You've seen the ads claiming to be able to fix your bad credit, but do credit repair products really work? Honestly, many of the companies are a scam. But the credit repair services that have been around for a couple decades know the rules surrounding credit repair and know how to navigate those rules to either raise your credit score or give you your money back. That of course doesn't mean that it works for everyone. There is no magical formula to raise your credit score in a hurry, but there are a few instances where credit repair can help you give your score a deserved bump.
When Credit Repair Actually Works
If you have legitimate errors on your credit report: The main function of any credit repair service is to remove errors from your credit report. These could range from errors in reporting from lenders to simple errors in your personal information. A good amount can actually effect your credit, so if you believe there are errors in your credit report, you can benefit from a credit repair company correcting those errors for you.
If you have errors that can't be verified: A little known fact about your credit report is that every detail in the report needs to be verifiable. For example, if you have a negative item on your credit report from a lender who was bought or went out of business, there is a chance that if the credit bureaus were to call to verify the information on your report, they would get no answer. In that case, they are required to remove it from your credit report. This is a loophole that credit repair services will use to raise your score.
If your lenders are willing to work with credit repair agencies: The credit repair agencies that have been doing this for a while know the tricks of the trade, so they have the experience to negotiate with your lenders on your behalf. Does this always work? No. Some lenders don't like working with credit repair services. Some lenders aren't willing to negotiate. However, for the lenders who are willing to listen, this is a good way for credit repair services to raise your score.
The Most Reliable Credit Repair Companies
There are a lot of credit repair companies out there and a lot of scams that go with them, so how can you find the more reliable ones? Look for three things: longevity, reputation and money-back guarantee. I looked at some of the top credit repair services and tested them out for all of these criteria, and these were my favorites.
Best Overall, Least Expensive: SkyBlue Credit Repair
SkyBlue is the most affordable and reliable credit repair option that I looked at. SkyBlue has streamlined their credit repair service to offer you the basics of credit repair for only $59/month and just a $59 initial payment, which is far and above cheaper than all of the other credit repair services. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the cost. They also have an "A+" rating from the BBB, which is the best score I've seen from a credit repair company.
Guarantee? SkyBlue is one of the only credit repair services that offers a full 90-day refund no matter what the reason, which is unheard of in credit repair.
Best Reputation: Lexington Law Credit Repair
The best part about Lexington Law is that it is an actual law firm that specializes in credit law, which means they know what they are doing when dealing with lenders. It also has an "A" rating from the BBB, and has been around longer than most other credit repair services. Lexington Law is on the cheaper end at $59.95 a month, with a $99.95 initial fee, which includes all of the bells and whistles that come along with their credit repair plan, including a guarantee.
Guarantee? Lexington Law doesn't charge you anything until they've completed all the work that they agreed to. You can also check out a Sky Blue vs. Lexington Law comparison of services here.
Best for Credit Monitoring and Other Extras: CreditRepair.com
CreditRepair.com has a relationship with TransUnion, so they can actually pull your credit score for you, which is extremely helpful. They also have an "A" rating from the BBB. The only downside to CreditRepair.com is the cost. They charge $89.95 a month, although they don't have an initial fee like most other credit repair services. With the $89.95, you get your standard credit repair services, as well as monthly credit monitoring, a score tracker and analysis, mobile apps and text and email alerts.
Guarantee? CreditRepair.com offers a guarantee if they don't complete the work that you agreed upon. This language is worded very carefully, so buyer beware. Here is a good comparison of how CreditRepair.com vs. Lexington Law when it comes to services.
Bottom line, credit repair is not a guaranteed fix of your credit score, but if you go in knowing the risks and pick a company with a good reputation and money-back guarantee, you can hopefully avoid being burned.
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