Credit Repair Companies: Is it Worth Paying Someone to Fix Your Credit?

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The term “credit repair” is highly debated, but most agree it refers to fixing credit report errors with the intention of improving your credit score. Credit repair companies offer assistance in disputing these inaccurate negative marks, but at the end of the day, it’s something you can do yourself for free.

Should I pay someone to fix my credit?

Credit repair companies are only worth your time if you have credit reports full of inaccurate information. About five percent of consumers have errors on their credit reports, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A credit repair company can’t remove a negative mark just because you want to get rid of it, and they can’t arbitrarily improve your credit score just because you paid them. Credit repair companies offer to send dispute letters on your behalf to the credit bureaus in an attempt to remove inaccuracies and improve your credit score.

To see if a credit repair company is worth your time, check if your credit reports have inaccurate information, such as late payments that shouldn’t be there, accounts that aren’t in your name, inaccurate account statuses and more. If you don’t see any errors, you don’t need a credit repair service. Instead, you might need a credit-building card that could help you build your credit over time.

How much do credit repair companies cost?

The average cost for a credit repair company is about $87 per month based on the starting monthly price of a dozen credit repair companies I’ve compared. Most credit repair companies charge a monthly fee and a “first work fee.” The first work fee is usually the same amount as your expected monthly fee. Some companies may also offer identity theft insurance and credit monitoring services.

Big names in credit repair include Lexington Law, Credit Firm, Credit Saint, The Credit People, Credit Veriso and Safeport Law. The most affordable is Credit Veriso, starting at $24.95 per month, and on the other end is Safeport Law, starting at $129 per month.

Know your rights with credit repair

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs your access to your credit reports and gives you the right to dispute inaccurate marks on your credit report. You don’t need to pay a credit repair company to dispute inaccurate marks on your credit reports or pay anyone to request copies of your credit reports. Federal law dictates that you’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports once every 12 months, and the credit bureaus have permanently extended a program that allows for free weekly reports, as reported by the FTC.

Know your rights before you hire a credit repair company:

  • Credit repair companies can’t guarantee that they’ll improve your credit score.
  • Checking your credit reports won’t harm your credit score.
  • You can request free weekly copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • You have the right to dispute credit history errors yourself at no cost, protected by the FCRA.
  • It’s illegal for a company to charge you for credit repair services unless it’s been six months since the company achieved the results it promised, according to the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
  • You’re legally allowed to cancel a contract with a credit repair company within three business days after signing a contract for any reason, as protected under the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

What’s the fastest way to improve your credit?

The easiest way to improve your credit score is to wait for the negative marks to fall off. Most negative marks naturally fall off your credit reports after seven years. But if you don’t want to wait it out, there are many credit-building methods to consider in the meantime.

  • Dispute errors on your own. You can directly contact a credit bureau to report inaccurate marks. You can send disputes online or through mail. Providing proof that the reporting action is inaccurate can increase the chances of getting that error removed.
  • Rent reporting services. Experian Boost, Self and Boom Pay are rent-reporting services that add rent and utility payments to your credit reports to add your credit history.
  • Credit-building loans. Typically offered by fintechs and small banks, credit-building loans are small installment loans that report monthly payments to the credit bureaus. Once the loan is over, you also get most or all of your funds back.
  • Secured credit cards. Either backed by a cash deposit or a bank account, secured credit cards work like traditional credit cards and, with good management, can boost your credit score. There are also debit-credit cards that don’t charge APR and don’t require a cash deposit.

Not everyone benefits from a credit repair company

Credit repair companies offer to dispute and help remove inaccurate information from your credit reports. But if you don’t have any inaccurate marks, they won’t be able to help much at all. You can also dispute incorrect reports entirely on your own, and all three major credit bureaus let you start the process online.

Sources:

“In FTC Study, Five Percent of Consumers Had Errors on Their Credit Reports That Could Result in Less Favorable Terms for Loans,” FTC, February 11, 2013

“Fair Credit Reporting Act,” US Department of Justice, 2024

“Free Credit Reports,” FTC, July 2022

“Telemarketing Sales Rule,” FTC, 2024

About the author

Bethany Hickey is a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance and AOL. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Finder.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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