10 Best Credit Repair Companies to Fix Your Credit Score

According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, 34% of Americans have either fair or very poor credit scores. Those with a low FICO score (300 to 669) often have difficulty qualifying for loans, apartment rentals, and even certain jobs. Fortunately, there are quite a few legitimate credit repair companies to help.

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Here are the 10 Best Credit Repair Services

Credit repair is a convenient option for anyone who needs to quickly improve their credit score but needs help doing so. If you’re looking for a credit repair company, here are the best options right now.

Credit Saint

Established in New Jersey in 2004, Credit Saint is a highly rated credit repair company that helps people restore their credit by removing items that shouldn’t be on their reports. This includes late payments, fraudulent charges, collections, foreclosures, hard inquiries, bankruptcies, liens, charge off, judgments, and repossessions. Credit Saint can also help negotiate the early removal of marks that are currently hurting your credit score.

Monthly fees

The company has three plans.

  • Credit Polish: This plan is best for people who need basic credit cleanup and repair. It includes a credit score analysis and tracking and creditor intervention. It costs $79.99 monthly.
  • Credit Remodel: Along with the previous plan’s services, Credit Remodel also comes with Experian score monitoring and inquiry targeting. It’s ideal for anyone who needs help removing many credit inquiries or challenging repossessions or bankruptcies. It’s also good for victims of identity theft since it offers constant credit report monitoring and alerts you of any suspicious or fraudulent activity. It costs $99.99 monthly.
  • Clean Slate: This plan helps overhaul your credit. It includes everything from the previous plans plus something called the Dispute Avalanche. This helps quickly repair bad credit by challenging multiple errors and judgments at once rather than one at a time. It costs $119.99 monthly.

Setup Fee

The Credit Polish and Credit Remodel plans come with a one-time $99 setup fee. The Clean Slate’s setup fee is up to $195, depending on the complexity of the case.

First Work fee

Credit Saint does not charge a separate first work fee.

Other Fees

There are no other fees.

Unique Features and Speed

Credit Saint offers a free, no-obligation initial consultation. During the consultation, an expert advisor assesses your credit history and report with you before advising you on the best flat-rate service package for your situation. That way, you only pay for what you need. Upon signing up, a credit repair specialist will start repairing your credit right away.

All plans cover the basics of credit repair, such as credit intervention, score analysis, and error dispute. They also come with access to an online customer dashboard where you can easily monitor your credit score and the company’s progress.

The Credit Polish plan challenges up to 5 reports per dispute cycle, which is 45 days. The Remodel plan challenges up to 10 items per cycle. The Clean Slate plan has an unlimited number of disputes. At the end of the cycle, customers receive a progress report that indicates which negative items have been removed.

Finally, Credit Saint provides debt validation advice for those who are being harassed by collectors, as well as various educational resources for long-term credit repair.

Customer Experience

Credit Saint’s process is straightforward and transparent. They offer a free consultation, which includes an in-depth evaluation of your credit score and report. They also have a 90-day money-back guarantee with a free refund if they don’t succeed in removing items within a cycle.

The company does not make unreasonable promises, but they’re efficient and effective. They also boast top-tier customer service and have toll-free customer support.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

The company has been BBB accredited since 2007 and has an A rating of 3.54/5.


Sky Blue Credit Repair

Established in 1989, Sky Blue Credit Repair is known for accelerating the dispute process so customers can qualify for major purchases like a mortgage or auto loan. This company is also a good option for those who want to take advantage of the partner discount. Sky Blue Credit Repair can remove late payments (mortgage, credit card, etc.), bankruptcies, student loan debt, hard inquiries, repossessions, judgments, charge-offs, and paid collections accounts.

Monthly Fees

The company offers two plans, an individual plan and a special couple’s plan. The individual plan has a $79 monthly fee. The special couple’s pricing is $119 monthly. With either plan, there is no charge for the first 6 days.

Setup Fee

There’s a one-time $79 setup fee for the individual plan and a one-time $119 setup fee for the couple’s plan.

First Work Fee

There’s no separate first work fee.

Other Fees

The company does not charge other fees. You can also cancel at any time, no strings attached.

Unique Features and Speed

Sky Blue Credit Repair can dispute up to 15 items per 35-day cycle, or 5 items per credit bureau. This makes them faster than many other credit repair services since they don’t just handle one item at a time.

After challenging each negative mark, the company sends the results of the dispute to the customer directly. If they fail to remove an item, they automatically dispute it again to try to get a better result.

The company also offers custom disputes, debt validation letters, and goodwill letters. They will also send out cease-and-desist letters to stop debt collectors from contacting you. The team also works with you to help you maintain a healthy credit score in the future.

The credit repair process varies based on the individual, but an expert will provide an estimate after assessing your credit history.

Customer Experience

This agency offers a 90-day money-back guarantee with a full refund to customers who aren’t satisfied with the service. There is no contract and customers can cancel or temporarily pause the service without charge.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

Sky Blue Credit Repair is not BBB accredited. It does, however, have 3.86 out of 5 stars and an A+ rating. Overall, reviews are very positive and many previous customers have seen a score increase up to 100 points.


CreditRepair.com

Established in 2012, CreditRepair.com uses a 3-step credit repair process to remove unfair negative marks and errors. They specialize in long-term consumer credit health.

Monthly Fees

Monthly pricing starts at $99.95.

Setup Fee

The company charges an upfront $14.99 setup fee to pull your credit report. 

First Work Fee

There is no additional first work fee.

Other Fees

There are no additional fees.

Unique Features and Speed

Like other credit repair agencies, CreditRepair.com challenges and disputes things like charge-offs and late payments. They also provide credit monitoring and credit education to help customers improve their credit and financial habits.

The company also has an online dashboard and mobile app for customers that includes various helpful financial resources. Through the dashboard, members receive access to a credit score tracker tool, text and email alerts, and full credit monitoring. Their credit education primarily focuses on debt solutions, identity theft protection, credit score improvement, and credit repair.

It takes an average of six months to complete the program.

Customer Experience

The company’s credit repair process is straightforward and effective. They also offer free access to your reports and a free, 10-minute personalized consultation that includes an analysis of your reports from all three bureaus.

There is no money-back guarantee, but the company claims to remove up to 7% of all negative errors per month. They also occasionally have promotions or discounted services.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

On BBB, CreditRepair.com is not accredited and has a D rating. There are some complaints about unprofessional customer service and difficulty canceling automatic payments. Some people have stated they received a refund for payments made in error, though. On Trustpilot, the company has 4.3 out of 5 stars out of 616 customer reviews.


The Credit People

Established in 2001, The Credit People is best for those seeking basic credit repair and advice on how to improve their credit score.

Monthly Fees

They have a free 7-day trial period, which includes a welcome call, credit report review, and a brief strategy session. After that, they charge a flat fee of $89 a month.

Setup Fee

There’s a $39 setup fee that covers the initial credit reports and getting the scores uploaded to an online account.

First Work Fee

There is no additional first work fee.

Other Fees

There are no hidden fees.

Unique Features and Speed

With The Credit People, you get unlimited disputes and access to an online portal where you can monitor their progress. The company can also help with more complex issues like bankruptcy, foreclosure, accounts in collections, charge-offs, negative settlements, liens, and repossessions, but they’re best at basic credit repair.

On average, it takes 45 to 60 days to see results. The company offers a full refund if you’re not satisfied with their services.

Customer Experience

The Credit People claim an average credit improvement of 30%. They also have good customer service and offer individualized attention to customers. Each customer is paired with a dedicated online manager.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

This company is not BBB accredited and has a C+ rating, with 1.44 out of 5 stars. However, there are only 9 customer reviews on the BBB. On Google, the company has 3.3 stars out of 5.

One negative online review states that the company did not honor the money-back guarantee. One positive review said the company was very professional and helpful.


Ovation Credit Services

Ovation Credit Services was founded in 1976 but was acquired by LendingTree in 2018. The company takes an education-first approach to credit repair. Along with credit repair, it strives to empower individuals, improve their credit, and prepare them for a healthy financial future.

Monthly Fees

There are two plans, the Essentials Plus Plan and the Essentials Plan, so you can choose based on your needs.

  • Essentials Plan: This plan gives you a personal case advisor who will guide you through filing disputes with the credit bureaus. It also includes access to financial management tools through an online portal. It costs $79 monthly.
  • Essentials Plus Plan: This plan includes everything from the previous plan plus unlimited dispute letters and full credit monitoring. It also includes TransUnion credit monitoring. Plus, you can also request a recommendation letter from the company to help with future loan applications. It costs $109 monthly.

You can also get credit monitoring as an add-on service. This option notifies you of any changes to your report and makes it easier to respond to errors or signs of fraudulent activity or identity theft. It’s particularly useful if you’re planning to make a large purchase like a home or vehicle.

Setup Fee

Both plans have an $89 upfront fee.

First Work Fee

There is no separate first work fee.

Other Fees

Non-members can purchase credit monitoring alone for a small fee. Couples, seniors, and military personnel receive a 20% discount.

Unique Features and Speed

Ovation Credit Services provides members with a dedicated case advisor who personally oversees each case. Each plan also comes with various financial planning tools, such as budget and debt management tools. However, the company doesn’t have an online chat service or mobile app.

Customer Experience

There is no money-back guarantee. However, the company will not charge for their services any month they fail to remove negative items. The exact terms of this refund are somewhat vague. That said, you can cancel for free at any time before the end of the current billing cycle to prevent future charges. If desired, you can temporarily pause the service instead.

The team is also highly responsive via phone and email. They also have 24/7 customer service through their online portal.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

Ovation Credit Services has been BBB accredited since 2004 with an A+ rating and 3.67 out of 5 stars. The company does not have many consumer complaints.


Lexington Law

Established in 2004, Lexington Law employs a team of experienced lawyers to help remove millions of items from thousands of consumer credit reports.

Monthly Fees

There are three different plans available.

  • Concord Standard: This basic plan covers the essentials of credit repair, but is still more comprehensive than many smaller companies. It includes credit disputes, creditor interventions, debt validation letters, and goodwill letters. It costs $89.85 a month.
  • Concord Premier: This mid-tier plan includes everything from Concord Standard, but also disputes hard inquiries. It also comes with credit monitoring and alerts you whenever there’s a score change. The price is not available online.
  • PremierPlus: The highest-tier plan, PremierPlus comes with cease-and-desist letters to creditors to stop aggressive debt collectors from calling. It also includes access to a FICO score tracker, identity theft protection, and various financial planning tools through an app. It costs $129.95 a month.

Although Lexington Law comes with somewhat higher fees than other credit repair companies, they only charge for what you need.

Setup Fee

There is no upfront setup fee.

First Work Fee

There is no first work fee, but you’ll be billed for the monthly payment within the first 5 days of signing up.

Other Fees

There are no other fees.

Unique Features and Speed

Lexington Law offers a highly personalized credit repair service. The company also has several advanced digital tools that make it more competitive than other companies. Two of the three plans come with credit monitoring.

Members also benefit from TransUnion alerts, identity theft protection, free personal finance tools, and a mobile app to track finances.

There are no long-term contracts, but there’s also no money-back guarantee. The average credit repair process takes 6 months.

Customer Experience

There’s an initial free online consultation that includes a credit score check, report summary, and expert recommendations. The company is highly responsive on social media and is available 12 hours every weekday. However, there is no live chat service.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

The company is not BBB accredited and has a C- rating and 1.88 out of 5 stars. Most complaints are about getting charged more than expected. Some previous customers mention poor results from the credit repair service. However, the company has 4.5+ stars on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Lexington Law has been involved in some legal activity. In 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against them for alleged illegal fees and manipulative business tactics.


The Credit Pros

Established in 2009, The Credit Pros offers a large array of services beyond credit repair. This makes them best for anyone who needs the full scope of credit repair.

Monthly Fees

This credit repair company has four main packages:

  • Money Management Plan: This includes all the basics of credit repair plus unlimited monthly disputes, access to financial planning tools (ex. a budgeting system that syncs with open credit accounts), and credit and identity monitoring. It also comes with debt validation letters the company will send on your behalf. With this plan, however, the team will only tackle one debt at a time. It costs $69 a month.
  • Prosperity Package: This package includes everything from the previous one, but it handles multiple disputes at once. It also comes with a subscription to SlashRx, which offers up to an 80% discount on prescription meds. It costs $119.99 monthly.
  • Success Package: Along with the above offerings, this plan provides access to National Credit Direct, a financial program that helps people with poor or no credit purchase certain goods and boost their credit. It also comes with an optional credit line with a starting limit of $500 and 0% APR. It costs $149 monthly.
  • CreditSentry Monitoring Service: This is a smaller service that features identity theft protection and credit monitoring. It’s part of all three of the previous plans, but can be purchased separately for $19 a month.

Setup Fee

There is no setup fee.

First Work Fee

The first work fee is $119 to $149, depending on the plan.

Other Fees

The CreditSentry Monitoring Service can be purchased separately.

Unique Features and Speed

This company offers some educational resources, but not as many as other credit repair companies. It also features a mobile app, live web chat, bilingual services, and an AI-driven personal credit management system.

The Credit Pros also offers advanced financial planning tools, credit monitoring, identity monitoring and protection, budgeting assistance, and debt management plans. They focus primarily on consumer credit health and offer realistic debt repayment options.

Customer Experience

The company offers a free initial consultation, but no money-back guarantee. There are unlimited credit disputes, though.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

They are not BBB accredited, but they have an A- rating and 2.71 out of 5 stars. Many positive reviews are about the successful removal of negative items and financial education. On Apple and Google Play, the company has 4.5+ stars.



AMB Credit Consultants

AMB Credit Consultants markets themselves as a “lifetime investment” that helps people build and maintain good credit management habits. The agency offers standard credit repair services.

Monthly Fees

They offer the AMB Credit Empowerment Program, which includes financial and credit resources to help customers achieve better credit health. It costs $99 monthly.

Setup Fee

The enrollment fee is $149. For couples who enroll together, the setup fee is $198. You must make the payment before the consultation, but your card won’t be charged until after the consultation is over.

First Work Fee

There is no additional first work fee.

Other Fees

Unlike most credit repair companies, you must be a paying customer before receiving access to any educational resources.

There is also an extra mandatory fee of $24.99 for their credit monitoring service. This service is offered through their partner, IdentityIQ, and must be purchased before the initial consultation. Currently, there is a 7-day trial of this service for $1.

Unique Features and Speed

With AMB Credit Consultants, you get unlimited disputes, credit monitoring, and access to an online customer portal. You also receive unlimited access to AMB’s dispute resolution team. This team challenges inaccuracies in your report with the credit bureaus on your behalf. They’ll also contact debt collectors and creditors if you think the error is on their end.

Customer Experience

The credit repair process is simple. A certified credit consultant will thoroughly review your reports, identify and dispute errors, and advise you on the best ways to achieve your credit goals. They’ll also create a personalized Plan of Action Report for you to determine and assess key problem areas.

Unfortunately, AMB doesn’t offer a free consultation or have a live chat or mobile app.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

The company is not BBB accredited and has a C+ rating, but they have 4.43 out of 5 stars. Most customer reviews are positive.


Credit Versio

Credit Versio is a credit repair software with a do-it-yourself interface that helps customers clean up their credit reports. Simply link your credit report to their online system and let the program scan for potential negative or inaccurate items. If it finds anything, it will direct you to the correct form you can use to dispute the item. Credit Versio can help with late payments, collections, judgments, inquiries, repossession, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and charge-offs.

Monthly Fees

Credit Versio has a tiered pricing system that starts with a basic plan and goes up from there.

  • Smartcredit Basic Plan: This comes with two disputes a month, credit monitoring and alerts, and two monthly TransUnion reports. It also includes identity theft insurance for an additional $1 a month. It costs $19.95 monthly.
  • Smartcredit Premium Plan: This plan features all of the above, but also has unlimited TransUnion reports and score updates. It costs $24.95 monthly.
  • IdentityIQ Plan: The highest-tier plan, this one includes identity theft insurance up to $25,000. It also comes with a 7-day trial of credit monitoring for $1, though this price increases later. It costs $29.99 monthly.

Setup Fee

There is no setup fee.

First Work Fee

There is no first work fee.

Other Fees

There are no other fees.

Unique Features and Speed

Credit Versio is unique in that it’s a credit repair software that takes more of a DIY approach. It helps you keep track of your credit and gives you the resources needed to dispute errors. This also helps with long-term credit improvement since you’re learning how to do the work yourself.

The downside is that you’ll have to send a separate dispute letter to each credit bureau that shows the same error on the report. The number of dispute letters and credit reports you can get is also limited by plan. The fewer available disputes, the longer the process takes to complete.

All three plans come with pre-recorded video credit coaching, which further helps with credit building. The average customer sees an improved score within the first two months.

Customer Experience

Credit Versio has overall positive reviews online. However, it’s best for visual learners and those with a basic understanding of how credit repair and disputes work.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

Credit Versio is not on BBB. However, it has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot out of 285 customer reviews.


Credit Firm

Established in 1997, Credit Firm offers immediate credit repair and long-term credit improvements. The team consists of licensed attorneys who specialize in consumer credit and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations.

Monthly Fees

There’s an all-inclusive Individual Plan that costs $49.99 and a Couples Plan for $89.99 a month. Both plans come with the same services.

Setup Fee

There isn’t a setup fee.

First Work Fee

There is no first work fee.

Other Fees

There are no signup, consultation, credit report, or deletion fees.

Unique Features and Speed

Credit Firm employs a highly qualified legal team that will analyze your credit information and create an Action Plan based on your individual needs.

The company works with all three bureaus and various collection agencies to help resolve negative items and remove derogatory marks to boost your credit score.

Additionally, Credit Firm provides an in-depth credit audit and works as quickly and efficiently as possible on your behalf. You also get unlimited disputes, personal info variation challenges, inquiry challenges, debt validation, escalated info requests, and credit monitoring via an online client portal. Plus, they’ll match you with a personal credit consultant.

Customer Experience

The company offers a free initial consultation and free cancellation. You don’t get billed for their services for the first five days either. During this time, an expert goes over your credit reports, creates an action plan, processes your file, and starts contacting the bureaus.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

They are not BBB accredited, but they have an A rating with only 4 complaints in the past three years. All complaints have been resolved.

How Do Credit Repair Companies Work?

The main purpose of a credit repair company is to search your credit report for negative marks and try to get the credit bureaus to remove them. They do this by first acquiring a copy of your credit report from each major credit reporting agency — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Then, they’ll look for anything that shouldn’t be in the report, such as:

  • Late payments
  • Charge-offs
  • Tax liens
  • Bankruptcy
  • Repossessions

Next, the agency will create a credit repair plan to dispute any errors and negotiate with your creditors. The credit repair package offered typically includes:

  • Validate information requests
  • Credit dispute letters (to fix any errors)
  • Cease-and-desist letters to debt collectors and lenders to stop aggressive calls

Generally, the company will send any dispute letters in the mail. Once received, the recipient has 30 days to respond. If the item is an error, they’ll remove it from your report, which gives your credit a boost.

Sometimes, a company will recommend applying for a new credit card or loan to add positive information to your reports. However, if you struggle with making payments or managing debts, then opening new accounts might not be a good idea.

Why Hire a Credit Repair Agency?

One of the biggest reasons people hire a credit repair agency is because they’re knowledgeable and uniquely qualified. They work on your behalf to erase negative information from your credit reports and improve your score.

A poor credit score makes it difficult to qualify for new financial products or get the best rates. It can also disqualify you from some jobs. Besides score improvement, some credit repair agencies can keep debt collectors from harassing you.

Of course, you can technically dispute errors for free without an agency. However, the process can be time-consuming and tricky to do alone. Hiring a professional can free up your time so you can focus on budgeting, money management, and long-term financial health.

Should I Pay for a Credit Repair Agency?

This entirely depends on your financial situation. If you can afford the cost of a credit repair agency but don’t have the time to do it yourself, then paying for one could be worth it. If you have multiple negative items on your report and need them removed quickly, an agency could also be beneficial. And, if you’re being harassed by debt collectors or your credit is keeping you from qualifying for a job or loan, then an agency could be a good investment.

Just remember that credit repair agencies can’t do anything you can’t do on your own. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the service will improve your credit score. For example, if a negative item is accurate, then they won’t be able to remove it. Additionally, an agency might not be worth the cost if you only have a couple of negative items on your report.

Want to fix your credit but don’t know where to start? Check this out for more information:

What Happens During the Credit Repair Process?

Once hired, the credit repair agency will check your credit reports for any errors. If they find any, they’ll file a dispute with the major credit bureaus for you. The bureaus will have 30 days to check the legitimacy of the negative mark and respond.

If the item is indeed an error, the agency will negotiate to have it removed. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, if the bureau doesn’t respond on time, they must remove the item. On average, the entire process takes one to six months.

Credit Repair Scams

Unfortunately, there are quite a few scammers in the credit repair industry. The CFPB advises you to look out for the following red flags:

  • They advise you to create a new identity. Stay away from companies that say they’ll help you establish a new identity with a credit privacy number.
  • The company demands upfront payment. Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot request or receive payment until after completing the services they’ve promised.
  • The company makes false guarantees: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against using any credit repair service that guarantees they’ll remove information or boost your score.
  • They won’t answer your questions: If they can’t explain their services, or they won’t tell you the total cost of those services, it’s a scam.
  • The company withholds or provide misinformation: The company doesn’t inform you of your rights, such as your right to obtain a written contract outlining the details of your arrangement or to cancel the contract within three business days. They also don’t disclose the full cost of their services. Or they say you shouldn’t – or can’t – contact any of the nationwide credit reporting companies directly.
  • They ask you to misrepresent information: The company suggests that you try to create a “new” credit identity by applying for an Employer Identification Number instead of using your Social Security number. A legitimate credit repair company will show you how to handle your existing credit accounts and avoid further damage to your credit. They won’t encourage you to lie.
  • They’ll advise disputing all information in the report: Some scam agencies will suggest disputing all items in your reports to try to achieve a better result.

Reputable credit repair companies will usually offer flat-rate pricing and a satisfaction guarantee.

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed in 1970. Its goal is to protect consumer information that is generally collected by the credit bureaus, as well as from tenant services and medical companies. The FCRA also strives to ensure accuracy in all collected data, while giving consumers the right to dispute errors in their credit report.

Moreover, the FCRA gives consumers the right to request and gain access to any information that’s in their credit report. It also prevents any individual or organization from accessing another person’s credit report history without consent.

How Can I Get a Free Credit Score?

You can obtain a free credit report online at annualcreditreport.com or from one of the credit bureaus once a year. Or you can get your FICO or VantageScore 3.0 from a trusted site like Credit Karma or CreditWise.

Other Credit Repair Options

Besides credit repair companies, here are a few other ways to improve your credit.

Credit Counseling

Credit counseling is a form of counseling that’s usually provided by a non-profit organization. These organizations primarily consist of trained, certified professionals that assess your finances and help you improve your money management and spending habits.

Many credit counseling services will help you create a customized budget and access your credit reports. Some offer debt management plans (DMPs) to help you regain control of your debts. Most agencies will also have free educational resources and tools to help you improve your credit score and financial health.

Some credit counseling services are free, while others come with a maximum $79 fee.

Submit Goodwill Letters

A goodwill letter is a polite request you send to a creditor to ask them to remove a negative item from your credit report. These letters are best for those who need to remove negative marks that are accurate and current. They’re also good for fixing a one-time mistake, especially if it happened for a valid reason like a lost job or medical emergency.

In a goodwill letter, you should include the exact negative mark and what caused it. If your situation has improved, mention that as well. Be polite, succinct, and thorough. If you need help writing one, look for an online template. Just remember that these letters aren’t a guarantee the mark will be removed.

Pay All Bills On Time

One of the best ways to improve your credit score is to consistently pay your bills on time. This includes everything from medical bills to utilities to car payments. Some bills are reported more often than others, like student loans or mortgage payments. Others, like rent or utility payments, might not be reported at all. However, even one late payment can cause a drop in your credit score.

Deal With Accounts in Collections

If an account is left unpaid for several months, it will most likely end up in collections. When this happens, a debt collector will contact you. If a debt collector is calling, don’t ignore them. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act can help protect you from particularly aggressive debt collectors, but ignoring one will not improve your credit. An account in collections will stay on your report for up to seven years.

While you can request that they stop contacting you, doing so will not solve the problem. It also won’t prevent the collector from reporting to the credit bureaus or trying to sue you.

Instead, try to find a way to pay off the account, such as with a payment plan or debt settlement. Just make sure you’re making payments to a legitimate debt collection agency or the original creditor.

If you think there’s been a mistake, then ask for proof of the account from the debt collector. Keep any information they provide in case you need it later.

Get Credit for Rent and Utility Payments

Most utility and rent payments are never reported to the credit bureaus, meaning they don’t impact your credit score. However, there are ways to get them reported and boost your credit score that way.

For one, you can ask the utility company or landlord to report any payments. This will cost them a nominal fee, so they might not agree.

Another option is to use Experian Boost, a free tool that lets you add utility payment history to your Experian credit report. It won’t help with the other credit bureaus, though.

Finally, consider signing up for a third-party service, such as SimpleBills. For a fee, these services will let you add accounts to your credit report. You will have to monitor each account separately, which can be tricky, but it can help build credit.

Check Your Credit Report and Fix Errors on Your Own

You can dispute any errors on your credit report without a credit repair company. Get a free copy of your report from each credit bureau. Then, review your reports for any discrepancies or suspicious activity.

If you find any errors, reach out to the credit bureaus. Each credit bureau has a free online dispute process you can use to dispute any errors. Alternatively, you can send dispute letters in the mail, though this takes longer.

If the bureau agrees with your finding, they’ll remove the item and send you an updated report. You can also ask them to send the new report to any prospective employer who’s requested a copy of your report in the past two years.

If the credit bureau decides the item is valid, they won’t remove it. However, if you still believe there’s an error, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Be prepared with any relevant documentation to support your case. The CFPB will investigate it and update you along the way.

The Bottom Line

Having a good credit score is important in many aspects of life — from qualifying for the best interest rates to getting a job or apartment rental. However, any negative mark, such as a late payment or an inaccurately reported account, can damage your credit significantly. If you’ve noticed an error on your credit report, a credit repair company could help you out.

FAQs

What is Credit Jamming?

Some fraudulent credit repair companies engage in what’s known as “credit jamming.” Credit jamming is the process of sending out dispute letters in bulk. These companies do this in the hopes that the bureaus or individual creditors won’t be able to respond in time or that they’ll simply remove the negative items without properly addressing them. Unfortunately, this tactic usually ends up slowing down the entire credit repair process to the point where it often fails altogether.

What is Credit Washing?

Credit washing is another tactic used to try to get negative items removed from a credit report. Some agencies suggest filing a claim that you’re a victim of identity theft and that you never applied for a specific account in the first place. This can result in an immediate boost in credit score. However, this practice takes advantage of protections provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It also makes it more difficult for actual victims of identity theft to get their cases resolved since there are so many false cases to get through.

What is a Debt Validation Letter?

A debt validation letter is a letter you can send to a debt collector or creditor requesting proof of a specific debt or account. The letter also lets you determine whether the debt is outside the statute of limitations or not. If it is, then the debt collector cannot legally pursue the debt.

Do I Need Identity Theft Insurance?

This depends. Identity theft insurance doesn’t provide much financial protection, especially since most people who’ve had their identities stolen don’t lose a lot of money. For many people, the insurance premiums aren’t worth it since they often cost more than any financial loss. However, insurance does cover some financial expenses and certain legal fees. So, it could be worthwhile if you want some peace of mind.