Key takeaways

  • You can do credit repair on your own for free, but the process can be time consuming, as it requires multiple steps.
  • Credit repair companies can help you improve your credit by identifying inaccuracies on your credit report and getting them corrected in exchange for a fee.
  • Check the company's products, services, pricing and track record to ensure you’re choosing a solution that works for you.

If you recently applied for a loan or a credit card and received an interest rate on the higher side — or if you got denied — those are strong signs that your credit needs improvement.

Credit repair is the process of restoring your credit health by identifying and fixing any inaccuracies that may be dragging down your score. You can do this on your own, but it requires time and dedication. Credit repair companies can handle this for you in exchange for a fee, but each one is different. Weigh your options carefully before committing to one.

How to compare credit repair options

When researching credit repair companies, carefully weigh these factors to potentially avoid credit repair scams or costly mistakes. Doing so also helps you select the best service for your situation.

Process and timeline

Research the company’s process to know what to expect. Ensure you understand how long it may take to see a difference in your credit score.

Typically, companies offer a free consultation where you can get timeline estimates to decide whether their approach works for you. A poor credit score could mean a far longer timeline coupled with improvement in your money management habits to yield the desired results.

If you only have a few items in your credit report to address, it might take significantly less time to work through the program. But if this is the case you may also be able to easily work through the items on your own.

Packages and services

Basic packages sometimes don’t include disputes to all three credit bureaus or limit the number of disputes per month. Premium packages can encompass more territory while also providing tools like credit score monitoring, identity theft protection and more assistance for you in your journey.

Depending on how damaged your credit is, you may find a lower cost alternative, such as repairing your credit on your own or a credit-building product. Evaluate the services offered thoroughly and determine whether it’s providing enough value — items like credit score monitoring may already be available through your bank.


Most credit repair companies work with a monthly subscription fee. Since credit repair is something you can do on your own for free, it’s important to take note of this to determine whether it’s something you can afford and if the services provided will be worth the cost.

If you decide to move forward, expect a start-up fee between $19 and $200, followed by a monthly fee of $70 to $150. Fees vary by credit repair company and the level of services provided.

Cancellation policy

Credit repair is a process that can take anywhere from three to six months. After that, you will likely not need your subscription anymore. Research if there are any penalties for canceling your subscription and how quickly you can suspend it once you achieve your goal.

Keep in mind that you’re not obligated to move forward with credit repair services within three business days of signing up if you reconsider — depending on the state you live in, you may have longer. Instead, you can request a cancellation in writing and avoid any fees associated with the services.

Money-back guarantee

Credit repair companies can’t guarantee results upfront. The success of any potential repairs will be dependent on whether there are actual inaccuracies in your report that can be fixed.

Ask if the company will refund any charges if you don’t see any results within a specified period. It’s equally important to know that credit repair companies are legally prohibited from collecting payment for services upfront. If you encounter this issue, move on to a more reputable option.


The credit repair industry is no stranger to scams. Vet a company’s track record before signing up for any services or sharing sensitive information.

You can do this by checking the company’s name on the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database or seeing if there are any cases opened against it with the FTC. Also look at the company’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website and Trustpilot. In most instances there will be a disgruntled customer or two even if the services provided are up to par. But if there are a large amount of negative reviews with consistent themes you may want to explore other options.

Be wary of scammers in the credit repair industry. Keep an eye out for any company that tries to charge you before any work is completed or recommends you enter false information on credit or loan applications.

Alternatives to credit repair

If you’d prefer not to hire a company to do the legwork for you, consider these credit repair alternatives:

  • DIY credit repair: As previously mentioned, you can handle the entire process on your own and avoid the fees associated with hiring a credit repair company. It will take a little more time and effort on your part, but it will save you money.
  • Focus on your payment history: Pay all your bills on time and bring any past-due accounts current, as payment history is the largest component of the credit-scoring calculation, regardless of the scoring model used.
  • Meet with a credit counselor: You can connect with a professional who assesses your situation and creates a plan of action to improve your credit profile and overall financial health.
  • Credit-builder loan: In some cases, credit-builder products may be a good choice. You can likely get a credit-builder loan at your local bank or credit union.
  • Consolidate your debt: Roll all your debts into a loan to lower your credit utilization rate, which is another large chunk of your credit score, and simplify the repayment process. Just be sure to shop around and get the best debt consolidation rate available to you at your current score.

The bottom line

Consider all of the pros and cons of credit repair before committing. The process can cost you money or require additional commitments depending on your chosen approach. Factor in your time available, disposable income and other financial goals when weighing your options.

If you choose to have a company do the work for you, research its credit repair packages and its reputation within the space before signing up for any services. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and make the most of your time and money. You may also find that a credit repair alternative is more suitable for your situation.

Once your credit score is in better shape, you can apply for funding again. Just make sure to shop around for the best personal loan rates to maximize the impact and minimize the cost.