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Today, Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE: BKI), an award-winning software, data and analytics provider to the mortgage and consumer loan, real estate and capital markets verticals, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Top of Mind Networks (Top of Mind), developer of Surefire, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation system for the mortgage industry, for approximately $250 million in cash. Top of Mind was previously majority owned by Primus Capital, with significant minority ownership by the company’s original founders.
“Through its Surefire marketing automation and CRM platform, Top of Mind has brought incredible value to the sales and marketing side of the mortgage industry by helping lenders gain powerful competitive advantages for their loan officers,” said Anthony Jabbour, CEO, Black Knight. “Integrating Surefire’s capabilities within the wider Black Knight mortgage technology ecosystem will make it possible for lender clients of all sizes to close more loans and create customers for life.”
The Surefire platform helps thousands of mortgage professionals – from individuals, to mid-sized firms, to enterprises – win new and repeat business. Its intuitive, automated workflows and award-winning personalized content inspire emotional connections with customers, helping to increase sales and improve recapture and retention. Unique workflows with relevant, rich content categories are easily deployable across all marketing channels, while out-of-the-box integrations provide interconnectivity to major loan origination systems, CRMs, points of sale, lead sources and sales acceleration systems.
“Top of Mind and Black Knight are a great strategic fit because we both share a passion for delivering innovation, adding value and driving growth for our clients,” said Top of Mind CEO Bill Hayes. “Our team is looking forward to working with Black Knight to help lenders and servicers create customers for life by engaging their customers with timely communications and highly personalized touchpoints, while helping clients stay compliant in their marketing efforts.”
Black Knight will initially focus on integrating Surefire with its Empower loan origination system (LOS) and enhancing integrations with its Optimal Blue PPE (product, pricing and eligibility engine) before creating new connections and integrations to serve both lenders and servicers. Future development will include growth opportunities for servicers’ borrower retention via Servicing Digital and Realtor lead development for lenders through Black Knight’s Paragon MLS platform.
Overview of OfferingsTop of Mind solutions modernize mortgage workflow, compliance and the digital customer experience. To enable lenders and mortgage professionals to create customers for life by cultivating and maintaining customer relationships, the Top of Mind Surefire platform:
Extends and enriches existing channels by supporting lead generation through integrations with point-of-sale platforms, social media and web sites; instant lead routings; automatic database updates; and partner channel integration.
Converts leads to applications with speed, helping clients maintain a competitive edge and convert leads with best-in-class tools; prospect workflows; immediate lead follow-up; and AI-driven prospect targeting.
Helps lenders close more loans by automatically educating and assisting clients through the loan process via dedicated educational workflows; credit repair guides; and automated communications.
Maximizes repeat and referral business by cultivating and maintaining customer relationships; providing client listing alerts; personalizing follow-up content; and initiating post-close campaigns.
Provides an unparalleled customer experience through education, timely content, additional materials to guide their borrowing journey, and offers of help throughout the application process.
Creates a seamless customer experience by delivering the same interactive, engaging marketing content through mobile devices.
Develops and delivers the right message by using creative content via prospects’ or customers’ medium(s) of choice.
“The acquisition of Top of Mind is a continuation of our strategy to deliver innovative solutions to our clients that will help them achieve their strategic priorities,” Jabbour added. “Our combined clients will be able to access additional market-leading offerings from a single, trusted provider, while we will be able to further expand Black Knight’s opportunities to cross-sell our solutions through Top of Mind’s broad reach among more than 850 commercial banks, mortgage banks, credit unions and mortgage brokerage companies.”
Transaction DetailsThe transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review. Black Knight anticipates the acquisition of Top of Mind will contribute approximately $13 million in incremental revenue to Black Knight’s Origination Software business in the second half of 2021, subject to transaction timing.
Trasimene Capital Management acted as the financial advisor, and Smith Hulsey & Busey acted as legal advisor, to Black Knight.
Vaquero Capital acted as financial advisor, and Goodwin Procter LLP acted as legal advisor, to Top of Mind.
Further DetailsFurther details regarding the acquisition will be discussed on Black Knight’s upcoming second quarter 2021 earnings call in August. The date and time of the earnings call will be announced in mid-July.
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Now that most students are starting to return to in-person school, many young adults and their parents are once again looking for the right credit card. Having a credit card offers students a secure and convenient method of payment. It also helps students build credit and even earn some rewards. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students excels at all of these tasks.
Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 cash rewards after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.
Rewards: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee: None
APR: 13.99% to 23.99%
Promotional Financing Offer: 15 months of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers.
How This Card Works
This card is a very competitive rewards card, especially for a student card. New applicants earn $200 in cash back after making $1,000 worth of new purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Additionally, you earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
But rewards shouldn’t be the most important thing to students. Instead, consider this card because it’s very easy for Bank of America customers to manage, along with their checking and savings accounts. It also helps students to build their credit by offering them a free FICO score each month. It’s compatible with digital wallet technology and can be managed by a full featured mobile app.
New accounts also receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, and there’s no annual fee for this card.
While most student credit cards are very basic, this one comes with generous rewards, including a new account bonus. Other advantages are its promotional financing offer and free monthly FICO score. There’s no annual fee for this card, but that’s expected with a product designed for students.
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If this card has one disadvantage is that it may be that it’s too generous. Offering students rewards for spending could encourage some to incur debt, which is never a good idea. Likewise, interest free promotional financing won’t cost students anything to carry a balance, at first. But this offer expires after 15 months, and some cardholders may get in the bad habit of just charging it and worrying about the payments later. But so long as students use this card responsibly, these drawbacks will not matter.
Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card. This card offers 1% cash back on most purchases, and 5% back on up to $1,500 spent each month on rotating categories of purchases. You also receive 6 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases, and a $20 statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to five years with the Discover it Student Cash Back card. There’s no annual fee for this card.
Capital One Journey Student Rewards. This card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an increase to 1.25% when you make your payments on-time. There’s no annual fee for the Capital One Journey Student Rewards card.
Chase Freedom® Student credit card. This card offers a $50 bonus when you make your first purchase within three months of account opening. It also offers a $20 good standing reward each year on your account anniversary, for five years. You can earn a credit limit increase when you make five monthly payments on-time within 10 months of account opening. There’s no annual fee for this card.
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A credit repair company could improve your chances of getting approved.
Credit Repair companies, like Credit Saint, specialize in finding and helping you remove mistakes on your report to help you improve your credit.
If you would like to refinance your current home loan but lack the credit score to snag a low rate, this article is for you. Here, we’ll suggest ways you can improve your current interest rate, even if your credit is less than perfect.
Can you refinance your mortgage with bad credit?
The short answer is maybe. It’s certainly not out of the question. If you’re looking for a conventional refinance, you’ll likely need a credit score of 620 or higher. Don’t let that discourage you if you’re not quite there, though. A mortgage lender will also consider factors like how much you earn and your cash reserves (to determine whether you can cover financial emergencies). Even if your credit score is low, a lender may be willing to take the risk as long as other aspects of your application are strong.
But first, you need to know where to start.
Speak with your current lender
Let your current lender know that you’d like to refinance and find out if it offers options that will work for you. The best thing about working with your current lender is that it knows your mortgage file and can quickly determine whether you’d qualify for any of their refinance programs, even with bad credit.
Your current lender may help by changing your loan terms. For example, it may be willing to refinance your loan to a longer term. You’d end up paying more in total interest over the life of the loan if you extend it, but it will lower your payments and, hopefully, give your budget a little breathing room.
Also, if you’re still carrying private mortgage insurance (PMI) on your loan because you put less than 20% down when you purchased the property, find out how close you are to hitting the 20% equity mark. Once you have 20% equity in the property, your mortgage lender will drop PMI. Here’s how that works:
Get your home appraised. A home appraisal typically runs between $300 and $450. You have to pay for the appraisal, but it could take as little as two months to recoup the cost once PMI is dropped.
Figure out how much you still owe. Let’s say the appraisal comes in at $325,000, and you currently owe $250,000. That means you owe less than 80% of what the home is worth (giving you more than 20% equity) and are eligible to drop PMI. ($250,000 ÷ $325,000 = 0.769, or just shy of 77%).
Ask your lender to drop PMI. Provide your mortgage company with the appraisal and a written request to drop your PMI payments.
Seek a government-backed loan
Government-backed loans — like FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages — are designed for everyday people who may not have much cash to get into a home. Though regular mortgage lenders distribute them, these loans are backed by the U.S. government. Lenders know that if you default on the loan, the government will make them whole. Simply put, if you want to refinance but your credit score is nothing to write home about, a government-backed loan may be your best option. While these loans do have minimum credit qualifications, they are typically lower than a traditional mortgage.
If you currently have an FHA mortgage, the FHA streamline option allows you to refinance without a credit check or income verification. The catch is that your mortgage must be current. If you’re hoping to switch from a conventional loan to FHA, you’ll need to undergo the typical credit check.
Loans backed by the Veterans Administration are for active and former military members and their families. Although you will likely need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify (depending on the lender), a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (VA IRRRL) allows you to refinance an existing VA loan as long as you’ve made at least the last 12 payments on time. (This requirement varies by lender.) Lenders may also have guidelines regarding how long you’ve held your current mortgage. Unfortunately, there is no cash-out option available with a VA IRRRL.
Home buyers with an income of up to 115% of the median income for the area where they hope to buy (or refinance) a property may be eligible for a USDA loan. The home in question must be located in an area designated as USDA eligible.
If you have a current USDA loan, their streamlined assist program lets you refinance without a credit check. You qualify as long as you’ve made the last 12 months’ worth of payments.
Add a cosigner
Though we’re putting this option out there for your consideration, convincing a cosigner to refinance a mortgage is not as simple as it sounds. Not only do you have to talk someone into taking responsibility for your mortgage if you miss payments, but some lenders want the cosigner to be on the title of the home. In addition, if your credit score is very low, a cosigner may not help. That’s because mortgage lenders use the lowest median credit score between you. No matter how high your cosigner’s credit scores are from the big three credit reporting agencies, the lender will be more interested in your median score. Let’s say your three scores are 600, 590, and 580. It’s that middle score (590) they’ll use to make a credit decision.
That said, if your median score is right on the cusp of the lender’s minimum required score, having a cosigner with excellent credit may be enough to inspire the lender to refinance your mortgage. For example, if the minimum required score is 660, and your median score is 650, you may have a shot.
There’s no credit score so low that it can’t be rehabilitated. So as you work through your refinancing options, take steps to raise your credit score. You might not be able to do it overnight, but you can do it.In the meantime, if you’re not sure where to get started, look at the best mortgage lenders for bad credit. They can point you in the right direction.
A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage
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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
If you’re looking to improve your credit score or fix errors on your credit report, hiring a good credit repair company to handle the process for you is a wise decision. The best credit repair companies work on your behalf with the major credit bureaus to remove negative items that are hurting your credit score such as charge-offs, late payments, debt collections, and bankruptcies.
To help you find the best credit repair service for your needs, we’ve reviewed the top credit repair companies on factors such as effectiveness, credit repair reviews, speed of results, company reputation, and price.
If you’re ready to repair your credit and save thousands of dollars per year in interest, here are our top picks for the best credit repair companies of 2021:
The 7 Best Credit Repair Companies of 2021
#1 Credit Saint: Best Company Overall
Credit Saint is our top choice for the best credit repair company of 2021. Credit Saint has had an outstanding A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau for over 10 years and has helped thousands of customers successfully improve their credit scores.
Credit Saint starts by offering you a free consultation to go over your FICO credit score and to identify negative items that are damaging your credit. Once problem areas have been identified, Credit Saint will send challenges to all 3 credit bureaus on your behalf in an attempt to remove inaccurate information from your credit report.
Credit Saint can help remove questionable negative items such as:
Credit Saint is one of the most aggressive credit repair companies (which is a good thing) but they understand that one size does not fit all. Credit Saint has 3 different service packages to choose from, depending on your credit repair needs.
The Credit Polish package includes challenges to the 3 major credit bureaus, free score analysis, a credit score tracker, and 5 challenges of negative items per dispute cycle.
The Credit Remodel package includes everything in the Credit Polish package but also includes inquiry targeting, on-going credit monitoring through Experian, and 10 negative item disputes per cycle.
The Clean Slate package is the most aggressive option available. It includes everything in the above packages, but also comes with sending Cease & Desist letters on your behalf as well as challenging an unlimited number of inaccurate items on your report.
Overall, Credit Saint offers the best bang for your buck among all credit repair agencies we’ve reviewed. Their A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau is the best in the credit repair industry and they also offer a 90-day money back guarantee for their services. If you want a free credit consultation to see if they can help, you can talk to one of their credit pros for free without any obligation.
Free Credit Consultation
A+ Better Business Bureau Rating For Over 10 Years
#2 Lexington Law: Most Experienced Credit Repair Specialist
Lexington Law is the most experienced credit repair company in the United States with over 10,000,000 negative items removed from their clients’ credit reports in just 2017 alone.
Lexington Law is a company with a team of paralegals and lawyers that use specific laws to protect your credit from situations that may be out of your control. This credit repair company can help you if your credit score has been negatively affected by:
Lexington Law first works by obtaining a copy of your credit reports and then analyzes them for negative items that are harming your score. Their law firm will then send disputes on your behalf to challenge inaccurate items. They’ll provide you with an online dashboard, so you’ll have access to your progress every step of the way as well as solutions that can help you repair your credit even faster.
Lexington Law provides 3 different credit repair packages to choose from, depending on your needs. Price ranges from $89.95 to $129.95.
The Concord standard service is their basic package with prices starting at $89.95 per month. This includes challenging harmful items with the 3 credit bureaus as well as your creditors.
The Concord premier package includes everything in the standard service as well as score analysis, TransUnion alerts, and removing hard inquiries. This option costs $109.95 per month and is their intermediate service.
PremierPlus is their top of the line credit repair service that includes everything in the above packages as well as cease and desist letters, FICO score tracker, identity theft protection, and a suite of personal finance tools. This is their most powerful package at a price point of $129.95 per month.
Overall, Lexington Law is one of the most experienced credit repair agencies that you’ll find. They’re a little more expensive than other credit repair companies, but their quality of work is unmatched.
Get Help With Late Payments, Charge Offs, Collections, Foreclosures, & More
Ranked #1 Credit Repair Company By Many Independent Review Sites
#3 Sky Blue Credit: Top Company for Cheap Credit Repair
Sky Blue Credit is the best credit repair company if you’re looking for transparent pricing and excellent value. Rather than offering multiple credit repair options and service levels to choose from (which can be overwhelming), Sky Blue Credit offers all of its services for a flat-rate of $79 per month.
Sky Blue Credit Repair disputes 15 items on your credit report (5 items per bureau) every 35 days. This is a great value compared to credit repair companies that only dispute items every 45 to 60 days, charging you monthly fees during the process.
Once you sign up with Sky Blue Credit, you’ll be provided a detailed analysis of your credit history including any hard-to-spot errors that could be harming you. Once problems are identified, the Sky Blue credit pros will send customized disputes on your behalf. They also will send re-dispute letters if necessary, to maximize their chances of success. They also check on the statue of limitation for any debt you have as well.
Sky Blue offers their services free of charge for the first 6 days while they gather your reports and also offers an impressive 90-day money back guarantee. If you’re looking for the top credit repair services while on a budget, Sky Blue Credit is a great option to consider.
Clean Up Errors on Your Credit Report
All Services Included For One Low Monthly Rate
No First Work Fee and No Charge For The First 6 Days
#4 CreditRepair.com: Best for Free Credit Score Analysis
CreditRepair.com is one of the top credit repair companies for challenging inaccurate information on your credit report. This company has been around since 2012 and has removed over 1,800,000 harmful items from their clients’ credit reports since 2012.
When you sign up with CreditRepair.com, they’ll immediately retrieve your credit report and analyze it to find items that may be invalid, inaccurate, or misleading. They will then build you a personalized credit repair plan to not only remove negative items that are hurting your score, but also provide a strategy for rebuilding positive credit.
After thoroughly analyzing your credit reports, CreditRepair.com will begin challenging the negative items that are likely having the biggest impact on your score. They have several different methods for repairing your credit including debt validation letters and goodwill letters.
CreditRepair.com offers 3 different credit repair packages depending on your needs.
Direct – This is their entry-level package and includes up to 15 negative items challenged per month, and 3 creditor disputes per month. This plan costs $69.95, which is one of the lowest monthly fees in the credit repair industry. This plan is recommended for those with only a handful of negative items.
Standard – This package includes everything above plus cease & desist letters to creditors, quarterly credit score analysis, hard inquiry challenging, and 24/7 credit monitoring. This package is $99.95 per month.
Advanced – This is their most comprehensive credit repair plan and includes up to 19 negative item challenges per month and 6 creditor disputes per month. Additionally, you’ll also receive your monthly FICO score, ID theft protection, $1 million in identity theft insurance, and an array of personal finance tools. The advanced plan is just $119.95 per month, which is a pretty good value considering everything that’s included.
Overall, CreditRepair.com is one of the best options when it comes to credit repair. They have the top-rated credit repair app in the industry, which is available for both Android and iPhones.
50% off setup fee if you sign up with a friend or family member
Aggressive credit repair process that gets results
The Credit Pros is a fast-growing credit repair agency that has been in business for over 12 years and is trusted by over 200,000 clients nationwide. They maintain an A+ BBB rating and are consistently rated as one of the best credit repair services by many independent review sites.
The Credit Pros offer 3 different credit repair packages to meet the needs of all clients. Whether you’re looking for credit score monitoring or a full-fledged credit repair service, you’re likely to find a plan that meets your needs and budget. Here are the 3 packages that are offered by The Credit Pros.
The Money Management package is their entry-level plan that starts at just $49 per month. It includes Transunion credit monitoring, identity and dark web monitoring, as well as CashRules finance manager. The CashRules finance manager offers the ability to integrate your banks, set budgets, get alerts, and easily track transactions.
The Prosperity Package is $119 per month and should fit the needs of most credit repair clients. It includes everything in the Money Management package, but also offers 3-bureau credit repair. The AI-driven credit repair process includes:
Cease and desist letters to collection agencies (to stop harassment)
Debt validation letters to creditors
Goodwill letters to creditors
Unlimited dispute letters
One-on-One Action Plan With a Certified FICO professional
The Success Package is $149 per month and includes everything above + a guaranteed $1,500 line of credit. With the credit line, they report directly to Experian and Transunion, so you can improve your credit scores faster.
If you’re not sure what plan is right for you or if you have questions about your credit, you can request a free, no-obligation consultation to see if they can help.
Overall, The Credit Pros is one of the best options when it comes to hiring a credit repair agency. With unlimited disputes, 24/7 access to client portals, and identity theft protection with every plan, you can’t go wrong with The Credit Pros.
AI-Driven Credit Repair Technology
Quick Credit Repair For Expedited Results
A+ Better Business Bureau Rating
Credit Monitoring Is Included At No Additional Cost
One-on-One Action Plan With Certified FICO Specialist
Monthly Plan With Unlimited Dispute Letters Available
The Credit People is one of the top credit repair companies of 2021. This company has been in business for over 15 years, offering both monthly pay-as-you-go and six month flat-rate service plans.
The Credit People markets itself for unbeatable customer satisfaction and has earned features in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and SmartMoney.
The Credit People says that it can improve your credit score by 53 to 187 points. It’s important to note that these figures are estimates because credit repair companies cannot guarantee their services. (More on this in a moment.) The company also has had nearly 1.5 million negative items removed from credit reports since 2004.
The best overall company for repair speed has an equally impressive pedigree for quality. According to The Credit People website, lenders approved 71% of its users for home loans, and 78% secured auto loans. Its average customer saw a 32% improvement in their credit score after joining.
Some of the other perks of joining The Credit People include:
24/7 account access
Debt and inquiry validation
Toll-free customer support
The company charges an annual fee of $419 rather than a monthly one, making it cheaper than other credit repair services. You can try The Credit People for one week for $19 to see if you like it. The company also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
#7 Ovation Credit Services: Reputable Credit Fixer With Good Reviews
More than 120,000 people have already improved their credit score, thanks to Ovation Credit Services. This credit clean up company has made a name for itself with cost-effective results and outstanding customer support. Ovation Credit Services takes pride in building personal relationships with its customers and finding customized solutions to improve their credit reports.
All clients receive a free consultation during their initial appointment. The meeting gives case advisors a chance to review someone’s credit history and determine the appropriate credit cleaning services. Its site states that a quarter of people have at least one error on their credit report, and more than half have outdated information.
After you sign up to get started with Ovation Credit Services, your advisor will file disputes on your behalf. That can involve writing goodwill letters or contesting late payments with creditors. Ovation Credit works with credit reporting bureaus to make sure you have an accurate credit score.
This credit repair company has a first work fee of $89 for its basic package. After the first month, the work fees drop to $79 per month. Ovation Credit Services has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+ and a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot.
How Do Credit Repair Companies Work?
Credit repair companies start the process by helping you request a copy of your credit report with each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. An experienced credit professional will then examine your credit report for negative items that could be hurting your credit score such as:
After reviewing the derogatory items on your credit report, the company will start working with your creditors and the credit bureaus on your behalf.
Credit restoration services employ a variety of tactics to get harmful items removed from your credit report including:
Goodwill letters to your creditors
Requests to validate information
Dispute letters for inaccurate information
Cease-and-desist letters to stop harassment from debt collectors
Good credit help companies will also work with you to build positive credit history and provide tips to help optimize your credit score.
How We Chose The Best Credit Repair Companies
Credit Repair Reviews and Complaints
When it comes to the credit repair industry, a company’s reputation is everything. In order to find the best credit repair companies, we took a look at reviews and complaints from a variety of sources including:
Better Business Bureau
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints
The Better Business Bureau rates and reviews most credit repair companies, providing a letter grade between A+ and F. Just as in high school, the higher the grade, the better. The Better Business Bureau gives A+ ratings to credit repair agencies that exercise ethical business practices, and it makes good-faith efforts to resolve customer concerns. Consider it a red flag if a credit repair agency has an F rating.
For each credit repair service we reviewed, we took into consideration each company’s first-work fees. First-work fees go by many names, including advance fees, discovery fees, and setup fees. Whatever you call them, they serve the same purpose.
The Credit Repair Organization Act requires that credit repair companies do not charge for credit repair services until after work has been completed. This rule has been put in place to protect consumers against fraudulent credit repair companies that charge an exorbitant setup fee and then fail to provide the agreed-upon credit repair services.
In order to abide by these new regulations, credit repair companies charge first-work fees. First-work fees are usually billed about 7 days after you sign up with a credit repair company and after the first-stage of work has been completed.
Credit Repair Services Offered
In order to find the best credit repair company, we took into consideration the credit repair services and packages offered. Credit repair shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. The best companies should offer a variety of credit repair options, depending on the level of service you need.
Many credit repair companies have tiered packages that vary by the number of services included. For example, some credit fixers offer unlimited disputes per month while others offer credit monitoring or identity theft protection in their premium plans.
When evaluating the best credit repair companies, we took into consideration the following:
Credit repair packages offered
Whether credit monitoring is included
Number of credit disputes per month
Number of Credit Disputes Per Billing Cycle
One of the most important things you need to consider when hiring a credit fixing service is the number of monthly credit disputes included. Every time a credit repair company challenges a negative item on your credit report, it counts as a dispute.
Some reputable credit repair companies like The Credit Pros offer unlimited disputes per billing cycle, while other companies like Sky Blue Credit offer 15 disputes every 35 days. The number of monthly credit disputes will often depend on the credit repair package you choose.
An important thing to keep in mind is that a dispute has to be filed separately for each of the three major credit bureaus. So if you have a credit reporting error on all three credit bureaus, that will count as three separate disputes.
The best credit repair companies often offer additional services that help improve your financial well-being. These additional services may include credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, bill reminders, personal finance tools, credit repair software, and more.
Some credit repair companies also offer other financial services such as debt management or loan refinancing. When evaluating reputable credit repair services, we gave extra points to companies that provided credit monitoring and other financial tools.
When evaluating the top credit repair services, we took into consideration the guarantee (if any) made by each company. According to the Credit Repair Organizations Act, companies aren’t allowed to guarantee results in order to acquire new clients. However, some good credit repair companies offer a money-back guarantee if results aren’t seen by a certain period of time.
For example, Credit Saint offers a money-back guarantee if they are unable to delete any questionable items from your credit report within 90 days. Other credit repair companies like AMB Credit Consultants don’t offer a money-back guarantee at all.
We believe that legitimate credit repair companies should offer a money-back guarantee if no successful disputes are made within a reasonable amount of time.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) requires companies to tell the truth about their products and services. That includes providing customers with a mandatory cancellation period. Consumers have the right to cancel their credit repair services for free within the first three days.
When a company charges you, it must have already delivered its promised services. This process does not work the other way. If you believe you’re the victim of a scam, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Fees and Costs
One of the biggest criteria we used when evaluating credit repair companies was their pricing structure and fees. Some legitimate credit repair companies such as Pyramid Credit Repair offer all of their services for a flat-rate of $99 per month, while other companies such as The Credit Pros offer several pricing plans depending on your needs and budget.
We evaluated each credit restoration company on the following factors:
Credit repair packages offered
Discounts for couples
Are Credit Repair Companies Worth It?
Credit repair companies are worth it when a bad credit score is preventing you from qualifying for a loan or is causing you to pay a high interest rate.
Although you can repair your own credit, it is a very time-consuming process. The best credit repair companies take the burden off your shoulders by handling the whole process from A-to-Z. They’ll help you gather credit reports, identify negative items, and work with your creditors on your behalf.
When you consider how many hours of time you will save and the fact that most credit repair companies only charge $79-$129 per month on average, it is definitely worth it.
How Much Does Hiring A Credit Repair Company Cost?
Most credit repair companies charge a monthly fee between $79 and $129. You may also pay a first-work fee on top of the flat monthly rate. The credit repair service usually takes several months to work but can last a year. For example, Pyramid Credit Repair charges $99 per month, which falls in line with the industry average. Pyramid Credit Repair also has a couples plan that is $198 per month.
You can buy credit repair software that cuts down the time to navigate credit reports and bureaus. Some companies have a freemium, where you can download the essential software and pay for exclusive features. Most credit repair software costs between $40 and $400, including our favorite, Turbo Score Home.
Do Legitimate Credit Repair Services Guarantee Results?
No, even the best credit repair service can’t guarantee results. Consider it a red flag if a company says that they can increase your credit score by a specific amount or achieve gains in a particular time. There are too many variables at play to make promises.
Some companies may provide you with an estimate for certain milestones. If you have minimal negative marks and a brief credit history, a company may estimate a 100-point boost in the first six months. Note that the company hasn’t promised to increase your credit score by 100 points in that time.
How To Avoid Credit Repair Scams
The federal government passed the Credit Repair Organizations Act in 1968. The statute prohibits credit repair companies from making false or misleading statements about their products or services. Any companies that offer credit repair services must provide contracts in writing and give consumers a chance to cancel the arrangement within 3 days of signing up.
Credit repair companies cannot accept payment until they finish the services. Because it takes up to six months to repair credit, you can theoretically wait that long before paying, too. Many companies such as Credit Versio use a setup fee (first work fee) and monthly payment structure to circumvent this rule.
Being a smart consumer means knowing your rights. The Fair Credit Reporting Act lets you dispute any errors for free. You do not have to pay a company for this service, though it helps to have a credit professional on your side.
Exercise skepticism if the credit companies can’t give you a straight answer or if they provide misleading information. For instance, you should avoid any credit repair companies that tell you to avoid contacting the nationwide credit monitoring bureaus. Don’t let the company misrepresent your information by creating a new identity and credit report with your Social Security Number, either. Make sure they safeguard your privacy.
How Do Credit Repair Companies Get Items Removed?
Every legitimate credit repair company has its own unique methods for repairing your credit. Here are some of the most common methods credit improvement services use to fix your credit.
Goodwill Letters To Your Creditors
Most companies in the credit repair industry use creditor goodwill letters in an attempt to remove negative items from your credit reports. Goodwill letters are essentially letters that are sent to your creditors, nicely asking them to remove negative items that they reported to the credit reporting agencies. Goodwill letters sent to your creditors don’t always work, but they work more often than you’d think.
Cease and Desist Letters To Debt Collectors
Cease and desist letters are letters sent to your creditors or a debt collection agency, requesting that they stop contacting you regarding your debt. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, if you demand a credit collection agency to stop contacting you, they must abide. Not every company offers these services, but many credit repair companies do.
Debt Validation Letters
Challenge validation letters are sent to debt collection agencies or your creditors, requesting proof that your debt is valid or within the statute of limitations. If a creditor can’t prove that your debt is valid, the debt must be removed from your credit scores.
Fix Inaccurate Information
Once you’ve signed up with the best credit repair company, you’ll be assigned a personal case advisor. They will work with you to go through your credit reports, looking for inaccurate data and questionable items that can be disputed. This is especially useful if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
Negative Item Challenges
You have the right to dispute any questionable items on your credit reports that you disagree with. By law, the three major credit bureaus have up to 30 days to respond to your challenge from the time they receive your dispute letter. Before you sign up with a reputable credit repair company, make sure you pay attention to how many disputes you are allowed to file per billing cycle. Some companies offer unlimited disputes, while offering a limited number of challenges per month.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the most aggressive credit repair company?
The most aggressive credit repair company is Credit Saint. Their Clean Slate package offers unlimited challenges to the 3 major credit bureaus, score tracker, inquiry targeting, and creditor interventions.
Is it worth paying someone to fix your credit?
Yes, it is definitely worth it to pay someone to repair your credit. Although you can dispute items on your credit report by yourself, it can be a very frustrating process, especially if you’ve never done it before. A better credit score will save you hundreds of dollars per year in lower interest.
How to fix your own credit?
You can definitely take the DIY approach to credit repair, but it will take a lot of time and patience. This process involves writing dispute letters to your creditors and the credit reporting agencies. By law, the credit bureaus are obligated to investigate your claim within 30 days.
What is a credit bureau?
A credit bureau is a company that exists for the purpose of tracking credit scores and credit history. Credit bureaus provide this information to creditors and lenders to help them make important lending decisions.
What is credit repair?
Credit repair is the process of removing negative items on a credit report that negatively impact a credit score. Credit repair is often used to dispute negative items on a credit report such as late payments, hard inquiries, and charge-offs.
Why is credit repair important?
A large number of employers look at the credit information of applicants when making hiring decisions. People with a bad credit score could potentially lose out on their dream job. Additionally, a bad credit score can result in paying more interest on personal loans and mortgages.
How to maintain a good credit score?
You can maintain a good credit score by making payments on-time, limiting the amount of credit used, establishing different types of credit, and paying off debt.
How to find the right credit repair company?
In order to find the right credit repair company for you, look for companies that are BBB accredited, offer a free consultation, include free credit reports, and have a reasonable monthly fee.
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