Overview: We surveyed 500 Americans (ages 25+) who had paid for professional credit repair services to learn about their experience and results working with credit repair companies.
Please feel free to use the quick skip links below, or browse the data at your own pace.
Report Key Findings
Cost of Credit Repair
How much does credit repair really cost? We’ve got the answer!
To ensure we only surveyed credit repair clients, we added knockout questions to our survey that eliminated consumers who had used free or paid services such as:
- Free or paid credit score services – (Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, MyFico)
- Bank, Credit Union, or credit card scores
- Credit Bureau scoring or credit report services
Statistics on the True Cost of Credit Repair
We did not visit any credit repair companies’ websites to bring you the trust cost of credit repair. These are the results from our actual surveyed consumers who paid for credit repair.
Here are the numbers:
- 17% of respondents said their lifetime total was less than $250
- 31% of respondents said the lifetime total of all monthly fees, start-up costs, and additional fees was between $250 to $500
- 19% paid between $501 to $750
- 16% of respondents said the lifetime total was between $751 to $1,000
- 16% spent over $1,000 for all services received
But of course, the amount spent correlated with how long the respondents stuck with their repair company. See this chart:
Here are the top answers to how long our respondents used their credit repair company:
- 3 to 5 months – 31%
- 6 to 9 months – 23%
- 1 to 2 months – 22%
- 10 months or more – 18%
As shown in the chart above, we found a strong correlation between the duration a consumer worked with the credit repair company and the amount of money they spent. Here are some statistics on that:
- 38% of respondents who worked with a credit repair company for at least 6 months spent over $750 compared to 28% who spent over $750 and worked with the company for just 5 months or less
- 32% of all respondents spent over $750 on credit repair services. Of these big spenders, 48% reported a credit score gain of 100 points or more
Credit Score Gains from Credit Repair
We also wanted to find out if credit repair companies really work. To find this out, we asked our survey subjects:
- what their credit score was prior to working with their company
- overall impact to their score
- and their current credit score
Overall, we found strong evidence to support the claim that credit repair companies have a positive impact on their clients’ credit scores, particularly when spending more time with a client.
- The most common credit score gain reported was 100 to 149 points (26.3% of respondents)
- The highest percentage of respondents (44.6%) started receiving credit repair service with a 300 to 579 score, while 33.4% started with a 580 to 669 score
- 15.4% of all respondents received more than 150 point credit score increase
- Respondents who started off with a 300 to 579 (the lowest range of scores) received the highest increase in scores, with 49.3% getting a 100+ point increase
- Respondents who received Bankruptcy recovery services raised their scores higher than the recipients of any other services, with 53.5% reporting a 100+ point gain
We also found a correlation between the length of time a consumer stayed with their repair company and higher increases in credit score.
- 48% of respondents who used credit repair services for 6 months or more got an increase of 100 points or more to their credit score
- This dropped to 33% if the respondents only used credit repair services for 1 to 2 months
Marketing Analysis: How Consumers Find Credit Repair Companies
We also asked how the respondents first found their credit repair company. Here were the answers from highest to lowest percentage:
- Online search – 45.4%
- Referral – 37.2%
- Advertisement – 13.4%
- Phone Solicitation – 2.8%
- Other – 1.0%
We dove deeper into the top two sources of clients for credit repair companies (online search and referral), and discovered the following:
- Online search clients spent more, on average, than Referral clients. 55.5% spent over $500 while only 48.9% of clients who came by referral spent over $500
- Clients who came from *Advertisements or Phone Solicitation spent the least on credit repair – 46.4% spent over $500
- Online searchers and Referral clients experienced similar credit score gains. Online search clients experienced a credit score increase of 100 to 150 points (27.8%) compared to 26.3% of Referral clients
- Referral clients experienced fewer billing problems. 61.3% reported no billing issues, while 51.1% of Online Search clients reported no billing issues
- Clients who came via Advertisement and Phone Solicitation were by far the least happy. 54.9% reported their overall experience was “Good” or “Excellent” compared to a combined 69.8% of Referral and Online search clients who reported a good or excellent experience.
*We’ve combined respondents who found their company via Advertisement or Phone Solicitation in our results above for greater statistical significance. We only had 14 respondents (2.8%) who became a client through phone solicitation.
Services Received by Credit Repair – The Stats
Perhaps you’re wondering what credit repair companies actually do for their clients.
Credit repair companies are mostly known for helping their clients remove inaccurate or damaging items from their clients’ credit reports.
However, many of them claim to offer a host of other services from credit counseling to identity theft recovery.
We asked our respondents what their credit repair company actually did for them, and here were their answers.
Top services received:
- Removed negative items (late payments, collections, charge offs) – 56.2%
- Credit consulting – 49%
- Set up payment plan with creditors – 48%
- Debt consolidation – 46.6%
- Sent dispute letters to the credit bureaus – 39.8%
- Sent “Goodwill letters” to creditors – 28.6%
- Sent cease and desist letters to creditors – 24.8%
- Identity theft recovery – 21%
Of these services, the respondents who had “goodwill letters“ sent to their creditors on their behalf reported the best overall experience (76% reported an overall “good” or “excellent” experience). This group also contained the highest percentage (54.5%) of people whose credit scores improved by 100 points or more.
We also asked which items the credit repair companies were able to successfully remove from their credit report.
Here were the top 8 answers starting with the most prevalent:
- Collections – 55.2%
- Late payment – 53.6%
- Medical bills – 43.8%
- Charge offs – 30.6%
- Inquiry – 25.8%
- Judgments – 20.8%
- Student loans – 17.8%
- Bankruptcy – 11.2%
Respondents who received Bankruptcy recovery services raised their scores higher than the recipients of any other services, with 53.5% reporting a 100+ point gain.
Customer Experience with Credit Repair Companies
Sometimes the financial industry takes shots at and casts a negative light on credit repair companies. We wanted to know how actual credit repair clients felt about the service they received.
We asked their opinion on:
- their overall experience
- the company’s business practices (marketing, customer service, billing, etc)
- if they were charged for anything they felt was inaccurate
Here’s what we found:
- 67% said their overall experience was “Good” or “Excellent”
- 26.4% reported an “Okay/Neutral” experience
- 6.6% reported a “Bad” experience
- 87% of respondents thought their repair company’s business practices were “Professional” or “Fair”
We also found that clients’ overall opinion of the credit repair company was much more favorable if they received a nice credit score increase. See the chart below.
We were not happy to see that among credit repair clients, a sizable portion feel their company was shady, borderline illegal, and experienced billing problems.
- 12% of respondents thought the repair company’s business practices were “Shady” or “Borderline illegal”
- 25.8% thought the credit repair company kept them as a client longer than it should have taken – They felt “strung along”
- 18.6% said the credit repair company made it difficult to cancel
- 55.2% of all respondents said the billing was as agreed
We were not happy to see some of the damning results from this study. Many of our respondents reported billing inaccuracies, a problem that must be corrected. Imagine if only 55% of Netflix subscribers reported correct billing. That would not be very good. Yet, that’s the unfortunate statistic we have for credit repair companies.
Having said that, the study provides overwhelming evidence that professional credit repair companies do make a positive impact on the credit scores of their clients. There is also a significant correlation between the amount of time a client sticks with their repair company and bigger credit score gains.
If consumers do seek credit repair services, we recommend that they proceed with caution, research the best companies online, and ask around for referrals. If they move forward, they should plan to stick with the company for several months for the best results.