How Long Does Credit Repair Take? (The Top 3 Companies)

How Long Does Credit Repair Take?  (The Top 3 Companies)
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Ray FitzGerald
By: Ray FitzGerald
Posted: November 16, 2017
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

Anyone that’s run a race can tell you the most important part of your performance is the start. If you get off the blocks slow, you’re almost guaranteed to lose. You can overcome small mistakes in the middle or near the end, but a bad start has ruined careers and lost Olympic medals for otherwise talented athletes.

Thankfully, life makes adjustments for occasional mistakes. Like a race, though, it’s important to get a good start on any task you set out to accomplish. If past mistakes have your credit report unattractive to lenders, it’s never too late to get a fresh start on your finances.

But credit repair isn’t a race — it’s a marathon that takes patience and responsibility. The way you start will determine how soon you finish. Getting good advice and information will push you toward the finish line and the life you want to live.

The Process | Top Companies

Credit Repair Takes At Least 30 Days (But May Be 6+ Months)

How long your credit repair process takes is dependent upon your profile’s condition. A few inaccurate reports weighing your score down can be eliminated much faster than a history of late payments or defaults. With the proper approach, many items may be removed, potentially giving your FICO rating a boost.

Before you get started, take advantage of your annual free credit report. You’re allowed one pull from each of the three major reporting bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, each year.

Keep in mind that your credit report does not include your FICO or VantageScore credit scores. However, you can take advantage of various free credit monitoring services to see both your credit score and credit reports. In addition, many credit cards now offer free FICO score tracking.

Once you have your report, check every bit of information for accuracy. While many consumers go straight to the meat of the report — open accounts, late payments, and current balances — they fail to recognize a name misspelling or incorrect address. These could be signs that someone has accessed your profile, which could be far more damaging than a late car payment six months ago.

Credit Report Weight Graph

The graph shows how each category is weighted on credit reports.

Create a checklist of all of the items that need repair — whether they’re accurate or not. This will give you a to-do list for your credit repair journey. If your list is short, it could be fixed in as little as 30 days. If you have a large number of issues that need addressed, the process could take six months or more. Don’t fret. Remember — it’s a marathon, not a race.

For inaccuracies in your report, you can take the do-it-yourself approach and write dispute letters to each credit reporting agency showing the error. If the information truly is inaccurate, the bureaus are required to fix the error. Credit bureaus and information furnishers have 30 days after a dispute is filed to investigate the dispute, meaning simple issues can be fixed in as few as 30 days.

If your credit report is bogged down with late payments, defaults, bankruptcies, or too many inquiries, it may take a lot of patience and keen strategy to improve your credit score. Legitimate negative items can’t be removed through credit repair disputes, so you may need to simply wait them out.

As late payments age on your report, they lose impact. After a few years of clean payment history, their impact on your overall score will likely be minimal. Most lenders want to see at least 12 months of on-time payments for credit acceptance, depending on your credit profile.

Three Credit Bureau Logos

Your credit history is reported to three main credit bureaus.

Some outliers, like mortgage lenders, prefer at least 24 months free from delinquent payments or other credit issues. The length of delinquency also plays a factor in your score — a 30-day late has less impact than a 60-day delinquency, and a payment made 90+ days late has even more negative impact on your score.

Charge-offs, defaults, or bankruptcies have a longer shelf life than late payments. Many can loom on your report for up to seven years. While these can be disputed and removed in certain instances, there are other ways to possibly have them removed early.

Many consumers make the choice each year to try and expedite the process by turning to a credit repair company. Depending on the number of items you want to dispute, these companies can save you time and cut through a lot of red tape. If you don’t feel completely confident in your abilities to understand the intricacies of credit reports and financial terms, or time is of the essence, this may be the best route to take.

These firms communicate with the three bureaus on your behalf to correct mistakes like misspellings, incorrect balances, or erroneous accounts. Unsubstantiated accounts can also be removed from your credit report under some circumstances, as collection agencies are required to show proof that the debt belongs to you.

While every company’s process is different, most provide credit score tracking and alerts, as well as credit counseling, identity theft protection and online/mobile portals to track their progress on your account. Fees vary by company, but the results by the top service providers speak volumes for their abilities.

The Top 3 Credit Repair Companies

A quick web search reveals thousands of entities vying for your credit repair business. If you look at the bold print, each one may seem like a perfect choice. Our experts at BadCredit.org spend hours scouring fine print and checking reviews to make sure that the bold print isn’t all you see.

Like many things in life, you pay for quality. The top firms with the longest track records of success may not be the cheapest options, but they have a history of getting the job done as fast as possible. The monthly fees may be higher, but completing the job in four months instead of 12 could save you money in the long run and get you to the finish line faster.

Here are our choices for the top three credit repair firms.

  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2394
  • More than 500,000 clients served since 1991
  • Clients see 85% of negative items removed
  • More than 7.5 million item deletions last year
  • No contracts
  • Free credit score provided
  • Phone support from licensed paralegals 7 days a week
  • Click here for sign-up form, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Better Business Bureau In Business Since Monthly Cost Reputation Score
A+ 1991 $79 10/10
  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2393
  • Average 40-point increase in Transunion credit score during first four months
  • Free access to your credit report summary
  • Three-step plan for checking, challenging and changing your credit report
  • Online tools to help clients track results
  • Click here for sign-up form, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Better Business Bureau In Business Since Monthly Cost Reputation Score
A+ 1997 $99 9.5/10

+See More Credit Repair Companies

Be Patient — Rebuilding Credit Takes Time

While running the credit repair marathon, it doesn’t matter how fast you are. Building — and maintaining — a positive credit report takes time, patience, and proper guidance. Thousands of Americans each year turn to credit repair services to provide the instruction and help needed to jumpstart their financial life.

Negative credit profiles take time to grow and fester. When a person makes the decision to reverse the trend, they often want it done quickly. That rarely happens.

Pull your annual free credit report and analyze it carefully. Our choices for the top credit repair agencies all offer free consultations. Check with them to see what they can do for you. Create your to-do list and stick to it with diligence. If you complete these three tasks, you’ll have a great start and be set up for a strong finish.