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Credit Repair Articles
One of the essential components of credit repair is your ability to remain consistent in your efforts to keep your credit report accurate and your credit score as high as possible. Lenders today are looking for scores of 730 and above when making lending decisions at the best rates. It is in every consumer’s best interest to work on keeping their credit reports accurate and up to date.
Why Consistency Matters
There is a heavy emphasis for consumers to monitor their credit history reports and every consumer has a right to check in with their reports annually at no charge. There is also opportunity to request free credit reports when you are denied credit. Your credit score does not come free with your reports but it is your history that is what really needs special attention.
Most consumers will look at their credit history at least once a year or when they need financing but that may not be enough to generate the highest credit score possible.
If you have been turned down for financing, you typically had to remain in the dark as a consumer when the rejection letter came. Consumers have a right to request a free copy of their credit report after being denied financing but were essentially left to their own devices when it came to figuring out why they had their application turned down.
However, starting this week, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act will change the way rejections work. A new rule is being implanted that requires lenders to explain in greater detail why a consumer received a denial. Lenders are now required to display credit score information used to make the rejection decision. Consumers will be able to see their credit score range as well as the credit history data that was used in the decision process. The rule also allows consumers to be told about the factors that contributed to the decision, including negative information that affected the consumer credit score. The lender must also disclose which credit reporting agency provided the information.
On July 21, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will officially launch and will be responsible for enforcing the new rules.
Since the credit crunch, more people have decided to use debit cards instead of credit cards for their purchases. On one hand, using debit cards can be smarter since the transactions come straight from your checking account – you don’t have to repay a credit card balance. But, there may be some drawbacks to using your debit card; your credit score could be affected.
What Affects Your Credit Score
Using a debit card in itself isn’t going to affect your credit score. Your checking account activity isn’t normally listed on your credit report. Even overdrafts don’t appear on your credit report unless the account gets closed and you never pay back the delinquent balance. Of course, that’s a stretch. You need your checking account so you’ll probably clear up any overdrafts quickly and your credit score won’t get hurt in that way.
What does happen when you choose your debit card for purchases is that your credit card gets neglected. After your credit card is inactive for several months, the credit scoring calculation ignores that account on your credit report. If this account has a good amount of available credit, your credit utilization could go up and your credit score will drop. Fortunately, all you have to do to reactive your credit card is use it. Once your account becomes active again, the credit scoring calculation will once again include that account in your credit score.
Credit card issuers don’t like inactive credit card accounts. In fact, your credit card issuer could close your account if it remains dormant for several months. A closed credit card would affect your account in the same way as an inactive account. The difference is it’s not as easy to reopen a closed account. The credit card issuer may reopen it if you call and ask. Or worse, that could require you to put in a new application.
Though you may opt to use your debit cards more often because you don’t want problems with your credit card issuer, don’t forget that you need open, active credit cards to help boost your credit score.
You don’t have to carry a credit card balance to build a good credit score. If your credit card has $0 balance, use it once every few months to keep it open and active. You can avoid finance charges by paying the balance off at the end of the month. You can keep from spending extra money by using your credit card to buy something you would have paid cash for and then paying off the balance immediately.
When It’s Better to Use a Debit Card
There’s one time that using a debit card trumps a credit card – to get cash from an ATM. Credit card cash advances are one of the most expensive types of transactions, with interest accruing from the first day you take out the cash advance. Though you’re subject to an ATM fee with both types of transactions, only a credit card cash advance charges a cash advance fee. If you need cash, use your debit card. But, for purchases, it’s ok to use your credit card.
Report Finds Credit Scores Not What They Seem
A new study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that credit scores consumers receive from the credit reporting bureaus are not always the same score a potential lender will see.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has not yet launched but is ready to do so soon. The bureau needed to perform a certain amount of studies that were required by the Dodd-Frank Act. One of the included studies compared the credit score differences between those purchased by consumers and those used by creditors when reviewing new applications.
Consumers at a Loss
Consumers are being told time and again to check and recheck their credit scores, especially before applying for a loan or other financing.
While you may be making plenty of preparations for your upcoming nuptials, there is one area where most people lack the attention necessary to ensure a health financial marriage. Credit repair is a step engaged couples need to deal with before tying the knot because once the union is official, credit scores and histories can get out of control.
Taking on the Debts
When one or both parties in a relationship have bad credit and are about to join forces, credit histories will also likely be combined, creating a bad situation for a newly married couple. Those who intend to buy a car, purchase a home together, or pursue any other financing endeavor will find it very hard to get approval.
When bad credit gets combined with more bad credit, newly married couples can be facing a lifetime of debt together. This can create not only struggles to eliminate the combined debt but also create difficulties in a new marriage.
One of the major factors that relationship counselors see as a protagonist to divorce is money issues. Not having enough money to make ends meet or support a family brings about a lot of arguments and bitterness. This is especially true when one half of the couple has great credit and the other does not.
Repairing Credit Before Vows
When you are ready to commit to marriage with another person, there should by no shying away from.
Better Credit Isn’t Always Perfect
Be careful having the mindset that credit repair will solve all your financial problems, that you will always be approved for credit cards and loans now that you have a better credit score. Since your credit isn’t the only thing creditors consider when they’re deciding whether to lend to you, it’s possible that you could be denied even after your credit is clean.
You may still pay security deposits.
If you have a delinquency with a previous utility company, they may still keep the record in their system, even after it’s no longer included on your credit report. That means you could still be required to pay a security deposit. Some utility companies have started assessing a security deposit on existing customers when they make a late payment for too many consecutive months. Their system will automatically bill you for the security deposit and you may not be able to talk them out of removing the deposit. You’ll have to pay it to keep using the service. That’s one more reason to always pay your utility bills on time even though late payments aren’t included on your credit report.
You could still be turned down.
Banks have several things they consider when they approve you for a credit card or loan. For example, even with excellent credit, you may be denied because your income isn’t high enough, because you haven’t been at your current job long enough, or because you don’t have a high enough.
When the economy suffers a downtown, your credit, unfortunately, may suffer too. But this may be the worst possible time to have a bad credit score. If you find yourself back on the job market, you’ll often need to have good credit to land a job and keep paying your bills. In a recession or tough economy, take necessary precautions to keep your credit intact.
Build an emergency fund.
If you’re actively paying off debt by sending lump sum payments every month, you may want to scale back on those payments for a few months while you save up an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help keep you afloat for a few weeks or months if you suffer a pay cut or get laid off. But, if you’re really close to paying off your credit cards – like a couple of months – it’s okay to knock out those credit card bills. Then, once you’re done start up your emergency fund.
Call a credit counseling agency.
After suffering a job loss, you may not be able to afford your credit card payments. Get in touch with a credit counseling agency immediately. They can work with your creditors to lower your interest rate and minimum payment. Your credit card billing statement will have the number to a credit counseling agency. Otherwise, you can visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s website, NFCC.org.
Get a forbearance or deferment on your loans.
When you can’t afford your loan payments
5 Things You Shouldn’t Do After Credit Repair
After months, maybe even years of suffering with a bad credit, you finally have the credit score you’ve desperately longed for. Your mind is probably full of ideas about what you can do now that you have better credit. Before you make any fast decisions, remember the boat you just got off. Every decision you make from this point forward should be one that keeps you from being back in that same boat again.
Put in a bunch of credit card applications.
Of course, you shouldn’t do this anyway, even if you’ve never been through credit repair. But, since you’re fresh out of a bad credit situation, you may be tempted to take advantage of the great credit you have by opening several credit card accounts. Not only do the inquiries affect your credit, the cards hold the potential for future problems, say if you run up a balance you can’t afford. One or two credit cards are okay. More than that is trouble.
Cosign for someone else.
Don’t be surprised if your friends or family ask you to cosign for them once they find out your credit is in a better situation. Cosigning is another of those things that’s a bad idea even when you haven’t gone through credit repair. Just be on guard for people who’ll want you to use your good credit to benefit them. Be strong enough to say no because too often cosigning backfires on the person who put their name and good credit on the line.
Default on a loan or credit card.
After you’ve worked hard to get your credit score right again, don’t mess it up
It is not uncommon for families to be living from one paycheck to another. Especially when money is tight a budget becomes the all-important piece of the money puzzle to ensure the bills get paid and there is food on the table. When you are working through the process of trying to repair bad credit, it is important that a family budget includes a priority list to ensure all bills are paid on time each month. Consumers may think that a few late payments may do no harm but a credit score is highly dependent on consistent payments if it is to be improved.
Making Payments Count
Ideally a budget should be set up so that enough money remains in the bank faithfully to cover monthly expenses. Having a cushion, extra money, in the bank will also help. Automating bill payments is the easiest, most efficient way of making your payment count towards a better score — the way you pay your bills counts for 35% of your credit score make up. Automated payments are often set up directly through your online banking system or through individual creditors that allow these types of payments. Typically there is no cost for these services and in some cases creditors will even allow for a discount in pricing if you pay electronically each month.
In order to make payments count, not only do you need to pay bills on time, you should also consider how much you are paying. Credit cards especially should be paid in full at the end of each billing cycle or at least more than the minimum required payment should be made. This not only makes you look more truthworthy but it also helps you reduce your debts faster. You’ll end up saving a lot more money too by eliminating debts and paying less interest over time.
When You Can’t Pay On Time
There are some instances where a financial hardship makes it difficult for you to get your payments in on time. In these cases, it is critical you speak directly with your creditor.
Credit report disputes aren’t always successful. Sometimes you believe something shouldn’t appear on your report, but the bureau disagrees and continues to report the item you disputed. If you can’t get an item taken off your report, you can tell your side of the story.
Your Right to a Personal Statement
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, the law that covers credit report disputes, gives you the right to add a 100-word personal statement to your report. You can use this brief paragraph to explain why an entry is has been listed on the report. For example, a fraudulent account may have been reported in your name, but the bureaus refuse to remove it because the card issuer continues to say that it belongs to you. Your 100-word statement would explain the identity theft and state that you tried to dispute it but were unsuccessful.
Personal statements don’t necessarily have to explain errors on your report. They can also be used to explain why you fell behind on payments, e.g. a long period of unemployment or an injury. The personal statement can be used to explain that you aren’t a deadbeat and you have a legitimate reason for falling behind on your payments.
Make sure your personal statement doesn’t cast you in a bad light. You don’t want to say something like “I was young and didn’t realize late payments would affect me.” That type of statement probably won’t give the lender a good
Are You Headed for a Credit Repair Disaster?
Credit repair is one of those things that are so important, you don’t want to do the wrong thing. The biggest credit repair mistakes could set you back both in time and credit score points. Learn to recognize the signs that you’re doing something wrong or about to do something wrong.
You haven’t checked your credit report.
You wouldn’t go on a trip without first checking a map, so you shouldn’t start credit repair without checking your credit report. Your credit report lets you know the specific things that are hurting your score that need repairing. Since you can get a report free through AnnualCreditReport.com once a year, there’s no reason you shouldn’t check it.
You’re ignoring accounts that aren’t on your credit report.
Certain bills that you pay every month aren’t ordinarily listed on your credit report, like utility bills and cell phone bills for example.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a hurry to boost your credit score a few points, for example, to get a better interest rate on a loan. If you know there are credit report errors dragging your score down, but you don’t have time to wait for the dispute process to update your credit report, you may be a candidate for rapid rescoring.
How Rapid Rescoring Works
The credit bureaus offer rapid rescoring as a service to lenders and mortgage brokers. The lender can get the proof of your report error, send it to the bureaus, and have your report updated in about 48 to 72 hours. That’s much sooner than the 30-45 days it would take if you went the regular dispute route.
For rapid rescoring to work, the credit card issuer has to agree to remove the information from your report. Or, you need to have proof of the error. For example, if someone has opened an account in your name, you may have an identity theft affidavit showing that you didn’t open that account. The lender can send your affidavit to the bureaus and have your report updated.
Having high credit card balances can hurt your score and your chances at getting a loan at a good interest rate. If you have the money to pay off the balance, at least enough of it to bring the credit utilization.
Failing to make your payments on time will lower your credit score, but that may be the only reason that appeals to common sense. Stranger ways to lose points abound.
It takes years to build up a good credit score, but very little effort to trash it. In fact, sometimes it is the actions you take to manage your credit more responsibly that lower your score. Obviously, missing payments affects your score negatively, as it should.
If you have several cards and aren’t using them, you might naturally think that getting rid of available credit and loans would show how responsible you are, and get you a nod of approval from the credit police, wouldn’t you? Actually, the opposite is true. Closing card accounts lowers your available credit, so the ratio between any debt you have and the amount you can make use of becomes higher. This is known as your debt to credit ratio, or debt load.
Say you have three credit cards, each with a $1,000 credit limit. That means you have $3,000 available to you. If you charge $1,000 on one card, your debt load is now $1,000 from $3,000, or 33.3% So now you have a monthly payment, and realize that by the time you get it all paid off (depending on your interest rate), you are going to pay $1,400 for $1,000 worth of stuff you didn’t really have to have after all.
You’re thinking like a grown-up now. Proud of your new awareness, you cut up one of your other cards since you will never be so frivolous as to charge $3,000 worth of stuff.
In order for a small business to become financially successful, it has to be able to stand on its own two feet. While most businesses need to rely on the owner’s personal credit history and score before a business can be established, there must be a point of separation to ensure the stability of the business. If a business can not establish or repair its own line of credit, there is a chance the business will not succeed financially or otherwise. Bad credit can mean other vendors and companies will not want to conduct business with your small business. Your business credit must be trustworthy, especially in light of the current economy of the nation.
In order to develop and maintain good business credit, it is important for a business owner to make the effort to keep credit in good shape. Here are 4 of the basic rules for maintaining good business credit:
Take the Personal Out of Business
Most consumers realize they have a credit score – a number that indicates whether you have good or bad credit. It’s a number creditors and lenders use to decide whether to approve your application and what interest rate to give you. But, there are several other scores businesses use that aren’t as publicized. Some of them are not even available for consumer use.
Your credit card issuer has a wealth of information about your shopping habits and uses this information to determine just how risky of a borrower you are. Creditors may use your behavior score to determine your limit, to raise your interest rate, raise your annual fee, or cancel your credit card all together. Using your card at certain places, like pawn shops, can make you seem riskier.
Because card issuers don’t share the score, or the factors that influence the score, it’s impossible to raise your score. Cutting back on your plastic utilization used to share your behavior score can negatively affect you too – creditors may misinterpret the reason you’re using your credit card less.
Banks use your bankruptcy score to predict the likelihood that you’ll file bankruptcy in the near future.
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