What Is Credit Repair?

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated March 13, 2020

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Credit Repair
August 28, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

With the tough financial situation our country has been in, a lot of people are talking about how to boost their credit score. One of the ways that people try to improve their credit score is through top-rated credit repair services.

Basically, credit repair is any actions taken to improve your credit score. When most people think of credit repair, however, they think of credit repair services, which are companies that may be able to help you raise your credit score.

Whether you hire a credit repair company or do it yourself, here are a few ways that you can repair your credit:

  1. Fixing errors: Millions of Americans have errors on their credit reports and don’t even know it. Fixing errors on your reports can help with the health of your credit. Each of the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — have instructions on their websites on how you can report errors on your credit reports.
  2. Disputing negative items: If you have negative items on your credit report, you can send dispute letters to the credit bureaus to have them removed. Credit repair companies can also do this on your behalf. The credit bureaus have 30 days to determine whether the dispute is valid, and if it is, they will remove the item from your credit report. It can be harder to remove more serious negative items like bankruptcy, foreclosure and any judgements you have on your credit reports.
  3. Cease and desist letters: This is something that is usually handled by credit repair companies. They will send cease and desist letters to any collection agencies that have been harassing you. This won’t improve your credit score or get rid of your debt, but it can stop the annoying phone calls. If you don’t want to hire a credit repair company, you can have a lawyer also send a cease and desist letter.
  4. Negotiating with lenders: Credit repair services generally don’t take this route, but you can try to negotiate with your lenders to have negative items removed from your credit report. If you have been paying your bills on time and have been showing that you can be responsible with credit, some lenders may be open to removing older negative items like missed payments.
  5. Credit counseling: Many credit repair companies offer tips and tricks to help with the health of your credit, including advice on how to properly use credit cards. You can also do research yourself on the best practices for using credit.

Credit repair services promise to work to raise your credit score, although there is no guarantee that they will be successful. Generally, these credit repair services use the same tactics to try to raise your credit score, including filing the paperwork to fix errors on your credit report, convince your lenders to remove derogatory items from your credit report or use the law to force credit bureaus to remove derogatory information. Most services know the tricks of the trade when it comes to repairing your credit, but that doesn’t mean that they will be able to raise your credit score.

Here are some quick reviews of the top credit repair services:

Sky Blue Credit Repair: Sky Blue is one of the most popular credit repair service, mostly because it is effective at a lower cost. At only $79 per month (with a $79 initial fee), it is one of the cheapest credit repair services around. It will send dispute letters to the credit bureaus to ask negative items be removed from your credit report. It also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. To learn more, here is our full Sky Blue Credit Repair review.

Lexington Law: Lexington Law is one of the oldest names in credit repair. It is a little more pricey than some of its competitors, but it also comes with more features. The basic package is $89.95 per month, with an initial fee of $99.95. For that package, it will send dispute letters to the credit bureaus. Lexington Law does not offer a money-back guarantee, but you can cancel at any time. To learn more, here is our full Lexington Law review.

Credit Saint: If you are looking for an affordable option with multiple tiers of service, check out Credit Saint. The basic package is $79.99 per month with a $99 initial fee. Just like the other services, this package will include dispute letters to the credit bureaus, along with cease and desist letters. Credit Saint offers a money-back guarantee if it does not remove at least one negative item from your credit reports within 90 days. To learn more, here is our full Credit Saint review.

CreditRepair.com: One of the most popular credit repair service, CreditRepair.com is also the most expensive. It offers just one package at $99.95, but there is no initial fee. While expensive, this package offers all the extras of credit repair, including communicating directly with furnishers and the credit bureaus to make sure changes have been made. CreditRepair.com does not offer a guarantee, although you can cancel at any time. To learn more, check out our CreditRepair.com review.

The Credit People: The Credit People is not the most well-known credit repair service, but it can be effective. It is one of the more affordable services at $79 per month, with a $19 7-day trial to start. The Credit People will also send dispute letters to the credit bureaus. It also offers a six-month money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied. To learn more, check out our The Credit People review.

So does credit repair work? It really depends on your credit report and what you are looking for. If you have errors on your credit report, credit repair services are a good way to get those errors fixed. Most credit repair services will ask your advice on what to focus on, so if you believe you have errors on your report, ask them to focus on those.

Credit repair services can also be influential in getting derogatory items removed from your credit report, but only if they fit into certain criteria. There are laws that dictate how credit bureaus can report on your credit usage, and credit repair agencies know those laws and how to use them to get items removed. They also are good at communicating directly with your credit lenders to ask to remove derogatory items if you have a good history with the lender. Most lenders are willing to forget about an item or two if you generally pay on time.

Does it work for everyone? Definitely not. Before signing up for a credit repair service, make sure you have done your research, have picked a trusted company and have a game plan on how you want them to approach the situation.

If you are really worried about being scammed, look for the credit repair services that offer the most comprehensive refund.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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