Many companies promise to help individuals repair their credit. A few are legitimate firms, but many are dubiously legal fly-by-night operations aiming to scam their customers. When you are entrusting a company with something as important as your credit score, you want to be confident that you are partnering with a trustworthy provider that will deliver on their promises. Here are the top five things to look for when selecting a credit repair partner to help you improve your score.

Transparency

Legitimate credit repair companies can clearly explain the services they offer and how their process works. There are three main types of credit repair services: item disputes, debt negotiations and tradelines. Many firms charge customers a fee to have inaccurate information removed from their credit reports. These companies often obscure theĀ fact that you can do this on your own for free.

Firms offering to negotiate with creditors on your behalf or selling tradelines to improve your credit through piggybacking should be transparent about what they can and cannot do for customers. The Credit Repair Organizations Act requires that companies provide potential clients with a written contract specifying the services they will provide.

Customer service

The best credit repair companies will treat your case as if it were their own. Before signing a contract, inquire about the firm’s customer service team. Who will handle your account? How can you contact customer service? What are their hours? If you are unable to get a satisfactory answer to any of those questions, that’s a red flag.

Honesty and integrity

Disreputable companies tend to make unbelievable claims about what they can do for customers. If your gut tells you that something is not above-board when you’re learning about a provider, it probably isn’t. Don’t trust a company that says that they will remove accurate, negative information from your credit report. A trustworthy credit repair partner will have customer or independent expert reviews that confirm their authenticity.

Effective products

Evaluate how the company can assist in the process of repairing your credit. They should be able to outline how their services will improve your credit score. Make sure you aren’t purchasing a product that only monitors your credit reports. Although legitimate credit repair companies can’t promise that they will raise your score by a specific number of points, they will be glad to tell you about the results they have achieved for previous customers.

Fair pricing

You may have expected price to be at the top of this list, but when it comes to your credit score, quality is more important than cost. A low-priced provider that doesn’t meet the previous four qualifications can end up costing you more in the long run. That “too good to be true” deal could be an identity theft scam in disguise. Before signing a contract, ensure you understand whether the company charges a one-time fee or bills per-service, monthly, quarterly or annually.

Carefully research a credit repair company before signing up for their services. Legitimate firms are straightforward about how they help customers improve their credit and what they charge. Choose a company that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and supported by reviews from previous customers. If you have any questions, a trustworthy provider will be happy to give you clear answers. Following these tips will help you choose a reliable credit repair partner that will work hard to improve your credit score.