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’s 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, pay attention to the following:

  • 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 this information to decide whether their approach works for you.
  • 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 free credit score monitoring, identity theft protection and more assistance for you in your journey.
  • Prices: 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.
  • 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’ve achieved your goal.
  • Money-back guarantee: Credit repair companies can’t guarantee you results upfront. This will be based 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 timeframe.
  • Reputation: 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.

Carefully weighing these factors can help you avoid scams or costly mistakes, plus help you select the best service for your situation.

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Keep in mind: 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 advises you to enter false information on credit or loan applications.

The bottom line

The credit repair process can cost you money or require additional commitments depending on your chosen approach. Consider 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.