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Published: Dec 02, 2022 35 min read
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Company Highlight
TOP PARTNER
Our Partner
  • Best Overall
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Free credit evaluation
  • Only one set-up fee charged if two members of the same household sign up
  • Clear pricing policies
  • Online sign-up available
Our Partner
  • Credit Repair Industry Leader
  • Long, proven track record
  • Online contact options
  • Employs attorneys and paralegals
  • Free credit report consultation
Our Partner
  • Best Value
  • 90-day money-back guarantee, no conditions
  • 50% discount for couples
  • Repair up to 15 items every 35 days
  • Online sign-up available
Our Partner
  • Educational blog about credit
  • Free credit score included
Our Partner
  • Best Guarantee
  • Simple pricing structure
  • Customer service available through phone, chat or email
  • Low one-time first work fee ($19)
  • Access to credit score and reports from all three credit bureaus
Our Partner
  • Best for Discounts
  • Multiple available discounts
  • Cancel any time
  • Financial management tools available with both plans
  • Parent company LendingTree has a solid reputation

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 heavy lifting for you — obtaining your reports, finding inaccuracies and disputing any mistakes directly with creditors and the major credit bureaus.

So, if you’re ready to leave bad credit behind, read on for Money’s guide to the best credit repair services of December 2022.

Our Top Picks for Best Credit Repair Companies

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Best Credit Repair Reviews

Pros
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Free credit evaluation
  • Only one set-up fee charged if two members of the same household sign up
  • Clear pricing policies
  • Online sign-up available
Cons
  • Limited availability
  • First work fees up to $195
  • No online chat

Monthly fee: $79.99 – $119.99
Set-up fee: $99 - $195

Why we chose this company: We picked Credit Saint as our Best Overall because of its clear pricing policies and an 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 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 provides a credit score analysis and gives you access to a credit score tracker to monitor your progress. Some plans include Experian credit monitoring as well.. Additionally, the company offers 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.

Credit Polish
$79.99 p/m
Credit Remodel
$99.99 p/m
Clean Slate
$119.99 p/m
$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

Read full review>>

Pros
  • Long, proven track record
  • Online contact options
  • Employs attorneys and paralegals
  • Free credit report consultation
Cons
  • 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

Monthly Fee: $95.95 – $139.95
Set-up fee: $89.95 – $129.95

Why we chose this company: Lexington Law is our pick for Industry Leader due to its more than 17 years of experience and almost nationwide availability (every state except 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. Its account reps — often paralegals — offer personalized support over extended hours, seven days a week.

The company offers three service packages ranging from $95.85 to $139.95 per month, each including credit disputes and creditor interventions — such as debt validation and goodwill letters. Its mid- and high-tier plans include additional perks like a personal finance manager, identity theft insurance and/or a Transunion FICO score tracker.

If you want to track your credit progress, Lexington has a highly ranked mobile app where users have 24/7 access to their credit score analysis, personalized counseling plan and dispute updates.

However, Lexington has also had its share of legal problems. It’s the subject of several lawsuits, including legal action filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2019, which alleges that the company used unfair telemarketing practices to recruit customers. 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 offers the advantage of having an experienced law firm handling your case.

It offers the following credit repair packages:

Concord Standard
$95.95 p/m
Concord Premier
$119.95 p/m
Premier Plus
$139.95 p/m
Bureau challenges Bureau challenges Bureau challenges
Creditor interventions Creditor interventions Creditor interventions
InquiryAssist InquiryAssist
Score analysis Score analysis
ReportWatch ReportWatch
TransUnion alerts TransUnion alerts
Cease & desist letters
FICO score tracker
Identity theft protection
Personal finance tools

Read full review>>

Pros
  • 90-day money-back guarantee, no conditions
  • 50% discount for couples
  • Repair up to 15 items every 35 days
  • Online sign-up available
Cons
  • No monthly credit monitoring
  • No financial tools, such as budgeting
  • Monthly disputes limited to five per bureau every 35 days

Monthly fee: $79 for individuals, $119 for couples
Set-up fee: $79, $119 for couple

Why we chose this company: Sky Blue Credit Repair offers a single, low-cost credit-repair package that includes just about everything you need to clean up your credit report quickly.

For $79 a month, Sky Blue provides a detailed analysis of your credit report and draws up customized dispute letters. Its set-up fee is also relatively low ($79), while other companies charge around $100 or more.

Beyond disputing credit-report errors, Sky Blue gives credit-rebuilding advice. Experts can provide assistance on the financial steps you can take to improve your credit score, such as opening a new credit card or managing your outstanding balances. You can also schedule consultations if you have questions about anything credit-related, like card credit offers or loan applications.

It’s worth noting that Sky Blue Credit Repair offers one of the most flexible subscriptions on the market and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Several credit repair agencies offer a 90-day money-back guarantee which promises to refund your money if they don’t remove any negative items from your credit report during that time. Sky Blue Credit Repair also offers a 90-day refund policy. However, it goes one step further letting you pause and resume your membership whenever you like, a feature not available with most other companies.

If you want to skip a month of service without canceling your subscription, you can request a pause online. You won't be charged monthly payments while your account is paused, and you can resume the subscription when needed. This could save you some money on startup fees, which most credit repair firms charge whenever you start using services.

Sky Blue is no longer registered with the Better Business Bureau (companies have to pay annual fees to stay accredited). However, when it was registered, it boasted an A+ rating and consumer comments were largely positive.

Its 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

Read full review>>

Pros
  • Simple pricing structure
  • Customer service available through phone, chat or email
  • Low one-time first work fee ($19)
  • Access to credit score and reports from all three credit bureaus
Cons
  • No credit monitoring
  • No financial management tools

Monthly fee: $79 or $419 six-month flat rate
Set-up fee: $19 (No setup fees with six-month plan)

Why we chose this company: The Credit People offers both low startup fees and lets customers cancel their subscription when they need to.

Most credit repair companies offer a 90-day money-back guarantee. Others only refund you for the last month of service. The Credit People, on the other hand, lets you cancel your subscription whenever you want and refunds both the last and previous month's payment.

The company's low startup fees set it apart from competitors. While other credit repair services charge around $79 or more to set up your account and pull your credit report, The Credit People only charges $19. After your account is ready, you can either pay $79 a month until you get the result you want or pay a flat fee of $419 for a six-month plan.

The Credit People’s interface is also a plus — you can monitor updates to your credit report or score from all three credit bureaus from their easy-to-use online dashboard. It also lets you track open disputes and connect to customer service if you have any questions.

The two memberships offered by The Credit People 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
Credit rebuilding counseling
Action plan focused on raising your credit score
Unlimited disputes

Read full review>>

Pros
  • Multiple available discounts
  • Cancel any time
  • Financial management tools available with both plans
  • Parent company LendingTree has a solid reputation
Cons
  • Credit monitoring only provided with Essential Plus
  • Phone-only application process
  • No 24/7 support

Monthly fee: $79 – $109
Set-up fee: $89

Why we chose this company: Ovation Credit Repair offers multiple discounts, from a 20% discount for couples to a $50 credit if you refer a friend.

Ovation Credit Repair, also known as Ovation Credit Services, stands out when it comes to discounts. It offers a 20% discount for couples and a 10% discount for seniors and military members. It also provides a one-time credit of up to $50 if you switch from another credit repair agency or refer a friend.

The company offers two credit repair options: the Essential and Essential Plus. With the Essential plan, a case advisor will guide you through the dispute process and advise you on improving your overall credit situation. You'll also get access to financial tools for budgeting and building a debt repayment plan.

The Essential Plus plan offers additional benefits like Transunion credit report monitoring and unlimited debt validation letters, which ask collectors to verify the accuracy of reported debt. This is an important step because if a collector doesn't have enough documentation to prove the account in question belongs to you, the bureaus might remove it from your report.

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

Read full review>>

Pros
  • Financial management tools and credit monitoring included with every plan
  • Live chat available
  • Certified FICO professionals
  • No setup fee
Cons
  • Basic credit repair package only includes one credit dispute
  • 24/7 phone support isn't available

Monthly fee: $69 – $149
Set-up fee: $119 or $149

Why we chose this company: While many credit repair companies offer extra perks only with premium plans, The Credit Pros offers useful financial management tools even with its least expensive package.

The most affordable package (Money Management) includes tools like bill reminders and a budgeting system that syncs to your credit accounts in real-time, in addition to credit and identity theft monitoring services.

The Credit Pros will provide Transunion credit score updates and a full credit report every 60 days. It'll also track your personal information (like your Social Security number and address) to see if it's found on the dark web or was used to take out a payday loan, for example.

However, one drawback of the Money Management plan is that it'll address only one inaccurate item from your report per month. If you need help with several items, you'll need to upgrade to the Prosperity and Success packages. These include the same benefits as the Money Management plan plus some additional perks.

The Prosperity Package provides access to SlashRx, a discount program for prescription medications. The Success Package does as well, but it also offers a credit line from National Credit Direct. National Credit Direct is a financing program that allows customers to purchase items such as electronics at low monthly payments. The monthly payments are reported to the credit bureaus, which may help people improve a poor credit score. Do note that the company's items are usually more expensive when compared to other retailers.

All plans include access to The Credit Pros' mobile app, which lets you review disputes, receive real-time updates and monitor your credit score and report.

The company’s free consultation is available in English and Spanish, something not common in the credit repair industry. However, note that its initial work fee is higher than many other competitors’ — $119 for its low and medium tier plans and $149 for its premium plan.

There are three packages to choose from:

Money Management
$69 p/m
Prosperity Package
$119 p/m
Success Package
$149 p/m
$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

Read full review>>

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • You must mail the dispute letters yourself
  • No credit experts to assist you
  • No money-back guarantee
  • No credit consultations

Monthly fee: $19.95 – $29.99

Why we chose this company: Credit Versio is a low-cost alternative to traditional credit repair services and simplifies the often complicated process of repairing your credit yourself.

Even though you can dispute credit inaccuracies 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 may be 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 SmartCredit’s credit monitoring platform. The most expensive plan gives you access to IdentityIQ, an identity theft protection service.

Adding these services lets Credit Versio keep track of any changes to your credit report in case you need to send out more dispute letters.

smartcredit BASIC
$19.95 p/m
smartcredit PREMIUM
$24.95 p/m
IdentityIQ
$29.99 p/m
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 IdentityIQ
Two monthly Transunion Report & score Unlimited Transunion Report & score updates

Read full review>>

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Other credit repair companies we considered

We researched dozens of companies in the process of compiling our list of the top credit repair services. Some companies, however, didn’t make the cut. These are some of them:

Credit Glory

Credit Glory charges $99 per month and a $100 setup fee, which is comparable to some of our leading picks. However, the company doesn't include a credit monitoring or dispute tracking service. It also doesn't offer any discounts.

Pros
  • Customer service available on weekends
  • Setup fee charged once dispute letters are sent
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Credit monitoring available at extra cost
  • No discounts

CreditRepair.com

CreditRepair.com includes your credit score, a negative item summary and a personalized credit-repair plan with its free initial evaluation. But the company's website is not transparent regarding costs and fees.

Pros
  • Educational blog about credit
  • Educational blog about credit
  • Free credit score included
Cons
  • No information about its staff's qualifications
  • Pending legal action from the CFPB
  • Unclear information on its three service plans

Trinity Credit Services

Trinity Credit Services has over nine years in the credit repair business. However, the company isn't clear about service costs and setup fees on their website. Additionally, they don’t provide information about guarantees.

Pros
  • Free credit report evaluation
  • Track the dispute process online
Cons
  • No information about services and fees

Pyramid Credit Repair

Pyramid Credit Repair has over ten years of experience. It's one of the few credit repair companies offering a discounted plan for couples and 24/7 customer support. Still, its website has sparse information about its service plans.

Pros
  • Offers 24/7 customer support
  • Free credit consultation
  • Discounted couple plan available
  • Discounts for the military and teachers
Cons
  • Little information regarding plans
  • Individual plan doesn't include finance tools

Pinnacle Credit Repair

Pinnacle Credit Repair offers one of the longest money-back guarantee periods — 120 days. However, the guarantee only applies to one of the company's two service plans. The priciest plan doesn't feature a guarantee and charges a first-work fee of $299.

Pros
  • Premium plan gives access to personal credit mentor
  • Connects account members to a network of lending partners
  • 120 day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • High first-work fee of $299
  • No free consultation available
  • Limited information regarding the company's proprietary system

AMB Credit Consultants

While AMB Credit Consultants has more than ten years in the business and offers discounts for couples, there are several drawbacks to its services. For one, it doesn't offer a free credit consultation. Before scheduling a consultation, you must purchase a credit monitoring subscription for $24.99. Additionally, the company states on its website that you shouldn't use AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only federally authorized site to obtain free, official credit reports from the credit bureaus.

Pros
  • Over ten years of experience
  • Discount for couples
Cons
  • Advises against using AnnualCreditReport.com (the only federally authorized site to obtain free credit reports)
  • Must commit to at least 6-9 months of service
  • Must pay for a credit monitoring subscription before initial consultation
  • Extra fee for third-party credit monitoring

Creditfirm.net

CreditFirm.net charges $49.99 per month for individuals ($89.99 for couples), which is relatively inexpensive compared to other companies. But the company doesn't offer a free credit consultation, money-back guarantee or additional finance tools.

Pros
  • No setup fees
  • Couples discount available
  • Cancel any time
  • Unlimited disputes to creditors
Cons
  • Monthly credit monitoring not available
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Outdated website is hard to navigate
  • Customers must send in credit reports themselves

Credit Assistance Network

The Credit Assistance Network's website is outdated and hard to navigate. There's little to no information regarding the company's reputation on third-party party review sites. Additionally, the company doesn't offer credit repair services. Instead, it forwards you to The Credit Pros, one of our main picks. With this in mind, we recommend signing up with The Credit Pros directly.

Pros
  • 20% discount for friends or spouses
  • Includes personal finance tools
  • Credit restoration services managed by The Credit Pros (one of our main picks)
Cons
  • Outdated or unclear information on its website

Credit Repair Guide

A credit repair agency may help you improve poor credit by working on your behalf to remove inaccurate or outdated information. However, many companies make false claims and lure customers into paying for services that won't deliver any results.

Table of Contents

How does credit repair work?

Credit repair involves checking your credit reports for inaccurate information and disputing any mistakes by filing complaints with the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) or creditors. This is something you can do on your own at no cost. However, the process can be tedious, especially if your reports have multiple errors.

Credit repair services check your reports for inaccuracies and contact credit bureaus and creditors on your behalf. The companies might ask you for evidence to back up the claim and then send letters challenging the negative items listed on your reports.

How do credit repair companies work?

Each credit repair company has its own way of doing things, but most of them follow a four-step process:

Free consultation

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. They may also offer personal finance advice to help you achieve a good credit score.

Limited power of attorney and written consent

The company’s representatives will inform you if they find mistakes in your file. They’ll then send you a written contract giving them limited power of attorney, that is, the legal right to act on your behalf.

Challenge items

Once you give them the legal authority to do so, the company disputes inaccurate items with your creditors and the major credit bureaus. Errors on your credit report can include tax liens or foreclosures that don’t belong to you, duplicate accounts, bankruptcies or outdated information.

Once they’re notified, credit reporting agencies must investigate within 30 days of receiving the dispute. Once they confirm them as errors, they’ll remove them from your credit profile.

Progress reports

The best credit repair companies will track your disputes’ progress and update you frequently 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.

There are some things to keep in mind when you're trying to rebuild your credit history.

What you should know before hiring a credit repair company

There are some things to keep in mind when you're trying to rebuild your credit history.

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 to 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 their 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.

Differences 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 methods.

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 doesn't 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.

How to choose the right credit repair company

When evaluating credit repair companies, you should compare the services they offer and their upfront and monthly fees. Consider how many items they dispute per month and if they offer any additional perks such as free consultations or personal finance tools. You can also gauge a company's reputation by reading online consumer reviews and checking whether it has any lawsuits against it.

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 doesn't meet your requirements.

Read customer reviews

Sources like Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Yelp are useful starting points for gauging customer experience. They each have their own way of evaluating and ranking companies. for example, BBB ratings rank companies on an A-to-F grading system and Yelp offers its well-known star ratings.

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.

However, if you read multiple reviews alleging similar issues, you should certainly consider it a red flag.

In our search for the best credit restoration services, 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 federal laws aimed at protecting consumers.

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 services.

When searching for the right credit repair company for you, it’s a good idea to check the CFPB complaint database and check how many complaints — if any — have been filed against that particular provider.

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. 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, some credit repair agencies offer personal finance tools like bill reminders, budgeting software and credit monitoring. Additionally, they may offer free credit consultations, satisfaction guarantees and identity theft protection services.

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, it’s important to note that you can repair credit issues yourself and at no cost. There are also ways to improve your credit score without the help of a credit repair agency.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), you have the right to dispute any information you believe is inaccurate. Credit bureaus must investigate and delete it from your report if found to be erroneous.

To start checking for errors, you can request free credit reports from the three main credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — at AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you examine your reports for any discrepancies, you can go to each bureau’s website and file an online dispute. They will investigate within 30 days and delete the negative item from your report if they confirm it’s a mistake.

They might also delete items from your report if your debtor cannot validate the debt and is unable to provide evidence that it belongs to you.

If you’re up to the task, the first step is to learn it’s important to know how to read a credit report. Once you do, 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 2023. Take advantage of this offer and check your reports for errors — if there are any, dispute them or consider hiring a credit repair service to do it for you.

Credit reporting errors during COVID-19

If you were enrolled in a deferral program during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to look out for erroneous “late payments” on your credit report. 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.

Federal student loan payment pause

Monthly payments on federal student loans are eligible for suspension until at least December 31, 2022. Interest rates on those loans have also been set to zero until that time.

Some federal student loans were eligible for at least partial forgiveness following Biden's student loan forgiveness program, which would cancel up to $20,000 of debt for around 40 million eligible borrowers. However, the loan forgiveness plan was paused due to legal challenges.

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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 or information that's more than seven years old. 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?

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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?

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The credit repair process does take time, and the amount of time it takes largely depends on how many inaccurate and/or negative items there are in a credit report. 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?

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These companies analyze your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus, pinpointing inaccurate information that may be keeping you from a good credit score. If their analysts find errors, they'll contact creditors and credit bureaus to dispute the negative items and have them removed. Some of the top credit repair companies also offer personal finance tools and access to credit counselors.

How does credit repair work?

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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 2022

Trustworthiness

The companies in our list are reputable credit repair services that have been around for more than ten years and garner mostly positive customer reviews across different platforms. We looked for any history of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations and searched the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Database to check their history of customer complaints or enforcement actions.

Product offering

A credit repair service assumes responsibility for writing letters, communicating with lenders and credit bureaus and disputing any incorrect negative items in your credit report. Multiple pricing options, additional financial tools, expert advice and service guarantees helped some companies stand out from the competition.

Pricing options and service guarantees

We preferred companies that offered a variety of pricing options and that had transparent service guarantees, with little to no fine print exceptions.

Summary of Money’s Best Credit Repair Companies of December 2022