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Credit Tips

Legitimate Credit Repair Services Overview: What to Look for in a Company to Help Fix Your Credit

Credit repair refers to any type of legal action you or a service provider can to try and remove negative items off of your credit reports in attempt to raise your score. Since not all of these services are legitimate, it’s important to understand your rights. Even though you can attempt credit repair on your own, it’s better to work with professionals with legal experience who have a better chance of success when dealing your creditors and the credit bureaus. How do you know which ones are the real, legitimate credit repair services?

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA). This Act protects consumers from illegal acts by credit repair companies. Here are a few things you need to know about your rights:

• Get a company to provide you with all of your legal rights in writing, as well as the details of the services they will provide

• You should be provided with a money back guarantee of some sort.

• Your consultation should be FREE and as personalized as possible.

• You should not receive any specific promises. Nothing can be 100% certain when it comes to credit repair.

• You should never, ever be expected to put up money upfront. No legitimate credit repair services will try to charge you right away. The only guarantee you should receive is the money back guarantee.

• A legitimate company will usually have lawyers and paralegals within its network, and will not propose any solutions or techniques that are not 100% legal.

Guarantees of Legitimate Credit Repair Services

Even though no company can guarantee specific results, they can show results from previous clients (with the clients’ permission) and give you an idea of what they’ve been able to do in the past, and what they will do to try and help you. Any money you end up paying to a legitimate company will probably be a lot less than the money you stand to lose from having bad credit. You might not even be able to rent or buy a home if your credit is bad! Also, in some places, you might have trouble finding a job.

The credit bureaus and credit card companies will take your case more seriously if you have a legitimate company working on your behalf. This will really increase your chances of getting your credit cleaned up in a shorter amount of time than if you were doing it all on your own.

Where can you find legitimate credit repair services? One company that always seems to get positive reviews from clients is Lexington Law. The paralegals who work on cases are great at communication. You will be kept informed, every step of the way.

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Credit Tips

3 Tips for Faster Medical Collections in Your Healthcare Practice

Talk with doctors or other practice leaders, and you’ll hear it again and again: one of the top challenges in maintaining a functional medical office is in collecting all the money that is due to the practice. Payer denials will become more pronounced with evolving reimbursement models, continuous payer coverage changes, and significant coding updates. Add in the mix that greater financial obligation is borne by the majority of patients because of high deductible plans, non-insurance, or underinsurance. More medical practices are implementing front end collection rules to better manage some of these obstacles.

Credit Card Authorization on File

When medical consultants look at what’s actually happening at practices, one of the big findings is that in many cases, the doctor’s office simply doesn’t have a solid and secure way of keeping a patient’s credit card information on file for delayed billing. That means that deductibles, co-pays and other amounts of money are walking out the door along with the patient. Experts point out how paper-based credit card systems have exposed providers to liability in the past. However, with new kinds of cloud hosted vendor systems, medical practices are sometimes able to keep credit card information securely to automatically bill a card after insurer responses are received.

To streamline this process, incorporate a credit card on file authorization in your financial policy. Spell out the exact terms, limits, and expiration that the authorization will cover. For instance, the patient’s credit card will be charged for an outstanding balance of $ 50.00 or less and no prior re-authorization notification is required by the practice. As with most everything in healthcare, the more transparency you can offer, the better buy in and cooperation you’ll receive from your patients.

Pre-registration and Verification of Insurance

Another very important element is to verify insurance before a visit. There is a core process of making sure that a patient has insurance, and then there are the other details of following up in making sure the insurance is effective, or will be effective on the date of service, and whether a certain procedure or visit is covered under the terms of the insurance contract. Many doctors already use hosts of people to go through these complicated details, but many practices could benefit from more staff hours put towards handling billing questions and revenue collection cycles.

By knowing if your patient has coverage before the appointment, you can better facilitate a conversation on his/her treatment plan course of action and financial responsibility. Some practices are installing kiosks with user-friendly step by step screens to capture insurance and demographic information, others offer a secure patient portal that patients access to complete their details online or downloadable forms from the practice website. Not only do these options assist with managing critical details but also speed the registration process.

For walk in patients or last-minute appointments, practice staff can easily look up benefits on a payer’s direct website or through a clearinghouse site. Some practice management systems have this feature built-in for convenience. Payers are required to give a response within 20 seconds of a real-time request.

Internal Monitoring

Another key that has helped some offices is to simply conduct a financial quality assurance audit on the processes around medical billing. This basically means getting an outside set of eyes to look at how well internal clerical workers are handling processes like registration and insurance certification as well as sending out claims to government or private insurers. This oversight can tighten up a revenue cycle and help a practice make sure that it is getting the money that it deserves for services offered, giving clinical professionals peace of mind about their financial solvency in the long-term.

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Credit Tips

Five Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft victims reported losing more than $15 billion in 2014. That’s more than the combined losses from burglary, motor vehicle theft and other property theft in the same period. While it’s no surprise that identity theft can leave you feeling vulnerable, there are things you can do to take some control.

Step 1: Order your credit report when you realize you’ve become a victim. You need to quickly find out about any errors showing up on your report. Go to annualcreditreport.com for free copies of your report from all three nationwide credit-reporting companies-Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

If you see any errors or fraudulent charges, report them to the credit reporting companies right away. They will investigate those items and then forward the information to the business that reported it. The business has 30 days to respond.

If the business providing the loan finds an error, it must notify the credit reporting company so your file can be corrected. If your credit changes because of the business’ investigation, the reporting company will send you a letter with the results.

Step 2: Place a fraud alert to make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. Call any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies and ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. They must contact the other two companies about your alert.

Equifax

1-800-525-6285

Experian

1-800-397-3742

TransUnion

1-800-680-7289

While there’s an alert on your report, anytime a business performs a credit inquiry they will need to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. This may require contacting you, so be sure you’ve updated your credit report with your current contact information. The alert will stay on your report for 90 days and allows you to order an additional free copy of your report from each of the three credit reporting companies.

Step 3: Consider a credit freeze. A Credit Freeze, also known as a Security Freeze, gives you maximum control over who has access to your credit. It can stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name because lenders and other creditors won’t be able to get your credit report.

With a Credit Freeze in place, even you will have to take special steps to apply for credit. You can still open new accounts, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage, or do anything else that requires your credit report. But businesses will need to verify your identity so they may need to contact you and you will have to call the reporting company to lift the freeze in order for the business to review your report. Again, be sure they have your most current information through your credit report.

A few things to know: Due to stringent laws, you’ll have to contact each reporting company separately to place a Credit Freeze. Also, placing a credit freeze does not affect your credit score. Finally, the cost depends on where you live. If you are 65 or older, or a victim of identity theft and submit a valid investigative or incident report, complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the fee will be waived.

Step 4: File an Identity Theft Report. An Identity Theft Report is a great weapon. You can use it to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report; stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft-or from selling the debt to another company for collection. You can also use it to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, and to get information about accounts the identity thief opened or misused.

Filing an Identity Theft Report is simple: Submit a complaint about the theft to the FTC. When you finish writing all the details, print a copy of the report. It will print as an Identity Affidavit.

File a police report about your identity theft, and get a copy of the police report or the report number. (Make sure to bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and attach it to your police report).

Some credit reporting companies may ask for more information or documentation than the Identity Theft Report includes. It depends on the policies of the credit reporting company and the business that sent the information about you to the reporting company.

Step 5: Report fraud on existing accounts. For any of your accounts that show fraudulent charges, contact the business right away. Explain that you’re an identity theft victim. Close the account and follow their reporting process. You can ask if they’ll accept your Identity Theft Report. Additionally, write to the fraud department of each business. By law, they have to review your letter, investigate your complaint, and tell you the results of their investigation. If the information is wrong, the business must tell the credit reporting company. Make sure to ask for a letter from the business confirming that it removed the fraudulent information.

On any credit card or bank account that remains open, take steps to protect yourself. Change your password and place code words on accounts that allow them. Code words are offered on some accounts as an added level of security. You can typically choose your code word. You might consider using something only you would know and is not public knowledge. Finally, continually monitor your accounts, keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity.

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Credit Tips

Credit Repair Services 101: Red Flags to Watch Out For, Your Rights, and Choosing a Legit Company

According to the “Credit Repair Organization Act”, it is unlawful for credit repair providers to lie about what they will be able to do for you, and to try to make you pay before they have even performed any services. These are red flags to watch out for when comparing offers from credit repair services. There is the “DIY” approach, but it can take a long time and be complicated depending on how messed up your credit reports are.

The ideal company will request copies of your TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax reports and review all derogatory marks like charge-offs, bankruptcies, late payments, tax liens, and so forth. Also, did you ever check to see if you were one of the millions of Americans affected by the Equifax hack? Hurry and do so if you haven’t yet. If any of your personal information is vulnerable to identity thieves, you’ll want a credit repair company with lawyers to help you prove that you are a victim.

The CROA requires that any such company you work with must explain your rights to you in a written contract, in addition to the details concerning the services they will perform. No company can make any specific promises. If you are not provided with proof that they are doing everything they possibly can to help you, then you have the right to sue them in federal court.

Avoiding Scams With Credit Repair Services

Avoid getting scam by watching for red flags and only working with an organization that has a long-standing positive reputation. What are some of the strategies a legit company will perform in order to help you repair your credit? It will prepare a plan for disputing errors and trying to have as many negative items as possible removed by using legal methods. The reason why it’s ideal to work with such a company instead of using the DIY approach is that they know how to negotiate with creditors and will do so on your behalf. Are you tired of getting harassed by obnoxious debt collectors? Just opt for credit repair services that include sending cease-and-desist letters to the collectors.

It might not be a good idea for you to apply for new accounts to try and get positive information added to your report to balance out the bad, so be cautious about any company that will try to get you to do this. If you’ve had trouble managing your debts in the past, it might not yet be the right time for you to apply for new lines of credit / loans. Depending on how low your credit score is, you might not even be able to get approved for new credit accounts anyway, and apply for them will have a negative impact on your credit scores anyway due to “soft hits”.

Now that you know how credit repair services can help you, provided they are honest and legitimate, you can get started on cleaning up your reports. Just get a free consultation from Lexington Law.

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Credit Tips

Tips On How To Get Your Bad Credit Personal Loan Application Approved

In current times, the demand for bad credit personal loans has been on the rise. This can be attributed to the fact that the economy has not been very good. This coupled with the fact that commodity prices have been on the rise has led to most people having a bad credit history, which effectively locks them out of getting loans.

If you are in such a position, you should not despair. Even if you have a bad credit history, you can still apply for and get a loan. There are certain loans which are specifically meant for such a demographic, and it would be a good idea to make use of them when you need to borrow money.

A good example of a loan that you can take when you have a bad credit history is a payday advance. This is a kind of short term loan which is often paid within a month. As the name suggests, this kind of loan is often paid back when one receives his or her pay check at the end of the month.

One good thing about this kind of loan is that it is very easy to apply for one. If you need it, all you have to do is find a website run by one of the lenders. For instance, if you live in the United States you can simply use Google to search for payday advance lenders who have online sites. You can then fill out the form and then wait for the money to be deposited in your account.

When you apply for such loans, there are certain things that you need to do so as to increase the chances of getting approved. For instance, you need to know exactly what kind of documentation you need for the loan. For instance most payday advance dealers will require that you have proof of income, such as your pay slips for the past few months.

In addition to that, you may also need to provide details of your bank account. Most lenders will deposit the money in your account after approval, especially when you are applying online. Also, most of them will automatically deduct the amount you are to repay at the end of the month from your account, making it more convenient to make payments.

There are many people who are opponents of bad credit loans due to the fact that they seem to offer high interest rates. For instance, many payday advance lenders will charge a nominal fee of around $15 for each $100 one borrows. This may seem like a very high amount, but the fact of the matter is that they do this since they expose themselves to increased risk. In addition to that, the fact that such loans are often of very small amounts and are paid within a very short time means that the interest never accumulates to very large amounts, as would typical bank loans.

When all is said and done, getting bad credit personal loans is not as hard as one might think. There are many companies which offer these facilities, and all one has to do is find one that suits them. By following the guide above, you can do this with relatively little trouble.

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Credit Tips

Reasons Why Shouldn’t Use A Personal Loan To Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

Many people in Singapore hold multiple credit cards at the same time as each card has its own unique benefits. Under such circumstances, people can potentially fall into a debt trap as he/she owes money to several creditors. There are multiple payments and due dates to keep track of, and the non-stop reminders about unsettled balance only adds to the tension. As you fall behind the due dates of making the payments, your debts will only become larger. One of the way out from this debt trap is having a personal loan known as Debt Management Plan or DCP.

DCP was introduced by Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in the early part of 2017 for all Singapore nationals and Permanent Residents who are facing difficulty in settling their debts. DCP is a type of personal loan where you can borrow a lump sum amount to pay off all your current debts right away. However, you can take the help of a DCP only for unsecured credit facilities such as personal loans, credit cards and other credit lines. Let us take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of a Debt Settlement Plan:

Benefits

  • You only have to make a single payment per month as a DCP consolidates all your debts into a single debt. This will help you save your energy and time and cutting the stress of missing a payment, as you no longer have to keep track of all the different creditors.
  • Lower interest rates with a DCP makes it easier to pay off all your debts and actually make visible progress.
  • When a DCP is managed well, you have a better chance of saving some money instead of spending your whole monthly earnings on paying bills.

Drawbacks

  • The biggest drawback of DCP is the potential of getting into more debt. People who are not careful about their expenses and have a habit of gambling are prone to get themselves further into debt.
  • Even with low interest rates, you may take longer to pay back your debt with DCP. In the long run, this will lead to more interest payment. To avoid this, you must concentrate on paying off your debt as early as possible.
  • If you fail to make timely payments, fines and interests will be imposed, which will only enhance your burdens.

If you choose to transfer your DCP to other banks, you will have to do it three months after your DCP is sanctioned. You will be subject to penalty fees which the original bank may charge for early termination or transferring your DCP. Since a long commitment is required with a DCP, you should do your research extensively before applying for a plan.

Once you have taken a Debt Settlement Plan, all your prevailing credit cards and unsecured debts are adjourned. You will be offered a revolving credit equivalent to your one month’s salary. You will not be eligible to apply for any new unsecured cards during the time your DCP is active, unless you have repaid a part of your debt.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a DCP, you must be a Singaporean or a Permanent Resident. You must have personal assets worth less than S$2 million or your earnings should be in the range of S$20,000 and S$120,000 a year. Your consolidated unsecured debts must exceed by over 12 times your monthly income.

Fees associated with a Debt Management Plan

There are a few banks in Singapore that charge a fixed processing fee while the others charge up to 3% of the sanctioned loan amount. You should opt for a personal loan to finance your crises if you can wait for a few days. Personal loans are better than cash advance because of fixed monthly payments and low interest rates.

A Debt Settlement Plan will help you pay lower monthly sum with low interest rates. As a result, it will help you focus on a single contribution every month and have less financial strain. A personal loan in the form of a Debt Management Plan will help you negotiate with your creditors for removal of penalties to make your loan amount lower.

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Credit Tips

How to Really Use Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are a double edge sword. People are addicted to the plastic crack. They buy stuff they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. Plastic money has Americans hooked. Advertisements for cards are everywhere. How bad is it? According to some statistics the average American household has over $15,000 in credit card debt.

I do not advocate that everyone should have a credit card. If you can not control your cash you definitely can not control your plastic spending. I teach Financial Peace University classes and we strictly preach debt freedom and get rid of your cards. Why? Because most people will spend when they carry a credit card. Furthermore those same people will not pay off their current charges and carry a balance. Thus putting them back into credit card debt.

There is a myth that you need credit. That is a lie. You don’t need credit to survive. It does make it easier to travel, rent cars, and book hotels. But the truth is you can do that with a debit card. The buy now pay later syndrome is why so many people are in debt. This is how people get trapped and are on the path to financial disaster.

Only The Responsible and Disciplined

I use my cards everyday. But I pay off my balance every month. Paying interest is stupid. I still think that most people should not own or use a credit card unless they are responsible and disciplined to pay it off every month. As I mentioned earlier if you can’t control your cash you will do worst with credit cards.

Hear me out again. Paying interest on things you buy is just stupid. If you can’t pay off the balance do not buy the darn thing. Do you really need it anyway? Is that new big screen necessary now. Or is happy hour that important? Think before you pull it out. Better yet leave it at home.

Not For Emergencies

They shouldn’t be used for emergencies. This is an excuse that people use because they are not financially ready. What are emergencies? The tire blew out, the air conditioner doesn’t work, kids need new shoes, you are hungry, and broke. You pull out your plastic to pay for these things and then you start to rack up that balance. You fail to pay the balance and the next month another “emergency” pops up. If you don’t have an emergency fund then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Here are 4.5 Ways to Really Use Your Credit Cards:

1. To Make That $$$

Wealthy people use cards to expand their businesses. They use it to make that $$$. Here is the key! They pay off their balances at the end of the month. They generate income with their cards and then pay it off. They hate paying interest. I am an affiliate marketer and I use my credit cards for marketing and I pay the balance every month.

There is a daily limit on your debit card usage. But not with credit cards and I don’t need limits on my spending. My credit cards help me make money. If your plastic can help you increase your income then by all means use it.

2. Not for Personal Use

If you can’t pay the balance by the end of the statement do not buy it. If you couldn’t buy it with cash then don’t get it. I know you will pay it off later. If that was true there wouldn’t be all this credit card debt floating around. Don’t even carry it with you. Just having it will give you an urge to buy stuff. Stuff is what kills people financially.

Broke people pay fees and interest rates because they can’t afford to buy with cash. That is the consequences of not having enough money to buy what you want. Fees and interest add up. You are just giving money away when you can’t pay it off before the statement date.

Here is a trick I use. I always have a monthly budget. I know where every dollar is going. I take that budget and put it on my credit card. In fact I create a positive balance on my cards. Then I stick to my budget and I am never owing a balance. Why do I do this? You will see when you read #4.

3. Your Personal Bookkeeper

This is why I use my credit cards for every purchase. I get a statement at the end of the month, quarter, and year. I see where my money went and they add graphs too. I download the statements to my Quick Books software and give the year-end statements to my tax guy. Boom accounting is done.

4. Perks, Privileges, Rewards, and Points

The icing on the cake is all the perks, privileges, rewards, and points you get by using your cards. I am a cash back guy and I will get a lot of cash back this year (which I save to my investment accounts). My business credit cards gives me all the perks. I get points, miles, discounted VIP event tickets, and I don’t have to pay exchange rate fees when I travel around the world.

I get travel insurance, rental car insurances which saves me $$$ on rental cars, and much more. Plus all this stuff is free when you pay your balance off. When you use your credit cards correctly you can cash in on the benefits

4.5 To Start Your Business

I caution you to not use your credit cards to start your business. Especially if you are a newbie with no experience in the field you are about to enter. The risk is too great. Now I used my credit cards to invest into my business. That was around $20k. That was a huge gamble. But I had 4 years of experience when I took the plunge.

I also kept my day job to help make the monthly payments. I created multiply streams of income to pay off the balances faster. Those balances are at $0 now but I had to rise, grind, and shine. It took some time but my business is successful. If your business fails you still have to pay those credit cards.

Bottomline

Most people should stay away from credit cards because they can’t control their cash and credit cards will make it worst. Only use it if you can afford to pay off the balance every month. Remember paying interest and fees is stupid. Don’t be stupid. It’s a great accounting tool and the perks are worth the discipline and responsibility.

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Credit Tips

How to Fix Your Credit Yourself

You can pay a credit repair company to fix your credit, but if you’re willing to invest your time instead of your cash then you can do it yourself without having to pay a professional. The only questions you need to know before you get started are how much your time is worth to you, and how comfortable you are with initiating and managing multiple credit profile related contacts via phone and email. You will also need to be comfortable with reading and writing quasi-legal documents. You can find example correspondence online which can help you with this.

Step 1: Obtain Your Credit Reports

Your credit score is based on a combination of factors and information which is reported about you by 3rd parties to the 3 major credit reporting agencies. The major agencies we are concerned with are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These three companies are the ones who are responsible for publishing information about you onto your credit report, however they are not the ones responsible for generating the information. A creditor, a collection agency or another company (known as data furnishers) will tell Experian, Equifax and TransUnion what to publish about you, and then the credit bureaus will publish it. They do not perform a thorough investigation into the legitimacy of the information when they initially report it. Only when it is discovered and disputed by you will it be investigated, at which point it may have been damaging your credit for months or years. It is also very common for information to be different on each of your three credit reports, which is like playing Russian roulette every time your credit is pulled if you don’t fix all three at the same time. The reason is because you never know which report your potential landlord, employer or loan provider is going to pull. Let me give you an example:

  • You have never checked your credit reports or felt the need to do so, however 2 years ago a credit card account was fraudulently opened in your name, maxed out and never paid on. You have never heard anything about it. The credit card company which was defrauded only reports payment information to Equifax and TransUnion, not to Experian. You have previously been approved for a car loan from your bank about 9 months ago, so you assume your score is good, however you are turned down in the final stages of your employment application and receive a form in the mail stating that a consumer report was used in the negative determination of your employment application. That means that even though your bank pulled your Experian information to verify your credit worthiness for your car loan, your potential employer used Equifax or Transunion and assumed the fraudulent negative credit card entry was valid.

Situations similar to the above are very common, and whether you are turned down for a loan, a credit card application, a job or an apartment it is a huge disruption to your plans and can be a major stress inducing event. Go and check your credit reports right now and then once a month from here on out in order to nip this potential problem in the bud.

The first step to take is to simply obtain a credit report from each of the agencies above. Legally you are allowed to do this for free once per year and also every time you are denied credit or suffer another qualifying negative event based on the results of a consumer report. To get your free reports go to annualcreditreport.com and follow the instructions to obtain your report. This is the official government website for obtaining your free credit reports, and it does not require a credit card or any kind of subscription or trial. Some people are not able to receive their reports from annualcreditreport.com due to problems verifying their identity or other reasons. If you are unable to obtain your reports from annualcreditreport.com, you can either search online for credit report providers or you can contact the credit bureaus directly yourself. Typically you can find providers online which will charge you $1 for your first month of access to your credit reports and to a credit monitoring service, with cost rising to about $30 per month thereafter. Remember, it’s free for you if you can get your reports from annualcreditreport.com, so that is definitely your first choice. If you can’t get them there try a paid provider or contact the bureaus directly either online or by mail and persuade them to provide you with a copy of your report. I always send mail certified, signature required, with a tracking number – and I highly advise you do the same. Keeping a detailed record of all of your communications with each entity you will be contacting is of the utmost importance to your success. The dates of your mailings and of the correspondence you receive as a result are extremely important. Below are the web addresses for the credit bureaus – search their site or search online for instructions for requesting access to your credit report if you are unable to do so through annualcreditreport.com.

So, just to be clear:

  1. annualcreditreport.com – official site for obtaining your credit reports – go here first
  2. Experian.com – Equifax.com – TransUnion.com; contact directly if needed

OK, I’ve received my credit reports in the mail or I’ve accessed them online – now what?

Step 2: Reviewing Your Credit Reports for Accuracy

Once you receive your reports you will need to review them for accuracy. Check each one carefully. There are several sections you will need to review and each one contains important information about you which will be checked by employers, landlords, utility companies, your cell phone provider and of course, potential creditors and others. Credit reports from the three agencies each look slightly different, but are generally composed of sections similar to these:

  1. Personal Profile: This section contains your personal information, such as your legal name, your current and previous addresses, your employment history and your birth date.
  2. Credit Summary: A snapshot of your credit, including how many accounts have been opened in your name and their total balance. Reported delinquencies will be listed here as well.
  3. Public Records: The odds are that you likely don’t have any public records listed on your report, but they are very common. Mistakes in this area of your report are also fairly common and need to be disputed immediately. This type of information includes bankruptcy, tax lien, court records, judgements and child support.
  4. Credit Inquiries: Any company you have given permission to review your credit file (called a hard inquiry) will be listed here for two years. More than 3 inquiries listed in this section can lower your credit score. If you see companies listed in this section that you have not authorized to pull your credit, then they need to be removed. If you personally check your own credit (such as through a paid provider or credit monitoring service like referenced above) your credit score will not be affected. This type of inquiry is known a soft inquiry. Typical listings in this section include lenders, and potential or former employers and landlords.
  5. Account History: This is the specific account information for all accounts opened in your name which are reported to a credit reporting agency. This information can be positive or negative, and collectively has the biggest impact on your credit rating. A large amount of inaccurate information can be found on some people’s credit reports in this section. Positive information reported about you will remain on your report indefinitely, while negative information will remain for 7 – 10 years from the date that the account was closed, or the date you last made a payment on or acknowledged the alleged debt.
  6. The contact information for all the companies who are listing information about you will also be found in this section. These addresses are where you will be sending your dispute letters if you choose to mail them versus filing online (recommended).

The above sections will comprise the majority of your credit reports. As stated before, go through them very carefully. Pay special attention to the alleged amounts that you owe, the payment dates and the names of the companies which are reporting the negative information. Take note of whether or not it is the original creditor or a debt collector as this will have an effect on the wording of the letters you will be sending out, and look at the account creation dates. In short, go through and verify that every single datapoint which is being reported about you on that credit report is accurate. Make notations of what you believe to be incorrect, reconcile this information with your records and if it is not exactly the same, then it may be being reported incorrectly and having a negative effect on your credit profile.

Step 3: First Contact

Now that you have reviewed your credit reports the fun part starts. You need to take all of the information which you want to be removed from your report and begin writing letters to address those issues. You can put multiple issues on each letter, however I never send more than 3 issues per letter to any agency and I recommend you don’t either. You will want to send a letter to each of the credit bureaus which specifically details the reasons the information should be removed from your report. If it is inaccurate in any way, then legally it must be removed from your report. Carefully word your dispute letter with diplomatic and professional language, and inform the credit reporting agencies that you want them to investigate the points you raise in your letter as you are disputing their accuracy. If you have evidence supporting your claim, submit a copy with your dispute letters. The credit agencies want to report correct information, and they will look at the evidence you send to them. Make sure you do not acknowledge that the debt is yours or make any payment offers as this could potentially restart the 7 year clock that the debt will be reported about you.

After you have disputed your items the credit agencies are allowed a minimum of 30 days to respond under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). During this time they will contact the data furnisher and attempt to verify the accuracy of the debt they are reporting about you. Generally the data furnisher will simply respond that the data is correct, and nothing will change. The credit bureau will send you a letter explaining that they reviewed your claim, and the information was reported to be accurate, and therefore they will continue to report it. If you have submitted good documentation supporting your position, the credit bureau will review it, however they may still side with the data furnisher and refuse to remove the incorrect items(s) from your report.

If this happens, you will need to contact the original creditors and the collections agencies if they are involved, and request validation of the debt they are reporting about you. Typically you will receive some sort of report generated by them which simply states that you them a certain amount of money. This amount will rarely correlate with what you think you owe, or what is being reported onto your credit report. Depending on what type of information you receive from the data furnisher directly, you may be able to simply write a new letter to the credit bureau with copies of the information you received from the data furnisher and an explanation of how the information doesn’t correlate with what is being reported on your credit report. They are also required to be able to validate your debt. This is different than verifying it, which is what data furnishers sometimes do. Look up this distinction online and then check to make sure that they have provided the evidence legally required of them to continue reporting information about you.

The parties you will be contacting include:

  1. The three major credit bureaus
    1. Experian
    2. Equifax
    3. TransUnion
  2. The data furnishers

    1. Original creditors
    2. Collection agencies
    3. Attorneys
    4. Others various parties

Dealing with each of these contacts and correctly generating effective correspondence to them along with corroborating evidence will be the best and fastest way to fix your credit reports.

  1. Do not enter into any payment negotiations with collections agencies or any other data furnishers without express written statements from them that they will be deleting the “tradeline” once you have fulfilled your payments. This is a very important step when dealing with data furnishers, and forgetting to specify this could cause negative information to stay on your report for much longer in the form of a paid collections account.

Step 4: Raising or Establishing Your Credit Worthiness

If everything looks good on your credit reports and your score still isn’t as high as you think it should be, or if you are just new to obtaining credit, there are several things you should be aware of.

  • Some credit scoring models will give you a lower score for credit card limits or loans which are under $2,000 – get a limit at least this high if you can.
  • The average age of all of your combined accounts is important – the older the better. What this means is that if you have 10 accounts with an average age of 22 years and then you go out and open 4 new accounts to try and raise your score, the average age of your accounts will drop to just under 15 1/2 years old. This will have a negative effect on your credit score and may offset any benefit of opening 4 new accounts, which will also generate 4 new hard inquiries which will also have a negative effect. Make sure you absolutely need credit before applying for it.
  • Having over twenty accounts in good standing can raise your score, however the average age of your accounts will generally make more of an impact on your score than the total number of your accounts (see above).
  • If you have bad credit or no credit – try this out: Pull your credit reports and fix everything on them that you can so that your credit history is as favorable as possible. Save up $200 dollars, and then go to your bank or go online and find a company which offers secured loans and credit cards – these are generally easy to be approved for because the credit limit is the same as the amount which you deposit. In this case, you will deposit $200 to obtain a secured loan, then you will take the $200 from your loan and open a secured credit card. This way, you will gain two new accounts which are reporting your timely payments to the credit bureaus for the price of one. Also, you aren’t really out any money because even though you deposited $200 to obtain a secured credit card and loan, you now have $200 worth of credit at your disposal. Make sure you make timely payments on these two accounts and your score can easily go up 75 points or more in just a few months. If you can manage a $2,000 secured loan then you will get the benefit of having a loan and a credit card with credit limits of at least $2,000 each which will both report to the major credit bureaus and can raise your score even more. If you decide to do this make sure your secured card provider reports to all three major credit bureaus – and try to pay off your credit card in full each month.
  • On time payments to your accounts in good standing are the best way to raise your score and keep it there.
  • If you are offered a lower credit card limit than you want you can always call the financial provider and request a higher limit. Sometimes all they need is a little additional information to approve you for thousands of dollars more.
  • The amount of your credit limit which you actually borrow matters; your debt to credit ratio is what credit agencies use to quickly see how much of your available credit you are using each month. This amount can change on a daily basis and has a major effect on your credit score. Keep the total amount of your debt down to about 20% or less of your available credit to look favorable.
  • Don’t max out individual cards; if you have $10,000 of total credit on three cards of $4,000, $5,000 and $1,000 dollars, don’t max out any individual card. Keep each of them at 20% or less utilization to save on interest and to keep your cards from being individually over utilized.
  • Keep your cash back by paying your cards in full each month. As long as the accounts are active and being used, paying them off each month won’t look bad for your score. By not carrying a monthly balance you will avoid paying interest completely while still receiving cash back for using your cards. In this case, you can actually make money by properly managing your credit cards if you are disciplined.
  • Paying twice can save you thousands; many loans can be paid off much quicker by simply taking the monthly amount owed, splitting it in two and paying it off in two separate payments each billing cycle. If you can add just a little extra in each payment your savings could be significant and it could speed up the time it takes to pay off your loan by months. Mortgages and car loans are great for this strategy.

I encourage you to look into the huge amount of information available online and learn as much as possible prior to taking any of the steps outlined above as a simple mistake could be extremely negative to your credit profile. Fixing your credit can be tricky, with a lot of pitfalls and confusing rules, regulations and recommendations. Even so, it is absolutely imperative to just go ahead and dive into it and get started as the longer you wait, the more it will cost you in the long run.

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How to Repair Credit After Bankruptcy: Beginner’s Guide

As opposed to mainstream thinking, improving your FICO rating even after bankruptcy isn’t unthinkable. Actually, in some ways, it is simpler to reconstruct your FICO score as soon as you default on some loans. In all actuality: sometimes your FICO assessment will be in an ideal situation over the long term. Before we tell you how to repair credit after bankruptcy, here’s a little additional help.

In case you are battling with your accounts and your FICO assessment, and you don’t see a prompt promising finish to the present course of action, you will most likely keep on struggling for a couple of more years. As you battle to remain above water, you will likely miss a couple of installments all over.

Furthermore, your FICO rating will endure. In two years, it will be precisely where it is currently. It may even be more regrettable. What’s more, as you keep attempting to keep your head above water, your score may sink further and only get worse.

Yet when you default on some loans today and afterward begin the way toward reconstructing your FICO rating after bankruptcy, in two years, you could have an awesome FICO assessment!

The guide on how to repair credit after bankruptcy is comprised of two basic strides:

Open new lines of credit

Pay your bills on time

Open New Lines of Credit

Many individuals believe that all of a sudden abstaining from any credit after bankruptcy can help. They think that by quitting to use credits in every way, the credit agencies will be happy and their score will get better. In any case, actually, the credit departments view no acknowledge as similarly as awful as bad credit.

Acquiring new credit limits after bankruptcy tells the credit departments that while you may have hit harsh circumstances, you are en route up! In case you take after this guidance and get new credit extensions, you can without much of a stretch raise your FICO score a long time before the liquidation is expelled from your credit report in seven to ten years.

Pay Your Bills on Time

In the event that you have experienced a bankruptcy, never make a late installment. Not even once. You can’t pay one moment past the due date. The credit-scoring models think of you as a to a great degree unsafe borrower, so any sign that you are slipping into old examples won’t look good for your FICO rating.

This was a 2-step guide on how to repair credit after bankruptcy. If you feel the situation out of your hands or knowledge, it’s better to hire experts for the job.