Are you considering credit repair services? Are you looking for the best credit repair companies?
Too often, people see credit repair companies as shams and fly-by-night operations. Unfortunately, these operations have given all credit repair companies a bad reputation. Fortunately, however, there are honest and good companies who do their best to satisfy their customer’s needs; companies who really care about making lives a little easier across the country.
What this means for you is that it can be tough to filter through the scams and find legitimate credit repair companies who are still friendly to your wallet. If you don’t know the warning signs to look for, it seems like an endless sea of companies, and any one of them might be a landmine. Of course, it isn’t so dramatic, thankfully, and with a little help, the decision can be rather straightforward and easy.
At Your Personal Finance Tips, we’ve taken the liberty of breaking down who we think are the top credit repair companies on the market today. You may find that this article will help you make quick decisions about each company in about half the time it would take for you to research their services on your own. After all, even though fast credit repair is a myth, we feel like you shouldn’t have to spend time you don’t have to. The sooner you start the credit repair process, the easier and better your financial standing is.
It’s our goal at Your Personal Finance Tips to ensure we cover multiple options and services to provide flexibility, as everyone is in a different financial situation, and we’re dedicated to helping relieve as much stress from the process as possible. In this article, we’ve included an overview of who the best credit repair companies in the market today are. In each overview, we cover a variety of major decision points and compare each one against the other, so you can make a more informed choice depending on your individual situation. No matter if you’re looking for simply credit maintenance options or looking for full-blown credit repair services, we have your back and will help you find the right credit repair company for your wallet and needs.
It can be tough to worry about paying yet another bill on top of the debts you may owe. If you’re deciding on a company and price is a major concern, then you’re in luck. In our overview, we cover each company’s pricing options and compare them against each other.
Worried about customer service? Sometimes all you want is to be able to talk to one of their representatives easily, without having to wait around all day. We compare each company’s quality of customer service.
Want to see actual results in the fastest time possible? We compare each company’s credit repair results and how effective their methods are based on baseline poor credit scores without any unique issues or items.
Interested in learning something else about the company listed?
In this article, we go in-depth and compare several decision points, helping you get the most straightforward answers available. Now you can decide without the hours of research ahead of you.
We’ve already done that research for you and compiled it into an easy-to-digest format, helping you decide whether you have an extensive understanding of personal finance, or haven’t touched the subject before.
After all, something in credit repair should be straightforward.
Furthermore, we’ve taken the liberty of covering popular topics of concern and interest when it comes to the top credit repair companies on the market. At Your Personal Finance Tips, we don’t just believe in giving you the answers, but we believe in giving you the right information to make an educated decision, removing any doubt or confusion you may have on an often-dreaded subject. We do our best to make credit repair service selection as easy as possible, and as customizable as you need for your situation.
We’ve selected each topic based on reader interest, popularity, and positive feedback. We’ve found that many of our readers tend to reach out with similar questions, especially when they’re trying to decide on the right credit repair service for them, so we’ve made an effort to include pieces explaining these topics, providing all who are interested with the answers they’re looking for.
If you’re still having trouble deciding whether a credit repair service is right for you because we haven’t covered a particular question, please contact us and let us know.
Need help navigating this article?
Use our table of contents below to navigate, jumping to any section that catches your interest. We’ve outlined popular topics by demand, and our overviews provide an in-depth review of the top credit repair companies on the market today.
From yourpersonalfinancetips.com to you, we hope you enjoy this article. Our goal is to better the world one new piece of knowledge and one better decision at a time. Thank you for your continued support and readership, and we hope you get something truly valuable from this piece today.
Table of Contents
Key Services from the Best Credit Repair Companies
When deciding between the top credit repair companies on the market, it can be tough to decide which one would be better for your situation, especially if you’re in a unique position that one company might be better for but isn’t available; whether it’s because they don’t offer the service you need, or you can’t afford their services.
Of course, even if you decide to go with a company outside of this review, there are a few considerations that can save time in the decision-making phase and can save you money in the long run.
There are some key factors to look for when selecting the best credit repair company for your needs, and we’ll cover them below with a quick explanation why:
To get the best service, remember to choose a credit repair service who will…
- Request or Offer an Initial Consultation
An initial consultation is beneficial for a few important reasons, especially if it’s provided prior to sign up. If the credit repair service you’re considering requests to have an initial consultation, or even offers the service, that’s the first sign they’re a legitimate company who truly cares about their customers. If this is offered, even if you’ve had an extensive chat with a sales representative, it’s important to accept and schedule a time for the meeting, as you may speak with the person who will directly handle your account. This helps to avoid any crossed wires between the sales representative and the account manager.
On your end, an initial consultation helps you determine whether the company is a good fit for your situation and gives you the ability to clarify some questions you may have about the process or the company.
For the company, it helps them determine the true scope of work and what exactly they’ll need to do to get your credit report cleaned up and your score maximized.
- Retrieve Your Credit Report from the Three Main Credit Bureaus
There are three main credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Some credit repair services don’t retrieve your reports or may only pull it from one bureau. In some cases, they’ll even ask you to provide it for them. If your credit repair company can’t pull your credit reports from all three bureaus, it can be hard to tell if their data is up to date and accurate regarding your case. If they ask you to pull the information for you, there’s a chance that they may try to pin the blame on you later, whether it’s for inaccurate information or lost progress. It’s best to have your credit repair company pull the information. Again, you’ll want to ensure they pull all three of your credit reports, as many creditors only check one or two of these reports when they make a decision about your credit.
In some cases, your credit repair company may not be able to pull the information for legal reasons. If this is the case, ask them to explain the issue to you. It may be for legitimate reasons, whether there’s a block on your account or if it would compromise the information in some way.
No matter what your credit repair service is doing, you should be able to receive answers to your question, no matter how simple the matter may seem. If you have trouble getting answers, it can be a red flag that your company isn’t doing the best they can, or they aren’t telling you the whole story.
- Fix Errors on Your Credit Reports
Once the credit repair service has your files, they can begin fixing the errors on your credit report. This step begins with checking and double-checking the basic information on your reports. It’s important that the company double-checks all your information on each report, from your full name to your current mailing address, date of birth, or even your social security number. Even something as simple as a misspelling in your name – or something as large as a false item on your credit history – can have a negative impact on your credit score or make it more likely for you to accrue false items on your report, which harm your score.
If the company you’ve chosen checks over these issues and ensures everything is accurate, then they’re on the road to a successful campaign. This is something you can expect from one of the best credit repair companies on the market, regardless of their pricing.
In almost all cases of credit repair, the company you’ve hired will have to contact each credit bureau on your behalf to have incorrect information changed or negotiate with the bureau to remove false items. More often than not, negotiating to have false items is a lengthy process, where the bureau has to agree to open an investigation and follow through with it. The investigation digs into past records to find out if the item belongs on the report or if it is indeed false.
This is a normal step in the credit repair process, and it may take some time to have all the issues corrected. This is also the main reason why many companies will give you a lengthy timeline of when you can expect your score to improve.
- Negotiate with Your Lenders to Remove Negative Items
In many cases, your credit repair service may also have to negotiate with your lenders to remove negative items from your account history. Having these items removed can help lower your interest rates on loans, leases, and help you get approved for new loans and cards. Negotiating with lenders can be a tough and lengthy process as well. Many lenders handle customers who are trying to fraudulently remove negative items from their report, so this can occasionally be a little more time consuming than negotiating with the credit bureau. Someone who fraudulently removes credit items will claim they aren’t responsible for items they indeed are responsible for, which means your lenders open investigations on the item and frequently find the individual is responsible for the debt.
Your credit repair service should handle this negotiation for you so you don’t have to. This is a key part of the credit repair process, and on top of boosting your overall credit score, these negotiations with your lenders and creditors can help you achieve lower interest rates, and help you get approved for loans and financing you didn’t qualify for before. Credit repair is an important procedure for anyone who is looking to rent or mortgage a home or lease a vehicle in the foreseeable future. A better credit score can even help you get approved for tuition loans for fully-funded stint back to school for a new degree.
- Improve Your FICO Score
Your FICO credit score is based on the information from each credit bureau and calculates the information they keep on file about you. There are three scores, one for each credit bureau. This score is what helps lenders determine your credit risk, and whether they should extend a loan or credit to you.
In simpler terms, you can consider a FICO score your true credit score. FICO scores range anywhere from 300 to 850 in many cases. An exceptional FICO score is 800+, while a score of 740 to 799 is considered very good.
A score ranging from 670 to 739 is good and represents the median credit range for many individuals. Any score below 670 is considered poor, with the 300 to 500 range being exceptionally bad.
A good credit repair service should also be able to explain what a FICO score is and answer any questions you have about it. At the beginning of the campaign, they should pull this information for the campaign and let you know upon request.
- Find and Take Advantage of Credit Repair Law Loopholes
By finding and taking advantage of any credit repair law loopholes, your credit repair service can have negative items removed from your credit reports with ease. There are lots of ways this can be done well within the legal spectrum. This is where it is especially useful to have a credit repair company with financial or credit lawyers on staff, such as Lexington Law Firm. Not only will they help you find loopholes in the law to help make sure your credit score is raised and negative items are removed from your report, but they will have a better understanding of your situation overall.
Additionally, some credit repair companies may offer an additional service to help teach you how to budget, handle debt, and maintain an overall healthy wallet. This isn’t just a good financial step for your life and wallet, but it’s crucial to your credit repair process to start paying off your debt the right way.
If your credit repair service doesn’t offer this add-on, or you want to learn how to manage your own personal finances, visit our blog on Your Personal Finance Tips.
It’s always important to remember that fast credit repair is a myth; it doesn’t happen overnight, certainly not in just a few weeks. Your credit score is moving at the speed of paperwork. If you’re concerned about the length of a campaign, ask about an estimated timeline before you sign up, or during the initial consultation with your credit repair company of choice.
Lastly, sit back and be patient. Most credit repair campaigns, even for mildly impacted scores, can take upwards of six months or more.
Something that may not be brought up during the sign-up process is that credit repair services will typically switch to a maintenance mode after they’ve done the majority of the work. If you’re looking to cancel your credit repair service, then doing it during the maintenance phase once all negative items have fallen off your report is recommended. Canceling a campaign while the company is in the middle of negotiating with your lenders or credit bureaus can make it hard to regain ground. If they have to resume the campaign months from that point, or if you hire another company to discover what they’ve done and pick up the job, then you could be dealing with regaining traction on the process, tacking on a few months to the restart.
Overview of Lexington Law
How to Sign Up
Signing up with Lexington Law Firm is fairly standard procedure when it comes to the best credit repair companies. You enter information such as your name, email, zip code, address, and phone number. Then, you select the services you’d like to opt into, and lastly agree to their legal terms.
You can sign up by clicking on the button above. They’ll then take you through a client intro through the site, which is a sort of onboarding process to get to know you and walk you through their typical process. If you would prefer to sign up over the phone, you can call their customer support hotline, though it may take a little longer to complete the sign up process over the phone because of how simplified and easy it is from their website.
Services They Are Best Known For
Lexington Law Firm is most commonly known for their credit repair services, which we’ll go into more depth on underneath Pricing Options, but they do also offer identity theft protection services. Identity theft protection services go hand-in-hand with credit repair if you’ve been a victim of identity theft in the past or if you are at risk for identity theft. This is an option not many people think about taking, but the truth is that in 2016 alone, over 41 million Americans had been a victim of identity theft, and many of them will never know because they don’t check their credit reports.
Pricing Options and Service Features
Lexington Law Firm offers straightforward and simply pricing options, helping you customize the level of credit repair services you want. They have three main tiers of services; Concord Standard, Concord Premier, and PremierPlus. Each one of these packages provides a better level of service and can get you to the next level of your credit repair process.
Every good credit repair company has an initializing fee to ensure they don’t lose money on the work they do in the first month. Lexington Law has a rather inexpensive initializing fee of $99.95, and to pull your reports they ask for an extra $10.
Even if pulling your reports is optional, it’s worth an extra $10 to let the company do that for you so you can ensure they get the most up-to-date information possible regarding your account. Negative items may have popped up from the time you requested the last report yourself.
This is the most basic credit repair service package Lexington Law Firm offers. This package offers the “essentials of ethical credit report repair.”
Of course, it can be hard to tell what this means at a glance. The Concord Standard package offers basic credit repair services, such as fixing mistakes and inaccurate information on your credit reports, sending out letters of good faith to your lenders, and looking for legal loopholes that you can potentially use to your advantage. Lexington Law Firm will negotiate with your creditors and credit bureaus on your behalf to ensure your reports are fair and accurate, and even double-check your lenders against the FTC regulations. If your lenders aren’t following the FTC regulations, then Lexington Law Firm can request the negative information be removed from your report entirely.
In most cases, you’ll even have a paralegal assigned to your account in particular to consult about alternative ways to help you raise your credit score and maintain healthy financial practices.
This package is billed at $89.95/mo, which is a very inexpensive price for credit repair services of this quality.
The Concord Premier package is an enhancement of the standard package’s basic credit repair services. Additional services include better ways to address your credit problems, such as credit monitoring services and actionable alerts when your credit reports are updated through each credit bureau. Lexington Law also provides a monthly credit score improvement analysis. As an added bonus, this tier package gives you access to InquiryAssist, which helps you identify which inquiries have been made against your credit reports and which may impact your credit scores. It may also help in removing unauthorized notations made by suspicious inquiries.
This package is the most popular choice for those who need a moderate to high amount of credit repair services done, and helps you continue to have a watchful eye on your credit report even beyond the campaign’s length should you need it. This is especially useful for people who have had a run-in with identity thief, have had suspicious reports or inquiries on their report in the past, or who are simply interested in staying vigilant about their financial future.
This package is billed at $109.95/mo, which is an exceptional price for all the additional services offered.
This package includes the services from the previous two packages. In addition, it also includes credit repair and score coaching services, and the company will even produce and send cease and desist letters to abusive debt collectors to help keep them from negatively impacting your credit reports and history. With this tier, you’ll receive your FICO score (based on TransUnion) each month, and real-time identity fraud alerts. You’ll also have access to identity fraud tools which may help you manage your personal finances.
This package is a good option for those who have been identity theft victims in the past, or who are at a particular risk for identity theft, as it allows you to roll your identity theft protection plan right into your credit repair and monitoring service, all for only a few dollars extra per month. For those who are just interested in the benefits of credit repair services, however, we would suggest sticking with Concord Premier.
This package is billed at $129.95/mo, making it an excellent choice for those seeking identity theft protection services as well.
Customer Service and Reputation
With 26+ years of experience, the credit repair specialists at Lexington Law Firm has helped thousands of clients improve their credit reports. They have dozens of positive reviews from customers all around the country, and in the year 2016 alone, their clients collectively had over 9,000,000 negative items removed from their credit reports. According to AAACreditGuide, they have a whopping 4.7 out of 5 star rating. Lexington Law prides themselves on their customer satisfaction rate and their quality of work, doing their best to ensure every client that comes across their services gets exactly what they pay for and nothing less. Furthermore, if you have any concerns about their services, they offer a free call-in credit report summary and consultation.
Lexington Law’s guarantees may change depending on the service package you ask for, so make sure you read the agreement before you sign the paperwork away. Take the time to understand the agreement and be sure to ask about any questions you may have about the services or terms.
Lexington Law only charges for work it has already completed, so you don’t have to worry about them skimping out on their job. According to federal guidelines, they cannot collect payments in advance for their services, aside from the initializing fee.
Lexington Law Firm offers a Friends and Household discount. This discount can be applied if they sign up within 72 hours of your sign up, and you’ll both receive 50% off your first work fee. Now, this discount may vary by state, so it may be worth calling their customer support line to see if you qualify.
It’s important that you give the process of credit repair time. As we’ve stated time and time again at YourPersonalFinanceTips.com, credit repair takes months to show any results. Your credit reports are moving at the speed of paperwork. That being said, should you feel your credit score has raised sufficiently and you’ve given the campaign ample time to do it’s magic, you may feel like you want to cancel. It’s easy to cancel Lexington Law’s credit repair services; you’re not stuck in a year-long contract like some other industries, but all work is done month-to-month. All you have to do to cancel is call their customer support hotline.
You’ll want to ensure you cancel within two weeks of your next charge date just to give the banks and servers time to process your cancellation. Your card may be charged the following month before discontinuing, as Lexington Law does not charge for their work in advance. For example, if you decide to cancel your credit repair services on the 15th of July, and your next payment is due on the 5th of August, then your card will likely be charged on the 5th of August for July’s work, and then discontinued. That is the nature of credit repair services and should be expected; many people don’t understand this rollover and think it is an additional charge, when in fact credit repair is billed much like a utility bill is.
Overview of Sky Blue
How to Sign Up
With Sky Blue credit repair, you can easily sign up by clicking the button above. They have a few more fields to fill out than the other, but it’s all for the sake of thoroughness. In their online forum, you’ll have to provide some information about yourself such as your full name, address, phone and email address. You will have the option to opt in to a few services and discounts on this page.
The next page is where you’ll fill out your billing information, and the last page is a primer on their services and getting started with Sky Blue. It’s rather straight-forward, but it can be overwhelming to gloss over at first.
If you have any trouble signing up for an account or simply would prefer to do it over the phone, you certainly have that option.
Services They Are Best Known For
Sky Blue is known solely for their credit repair process, and their fast and efficient results. They don’t branch out a great deal, which means they’re able to focus on great credit repair services instead. For a more in-depth look at what they offer with credit repair services, see our Pricing Options and Service Features section below.
Pricing Options and Service Features
The basic credit repair services Sky Blue offers includes a detailed review of your credit report. This review addresses issues that are harming your credit score and personalized tips to help you improve your credit score with Score Assistance. They’ll even go over your report with a pro analysis and identify which items would be best to dispute in the short term. You’ll be able to get an in-depth review of your latest report, as well as ongoing dispute letters and negotiations with the credit bureaus, creditors, and lenders. Sky Blue starts fast and works smart with your credit repair services, disputing more cases per month than many other credit repair companies in the market today.
Need guidance on rebuilding your credit score? After all, they can’t do all the work. They’ll help guide you through the process of successfully opening new credit cards and managing your FICO score balances.
Their pricing option for this service is an incredible $59/mo. If you are signing up with your significant other, married or not, you can both sign up for only $99/mo.
If you need additional credit repair services, they can provide it. Whether you’re in need of debt validation, letters of goodwill, debt settlement or negotiation consultations, just call them up. No additional cost is necessary for these special services, either.
On top of all that, their easy, user-friendly customer portal has all of your account information and tools all in one place on their website. Track the progress of your credit repair service, update any personal or billing information you may need, upload additional documents, communicate with a customer support team, or even pause your membership at will.
Customer Service and Reputation
Sky Blue has offered credit repair services since 1989 and stays in compliance with the CROA. They are licensed and registered with the States Attorney General offices where they are required and hold the appropriate surety bonds for their business type. Sky Blue prides themselves in their dedication to customer support and quality credit repair services.
Sky Blue has an exemplary guarantee that lets you cancel at any time without any further charge or obligation.
Additionally, they also have a 90-day guarantee which means your money will be refunded in full if you’re not satisfied with their services for any reason. This is the only condition-free guarantee in the industry that we have found to date. The guarantee is effective for 90 days from the date you enrolled in their services and cannot exceed what you’ve paid during those first 90 days. This is Sky Blue’s way of standing behind their quality of work and promising they deliver excellent results in such a competitive and tough industry.
Last but not least, Sky Blue offers another incredibly advantage that is hard to pass up: the ability to pause your membership at the click of a button. That’s right – it only takes a few minutes to pause your membership and stop payments. When you’re ready to resume services, it’s just as easy. You can resume through your account portal on their website or with a quick phone call and they’ll pick up where they left off and get your credit repair in progress once again, just like that.
Sky Blue offers a discount for couples when signing up. You don’t have to be married to get the discount; as Sky Blue says, if you live together and pay together, you qualify for the discount. This discount also gives you the option to manage both accounts in one client portal. The discount is $99/mo for two people and saves the two of you about $20/mo to sign up using the couples discount rather than signing up individually. This can be done in the initial sign up process by checking a box and entering in the other individual’s name.
Sky Blue’s cancellation policy is straightforward and simple. You can either call their support hotline or pause your membership in their online customer portal. Whether you choose the quick phone call or a few clicks of a button, you can always resume your service should you need to in the future, however, and they’ll quickly pick up right where they left off. No questions asked, no obligation, just cancellation. You may be billed for the current month just like you would with a utility bill as services are rendered prior to charging your card, but once that has rolled over, you’re in the clear with a fresh new credit score to smile about.
Which One Wins Out?
How to Sign Up
Lexington Law’s sign up process is rather straightforward and can be done easily on their secure online site. Their sign-up forum is rather small and concise, which is helpful if you want simplicity.
Sky Blues’ sign up process is rather straightforward as well, but it can be an overwhelming number of boxes to fill out at first glance. This is to ensure they get thorough and accurate information for your account, however. If you have any trouble, you can sign up over the phone as well.
Lexington Law certainly wins on the sign-up process if you’re looking at simplification. Their sign-up is easy, straightforward, and isn’t overwhelming to look over at first glance. Just make sure your information is correct before submitting the form and you’ll be ready to start up your new credit repair services!
Pricing Options and Service Features
Lexington Law’s pricing options are neatly packaged into three tiers of excellent service. You’ll have a paralegal at your side to consult with whenever you need and all the credit repair services you’d need at one time. Depending on if you have the Concord Standard, Concord Premier, or PremierPlus package, you’ll receive different levels of quality and services all around. At the higher levels, you’ll have the options of credit monitoring and identity theft protection, while the standard package is your everyday credit repair service package.
Lexington Law’s pricing tier is $89.95/$109.95/$129.95 monthly with an initializing fee of $99.95, plus $10 if they pull your reports for you.
Sky Blues’ pricing options are a bit more straightforward than the other, largely because they focus solely on credit repair services. Sky Blue aims to roll everything all into one package, rather than dividing it into several tiers. Their prices are an incredibly inexpensive $59/mo. They offer couples pricing at $99/mo.
Their initializing fee is $59 for the first month ($99 for couples) with no additional fees unless you opt in.
They do offer credit monitoring services for an additional $14.95/mo, which includes 3 credit reports every month, or you can opt in to a one-time purchase of this service for $39.95.
Sky Blue is the clear winner if we base the decision solely on price alone. We have searched far and wide in the credit repair industry and haven’t found a single place that is willing to offer quality credit repair services for such a low price – especially services they’ll stand behind with a money-back guarantee. Of course, they don’t pull the reports for you unless you opt into an additional service, but this is understandable considering their low cost to begin with.
They also encourage couples to join for an exceptionally low rate. Instead of individually signing up for two $59 accounts, a total of $118/mo., couples can sign up together for $99/mo. and save almost $20 each month. It doesn’t sound like a lot on paper, but it sure makes a difference in the bank.
However, if we’re looking at the services rendered for the price, Lexington Law certainly has an air of authority in the field, and that could very well be thanks to the fact that they employ legal strategies more often when dealing with your credit repair. Though they are a little pricier to begin with, their PremierPlus package for $129.95/mo comes with a variety of nifty tools such as issuing cease and desist letters to abusive creditors, InquiryAssist which lets you monitor the inquiries made on your credit repair and report suspicious or potentially damaging activity, as well as identity theft protection and fraud alerts. This is the heavy-hitter, if you need a service that really digs in deep to an extremely bad credit report that has been neglected for years.
Customer Service and Reputation
Lexington Law’s customer service has shown time and time again that they are not only the best value for the money spent but they also truly care about the level and quality of service you receive. Their customer service is primarily handled over the phone, where clients can call and speak to a paralegal assigned to their account, the billing department, or a general phone representative.
Sky Blues’ customer service is handled both over the phone as well as on their website. They have a customer portal on their website where you can handle a lot of your account functions in a few clicks of a button, making it easy for people to take matters into their own hands. This is, however, not exclusive. Their phone support is also reliable, and they stand behind their quality of work with a money-back guarantee.
Lexington Law’s customer service and reputation demands authority and speaks of confidence and capability. They have shown time and time again that they are not only the best choice when it comes to credit repair services, but they offer the full line of credit repair services that you may need no matter how poor (or bad) your credit score really is to begin with. Lexington Law is the heavy-hitter in this category, and we believe they win out for the best “bang for your buck” in the top credit repair companies. Whether your credit score has been neglected for years or just needs some minor repair work, Lexington Law offers credit monitoring and identity theft protection services, and even additional services such as InquiryAssist to their top tier package, which is worth the price for those who are concerned about their financial safety and stability.
Lexington Law’s service features depend on the service tier you sign up for. Their basic package, Concord Standard, is really just the nuts and bolts of credit repair services, which can be good for people who just need a little boost to their credit reports. Their Concord Premier package gives you just that little bit more that a lot of people need in a credit repair campaign, with access to InquiryAssist and credit monitoring services. In addition to this, you’ll receive monthly credit score improvement analysis which can help you determine the direction your credit score is going and how you can help it along.
Their PremierPlus package is where the goodies are at about $130/mo. It includes everything the previous two packages do, as well as a FICO score tracker, personal finance tools inside an easy-to-use personal finance manager, and identity theft protection services. To top it all off, they put their lawyer status to good use, issuing cease and desist letters to abusive creditors and debt collectors.
Sky Blues’ service features are ideal for individual or couples who want a simple credit repair service they can count on to repair minor damage and negotiate with lenders. They only have one “tier” of service which includes the whole credit repair process rolled into one package, so you don’t need any additional nuts and bolts. They do offer an add-on of credit monitoring services, which you can select on a monthly basis for about $15/mo, or a one-time purchase for about $40/mo. This makes credit monitoring easy and flexible.
Lexington Law wins this one thanks to their PremierPlus package. The sheer variety of services you get is unbeatable at $130/mo., especially if you fall into the poor or bad credit bracket or have creditors and debt collectors on your back. Lexington Law Firm leverages their understanding of legal terms and current credit repair laws to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your credit repair service on the market today.
After all, in the modern world, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to use these services to your advantage, and it’s a steal at this price. Whether you’re interested in protecting yourself from the daily risk of identity theft, or if you’re interested in identifying who is requesting your credit reports, potentially saving you from harmful inquiries, Lexington Law has your back. They’ll even send cease and desist letters to abusive creditors and debt collectors, which is a great offer in our book, knowing that hundreds of Americans every day are battered with call after call regarding their debts; sometimes even debts they don’t owe!
Lexington Law’s guarantees are rather vague, but we chalk that up to the fact that they have so many services. More services provided means more ways they are at risk by offering a generalized, across-the-board guarantee. When signing up for Lexington Law, be sure to ask your sales representative about their guarantees for the particular credit repair service you are signing up for.
Sky Blues’ guarantee is unrivaled in the current industry, being the only condition-free guarantee in the industry that we’ve seen so far. It is their way of standing behind their quality of work, and we have to hand it to them – it’s working. Their offer of a 90-day-from-enrollment guarantee to refund all the money you’ve paid in the first 90-days if you’re not satisfied is an incredible offer. Additionally, Sky Blue is one of the only credit repair services we’ve seen who offers the ability to pause your membership with the click of a button. If you’re ready to resume your service, another few clicks of a button and they’ll pick up where the left off.
We think Sky Blue clearly wins on the guarantees they offer up front. The 90-day guarantee with the ability to pause is incredible, and paring that up with their pricing structure, this is a perfect company for someone who may only have one or two things wrong with their credit repair and wants to take care of it before their report gets worse. This is also a good option for those who are looking for straightforward credit repair that doesn’t require any in-depth and intensive work.
That being said, even though the guarantee Lexington Law offers is variable depending on the service tier you purchase and perhaps even the state you live in, they offer some rather good incentives for some people. Give their customer support hotline a call and ask after their guarantees for new customers and see what they offer for your service tier.
Lexington Law has a Friends and Household discount which is 50% off the initial service fee for both you and the referred friend. While the discount is unfortunately not ongoing, but 50% is a large chunk to take off the initializing fee. This discount may vary depending on state regulations, so it may be worthwhile to call up and ask about your particular state before you try to use the discount.
Sky Blue has a Couples discount which is $99/mo for two people ongoing. This is about $20 off monthly compared to signing up individually. This discount also lets you manage the other person’s account in your account portal. As Sky Blue says; if you live together and pay together, you can take advantage of this discount – you don’t have to be married.
Lexington Law certainly has the advantage on this one, so long as you live in a state that accepts the discount. Checking the eligibility may require a quick call to their customer support line, but once you have that out of the way and both of you are eligible, you’ll be able to get 50% off.
Sky Blue is a tough runner-up in this one, we have to admit. An ongoing $20 extra in your bank account at the end of the day after paying both of your credit repair bills is tough to let go for couples who need simple and straightforward credit repair services without the additional monitoring or fraud alert services. While Sky Blue does offer an opt-in for these services, they are not necessary.
Lexington Law’s cancellation policy is straightforward and easy to handle. You can cancel with a quick phone call to their customer support hotline.
Sky Blues’ cancellation policy is also straightforward and easy to handle. You can cancel with a quick phone call or through their customer portal online. They offer the ability to easily pause and resume your account’s services as well.
Neither of these take any real time to accomplish, and they’re both fairly standard procedure so it’s hard to say one is a winner over the other. These cancellation policies apply to the following month, so you will likely be charged for the current month before the cancellation goes into effect, just like you would with a utility bill.
Who We Think Wins
We’ve taken the time to review the top credit repair companies on the market today, and outlined an in-depth look at their services, prices, customer service, guarantees, cancellation policies, and more.
After all of this, we feel it’s important to outline who has come out on top, as each company has their own advantages in the industry. We’ve compared the stats, looked at each of the services individually, detailed out policies and plans, and the authors behind Your Personal Finance Tips have come to a decision.
Lexington Law Firm
We feel that Lexington Law Firm has come out on top to be the best credit repair company in the market today, thanks to a myriad of reasons after researching and outlining their services and the experience we have with their company.
Lexington Law Firm offers a variety of services ranging from a simple nuts-and-bolts credit repair service that many people with mildly damaged credit can opt into with confidence. They then offer a middle-tier which is perfect for individuals with credit that doesn’t need an incredibly in-depth repair process but will still take some time to see results.
They also offer an incredible top-tier package for just a few dollars more per month, which can help you get to the bottom of your credit score problems, rid yourself of bad credit woes, and alert you to suspicious activity in your credit report, updates to any changes in your credit reports, see who exactly is inquiring after your reports and protecting yourself from the risks of identity theft. This top package, PremierPlus, is excellent for individuals who may have neglected their credit for years and in time can help provide a way out for bottomed-out credit score holders.
Finally, we are a fan of Lexington Law’s ability to leverage their position as lawyers to understand the law, seek out loopholes you can use to your advantage, and send cease and desist letters to creditors and debt collectors. This is a unique advantage in the world of credit repair services, and one not many people can afford to pass up. The better credit repair services you have on your side today, the better your credit score tomorrow. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rates and higher your approval rates are.
If you want to live a better, more financially stable life, we firmly believe that Lexington Law is the winner for any individual with even a slightly diminished score.
Credit Repair Services You Can Expect
What you can expect from the credit repair service you hire can vary depending on what your credit history, score, and report looks like. Every individual has an individual credit score and credit situation, and while the company may have experience in parts of it separately, it’s always a new and unique case. To top it all off, you have three different credit reports the company will have to compare and double-check for accuracy in the beginning and maintain alerts on any new items that appear on the reports during the campaign.
If you’re hiring one of the best credit repair companies on the market, such as the ones we’ve outlined above, you can expect an initial consultation and updates as the campaign progresses. This is included with the featured services with the package you’ve purchased.
Many times, the company you choose to hire will also offer personal finance consultations for a fee. This isn’t typically necessary unless you have debt that was caused by poor spending practices, or if you just want to get a better hold on your finances. This service may only be available under special requests. This is, however, a crucial part of credit repair, as paying off your debts in combination with many of the practices by the credit repair company is a surefire way to see progress in your credit score.
We’ve outlined some of the things that the best credit repair companies in the industry offer so you know exactly what you should be getting up front. No runaround, no fluff, just straight facts.
Should you go with a different company, however, it’s important to also know what to expect or ask for in your basic credit repair services. While you’ve read about the typical services credit repair company may offer, here are the services you can expect from some of the absolute top companies in the market:
A Well-Thought Out Plan of Action
Any credit repair company you hire should at least provide an initial consultation to assess the scope of work on their end. This helps them understand what your situation is, understand any concerns you may have, and put together a plan of action for the campaign ahead. This includes a timeline, a description of services they’ll have to render, and any additional services you’ve requested.
This campaign plan should be discussed with you prior to their start on any work. This plan may also come in a variety of names, unique to the company. Whether it’s a campaign goal, scope of work, strategy, or anything else, it’s important that the company you’re working with is clear about what they plan to do and how they will handle your credit score. After all, your financial future, at least in the short-term, is in their hands. You’d want their goals to be well-thought and organized, wouldn’t you?
Credit Bureau Negotiations
The credit repair service you choose should always be willing to negotiate with your credit bureau should they need to. This may range from sending credit dispute letters to calling the bureau regularly to initiate investigations into faulty items and keeping up with progress to ensure it happens quickly. Your credit repair service is moving at the speed of paperwork, and it’s up to the credit repair company you hire to push that process along. This is something you should be able to expect from any company, no matter how big or small their name in the industry is.
Credit Lender Negotiations
Your credit repair service should also perform credit lender negotiations. This may help lower your interest rates and raise your approval rates, so you have a better chance at paying off debt, getting approved for loans, mortgages, credit cards, and more. Many credit lenders see it as a good mark to hire a credit repair company, because it means you care about what your credit score says about you. On top of that, in many cases, hiring a reputable and well-known brand will hurry the lenders along, as they are more confident that the claims of false items in your account history are legitimate, rather than an individual trying to shirk responsibility of debts they really do owe.
Openness to Contact Your Original Creditors and Collection Agencies
It may take more than the credit bureaus to get rid of negative items on your report, no matter how hurried along they are to open an investigation. Only the best credit repair companies include this service when its necessary. Contacting your original creditors and collection agencies is an important step in debt repair, which helps your improve your credit history and show that you’ve made an effort to get current on all outstanding debts and dues. The credit repair service included should handle the negotiations between your original creditors and collection agencies for you, so you don’t have to lift a finger. The most you’ll have to intervene is confirming some information with your credit repair company.
Credit Maintenance and Alerts Services
This type of service is useful if you just want to keep an eye on your credit reports or ensuring that your previously repaired credit score doesn’t lose traction over time. Regardless of how spotless your credit history is, credit bureaus have millions of data points entering their system on a daily basis, and some of that information can get misplaced. Ultimately, that means your credit reports can have false negative items appear unexpectedly, dragging your credit score down.
Many credit repair companies offer maintenance and alerts services. This service acts similar to identity theft protection, but for your credit reports. This means you’ll be alerted to any suspicious activity that appears on your credit report, and if the item is false, you can hire your credit repair company to dispute the item or dispute the item yourself.
Many people don’t think these services are worthwhile, but if you haven’t made a purchase that led to the item or debt on your report, you may never know about it.
This kind of mishap can also happen even if you’ve never checked your credit reports or have had any credit history at all in the past. The latter is common for students who haven’t acquired any bills or credit cards yet, however, debts still show up on their reports. There may even be false items on it right now, which hurts your ability to get loans, lower interest rates, and approval for certain services and credit cards, mortgages, automotive loans; the list goes on.
The credit bureau isn’t required to notify you about changes to your credit reports, which means the wrong information can get funneled to your report. Creditors can’t tell the difference between true debt and a false item, they just look at the overall scoring. In many cases, approvals are even made by an automated system. This means the banker telling you your mortgage loan has been declined may not have ever touched your credit report, even though it impacts your score – and thus approval rate – so greatly.
It doesn’t just happen with data being funneled the wrong way, however, but it could be something as simple as mistaken information, such as a wrong address, or the spelling of your name. These seemingly small details can lead to more false items falling into your report and damaging your credit score and history over time.
The bottom line is, it may seem trivial, but credit maintenance services are important if you’re repairing your credit. If you’re happy with your credit score as it stands, you’ll want to sign up for a monitoring service to ensure no negative items pop up over time.
Many of the top credit repair companies will offer these services, and they may even come in handy if you don’t need credit repair services but simply want to make sure your credit doesn’t become damaged in the first place. If you’re dealing with the top credit repair companies in the market, then you can expect them to monitor your reports across all three credit bureaus and verify that your information is correct. If false items appear on any of your reports, they’ll notify you immediately and dispute the item, so you can have peace of mind knowing your credit score is the best it can be. Don’t leave it up to chance; this is your financial health we’re talking about here.
It’s always important to keep in mind a few tips when working with these companies:
Remember, no matter how good your company is; no matter if you hire one of the best credit repair companies in the market, your cooperation can make or break the engagement. This doesn’t just mean being polite while speaking with the company on the phone, however. Your cooperation stretches to outstanding debts and future payments as well. Staying up to date on all your payments, debts, and genuinely trying to have good personal finance or spending habits is something that only you can do.
If you hire a credit repair service, there’s only so much negotiations will do. It’s true that credit repair doesn’t happen overnight, but you can help boost your score and further the efforts of your credit repair service by practicing good spending and budgeting habits. If you feel this is too much of an obstacle, you can always speak with a personal finance advisor. Many reputable credit repair companies will have a financial advisor on staff, available for you to speak with on an hourly rate.
Of course, not all of us want to go so far as to hire a personal finance advisor or have the money on hand to do so without furthering our debts. If this sounds like the situation you’re in, there’s no reason to worry. You can learn about personal finance health on your own through the other articles seen on Your Personal Finance Tips. We are dedicated to helping our readers learn more about healthy spending practices, budgeting, personal finance, and credit repair services. We even cover identity theft protection thanks to the popular demand from our readers.
Visit us at YourPersonalFinanceTips.com and start your new financial life today.
Some Say Credit Repair…Some Say Credit Restoration. What’s the Difference?
In our everyday blog, we get questions from our readers. One of the questions we get quite commonly we felt would be useful to include in this review.
A lot of readers are confused about the difference between credit restoration and credit repair services. They seem so similar when spoken that many people intermingle the phrase, without a care to which means what. This is easy because the context of what’s being said clues you into what they’re referring to rather easily, and no one really provides you with a terminology rulebook when you first start learning about finance.
In the opinion of Your Personal Finance Tips, there’s not a significant enough difference between the two terms, and we see too many people get caught up in this detail when there is so much more to learn about your financial health.
While that may be true, many people still like to think about credit repair and credit restoration as two separate things, and so we felt the need to explore the differences and hopefully bring some light to the question.
Credit repair is often used to refer to fixing your credit with the help of a company. Whether you’re hiring a company or simply looking for the options available to you, you’ll be dealing with credit repair services.
If you’re in the market for credit repair services now and you have your eye on a few companies, it’s important to remember: the service you choose should always be courteous, legitimate, and do the work right the first time so you don’t have to hire remedial services down the line.
Credit restoration is commonly thought of as something you do on your own, without the help of a company. In this case, you’d be researching how to restore your credit, and credit restoration tips. However, if you were to search for credit repair tips, you would be able to find very similar information on the internet from personal finance websites.
If you’re taking on credit restoration work yourself, it’s important to remember to do to the research you need to ahead of time. Outline your basic game-plan, and you can avoid a lot of wasted time several months into the self-driven campaign.
Let’s face it; it can be tempting to go with the cheapest option available. This is especially true if finances are tight. If you’re worried about paying off your debts in addition to a new bill from the credit repair agency, it can feel like it’s a lose-lose situation. Fortunately, this isn’t the case if the company you hire is worth their salt. Chances are, you’re trying to get a credit repair service to work its magic so you can refinance your home or qualify for a loan you need. Perhaps its to lower the interest rates on your credit cards or debt payments.
Whatever the reason, weighing your options is the most important thing you can do. Jumping right into a new payment without researching the company or their services is a dangerous habit to have. Haven’t you been learning about personal finance and credit repair?
Don’t just choose the cheapest option available just because it’s inexpensive. It may save money upfront, but you’re risking a lot of headache and lost money in the long run with a company who may not be legitimate. Likewise, don’t choose the most expensive company with the belief that it will be better. It’s one thing to look the part, and another to be able to back it up.
Rather than looking at cost, determine the budget you have on a monthly basis, including a startup fee, and look at the services each credit repair company provides.
Always examine your personal credit situation and decide on the services you will need in order to have a better standing with creditors, lenders, and bureaus. You can use the guide we provided above on Credit Repair Services You Can Expect to help tailor a list to what you feel is necessary. Write it down. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to find a legitimate company who fits those needs.
Whether you choose one of the top credit repair companies in the market today, or a no-name brand who stands behind their quality of work, the important thing is that it fits your individual needs. Credit repair services aren’t one-size-fits-all despite what the advertisements might say.
Of course, with your budget being a secondary consideration, it sounds counterintuitive, but once you’ve found several credit repair companies who suit your needs, you can then narrow them down based on budget. This is going to take some time to research, call, and speak with sales representatives from each company. Set aside some time to prepare questions you might have about each company as well; you never know, you may think of something on the spot and that could be the question that makes or breaks your interest in the company. Regardless, you may be surprised to find out that the less expensive options suit your needs better than the high-price leader in the market.
In this review, we haven’t covered the most expensive in the industry, but instead, we’ve taken who we think has the most versatile services with flexible pricing, and who we believe has the work ethic to get the job done right the first time around. No more hiring a company in the future to take care of remedial work or clean up after the first company. You shouldn’t have to think about your credit score that much after you’ve had a successful campaign. Set up a monitoring service and the process is rather hands-free.
How to Tell When You Need a Credit Repair Service on Your Side
We have come to understand that they are on the fence about if they need a credit repair service on their side, or if they can accomplish the feat on their own through credit restoration. Some of our readers aren’t even sure if they need credit repair at all. After all, shouldn’t it be obvious if your credit is damaged?
Well, not always.
We understand this doubt – that is unfortunately part of personal finance. Not many people have a rulebook to the right budget, best credit repair service, financial planning, or how to handle certain budgetary situations.
Handling your own finances is a lot like parenting: you can read every book in the store on the subject, but when you need to recall the information, it can be hard to remember and you can feel lost. Sometimes, you may not recognize the situation at all, or other times, you may encounter a situation you have no idea how to handle.
Part of the reason why we began Your Personal Finance Tips is to help everyday people recognize these situations and help prepare them for every situation we can. One of those situations happens to be recognizing the need for a reputable credit repair service. Even one missed payment or a few dollars of unpaid debt can harm your credit score and drive interest rates through the roof, harm your ability to get a car or a mortgage, and sometimes even hurt your ability to get a job.
Sometimes it’s better for your wallet and credit score to just send off that one dispute letter to the credit bureaus and call it a day, and then other times it’s easier to hire a company to handle everything so you don’t have to – especially if your credit score has been neglected for years.
If you’re thinking about sending off a few letters and calling it a job well done, here are some signs that may not be the case, and when you should consider hiring one of the top credit repair companies we’ve outlined in our in-depth comparison review above.
You’ve Been Denied for a Credit Card
Have you recently applied for a new credit card and received a letter back stating you’ve been denied? You may need a credit repair service to spruce up your report a bit.
Some credit cards are denied if you have no credit history whatsoever, which can be problematic to students or those who haven’t signed leases or bills. If you have utility bills in your name, have rented an apartment, leased something, paid on your tuition, or are otherwise expected to pay a debt you owe, then you should have some kind of credit history. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s a good history, and you may have false negative items dragging down your credit score from the start.
If you’ve been denied for a credit card, the company who you applied through is required to send you an adverse action notice and inform you that your credit card application had been denied. It many cases, they are also required to notify you of why it was denied. If your credit card application was denied because of the items in your credit report, then you may be entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus for review. Reviewing these credit reports is an important first step in credit repair, and you should check to make sure all of your information is correct across all three reports. If you find false negative items on your report, either dispute it with the bureau so they can open an investigation or start looking at credit repair services.
Your Utilities Are in Someone Else’s Name
Utility services use credit checks to determine whether or not to extend their services to you. In many cases, if you have no credit history or a bad credit score, they’ll require an advance payment on the services rendered or equipment rented. For example, your internet provider may require a down payment to help insure the rental of your router, or your electricity provider may require a down payment prior to providing access to the service.
If your utility company can’t establish the service in your name, then it’s a good sign you need to seek out credit repair services immediately, double-checking your reports to learn more about what negative items or inaccurate information is hurting your credit score.
If your credit report is in good condition and you’ve verified all of the information across all three bureaus and you are still receiving your bills for the wrong name, contact your utility service for more information on why this is happening, as this may be a hazard for your credit reports in the future if the issue is not corrected.
You’re Receiving Calls from Debt Collectors
Hundreds of Americans get calls from debt collectors every single day. If you’ve started receiving these calls, it means your creditors have finally given up trying to get you to pay your bills and have now hired a third party to help them collect the debt. This generates a collection notice, which is then placed on your credit report and will harm your score. The more you receive, the more it drags your credit score down.
Part of credit repair services, whether your hire one of the best credit repair companies around or if you’re learning how to handle credit restoration on your own, is repaying the debts you owe so these items can fall off your reports over time.
It’s important to understand that credit repair takes time, and if you have lapsed on payments long enough to have debt collectors call you, it may take even more time to get your credit score back to where it was prior to the debt. Credit repair companies cannot legally remove true items from your report even if it’s negatively affecting your report, however, they can minimize the damage and help prevent any mistakes and further negative items.
If there are collection items on your credit report for debts that don’t belong to you, then it’s important to immediately dispute them with your credit bureau or hire a credit repair service as this false debt can misrepresent you to creditors and drastically effect your credit score.
You Have A Hard Time Renting
Especially in larger cities and apartment complexes or communities, landlords can perform a credit check on you to ensure you’re able to pay their rent and any other dues in a timely manner. Credit checks like these help the landlord determine the amount of risk they are taking on when housing you and anyone else on your lease.
If you’ve been missed rent payments in the past or have outstanding or past debt of any kind, this new landlord may be hesitant to rent to you, or your application may be flatly rejected. Keeping in mind that what many people see isn’t your report but your overall score pulled from one or more of the main credit bureaus, it can be hard to rent an apartment relying on sheer charisma alone, which is what many people try to do when their credit score is in jeopardy.
Of course, if you’re in good standing with your debts and you don’t owe a dime to anyone, it can be a big red flag when your apartment application is denied due to your credit score. If your score is in the dumps and you have relatively good personal finance and budgetary habits, are in good standing with your past debts and you haven’t missed many payments, then you should immediately seek out a credit repair company to help you figure out what’s going on underneath all those numbers.
If you want a better chance at getting past the credit check stage in your apartment application, you should start seeking the best credit repair services out. A credit repair company will help your past debt fall off and ensure everything on your report is accurate and you don’t have any false items hanging on. You’ll have to give the company a few months before you try to apply to a new apartment, for a mortgage, or automotive loan to see the best results. During your initial consultation, you can even tell them your credit goals so they have a direction and can further the campaign towards that goal.
You Can’t Get Approved for Loans
At some point in our lives, we all need a loan for something. Whether you’re trying to get an automotive loan, mortgage loan, or tuition loan, you’re going to have to rely on your credit score to help you get the best deal with the highest allowance and lowest interest rate. But, when you’re sitting in the meeting with your lender and they give you the news that they’re having a hard time finding a loan option that would work for you, then it may be time to start considering credit repair services. A credit repair company can help you find the right loans with the right lenders for your needs, and they can even start negotiations with your lenders during the ongoing credit repair service to put in a good word and help you get approval for the loan you need sooner.
Especially when it comes to major, life-altering loans such as a mortgage loan or an automotive loan, it can be incrementally harder to get approved for the loan the worse your credit score is. If you have a bad credit history and poor score due to past debts you owe, if can be a tough process to get back on track, but it’ll be worth it in the end, especially with the hassle-free services of a credit repair company at your side.
On the other hand, if you’ve simply accrued enough false negative items on your report that your credit score is suffering and you don’t own any of the debts listed, it can be tough to process the surprise and gather your bearings again, rearranging plans for that house or car you were in the market for. A trustworthy credit repair company, once again, is a valuable asset to have by your side in this tough time. Luckily, these false negative items will be far easier to remove than outstanding debts you truly do owe, which means you can expect to be back in the market in just a few months, depending on how poorly these items have affected your credit score.
Your Interest Rates Keep Going Up
Great job! You’ve been approved for the loan or credit card you applied for. Perhaps you’ve even had the loan or card for months or years already, but your interest raise keep climbing.
What’s the big deal?
If a creditor or lender has approved your application and then your credit score begins to plummet, they may not be able to close your account within that timeframe, or they may not feel it’s necessary to close your account until you begin missing payments, so they raise your interest rates instead.
Raising your interest rates is not an act of t heft, unlike what it may feel like every time the bill comes in. Interest rates are an integral part of creditors’ and lenders’ businesses. The percentage of what you pay in interest not only keeps their business running but also helps protect them from loss.
In many cases, if you’ve been approved and you begin defaulting on your payments, you account may be closed temporarily. If you don’t get your account back up to current within an allotted timeframe, you can accrue late fees. In a last ditch effort to collect the payment and recover losses if your account continues to default, after a certain timeframe has elapsed, your creditor or lender may send these debts to collection agencies. The interest you had paid up to that point is often used to pay the collection agency so the lender can minimize their losses.
As a rule of thumb, the higher risk your credit score poses to the creditor, the higher your interest rates will climb. If you’ve noticed an increase in your interest rates recently, then you may want to contact your lender to discover exactly why these rates have increased. If it is due to your credit score dropping, then it may be time to seek out a trustworthy credit repair service and give your reports a clean bill of health.
You’re Afraid to Check Your Report
It can be hard to check your credit report sometimes, especially if you already know you have debts you’ve defaulted on in the past. The excuses can take on a number of different forms, whether they are valid excuses or not.
You don’t have the time.
You don’t want to know.
You have other problems to deal with right now.
You can’t afford to bring your debts to current.
You have more important things to consider.
Whatever excuse you have, all it does is provide a false sense of security. As people, we tend to want to believe that whatever we don’t know can’t hurt us. Unfortunately, that’s not true. If your lender tells you your loan wasn’t approved, they won’t be able to make an exception just because you have an irrelevant debt that you missed a payment on once. What your lender will care about is the automatically generated credit score that comes up when they inquire after your reports. The credit bureau references the data within those reports and spits out a number for the lender in many cases, and your lender may never actually see the report history itself.
Even if you know you have outstanding debts or collections and you know your credit score is in the dumps, it’s still important to check your reports and minimize any damage that has been done, removing false items, and ensuring the accuracy of all information.
With any luck, your credit score may not be as dismal as you’re afraid it is, but the only way to verify and minimize the damage is to check your credit report in the first place. You never know; if you pursue credit repair services, there may be a loophole that can drastically improve your credit score and help you work your way back up to higher approval ratings.
When you’re researching credit repair companies, the biggest question many people find themselves asking is: “Is this credit repair company good, or is it a scam? How do I know it will fit my situation?”
You have a right to be cautious. The credit repair industry is unfortunately known for the fly-by-night companies on the internet that prey on people who don’t know any better, the same way that “foreign prince” has chosen you out of the other 8 billion people on the planet to entrust his fortune to if you only help him see his long-lost brother.
At Your Personal Finance Tips, we see this issue rear its head time and time again, with readers asking us about common red flags many companies have, and how you can identify a legitimate credit repair company, even if they talk about all the “services they provide” and know the lingo.
If you know what to watch out for, you can avoid sinking your hard-earned money and potentially your identity into a scam, however. We’ve put together a list that can help you identify these red flags and find legitimate credit repair companies who truly care about your credit score.
- Abides by the Law
Any credit repair company that is in business has a set of laws and guidelines they must follow. Whether it’s the best credit repair companies in the market to your uncle Joe’s startup business, each credit repair business must abide by these laws.
This set of laws and guidelines are enacted and regulated by the Credit Repair Organization Act, or CROA. Companies who follow these laws can typically be trusted, at least passing the question of whether they are a legitimate company or not. Of course, to determine whether or not they are dedicated to their work, are willing to stand behind the quality of their results and if they truly care about the difference they are making in the world – that is a little more individualized and something you will have to determine in your initial consultation or phone call with the company.
However, there are other ways you can help ensure the company you’re working with provides high quality services, because even legitimate companies can have shady practices.
- Upfront Fees
Credit repair companies are not allowed to charge money in advance for the services they provide. These companies are only allowed to charge your account for services in the previous billing period, after the work has been completed. On your end, this means you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. This can be a surprise if you begin thinking about the monthly payment as an advance payment (an April payment for services rendered in April, rather than in March, which is how credit repair companies are required to bill their services.) In this sense, credit repair is a lot like a utility bill, which also means if you cancel the service, you may be charged a final time for the current month on the next billing date, and work will not stop until that final billing date.
The only exception to this regulation is initializing fees.
In almost all cases, at least in the companies we’ve researched on this site, credit repair companies charge an initializing fee to cover their initial costs and reduce their risk of non-payment. This is a one-time fee at the beginning of your campaign, however, and it is typically a reasonable amount coinciding with the monthly charge. This prevents the company from having to dig into their own pockets to start services, which would cap their ability to take on new clients.
There are never any guarantees in credit repair services, at least when it pertains to results. When you’re dealing with third-party agencies such as credit bureaus or credit lenders, there’s no guarantee that negotiations will be successful or the campaign will align with the original timeframe. This is an unfortunate truth, but even if both parties are cooperative, your credit score is moving at the pace of paperwork and any setbacks, no matter how small, can set that initial timeframe back months.
If a credit repair service offers a guaranteed credit score increase or guaranteed results of any kind, it should raise some red flags about the legitimacy of their business.
Keep in mind, if they’ve already researched your personal reports and have a game plan they believe will work, it’s reasonable for the company to be confident in their approach and about the results they may see. A flat guarantee before they’ve spoken to you or know what your credit history and reports look like, on the other hand, is something that you want to be wary of.
Some credit repair companies will offer money-back guarantees up to a certain point. This kind of guarantee is a sign that the company truly believes in their services and is willing to stand behind their quality of work. This risks financial losses on their end if their work is not up to par, so the degree to what their money-back guarantee promises depends on the company and the service chosen.
- Easy Cancellation
The laws put into place and regulated by CROA requires that every credit repair service is easy to cancel. You may notice that many of the companies we review offer a month-to-month payment plan, not a contract or campaign term.
Without the ability to charge in advance, a monthly payment plan is simply the best option for many companies to offer. This also makes it incredibly easy and inexpensive to cancel or pause your service through an online account portal or by calling their customer service line.
If your service is not easy to cancel, the company may be in violation of CROA regulations. This option may be a small consideration, especially when compared to other factors such as service features, customer support, or their reputation. Even if you don’t plan on cancelling your service, it is an important consideration to make, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- General Reputation
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pursues, fines, and prosecutes any credit repair agencies who do not abide by the laws and regulations set for by CROA or any other regulatory agency. If the company you’re considering hiring has been in practice for years without being investigated or fined by this bureau, changes are, they are practicing lawfully and you can trust your money with their credit repair services.
Of course, always do you own research into the matter and never take a single source’s information as the truth. Information may be outdated, misunderstood, or mistaken for a particular circumstance. There are many independent agencies that help review the credit repair companies, such as the Better Business Bureau or Your Personal Finance Tips. These sites can help you make a decision from a bird’s eye view or direct your research to a new path.
Time and time again, when we suggest or review credit repair companies, we receive feedback from our readers. Most of the time, this feedback doesn’t include questions about the companies themselves, but instead about the concept of credit repair companies. One of the most common questions we tackle is “do credit repair companies really work?”
So many Americans are left with outstanding debt that their credit score is down in the dumps and remains there for years, without ever seeing the light of day. Perhaps for this reason or another, not a lot of people believe they can be helped. Likewise, not many people believe they can even repair their credit scores to begin with. Other times, we receive feedback from readers who are surprised to find that credit repair services even exist, and they’re eager to learn more. Such a service is an incredible chance for them to finally achieve a healthy financial standing again and pursue that good ol’ American dream.
Another common belief we hear from the readers who see our reviews and posts about credit repair services is complaints that credit repair companies don’t really do anything. Unfortunately for many Americans today, there are a lot of fly-by-night companies in business who are looking to make a quick buck and shut down. These companies are the ones who get all the media attention and make everyday people believe the only way to effectively do credit repair is to attempt the process on their own. It seems like the only effective way to effect any real change is to take the matter into your own hands; and if this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, that isn’t true. You don’t have to tackle the process by yourself. You can take that lunch break for lunch again, instead of research, and you can get to bed on time or spend quality time with your partner again.
There’s no need to stress and worry about the next dispute letter you have to send out, or the status of negotiating with your lenders. There are many legitimate companies who truly want to help you repair your credit and care about your financial future with the belief they are making a real difference in the world around them. For some, credit repair services isn’t simply a job but a passion, just like someone can find joy in building computers or growing a garden.
That’s why we started reviewing the top credit repair companies in the first place. Similarly, the authors of Your Personal Finance Tips began this website to pursue our passions and make a difference in the world around us. There were so many people trying to find the right services for them or who were feeling overwhelmed with the process and just couldn’t bring themselves to get out of debt and repair their credit. Often, the topic was too overwhelming to dive into, and they would spend more time researching the jargon or industry terminology than they would actually finding the answers they wanted.
Our goal is to put an end to that and make the process much more streamlined, easy-to-approach, and friendly to beginners.
Having dealt with many personal finance and credit repair issues in the past, we’ve taken on the challenge of picking out the best credit repair companies in the market today, helping you separate the scams from the legitimate, good companies that exist out there.
In the end, credit repair companies really do work. Once you know how to pick out the legitimate companies and which ones to avoid, the biggest challenge becomes finding the right company to suit your needs, budget, and situation.
At YourPersonalFinanceTips.com, we host a number of articles and tips to help people who want to do credit repair on their own – or credit restoration, if you prefer to call it that. If you need help learn more about financial health, we have your back. We cover a broad range of subjects, such as identity theft, personal finance tips, debt consolidation, loans, credit cards, and other reviews.
We are dedicated to helping you live your life in the most financially responsible way by education. This is important to understand, because the authors aren’t going to fix your problems for you, and unless your hire a company, no one else will either. Your financial future rests solely in your own hands, and it’s up to you to give it a chance.
Of course, we all know that credit repair can be accomplished on your own. It takes a lot of sweat and consistent, hard work, but it can be done. Sometimes we need a little help, though. Whether we can’t manage the scale of the campaign on our own, or we don’t have the time or energy left in the day to keep up with the latest dispute letter sent in or updates to current negotiations… No matter the reason, it’s okay.
That’s why we’ve taken the time today to try and answer some of the most popular questions our readers ask and to review some of the top credit repair companies in the industry and how they truly stand up to the task. We’ve reviewed the top credit repair companies in the market in an attempt to give you the advantage when it comes to selecting t he right company for your situation, no matter how unique or complex it may be. By educating you on what to look for, what red flags to avoid, and how to compare companies to each other, we are helping you make the right decisions for your financial future.
Always remember to do you own research. Never rely on a single outside source. The only person who knows your situation and can judge if a company is the right fit for you is, you guessed it; you. Don’t just blindly trust our opinion, or a reviewer’s opinion, or even the BBB’s opinion, but take them into consideration, make your own judgements, and trust your own opinion.
Everyone’s situation is a little different, and no credit repair company can truly be a one-size-fits-all, no matter how hard they try. They can, however, offer advice, service variety, and customization options so you can determine the services you would benefit from.
From the authors at YourPersonalFinanceTips.com, we thank you for taking the time to read our review, even if you only read the parts that were relevant to you and your situation. We hope you came away from this material with valuable information and confidence in your own decisions. May your future be filled with financial stability and a better credit score.
If you enjoy the topic of personal finance and want to learn more, whether it’s about budgeting, credit repair, investing, or identity theft protection, visit our website, YourPersonalFinanceTips.com, for new articles that will interest you and help you understand the field a little bit better with each new paragraph.