If you’ve been buried under bills and debt, you may need the help of a credit repair service to get back on track. But not all services are created equal, and some companies use shady practices that can cause more harm than good. To help you avoid the worst of these pitfalls, we’ve compiled a list of the best credit repair services that offer a solid return on your investment and a reputation for fairness and transparency.

The first step to finding a reputable credit repair company is to find one with a long history in the industry. “Longevity has value,” Ulzheimer says, adding that a company with a strong track record and no unresolved complaints is more likely to be legitimate. Also, check a credit repair company’s website to ensure its contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

Another thing to consider when choosing a credit repair company is whether it provides credit monitoring, which is available with most credit cards and can help you stay on top of changes to your credit report and score. Some of the top-rated services also provide it as part of their monthly fees.

As the name suggests, this is an essential criterion for finding a reputable credit repair service, and it’s something that all of the top-rated options in our list of best credit repair services do. They help you keep tabs on the progress made on your credit report and score through regular updates, as well as alerts when new items are added or old ones are removed.

You’ll also want to look for a credit repair service that provides dispute support. The top-rated companies in our review of best credit repair services will take the time to work with you to point out inaccurate items on your report, as well as help you dispute those items with the credit bureaus and creditors. They’ll also work to help you set up a repayment plan for any outstanding debt that you may still owe.

While it’s possible to repair your own credit if you have the time, money and knowledge to do so, many people find it easier to hire a professional to do the heavy lifting for them. The best credit repair services make it easy to get your reports, identify errors and fight them directly with the major credit bureaus and creditors. They also offer a variety of additional features, such as providing you with the best credit cards for bad credit and helping you manage your finances.

To choose a credit repair service that’s right for you, start by accessing your free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Using the information in your report, look for any mistakes such as incorrect or incomplete personal data, including spellings, and outdated addresses. Also, check that your accounts are accurately reflected, that the correct amounts are listed and that there is no suspicious activity.

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