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Is your credit score a little underwhelming?
Having good credit is vitally important in the world we currently live in. It can either make or break you when it comes to qualifying for a loan, obtaining certain jobs, renting an apartment, and other things. Your credit score even matters when acquiring a cell phone on contract without having to put down a deposit.
To say that having good credit is important is an understatement.
While it’s definitely possible to improve your credit score yourself – the DIY approach – there are some advantages of using a credit repair company that are worth considering. If the subject of rebuilding your credit is something you find confusing or if you just don’t have the time for it, using a credit repair service may be a good option.
But which one should you go with?
While there are many companies that specialize in credit repair, I’m going to go over the ones I consider to be the five best. Let’s take a closer look then at the five best credit repair companies.
1. Sky Blue Credit Repair
Sky Blue Credit Repair, in my opinion, is currently the best option.
Sky Blue Credit has been in the credit repair business since 1989. The plan they offer is very simple. For one low price, you get all of the features they offer. You don’t have to worry about making decisions on which plan features you need, and you don’t have to deal with the headaches that come with expensive upgrades. It’s also possible to pause your service if you ever need to take a break.
Sky Blue Credit carefully analyzes your credit reports to identify items to dispute. After items have been selected that the company believes it can have removed, it then goes to work on your behalf.
When Sky Blue Credit reviews your credit reports, it also looks for ways you can improve your score by identifying untapped opportunities. This is an important feature to consider since there are many factors that go into determining your credit score, some of which you may not have realized.
Sky Blue Credit works efficiently. They will dispute up to 15 items every 35 days (five items per credit bureau). The company also provides guidance to help you open new secured credit cards to help you rebuild your credit. They also provide guidance in managing your card balances so that it will have the most impact on improving your credit score.
Extra services are provided at no additional cost including debt validation, goodwill letters, cease and desist letters, and debt settlement/negotiation consultations.
Signing up with Sky Blue Credit is very easy, and it only takes a few minutes to get started. A one-time fee of $79 covers the review and setup of your account. After that, the service is $79 per month.
Another pricing option that Sky Blue Credit offers is its special for couples. Couples get to enjoy a special rate of $119 for the review and setup and $119 per month after that. You do not have to be married to qualify for the couples pricing. If you live with someone, for example, you will qualify.
You can cancel your service at any time without any further obligation. And if you aren’t sure about whether Sky Blue Credit can help you, the company offers a 90-day guarantee. They state on their website that if you aren’t satisfied, they will refund your money in full.
Visit Sky Blue Credit’s website to learn more.
2. Credit Saint
Credit Saint is another credit repair company that has a strong reputation, and it’s another good option to consider as you evaluate different options. Credit Saint currently has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. It is also top-ranked in both Consumers Advocate and Consumer Affairs.
One aspect of Credit Saint that I really like is that if you use their service, you will be assigned to a team of specialists who work on your case. A member of your team will call you periodically to make sure everything is on track and to answer any questions you may have. You can review your account online at any time to monitor your progress.
Credit Saint offers different levels of service and, as you might have guessed, they have different prices. The initial fee to get started – or “first work fee,” as they call it – is either $99 or $195, depending on the service package you choose. After that, the monthly fee is either $79.99, $99.99, or $119.99, depending on your package.
It’s important to review the services offered in each package before making a decision. If you have any questions, give the company a call.
Credit Saint offers a 90-day guarantee.
Visit Credit Saint’s website to learn more.
3. The Credit People
Another great option to consider if you are thinking about using a credit repair company is The Credit People.
The Credit People start the credit repair process by reviewing your credit reports to identify anything negative and to see how improvements can be made. They then get to work disputing anything that looks questionable and work to improve your score.
The Credit People take care of everything. They obtain your credit reports and oversee the credit repair process from start to finish. You can review everything online on the company’s website to check your progress. You can access your account from either a computer or via your smartphone.
Although everyone’s situation is different, The Credit People claim that most people begin to see results with 60 days and that best results are usually achieved within 4-6 months.
The Credit People charge $19 to get started. After that, it’s $79 a month. Once you sign up, you’ll receive a welcome call and your account will be set up online within just a few days.
The Credit People guarantee that you will be satisfied with the work they do. If you are paying on a monthly basis, you can cancel at any time and not be charged for the month you are currently in. And if you select their flat-fee option, the company offers a six-month guarantee.
Visit The Credit People’s website to learn more.
4. Lexington Law
Lexington Law is another popular credit repair company that is worth considering if you are looking for professional help with improving your credit score.
One thing I really like about this company is that you can call and talk to someone about your situation before making a commitment. The 10-minute consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to go with them just by talking to them.
Lexington Law states on its website that your case will be handled by a team of paralegals. They also state that they have successfully had over 10,000,000 items removed from people’s credit reports since 2017. And they also state that they have over 500,000 active clients.
Like many credit repair companies, you can follow the progress on your case online.
Lexington law offers different levels of service, depending on your needs. Prices range from $89.85 to $129.95 per month. The average client stays with Lexington Law for about six months.
Visit Lexington Law’s website to learn more.
5. The Credit Pros
The last company that makes the list of best credit repair companies that I want to discuss is The Credit Pros.
This company offers a host of features including personalized score insights, help in understanding your score, and credit monitoring at no additional charge. Credit monitoring is a tool you can use to spot identity theft.
When you sign up with The Credit Pros, an action plan will be developed with a Certified FICO Professional for your unique situation. Also covered in your plan are cease and desist letters sent to collection agencies, debt validation and goodwill letters sent to creditors, and you can also take advantage of an unlimited amount of disputes while on their monthly plan.
Like other companies, The Credit Pros offers different levels of service with different price points. For just $19 a month, you can sign up for their Credit Sentry Monitoring service. Credit repair services are offered from $119 – $149 a month, depending on the services you sign up for.
Visit The Credit Pros’ website to learn more.
Related: How to Increase Your Credit Score
What Are the Benefits of Having Good Credit?
Having good credit isn’t something that’s just nice to have. Your life can be negatively impacted in several ways if your score is low. Let’s take a look at several ways having good credit can improve your life.
1. It Will Help You Qualify for Loans
One of the most common reasons people need good credit is to qualify for loans. It could be a personal loan, car loan, home loan, or something else. If your score is low or if you are just starting out in life and you don’t have a score, it’s possible that you may be declined a loan.
In addition to determining whether you qualify for a loan, having a good score can also help you secure a lower interest rate on a loan. Interest is the money you pay to borrow and use money. And in many cases, the interest rate of your loan is determined based on your credit score. If you have an excellent score, you’ll have a better chance of qualifying for the best interest rates.
Having a good credit score doesn’t guarantee that you will be approved for a loan, of course. Lending institutions consider other factors too including how much you make and how much debt you currently have. But having a good credit score is a major factor that is considered.
2. It Will Help You Qualify for a Credit Card
Credit cards are now very common. In fact, there are some who rely solely on credit cards or debit cards for all of their transactions and they no longer carry cash.
Obtaining a secured credit card if your credit score is low is an option for those with low credit scores. A secured credit card is when you put down a deposit with a bank or credit union and you then have a line of credit you can use that is equal to your deposit.
The problem with secured credit cards, however, is that many people don’t have a lot of extra money for a down payment to obtain a line of credit. Regular credit cards don’t require a deposit. A strong credit score will help you obtain a regular credit card.
A good credit card is also necessary for qualifying for the best credit cards. Not all credit cards offer the same benefits. Some of the best cards, for example, offer some amazing reward incentives for using them, like travel miles and reward points that can be redeemed for merchandise. To qualify for one of these premium cards, you’ll need a really good credit score.
Another advantage of having a good credit score when it comes to credit cards is that it can help you to negotiate an increased spending limit if needed.
3. It Helps You Rent an Apartment
Landlords want to be assured that you can actually pay your monthly rent when they approve you for an apartment or another type of rental home. Because of this, most landlords do credit checks before they will rent to you.
If you don’t have a good credit score, there’s a chance that you may not qualify to rent a place to live. This could be a major problem if you really need a place to live – like when you are moving to a new town or city for a new job. If your score is low, you may have to take whatever place is available – even if it’s in a bad neighborhood or it’s not a nice place.
Some communities have tight housing markets, and when a rental unit becomes available, many people may be applying for the same place. You don’t want to be in a position where your application is either rejected or placed at the bottom of the stack because your score isn’t competitive.
4. It Helps You Avoid Deposits on Utilities
It’s not uncommon when you move to a new place to have to put down a deposit on your utilities if you don’t have a good credit score. The amount you have to pay can vary, but $100 – $200 is typical. This can be a major burden if your finances are tight and you are in a position where you have to move.
If you have a good credit score, many utilities will allow you to sign up for service without having to put down a deposit.
5. It Helps You Get a Cell Phone
Most people these days have and use cell phones. Can you imagine living life without one? They are handy to have in case of emergencies. And it’s not like you can pull over and use a payphone somewhere – pay telephones are pretty much a thing of the past.
While it’s definitely possible to get a prepaid cell phone without a contract or deposit, many prefer a monthly cell phone plan with a major carrier. Unfortunately, if you don’t have good credit, you may be required to put down an expensive deposit when you sign up for cell phone service. If you have good credit, however, a company may not require a deposit.
6. It Helps You Save on Car Insurance
Car insurance companies also use your credit score as a factor in determining your auto insurance rate. People with low credit scores, they state, file more claims than those with higher credit scores. Therefore, higher premiums are charged to those with lower scores.
Having a good credit score isn’t just important in obtaining an auto loan with low interest, it’s also important to make sure you don’t end up paying more than you have to for your vehicle’s insurance. There are many ways that having a good credit score can help you save money.
7. It Can Help You Get a Job
Did you know that many employers run credit checks on job applicants before making a hiring decision? It’s true. Employers want to make sure that the people they hire are responsible. A good way to do that is to see if you use credit responsibly.
Do you pay your bills on time? If so, this is an indication that you might be a responsible employee. Employers consider many things when making a hiring decision, of course, and a person’s credit history is an important factor.
8. It Can Give You More Negotiating Power
Many lending institutions compete for business. It’s now possible, for example, to go online and complete a mortgage application, and have multiple banks make offers for your business. That is – if you have good credit.
Lending institutions consider people with good credit scores to be stable and reliable. In other words, they are good people to make loans to. The possibility of them defaulting on the loan is low. With a good credit score, banks will consider you a low-risk borrower – just the type of people they like to do business with.
Credit Repair FAQ
If you are still unsure of whether it’s possible to improve your credit score, whether by doing it yourself or by hiring a company, the following are some frequently asked questions about credit and the credit repair process to consider.
What Is Credit Repair?
Credit repair involves taking steps to improve a poor credit rating. Credit repair could involve disputing mistakes on credit reports, for example. It could also involve cleaning up the damage caused by a stolen identity.
Some credit repair issues are relatively simple and straightforward, like disputing errors on credit reports. In fact, many prefer to do these things themselves to save money. The three credit reporting agencies make it very easy to dispute errors, and they even have forms on their websites you can fill out and submit.
Other things, like dealing with fraud caused by someone stealing an identity, can be more complicated. Many choose to hire a credit repair company to help them deal with these issues when they occur.
Does Credit Repair Work?
Is it really possible to improve your credit score? It’s a question that many ponder after experiencing financial difficulty. Many would like to take whatever steps are necessary to get back on their feet after going through whatever it was that caused their credit scores to decline, and the idea of credit repair sounds great.
But does it really work?
It’s important to understand that credit repair can successfully remove some negative things from your credit reports, but it probably won’t take care of everything. Credit repair isn’t something you can do to wipe the slate clean and instantly improve your score. It isn’t as simple as waving a magic wand.
The credit repair process takes time. And while it is possible to have errors removed from your credit report, you may not be able to have negative things on your report removed that are legitimate. Just because something bad appears on your credit report doesn’t mean it’s something you can have removed.
Before attempting credit repair or hiring a company to do it for you, it’s important to be realistic about what the process can accomplish for you. Everyone’s situation is different. Because of this, credit repair may be able to improve some people’s scores while others may see little to no improvement in their scores.
How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?
The many credit repair companies all price their services differently. In many cases, how much you pay depends on the level of service you want. Some companies offer flat fees for their services while others have different packages. It’s important to evaluate different companies, their prices, and the services they offer before making a decision.
It’s important to keep in mind when estimating the cost that the credit repair process can take 4-6 months. It takes time for the dispute process to be completed and to have negative items removed from your credit reports.
Depending on the company and the service package you choose, you can expect to pay an initial setup fee. These fees vary in price from approximately $20 – $200. The setup fee typically covers setting up your account and acquiring and reviewing your credit reports. After that, you will be required to pay a monthly fee to continue the process. This fee typically ranges from $80 – $200. Some companies offer flat rates for the entire process.
Before you decide on a credit repair company, be sure to compare the services and fees each one charges to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
How Long Does Credit Repair Take?
Every person’s financial situation is going to be different when starting the credit repair process. However, most credit repair companies state that the typical customer stays with them for a period of 4-6 months.
When disputes are initiated on errors that appear on people’s credit reports, it can take some time to have those items removed. Because of this, it’s important to have a realistic view of the process and to understand that it can take several months for entire process to be completed.
Can I Repair My Own Credit?
Yes, you can repair your credit yourself. In fact, many people do just that. But there are some distinct advantages to using a credit repair company that are worth considering. Depending on your situation, it may make sense to use a professional service instead of trying to do the job yourself.
Professional credit repair companies have experience working with creditors and credit bureaus. I like to compare it to changing the oil in your vehicle. Yes, many people change their own oil, but by taking your car to a mechanic to have the oil changed, you have a lot less hassle to deal with. Most mechanics have years of experience changing oil in all makes and models of vehicles. They also already have a garage and all of the tools they need to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Using a professional service to fix your credit may also make sense if you don’t have a lot of extra time. Many people work long hours, and the last thing they want to do on their day off is deal with credit disputes. It just depends on how much free time you have and how much you value that time.
Another important benefit of using a professional service to dispute things on your credit reports – and this is a big one to consider – is they have a solid understanding of the law regarding these issues. A credit professional should have a solid understanding of The Fair Credit Reporting Act, The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, The Fair Credit Billing Act, and other laws and regulations.
Do Credit Repair Companies Really Help?
To answer this question, it’s important to understand that the main thing credit repair companies do is dispute items on your credit reports. While most of these companies do offer other services, disputing items on your credit reports is the main strategy they use to improve your credit.
As previously mentioned, it is possible to dispute items on your credit reports yourself, but there are some advantages to using one of these companies. It might be worth using one if you don’t have a lot of free time, for example. Also, these companies stay current with the laws that govern issues pertaining to credit.
Perhaps the best benefit of using a credit repair company is that you can essentially “set it and forget it” while the company does all of the work for you. You can then periodically check on your account online to review the things the company has done on your behalf and to see what still needs to be done.
It’s important to have realistic expectations if you decide to use the services of one of these companies. Yes, it’s definitely possible to improve your credit by having negative items removed from your credit reports, but it may take some time to see improvements to your score. I like to compare it to turning around a large aircraft carrier at sea. Just as aircraft carriers don’t turn on a dime, it may also take some time for your credit score to improve.
Another factor to consider with credit repair is that to improve your credit score, you have to pay all of your bills on time and be responsible with your finances. There are many different factors that go into determining your credit score. For example, if your credit cards are currently maxed out and you are making minimum monthly payments, this could negatively impact your score.
Even the best credit repair companies may not be able to improve your credit score if you continue to make poor financial decisions. These companies can definitely help, but you have a responsibility, too.
Also Read: How to Save Money on a Low Income Budget
What Is a Credit Report?
A credit report is a summation of your credit history that is compiled by the three different credit bureaus. These bureaus include TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. A credit bureau takes the information reported to it from creditors (the good and the bad) and then calculates a credit score that lending institutions can use to determine if you would be a low-risk customer.
Many different companies report information to the three credit bureaus including lending institutions (banks and credit unions), cell phone companies, credit card companies, utilities, and others. Credit reports also may contain personal information including your name and address, employment history, and social security number.
What Is a Credit Check?
A credit check can be done for a variety of reasons. It can be done when you are applying for a loan, for example, or when you are trying to obtain a cell phone without a deposit. Essentially, a credit check is when a creditor reviews your credit history to see if you are a low-risk person to lend to.
When a credit check is performed, information is pulled from one or more of the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. The report shows a summation of your credit history and also a score that is calculated based on a variety of factors that lenders can quickly use to evaluate your payment history.
There are two different types of credit checks – hard and soft. A hard credit check can lower your credit score. A soft credit check, on the other hand, has no impact.
What’s the difference?
A hard credit check is typically done when you are applying for a credit card or loan. These credit checks are more thorough than soft checks.
It’s important to point out that hard credit checks can lower your score by one to five points each time they are done. They can also stay on your credit report for up to two years and they are visible to lenders. Because of these factors, it’s best to limit the number of hard credit checks as much as possible.
A soft credit check does not give creditors your entire credit history and is typically used to send you pre-approved offers (such as offers for pre-approved credit cards). Soft credit checks do not affect your credit score and are not visible to creditors.
How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?
There are three different credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Most people think they have one score, but they actually have three – a score reported by each of the three bureaus. The scores reported by each bureau may be different. Nevertheless, they can still be used by creditors and others to determine whether you will be a low-risk customer.
Your credit score is determined based on five different factors:
- Payment history (35%)
- Credit utilization (30%)
- Length of credit history (15%)
- Credit mix (10%)
- New credit (10%)
The first item, payment history, refers to your previous payments and whether you made those payments on time. Your payment history is a very important factor in determining your credit score.
Credit utilization refers to the amount of available credit that you have available. To achieve a good credit utilization, you want to make sure that no more than 30% of your available credit is in use at any given time.
Length of credit history simply refers to how long a particular credit account has been open. If you’ve had a credit account with a company for several years, for example, this is generally considered to be a good thing. It means your account is established and you have several years of payment history that can be reviewed.
The credit mix refers to having different types of credit. If could refer to your utilities, cell phone, home loan, student loan, credit cards, and other accounts.
Lastly, new credit refers to all of the new credit accounts you opened over the previous year.
What Is a Good Credit Score?
To understand what a good credit score is, it’s first necessary to understand the credit scoring range. There are two different credit scoring models that are used: FICO and VantageScore. FICO is the most common.
Credit scores are reported from a low of 300 to a high of 850. The following is the typical breakdown of how lending institutions view credit scores:
- 800 – 850 (Excellent)
- 740 – 799 (Very Good)
- 670 – 739 (Good)
- 580 – 699 (Fair)
- 300 – 579 (Bad)
How Often Is Your Credit Score Updated?
Your payment history is reported to the three credit bureaus every single month. Both good payments and late payments are reported. Old information is also removed from your reports. Because of this, the information that is used to determine your credit scores is constantly changing, thus causing your credit score to continually change.
Your credit scores do not fluctuate from day to day. Rather, a new score is calculated every time someone does a credit check on you. The score that the credit bureaus provide represents the information they have at a particular point in time.
Best Credit Repair Companies – Final Thoughts
In the world we currently live in, having a good credit score is critical. It can help you get a loan, secure a place to live, and even help you land a good job. And if your score is not the greatest, it’s vitally important that you take corrective action to turn things around.
Yes, it’s definitely possible to dispute errors on your credit reports yourself, but it can be a tedious and time-consuming task, and it can take a while to see results. The primary advantage of letting a professional do the job for you is saving time. Professionals also stay updated on all of the laws pertaining to the credit industry.
The best credit repair companies can save you so much more than your time. They can also help you keep your sanity as you navigate the credit repair jungle. If you are unsure of whether one of these companies can help you, give them a call and talk to a representative. It’ll just take a few minutes of your time. It could just be the conversation that starts the process of turning things around and helping you to obtain the good credit score that you deserve.
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