Credit Repair Company Review Methodology

How we review and rate the best providers

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Credit repair companies can help consumers fix inaccurate items on their credit reports. It’s also possible for consumers to repair these items on their own, which is why it's important to carefully consider if it’s worth paying for a credit repair company's assistance. There's a wide variety of credit repair companies on the market, and it can be difficult to weigh the options on your own. 

We’ve done the work of evaluating credit repair companies for you. We researched and reviewed almost 20 credit repair companies, with the goal of giving you the best possible assessment of what’s out there. This is the process we used in each of our reviews.

Credit Repair Company Review Methodology

To create an objective review methodology, we broke down the different aspects of a credit repair company’s profile: stability, reputation, customer satisfaction, customer experience, the types of services you’ll receive, and cost.

We looked at every credit repair company on our list and reviewed them in five primary categories:

  1. Stability
  2. Reputation and customer satisfaction
  3. Customer experience
  4. Services
  5. Costs and fees

We assigned a ranking of one (lowest possible ranking) to five (highest possible ranking) to each category using whole numbers. We then tabulated the category rankings to get an overall one-star to five-star rating for each credit repair company. The credit repair companies with the highest possible rating met all (or most of) the criteria in each of our categories, and the opposite was true for companies with the lowest possible ratings.

Stability

Our primary consideration regarding stability was how long each credit repair provider has been in business. Whether a business will survive is always a difficult thing to know. Especially where your finances are concerned, it’s important to work with a well-established business. This category’s points ranged from one to five points, with the points granted as follows:

  • Five points: 26 or more years in business
  • Four points: 16 to 25 years in business
  • Three points: 11 to 15 years in business
  • Two points: Six to 10 years in the business
  • One point: One to five years in business

A company's stability, as measured by its time in business, accounted for 7% of its overall rating in our evaluation.

Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

We researched each credit repair provider’s reputation and the level of customer satisfaction in each one of our reviews. The main aspects we evaluated included:

This information enabled us to evaluate the level of trustworthiness of each credit repair company and how satisfied customers are with the services received. Taken together, these factors accounted for 25% of each company's overall rating.

CFPB Complaints and Actions

The CFPB is a governmental agency tasked with protecting consumers from unfair, abusive, and deceptive business practices. This includes taking corrective action against financial service providers that violate the law. We reviewed the CFPB’s consumer complaint database for each of the credit repair providers we evaluated to identify any recent complaints. This category’s points ranged from one to five points, with the points granted as follows:

  • Five points: No complaints within the past three years
  • Four points: No complaints within the past year
  • Three points: One to five complaints within the past year
  • Two points: Six to 10 complaints within the past year
  • One point: More than 10 complaints within the past year or a regulatory enforcement action

An evaluation of the CFPB’s consumer complaint database helped us better understand each provider’s reputation. Working with a credit repair company that is serious about consumer protection and keeps the consumer’s best interests in mind is important.

Google Reviews

We also considered the level of customer satisfaction for each provider based on Google reviews. The number of points each provider earned corresponded with the Google star ratings (e.g., five stars equaled five points, less than two stars or no reviews equaled one point, etc.). We consider the level of customer satisfaction an important component of each credit repair provider’s reputation.

Customer Experience

We researched the customer experience in each one of our reviews. The three main aspects of the customer experience we evaluated included:

Using this set of criteria, we evaluated the type of experience customers might receive. Customer experience accounted for 15% of each company's overall rating in our reviews.

Website, Apps, or Online User Portals

Your financial information needs to be secure and easy to access, so we considered websites, apps, or online user portals in our evaluation. This category’s points were based on a five-point scale. Companies with websites including robust contact options (e.g., phone numbers, hours of operation, online applications, online user portals, optional apps) and detailed information about the company, its services, and pricing were considered among the best and received five points. 

In contrast, companies with websites that didn’t include key information (e.g., information about the company, its costs, and its process), were difficult to navigate, or where not all the webpages were secure only received one point. It’s important for credit repair companies to have transparent pricing and processes to enhance the customer experience. Plus, you need to know the company is serious about security, including on its website.

Financial Education and Literacy

We considered the extent to which each credit repair company offered financial education and literacy training to its customers. This is important because consumers should be equipped to maintain a good credit score on their own when they exit credit repair programs. This category’s scores were based on a five-point scale. Companies with an extensive library of resources were considered excellent and received five points. At the other end of the spectrum, credit repair companies with no resources available received only one point.

Credit Repair Professionals

We evaluated the training each credit repair company offers its credit repair specialists. This is important because it’s always a good idea to work with a well-trained credit professional. This category’s points were based on a five-point scale. The companies with the qualifications considered among the best received five points (e.g., advisors are certified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act). Credit repair companies with average training (e.g., no specific certifications and in-house training) received three points. In contrast, one point was granted to companies that did not readily disclose this information.

Services

We evaluated the services each credit repair company offered. This included not only credit repair services but also ancillary services like financial management tools and credit monitoring. The five main credit repair service aspects we evaluated were:

  • Credit repair
  • Credit bureau coverage
  • Financial management
  • Credit monitoring
  • Other services

With this set of criteria, we were able to evaluate the types of credit repair services you might get from each provider. Taken together, the availability and quality of services from each company accounted for 21% of the company's overall rating.

Credit Repair 

Since our goal was to evaluate credit repair providers, one of the key focus areas was the types of credit repair services you would receive. We learned there are many different levels of service, even at similar price points. When rating each provider’s credit repair services, we used a five-point scale. Providers offering a robust set of customized services received up to five points. In contrast, if a provider didn’t offer any true credit repair services, it would've received one point, though this did not happen in our reviews. 

Credit Bureau Coverage

We researched if the credit repair providers would work on items on the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). This is important because the same item can appear on all of your credit reports. That said, it doesn’t help to have items fixed on only one of your credit reports, since it would likely still be a problem with your other two credit reports. For this reason, we gave credit repair providers who covered all three credit bureaus five points, and those who covered less than three or don’t disclose this information only one point.

Financial Management, Credit Monitoring, and Other Services

Lastly, we considered if each credit repair provider offered financial management tools (e.g., budgeting tools), monthly credit monitoring, and any other services (e.g., loan assistance) as a part of their credit repair packages or as an add-on feature. As with many of the other categories, all three of these items were rated on a five-point scale. Credit repair companies who offered these services received up to five points, whereas those who didn’t offer them (or didn’t disclose this) received only one point.

Costs and Fees

We evaluated the costs and fees associated with each provider’s credit repair services in each of our reviews. The five main cost factors we looked at for each credit repair company included:

  • Availability of a free credit repair consultation
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Enrollment and other fees
  • Monthly fees
  • Discounts

Based on this set of criteria, we evaluated how much it might cost you to work with each credit repair provider. Each provider's various fees and discounts accounted for 32% of the company's overall rating.

Free Credit Repair Consultation

One of the key things to look for in a credit repair provider is a free credit consultation. You can repair your credit on your own, which means working with a credit repair provider is a choice. That said, you should have a good understanding of how the credit repair company can help you and what the process will look like before you sign up for a plan. Also, it’s illegal for credit repair companies to make you pay for services in advance. That said, the existence of a free credit consultation is a decent way for credit repair companies to demonstrate upfront their commitment to upholding the law. 

We gave credit repair providers that offer a free credit consultation five points and those that do not (or don’t clearly disclose whether they do this) only one point.

Money-Back Guarantee

Some credit repair companies provide a money-back guarantee if they cannot do what they said they could do in the contract you signed. For example, maybe the company thought it would be able to get some of your inaccurate items repaired within six months, but it wasn’t actually able to do so. The presence of a money-back guarantee offers some comfort level that the company will do what it says it's going to do. We gave credit repair providers who offered a money-back guarantee five points and those that did not (or didn’t clearly disclose this) only one point.

Fees

Many credit repair providers charge a monthly fee, plus a one-time “first work” fee and other fees (e.g., you might be charged for each item removed from your credit report). We used a five-point scale to evaluate our two fee categories. Providers with lower fees than average received up to five points, whereas credit repair providers with fees significantly higher than average or who didn’t disclose their fees only received one point. 

Discounts

Lastly, we considered if each credit repair company offered discounts. This category rating was simple, with five points given if discounts were offered and one point given if there were no discounts or if information about discounts was not clearly disclosed.

Choosing the Best Credit Repair Company for You

In our evaluation of 20 credit repair companies, we carefully considered the consumer's needs. We thought about the questions you might ask and the answers that would help you make an informed decision.

Whether or not to use a credit repair company, and which company to choose, is an individual decision. As you’re shopping around, you might be thinking about such things as how much it’s going to cost you, what services you’re going to get, and if the company is going to be looking out for your best interests. Our reviews were designed to help you evaluate these things in depth. Remember that these reviews are simply a resource and are provided for informational purposes.

The information contained in our reviews should not be considered financial or legal advice and is based on general information that’s available to us at the time the review is written. Credit repair providers change their product offerings, pricing, and strategies regularly, so it’s essential for you to speak with a professional to learn what’s best for you. Ultimately, consumers need to carefully weigh their options and make personal decisions about which options are best for them.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Federal Trade Commission. "Credit Repair Organizations Act."

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