June 12, 2024

Is Credit Repair Worth It

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Credit repair services cost up to $150/mo. But you can do the same things without paying high fees. So is credit repair worth it? Read on to find out.

Credit repair companies analyze your credit reports and dispute inaccurate items affecting your credit score. Professionals communicate with the credit bureaus on your behalf.

But there's a first work fee (signup fee) and monthly fees that can be equally or more expensive.

Why pay a hefty price tag when you can do credit repair yourself? In this guide, discover the pros and cons of credit repair services. Plus, find alternatives to improving your credit at the end.

Have you ever used a credit repair service?

Is it worth paying someone to fix your credit?

Paying for credit repair is worth it if you don't have the proper knowledge, time, or confidence to handle the disputes on your own.

You need to be thorough and skillful in your disputes. If you think professionals can help you better, it may be more beneficial to pay credit repair companies.

Legitimate credit repair companies do the following:

  1. Review and analyze entries in your credit reports
  2. Remove accounts that don't belong to you
  3. Verify items like bankruptcies and judgments
  4. Dispute debts and loans that can't be validated or verified
  5. Challenge negative items that are past the time limit to be included in your credit report

What's more, some credit repair companies correspond with your creditors on your behalf. Instead of disputing the credit bureaus directly, they talk to your creditors first.

The pros and cons may help you weigh the benefits.

Pros and Cons of Credit Repair Services

Pros:

  • Expertise of credit repair professionals
  • Faster disputes from more aggressive companies
  • Your credit score may increase
  • Qualify for more credit cards and loans
  • Know more about your finances
  • Save money in the long run from errors that impact your finances

Cons:

  • Can be costly
  • Doesn't eliminate debt
  • Risk of scams and fraudulent practices
  • Results aren't guaranteed

Speaking of costly, here's how much you may need to budget.

How much does credit repair usually cost?

Credit repair companies can charge around $50–$150/month. You also need to pay a first work fee that typically costs the same as the monthly fee.

The first work fee covers the initial work, such as:

  • Setting up your online account
  • Getting your credit reports
  • Initial credit report analysis
  • Initial rounds of disputes

Credit repair companies can charge your first work fee from 5–15 days after the start of the service. Then, you'll be charged the monthly fee for your chosen package.

Watch out for illegal fees!
It's illegal for credit repair companies to charge for their services upfront. Legit companies and professionals don't demand payment before doing any work.

How much are you willing to pay for a credit repair service every month?

These monthly fees are no joke. So how do you know if credit repair services are not worth the cost?

When is credit repair not worth it?

Hiring credit repair companies may not be worth it if:

  • You've just started building your own credit
  • You only have a few items to dispute
  • You've already had successful disputes (by yourself) in the past

You can always choose the DIY route and take matters into your own hands. You can do the leg work, analyze your credit reports, and send the dispute letters yourself.

You will follow the same dispute cycle as that of professional services. The only difference is you will be more hands-on with your credit reports, dispute letters, and current financial situation.

Here's how the process works.

How does credit repair work?

To help repair your credit, you or a credit repair service can:

  1. Review credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  2. Spot inaccurate, invalid, or outdated items from your credit reports
  3. Send dispute letters and supporting documents to the credit bureaus

Credit bureaus will then investigate your disputes. Note that it takes 30–45 days to complete a dispute cycle.[1]

For each negative item you challenge, you'll need to allot this time before credit bureaus can retain or remove your disputed item.

Changes aren't always immediate, and your current transactions and payments affect your credit score. Realistically, you can expect improvements in your credit within the next 6–12 months.

What is your primary concern when it comes to credit repair services?

Does credit repair actually work?

Credit bureaus will only remove disputed items when they're inaccurate, invalid, or outdated. There's no guarantee your disputes will result in removals or that your credit will improve fast.

If credit bureaus find your disputed items accurate, these negative items will remain on your credit report.

That said, if your creditors fail to respond to the credit bureaus, the disputed item/s may be removed.

If you think professionals increase your chances of removals, here are some of the best credit repair companies in the industry.

Best Credit Repair Companies

Lexington Law
Lexington Law has removed over 83 million negative items since 2004. It offers one credit repair package costing $119.95/month.[2] You get the service of lawyers and paralegals experienced in disputing the credit bureaus.

Credit Saint
Credit Saint offers 3 packages ranging from $79.99–$139.99/month.[3] It's been in the industry since 2004. Plus, it offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. You can request a refund if there are no removals within the first 90 days of the service.[4]

Sky Blue Credit
Sky Blue Credit offers individual and couples plans ranging from $79–$149/month. It specializes in mortgage preparation and can help prepare your credit if you want to apply for a home loan or refinance your current mortgage.[5]

Having said all this, you aren't limited to hiring credit repair companies to improve your credit.

Alternatives

Here are alternatives you can consider to gradually fix your credit.

Credit builders
Credit builders help you add more positive transactions to your credit report. Over time, it can help boost your credit score and you only need to pay a fraction of the fees from credit repair companies.

Credit repair apps
Instead of signing up for a credit repair company, you can use a credit repair app. Most credit repair apps use artificial intelligence to review your credit reports, analyze entries, and help you craft dispute letters.

Play the waiting game
If you want to save money and time, you can always wait until your negative marks fall off your credit report. Negative items can stay on your credit report for 2–10 years.[6]

Bottom Line

Credit repair companies are worth it if you want the confidence of professionals. The best credit repair companies have been around for over a decade. And they showcase expertise and experience in dealing with credit bureaus.

But they can be costly. You can incur a considerable expense to remove only several items that impact your credit score.

Instead, you can always learn more about your state's credit laws and how to remove negative items like outdated collection accounts and inaccurate late payments. Then, monitor your monthly credit reports and write the dispute letters yourself.

References

  1. ^ CFPB. If a credit reporting error is corrected, how long will it take before I find out the results?, Retrieved 05/13/2024
  2. ^ Lexington Law. Our Services, Retrieved 05/30/2024
  3. ^ Credit Saint. Packages, Retrieved 05/13/2024
  4. ^ Credit Saint. Packages, Retrieved 03/16/2024
  5. ^ Sky Blue Credit. Member Pricing, Retrieved 03/16/2024
  6. ^ CFPB. How long does negative information remain on my credit report?, Retrieved 05/13/2024

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How much are you willing to pay for a credit repair service every month?
21% $0 – I prefer DIY credit repair
62% Less than $50
11% $50 – $100
3% $100 – $150
2% More than $150
Source: CreditDonkey. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
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