Credit repair companies help consumers clean up their credit report by disputing inaccurate negative information with the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Unlike credit counseling agencies, which focus on financial advice, most credit repair services specialize in helping people fix errors that affect their credit score. Many offer extra features, like personal finance tools and satisfaction guarantees, as well.

A good credit restoration service will be transparent about its fees and how it plans to improve your credit. They’ll also give you an estimated timeline for how long it will take to remove negative items from your credit report. Most credit repair agencies charge an upfront fee to set up your account, as well as monthly fees to perform their work. Others charge a flat fee per item removed from your report.

Consumers who use a credit restoration service are often looking to buy a home or car, obtain a new job or start a business, and get lower interest rates on loans and credit cards. Credit restoration services can help increase your credit score, which will make it easier to meet these goals. Some services even offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t see improvements after a certain amount of time.

The best credit repair services will provide a comprehensive service, including monitoring your credit reports for errors and sending credit dispute letters to creditors and the three major credit bureaus on your behalf. They’ll also keep you updated on the progress of your dispute letters, usually with monthly updates that include copies of your credit report and a list of disputed items. Some credit repair services also provide other financial and personal finance tools, such as bill reminders and budgeting software.

A reputable credit repair service should follow the guidelines laid out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For example, they shouldn’t ask for payment before they perform any services. They should also avoid promising a new credit identity or asking you to lie about your credit history. If they do, you should look for a different company.

A good credit restoration service will check your credit report for errors, such as accounts that don’t belong to you, missed payments and incorrect ages of old debts. They’ll then work to have these items removed from your credit report, as well as monitor your credit reports so the inaccurate information doesn’t reappear. The best credit repair services will also offer a variety of other perks, such as educational resources, free credit consultations and identity theft protection. Some also have mobile apps for managing your finances on the go. Ovation Credit Services, for instance, offers a free credit consultation and two credit restoration plans with customizable services, such as the Essentials Plan, which starts at $79 per month plus an $89 first-work fee. It includes a case advisor and access to financial tools, such as a budgeting app and a debt repayment calculator. They’ll continue working on your account until all of the inaccuracies have been resolved.

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