Even those with the best of financial intentions can find themselves with less-than-stellar credit. A few missed payments or a jump in your credit use from an unexpected expense can be all it takes to lower your score and damage your creditworthiness. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry — repairing your credit can be within reach.
A credit restoration service can make all the difference. Use Benzinga’s list of great credit restoration services and our credit restoration tips to get started on the road to financial recovery.
Best Credit Restoration Services
Restoring your credit on your own can feel like an uphill battle. Enlisting the help of a professional credit monitoring service can keep you on the right track.
Best for 20k+ in Debt: Accredited Debt Relief
Accredited Debt Relief is a platform designed to help individuals who are struggle with their personal debts. Every program is customized to meet your needs, and you are offer debt consolidation options that do not involve a loan.
Accredited Debt Relief helps negotiate what you owe, helps you save money for that purpose and can even help you avoid filing bankruptcy. At the very least, you will experience a bit of financial freedom as your debts are paid from a specialized savings account that you pay into every month. Generally, the platform handles credit card or personal loan debt—not medical or student loan debt.
Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t operate in all 50 states. For those who are eligible, make sure you know your fees and rates before getting started, plan to pay into your debt savings account and you can begin to eliminate overwhelming obligations that tie up your monthly budget.
- The platform negotiates on your behalf
- You don’t need to take out a loan to manage your debt
- You are encouraged to save money to pay off debts
- Make sure this platform is available in your state before moving forward
Best Mobile App: Credit Karma
Credit Karma is a free personal finance service with a focus on credit health. You get constant and consistent access to updated information about your credit report. Credit Karma also offers targeted credit restoration recommendations with small, segmented steps.
One caveat: because Credit Karma only sources its information from 2 of the 3 major credit reporting bureau, your displayed credit score or other metrics may not be as accurate as they could be. For this reason, use Credit Karma to get a general idea of where you stand and what actions you can take but remember that your score may differ from what is displayed.
If you need a precise view of your score, it’s best to get your yearly free report or use a service that calculates your score using all 3 credit bureaus.
- Because it is free, you can download the app and start using it at any time
- You can see quite a lot of information on why your credit score is changing
- This platform doesn’t connect to Experian
- Sometimes, you may notice that the information in the app is not current
Best for Credit Education: CreditRepair.com
CreditRepair.com offers credit restoration and education. Checking your credit score is free when you sign up with CreditRepair.com. Once you have a solid idea where you stand, CreditRepair.com will challenge any iffy negative marks on your report.
The platform asks creditors to verify any items they’re reporting. Legally, if a remark can’t be verified, the creditor has to stop reporting it and it can be removed from your credit report.
Once every potentially improper negative remark has been investigated and removed if applicable, CreditRepair.com continues to keep an eye on your credit report. When or if other issues arise, CreditRepair.com will help you handle them.
CreditRepair.com offers more than credit repair. It also has a solid stock of financial and credit literacy resources. You’ll find easy to understand lessons (with awesome graphics for those of us who do better with visuals) on everything from understanding your score to improving it. These tools are accessible to anybody with a CreditRepair.com account.
Call CreditRepair.com or visit its website today to get your free 10-minute credit analysis.
Cost: $99.95 per month for the most advanced coverage; basic and moderate coverage available
- The platform completes a full investigation of all the negative marks on your remote so that you don’t have to
- You get a free analysis before you start so that you have an idea of what’s possible
- The pricing for this platform might seem a little too much for most people
Best for Multiple Debt Solutions: American Debt Enders
American Debt Enders (ADE) links you to separate affiliate debt relief programs depending on your unique financial situation.
You can find non-profit debt consolidation, debt settlement, credit restoration and bankruptcy services via ADE along with credit repair counseling.
Credit repair counseling with ADE is free of charge. Professionals will help you identify the exact type of credit help you need and connect you to the appropriate types of financial experts. You’re under no obligation to take their recommendations, so it’s definitely worth trying out.
Cost: Varies by service
- The platform is a non-profit, offering you the sort of confidence you need
- The platform is free, meaning that you can get started without worrying about where your money is going
- This platform may not be for everyone
Why Good Credit Matters
Do you really need to worry about your credit? It’s definitely worth keeping in good shape. There are many instances where having good credit benefits you. Lenders may not let you borrow if you have poor credit. If they do, your shaky credit history may cost you money. You’ll pay higher interest rates, have to abide by stricter terms and more.
Lenders aren’t the only people or businesses who check your credit, either. Landlords can (and do) screen credit when considering tenants. A potential employer may scan your credit to judge your trustworthiness.
A poor credit score can even prevent you from getting utilities, like electricity, turned on in your name without paying a large deposit. In short, having poor credit not only restricts your access in many areas, but it can also cost you money, doubling down on its negative impact on your everyday life.
Tips for Improving Your Credit
While it can’t be fixed overnight, small, intentional actions and habit changes will get you on the right path. The following are tried-and-true credit restoration methods to boost your score and improve your creditworthiness.
1. Check and Monitor Your Credit Report
This may seem obvious, but in the bustle of the day to day, things like this can get lost in the shuffle. Your credit takes work to maintain, and you can’t do the work if you aren’t aware of your credit score and the factors affecting it. Your credit report could have errors unfairly dragging it down or unpaid balances you didn’t know about.
2. Establish Good Payment Habits
Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score. The best way to establish a record of good payment history is to, well, pay your payments every time, on time. Don’t miss a payment and don’t be late, either. If you have trouble keeping track of monthly payments, auto-pay is your friend. Just be sure you’re paying enough toward your balance each month.
3. Lower Your Credit Utilization
The percentage of credit you’re using composes your credit utilization. Generally, you’ll want to stay below 30% credit utilization overall and with each line of credit you have.
The smartest way to lower your credit utilization is usually by paying down your credit card balances and other applicable debts (some debts, like installment plans, have a rigid repayment timeline).
If you know you can handle it responsibly, or you know you’ll benefit from establishing a relationship with a new creditor, you can also increase your overall credit limit. This can be done by opening a new credit card and keeping the balance low, or through debt consolidation with a loan.
4. Diversify Your Credit but Maintain Established Relationships
This one is sort of a double-edged sword. Having a good mix of credit types (installment plans, revolving credit and the like) reflects favorably on your credit score. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew with more credit than you can afford, though. Plus, each new credit inquiry can hurt your score, so tread carefully here.
Also, don’t close an older credit card when you open a new one. Your credit age is the average length you’ve held a positive relationship with all your creditors. Older accounts in good standing help this while closing older accounts and having too many new accounts can bring it down. If you find a better card, don’t sever ties with companies you have a history with.
Take Control of Your Credit Now
Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to repairing your credit. Knowing where you stand is the first step, so don’t be afraid to face your score no matter how bad you think it may be. A professional credit repair service can help you both monitor and improve your credit. They’ll go to bat for you with disputes or outline what targeted actions you can take to improve your score.
Link with one of our recommended credit repair experts to take the first step towards better credit today.