examine your reports for any discrepancies or errors, you can go to each bureau’s website and file an online dispute. They will investigate within 30 days and, if they confirm it’s a mistake, will delete the item from your report.
They might also delete items from your report if your debtor cannot validate the debt and is unable to provide evidence that the debt belongs to you.
If you’d like to try it, it’s important to really know how to read a credit report. Once you have that down, check out our guide on how to remove items from your credit report.
Covid-19 and Credit Repair
Free credit reports
Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are offering access to a free credit report weekly through April 2022. Take advantage to check your reports for errors and, if there are any, dispute them or consider hiring a credit repair company to do it for you.
Credit reporting errors during COVID-19
It’s important to watch out for erroneous “late payments” on your credit report — especially if you enrolled in a deferral program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Loan, mortgage or credit card payments shouldn’t be marked as late if your lender agreed to temporarily suspend them. Contact your lender right away if you notice deferred payments are being incorrectly labeled as late on your report. If your lender doesn’t resolve the issue, contact the credit reporting agencies to begin a dispute process.
CARES Act protections
If you obtained a forbearance on a federally backed loan during the pandemic, these are some things to remember:
- Forbearance, payment deferrals or pauses should not show up on your credit report or bring down your credit score. This applies to suspended collections and defaults as well.
- Homeowners with federally backed loans (HUD, FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are protected from foreclosure until July 31, 2021 and can apply for mortgage forbearance.
- Student loans are eligible for suspensions on loan payments, collections, defaults, and interest rates are set to zero until at least September 30, 2021.
You can fix your credit on your own, but it will take time, effort and patience. Review each of your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax for errors. If you find any, file a dispute with the credit bureau and contact your creditor. They are legally obligated to investigate and eliminate inaccurate information from your report, at no charge to you.
How much does credit repair cost?
Prices vary across credit repair agencies. However, companies typically charge around $20 to $150 per month, depending on the service package you choose. They may also charge a setup fee (also called initial or first work fee) that can cost up to $200.
How long does it take to repair credit?
The amount of time it takes to repair bad credit depends on how much inaccurate information your report contains. Some companies estimate that it can take up to six months to see an improvement in your score. However, if your report has few errors, the process might be faster as there will be fewer disputes to process.
What do credit repair companies do?
What do credit repair companies do?
These companies look into your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus for inaccurate information that may be lowering your credit score. If the agency spots any errors, it’ll contact your lenders and the credit bureaus to dispute the negative marks and have them removed. Some companies also offer personal finance tools and access to credit counselors.
How does credit repair work?
A credit repair company reviews your credit reports from the major credit bureaus for inaccuracies that may be impacting your credit score. It identifies accounts that don’t belong to you or payments incorrectly marked as late, for example, and disputes the errors by contacting the credit bureaus or creditors. If the information is incorrect or can’t be verified, the bureau is required to delete it.
How We Chose The Best Credit Repair Companies of 2021
During our research, we looked at each company’s history of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations and whether they had any customer complaints or enforcement actions filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). We chose credit repair services with a low number of complaints with regulatory agencies, have been around for over ten years and have positive customer reviews across different platforms.
A credit repair service essentially assumes responsibility for writing dispute letters, communicating with lenders and credit bureaus and ensuring removal of each item. It helps if the standard service is complemented with other features. Multiple pricing options, additional financial tools, expert advice, and service guarantees helped companies stand out from the competition.
Pricing Options and Service Guarantees
These were the two most common aspects throughout the companies we evaluated, so we decided to emphasize them further in our vetting process. As we researched companies, we made sure that their pricing options were as ample and/or varied as possible, and that their service guarantees were transparent and with little-to-no exceptions. This way we can offer choices for customers with different financial situations while assuring that each company stays true to their service promise.