A Credit Services Organization (CSO) offers consumers assistance with repairing their credit, and/or obtaining a loan in exchange for a fee. Many states in the United States, like Texas, have statutes that enable the establishment of CSOs.
In the United States, a loan customer determines that a CSO may help them obtain consumer credit. Customers may contact the CSO in person, or via the Internet. The customer then signs an agreement with the CSO to provide credit services for a fee, and shortly thereafter undergoes an initial screening process to determine if the CSO is able to help.
Once the CSO’s minimum threshold credit guidelines are met, the customer may then be referred to the financial institution to approve the loan. Based on an evaluation of the customer’s credit, the financial institution accepts or denies the loan application.
Immediately the Loan is approved, the CSO assists the customer with signing all loan documents, and the loan is funded by the financial institution. To assist the customer with obtaining a loan approval, CSOs will provide guarantees and/or additional collateral for loans it refers to the financial institution.
Note that this ability has enabled an explosion of payday and auto title lending in states like Texas. A registered CSO is expected to only file with the Secretary of State, pay a $100 registration fee, no matter how many locations they operate, and then list their locations.
According to a 2006 report, there were 1,279 CSOs registered in just Texas. In 2010, there were over 3,594 registered in Texas. This is more locations than McDonalds and Whataburger combined.
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What is a CSO Fee?
A CSO Fee is the fee credit service organisations charge clients to help them with servicing their credit and every other loan associated services. These organisations may also partner with banks or other large lenders who charge an interest rate of below the 10% APR constitutional limit, while they charge an exorbitant fee.
A CSO fee and how is calculated will vary depending on the company, but they have a general rule to follow. These credit service organizations cannot request or receive payment until they deliver the promised result. However, depending on the company, you can pay a onetime flat fee, or pay for each work the company does on your credit report.
This fee may start around $35 per action and could range to $750 or more. The company may also charge by the month, ranging from $50 – $130 or more. You might also be required to pay setup fees or a fee for accessing your credit report.
Examples of Top CSOs and Their Charges in the United States
Note that the 10 companies listed below offer reasonable turnarounds, competitive prices, satisfaction guarantees, and a variety of complimentary credit services, to help you move forward.
1. Lexington Law
- Initial Fee: $99.95
- Monthly Fee: $89.95
With decades of experience, Lexington Law is known for offering features and services that other credit repair companies cannot match. Indeed, it’s tough having the same conversations over and over with different people, especially about sensitive things like your past financial mistakes.
With your own personalized rep, you can save time and focus more on the little things that can make a big difference. You can make appointments with your rep beyond normal business hours which can be helpful if you’re trying to avoid awkward conversations on your work phone line.
However, the company doesn’t always get unanimous praise in customer reviews; it has a C rating with the Better Business Bureau. The basic plan should be enough for most customers, but you can get even more support by paying more, including cease and desist letters and personal finance tools which you can also find elsewhere for free.
- Monthly Fee: $99.95
This is one of the most popular companies, partly because of its name and many CreditRepair.com reviews, but also because it includes so many extras such as identity theft protection. This company offers the basics of credit services, including good faith letters, fixing mistakes on your report and using loopholes to contest items on your report.
It also communicates directly with furnishers and the credit bureaus to make sure changes have been made. In addition, they offer a personalized dashboard and visual representation of your credit score to help you track your credit repair progress.
CreditRepair.com can be relentless as it seeks to resolve erroneous data. And you can follow the company’s progress in your account online. The company tends to boast about concrete success rates, but the language is just soft enough to stop short of a guarantee. For instance, the company might say customers average a 30-point increase on their credit scores after four months. Before signing up, keep in mind you aren’t being guaranteed these results.
3. Ovation Credit
- Monthly fee: $79 – $109
Ovation Credit was established by attorneys and offers two levels of credit repair: the Essentials Plan and the Essentials plus Plan. Note that both plans include a free consultation with a credit analyst, personalized credit dispute options and a case advisor that will oversee the process from start to finish.
However, depending on your plan, the company also offers credit monitoring solutions by TransUnion, with unlimited goodwill and debt validation dispute letters. Aside from its many credit-related services, Ovation Credit Repair also stands out when it comes to its discounts. These include a 20% couple’s discount, a credit of up to $50 on your next monthly billing for referring a friend or switching from another credit repair company, and discounts for seniors and members of the military.
4. Credit Saint
- Initial Fee: $99
- Monthly Fee: $79.99
Note that most credit service companies only offer one tier of service; Credit Saint offers three different tiers, all at affordable prices, with pricing and features clearly explained on the website. Note that Credit Saint offers several different services, so you have a choice depending on what you are looking for.
Credit Polish is the basic package at $79.99. Credit Remodel gets you a few extras beyond the basics, and is $99.99. Clean Slate offers the most features and is priced at $119.99. Credit Polish and Credit Remodel have an initial fee of $99, while Clean Slate’s initial fee is $195. Have it in mind that all tiers give you access to Credit Saint online, as well as toll free access to customer service.
5. Sky Blue Credit
- Initial Fee: $79
- Monthly Fee: $79
Sky Blue Credit has a simple pricing model that allows you to benefit from all the company’s services for just $79 a month, or $119 a month for couples (both married or unmarried partners). Sky Blue’s essential credit service plans include an initial analysis of disputable items, in which an expert evaluates your credit report line by line and identifies potential errors for you to review.
Once you’ve reviewed the initial report and confirm that it is accurate, they check which items could have the most potential impact on your credit, and prioritize those.
6. The Credit People
- Initial Fee: $19 (7-day trial)
- Monthly Fee: $79
Any individual looking for a solid option at a lower price might like The Credit People, another newer provider in the market. Note that for just $19 you can try the service for seven days to see whether you’d like to stick with it. The Credit People offers a money-back guarantee that you’ll see at least some positive results within 60 days.
You probably won’t reach your target score within 60 days, but The Credit People believe you’ll like the way things are going enough to stick around. The Credit People offers other price point innovations such as a flat rate of about $420 to access all of its services indefinitely rather than paying monthly payments.
Typically, you need about six months with a company to optimize results. Assuming you need help for six months, the $420 flat rate would amount to $70 a month which is less than most of The Credit People’s reputable competitors.
Also note that the Credit People offers customer care only during business hours (in the Central time zone). While it does solid work, the company doesn’t offer a lot of the bells and whistles such as identity theft protection that its competitors offer.
7. Pyramid Credit Repair
- Initial Fee: $0
- Monthly Fee: $99
Pyramid is a great company, but doesn’t really hold up against most of the other companies represented here. Coupled with credit repair fundamentals, Pyramid offers a dedicated personal account manager that walks you through everything to do with improving bad credit through credit help and monitors the progress of your credit.
The company also has in-house licensed attorneys, which is unusual for a credit service company. Pyramid has one of the strongest reputations of any credit repair service we have reviewed, with most of its online reviews being extremely positive.
Pyramid Credit Service offers a 90-day, 100%-money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason. They are known for excellent customer service. Pyramid offers you a personal account manager to deal with your issues, but also has a complete support centre as well as phone service available Monday through Saturday.
8. The Credit Pros
- Monthly fee: $69 – $149
This company offers some of the most affordable prices in the industry, with monthly services starting at just $69 for its Money Management plan, which includes access to updated credit reports every 60 days, identity theft restoration insurance, goodwill, debt validation, and cease and desist letters to creditors, in addition to unlimited disputes per cycle.
The CreditPros other two plans, the Prosperity Package and the Success Package, offer basically the same features as the Money Management plan, the only difference is that they include other perks, like discounts on medication and products from affiliate websites, like National Credit Direct.
However, note that each of these plans also feature tools like real-time account sync, bill reminder, budgeting system, access to the company’s legal network, and personalized action plans with certified FICO professionals, so you can work towards good financial habits.
Although all of these selections offer some sort of complimentary credit monitoring solution, The Credit Pros took it a step further by offering every possible tool you can think of, from dark web monitoring to social security trace to pay-day monitoring.
9. Pinnacle Credit
- Initial Fee: $199
- Monthly fee: $99
Note that this BBB accredited business, highly reviewed on Trust Pilot, promises faster results thanks to its use of artificial intelligence. Pinnacle Credit Management also partners with top private lenders to get you approved for a personal loan to consolidate debt.
Note that once you sign up for Pinnacle’s services, you get a credit mentor who will coach you through the process of improving your credit. You also get access to a blog and a series of educational videos to teach you how to manage your credit successfully. They also offer a free credit consultation, after which you can choose between the Standard and Fast Track Program.
- Monthly fee: $49.99
Creditfirm.net could organize your credit report and give it the best bang for your buck if you’re looking for a less expensive service. The company offers one flat, pay-as-you-go package at $49.99 a month. Note that the monthly fee gives you access to a thorough audit of your credit report by legal experts and limitless credit bureau and inquiry challenges.
Creditfirm.net also provides defense against collection agencies. The company touts an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, boosting its credibility in the industry. The company is also known for its speed, reviewing clients’ documents within five days on average.
Like any other professional service, credit service is a specialisation. Even though you learn how to repair your credit and perform other needed services, you could also save a lot of time by hiring a professional to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
These experts at credit service companies spend all day negotiating with creditors and seeking resolutions to mistakes. They know what to ask for and how to make sure your credit files and payment histories get updated.