Credit Repair Review Methodology

How we review and rate credit repair companies

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The credit repair industry is somewhat shady, and scams are common. Some companies promise to remove accurate negative information from your credit reports or to improve your credit score by a certain number of points. Some say they can accomplish things you yourself can’t do, but this isn’t true.

Although you can repair your credit on your own, it may be wise to work with a credit repair company (similar to taxes—you can do your taxes on your own, but for many people, it makes sense to get help). So, how do you tell a legitimate company from a scam? 

To this end, we developed a comprehensive methodology to review and compare credit repair companies. We objectively rated companies based on the factors that are most important for borrowers, and we averaged those scores to determine the strongest and weakest companies.

Take a look at the results of our methodology with our picks for the best credit repair companies in the industry.

Our Review Process

We looked at 17 of the top credit repair companies. To judge them fairly, we examined one in the following categories with the accompanying weights:

  1. Costs and fees (40.5%)
  2. Services (34%)
  3. Customer experience (22.5%)
  4. Stability (3%)

Each company was rated on a variety of criteria in each category, like first work fees and monthly fees, the number of disputes sent per month, and whether additional services like credit monitoring are offered. We weighted each criterion based on its relative importance for credit repair customers. The ratings were totaled to give each company an overall score from 0 to 5.

In the end, each company received an overall rating from 1.0 to 5.0, with 5.0 being the best possible score and 1.0 being the worst.

The following sections will give a more detailed breakdown of the specific data points we used to evaluate credit repair companies in each category.

Data Collection

We collected nearly 700 data points about 17 credit repair companies, mostly consisting of publicly available information. We also reached out to company representatives for more information and clarification.

Costs and Fees

We looked at the following criteria to evaluate how much it will cost to work with each credit repair company, with the accompanying weights.

  • Free credit consultation (9%)
  • Minimum monthly plan fee (9%)
  • Money-back guarantee terms (8%)
  • Minimum first work fee (5%)
  • Minimum cancellation fee (4%)
  • Cancellation term (3%)
  • Discount opportunities (2.5%)

Companies with lower prices, better cancellation policies, and friendly money-back guarantees scored higher. Overall, these factors accounted for 40.5% of the total score.

A company’s Google profile is a common place for customers to go when they want to leave a review for a business they’ve interacted with. These reviews often appear when you search for a company’s name using the Google search engine. Reviews consist of a star rating on a scale of 1 to 5 and an optional section for the customer to write a more detailed explanation of the score they gave.

In our methodology, Google reviews were assigned scores based on average star rating as follows:

Free Credit Consultation

It’s vital to understand your credit repair situation before you begin credit repair. A credit consultant can go through your credit reports to identify errors and credit problems that could be bringing your score down, and make a plan to improve.

We gave companies a score of 1 if they do offer a free credit consultation, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 9% of the total score.

Minimum Monthly Plan Fee

Credit repair comes at a variety of price points; some companies charge more or less for similar services. We rated companies on a range of 0 to 1 based on their minimum monthly plan fees; those with the lowest fees scored higher. This factor accounted for 9% of the total score.

Money-Back Guarantee Terms

Some companies will give your money back if you’re not satisfied with the service (either the first work fee or the monthly fee, or both). This can give customers more confidence to work with any given company. We scored companies on a range of 0 to 1 depending on whether or not they offer money-back guarantees, with longer terms scoring higher. This criterion accounted for 8% of the total score.

Minimum First Work Fee

Credit repair companies often charge first work fees to get started (in addition to monthly fees). We rated companies on a scale of 0 to 1 for this factor, with lower first work fees scoring higher. This factor accounted for 5% of the total score.

Minimum Cancellation Fee

Most credit repair companies don’t charge to cancel their service, but some do. We gave companies a score of 0 if they have a cancellation fee, and a score of 1 if they do not; this factor accounted for 4% of the total score.

Cancellation Term

While some companies let you cancel anytime for free, some only allow this during a certain window, like three to five days after signing up. We gave companies a score of 1 for this criterion if they allow cancellation anytime, and a score of 0 if there is any kind of limit. This criterion accounted for 3% of the total score.

Discount Opportunities

You may find discounts on credit repair services, like for couples, friends, military members, or seniors. We gave companies a score of 1 if they offer any discount opportunities, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 2.5% of the total score.

Services

Credit repair companies may offer a variety of services along with traditional credit repair. We examined the following plan details and service options:

  • Credit monitoring (8%)
  • Maximum number of monthly disputes (8%)
  • List of letters to creditors and credit bureaus (5%)
  • Hard inquiry disputing (4%)
  • Business credit repair (3%)
  • Identity theft insurance (2%)
  • Selling/renting tradelines (2%)
  • Days to first work (1%)
  • Debt management program (1%)


Companies that offer more comprehensive packages, with important services like credit monitoring included at no cost, scored higher. Overall, services accounted for 34% of the total score.

Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring is an important tool in the credit repair process; it allows you to track your progress and make sure you’re actually getting something for your money. We scored companies on a range of 0 to 1 depending on if they offer credit monitoring services; companies that include it at no cost scored higher. This factor accounted for 8% of the total score.

Maximum Number of Monthly Disputes

Some credit repair companies will only send a certain number of credit disputes per month, which could make the process longer and costlier. We gave companies a score of 1 if they send unlimited disputes, and a score of 0 if they have a limit. This accounted for 8% of the total score.

List of Letters to Creditors and Credit Bureaus

There are a variety of different kinds of credit disputes, like debt validation letters, Section 604 disputes, and goodwill removal requests. We scored companies on a scale of 0 to 1 depending on the number of different types of letters they’ll send, with more letter types scoring higher. This factor accounted for 5% of the total score.

Hard Inquiry Disputing

Not all credit repair companies will dispute hard inquiries, but this could be important for your situation. We scored companies on a scale of 0 to 1 depending on whether or not they dispute hard inquiries, and if this service is included or costs extra. This criterion accounted for 4% of the total score.

Business Credit Repair

Most credit repair companies only focus on personal credit, but some can help improve your business credit, too. We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide business credit services, and a score of 0 if they do not. This factor accounted for 3% of the total score.

Identity Theft Insurance

Some people who need credit repair services have been victims of identity theft, and need special attention. We scored companies on a scale of 0 to 1 depending on whether or not they offer identity theft insurance, and whether or not it’s included; companies that offer ID theft insurance at no cost scored highest. This criterion accounted for 2% of the total score.

Selling/Renting Tradelines

Some credit repair companies may offer tradelines for sale, in which you can pay to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. But this can be against the terms of credit card agreements, and it's not a recommended method to improve your credit. We gave companies a score of 0 if they offer tradelines, and a score of 1 if they do not; this accounted for 2% of the total score.

Days to First Work

When you pay for credit repair, how long will it take the company to actually begin working on your behalf? This time period can vary by company. We scored companies on a scale of 0 to 1 for this criterion; companies that begin work more quickly scored higher. This criterion accounted for 1% of the total score.

Debt Management Program

If you need credit repair, you may be struggling to pay off debt as well. Some credit repair companies offer debt management programs to help you budget and get a handle on your finances. We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide a debt management program, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 1% of the total score.

Customer Experience

The customer experience can vary greatly from one credit repair company to another. Some are transparent about their offerings, with modern online portals, mobile apps, and solid customer support. Others have antiquated websites and unhelpful or misleading customer service. We looked at the following criteria to judge the customer experience for each company:

  • Monthly plan fee info available online (3.5%)
  • First work fee info available online (3%)
  • Company-specific FAQ page (3%)
  • Online portal (3%)
  • iOS app (2.5%)
  • Android app (2.5%)
  • Customer support ticketing (2%)
  • Customer support live chat (2%)
  • General educational materials (1%)

The credit repair companies that scored higher in this category educate their customers about credit, are more transparent about their pricing, and provide convenient avenues for customer support. Overall, these criteria accounted for 22.5% of the total score

Monthly Plan Fee Info Available Online

The credit repair industry is notorious for shady, untrustworthy companies, so transparency is important. We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide their monthly plan fees online, and a score of 0 if they do not; this criterion accounted for 3.5% of the total score.

First Work Fee Info Available Online

We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide their first work fees online, and a score of 0 if they do not. This accounted for 3% of the total score.

Company-Specific FAQ Page

Some credit repair companies provide comprehensive explanations of the services they offer, while others make it difficult to know what you’ll actually get. We gave companies a score of 1 if they have a company-specific FAQ page detailing the service, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 3% of the total score.

Online Portal

A modern online customer portal is a convenient way to monitor your account, but some credit repair websites lack this and look like they’re from the last decade. We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide an online customer portal, and a score of 0 if they do not. This accounted for 3% of the total score.

iOS App

We gave credit repair companies a score of 1 here if they offer an iOS app (for iPhone), and a score of 0 if they do not. iOS app availability accounted for 2.5% of the total score. 

Android App

We gave credit repair companies a score of 1 if they offer an Android app, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 2.5% of the total score. 

Customer Support Ticketing

Customer support tickets (or online forms) are an easy way to communicate with credit repair companies. We gave companies a score of 1 if they offer this channel, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 2% of the total score.

Customer Support Live Chat

Most credit repair companies don’t provide a live web chat, but a few do. We gave companies a score of 1 if they offer live chat on their website, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 2% of the total score.

General Educational Materials

Repairing your credit is only part of the battle; if you don’t understand how credit works and how to keep it in good shape, you could wind up needing help again. We gave companies a score of 1 if they provide educational materials on credit, and a score of 0 if they do not. This criterion accounted for 1% of the total score.

Stability

In this category we looked at a single criterion to judge the long-term stability of credit repair companies:

  • Year established (3%)

Companies with more time in business scored higher in this category.

Year Established

Credit repair companies come and go, but a long track record can give customers more confidence to work with a company. We scored companies on a range of 0 to 1 depending on how long they’ve been in business, with older companies scoring higher. This accounted for 3% of the total score.

Choosing the Best Credit Repair Company for You

It can be difficult to compare credit repair companies. They offer similar services, but at different prices and with slightly different details. They aren’t usually too transparent about their plans and fees, and they may not state exactly what they’ll do to help improve your credit.

Our reviews of credit repair companies are intended to cut through the confusion and provide you with objective, accurate information. We determined the most important factors for customers and rated each company according to how well they meet those criteria. We gathered publicly available information when possible, and reached out to company representatives for more detailed information about services and pricing.

We sifted through the credit repair industry to find the most effective services available. Browse our picks for the best credit repair companies to get started improving your credit today.