Debt Collectors

Decreasing Credit Card Limits II A Major Score Impact

How Does A Decrease In Credit Limit Effect Me? 

Your credit utilization rate is one of the most important factors when it comes to your credit score. Depending on how much of the available balance you use will reflect what kind of borrower you are and can be the deciding factor in a substantial credit boost. The lower your credit utilization rate, the better impact the account will have on your credit report. 

It can be frustrating to hold a lower credit utilization rate of 15% on an open trade line, but find that with a drop to your allotted limit, you have almost doubled your original rate. This can lead to lower credit scores and curbs one’s buying power substantially! A sudden change in your credit habits can also portray you as a risky borrower and can spur other lenders to reconsider limits as well.

Can They Do That?!

Just as a card issuer can raise your credit limit as a reward for your continued loyalty or due to your personal request, they can also lower the amount you can access when borrowing from them. This can happen for a multitude of reasons but primarily is due to the cardholder being seen to have a higher risk of default.  An example can be seen with holders that have added an authorized user onto the account; if one has a substantially lower credit score, the lender may see the account as being at risk. Another example comes with the recent dealings of the Covid 19 epidemic. With many borrowers experiencing financial difficulties in the last year, lenders have had to take protective actions with the exponential rise of credit utilization from their borrowers. 

Though federal laws provide some protections related to credit limit decreases, banks usually have free rein to edit your credit limit as they see needed. This can be seen as an unfavorable or even shady tactic, but as they are the ones lending the money, the ball rests in their court. 

What Are My Rights? 

If the credit changes do not breach your cardholder agreement or federal credit regulations, issuers can make changes to your card’s terms as they see fit. Currently, there are no laws that can protect consumers from a credit limit decrease or the damage that will potentially occur with the change. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act does require the issuer to send an adverse action notice to the consumer when they take an action based on your credit report. This does protect you from misinformation if another person’s poor account history is added to your report; you will receive notice of that change and can take appropriate action to correct it! 

The good news is that it is extremely rare for an issuer to reduce your credit limit lower than the amount you have already charged to your card (IE: if you have a credit utilization rate of $2000 and you have charged $1500 to the account, it is extremely unlikely for the issuer to lower the limit below that $1500). If there is a rare case of the issuer decreasing the amount below the current borrowed amount, there are CARD Act provisions that can protect you from any fees that may come from maxing out the account. With this law in place, your issuer is unable to charge the “over the limit” fee within 45 days from the credit limits change.

Has your credit score dropped because of a recent cut to your credit limits? Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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How Can I Get My Old Limit Restored? 

Now that your limit has been cut, what are some steps you can take to begin restoring it? If you have had your credit limit lowered, the first thing you need to do is verify with your card issuer and ask a representative for an explanation for the credit limit drop. Depending on the reason for the limit cut, there are a few things you can do!

If the cutback was caused by a financial setback that prevented you from making your payments or keeping your balance in good standings, just explaining the situation can make all the difference.  This could be going over what exactly happened that threw off your standing or an explanation of what steps you are going to take to get everything back in order! Many issuers would be more than happy to work with you to restore your credit limit if certain criteria are met! This can be anything from making on-time payments over an extended period of time or paying down your balance to a certain number.

Another way you can potentially help your situation would be to write a goodwill letter to the issuer! A goodwill letter can also prompt the issuer to remove a late payment from the report depending on your credit history. This option can take substantially longer to take effect and is only valid if you held prior positive payment history.

Your issuer is not required by law to make changes to restore your previous credit limit and these prior attempts may not show results. If you are denied and you believe that the card company is neglecting to assist you in any way, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to attempt to provide urgency to the situation.

 

Don’t Put Yourself At Risk

It is not common for card issuers to make changes to your credit limit, but there many cases where it does happen. There are a few ways that can help ensure you are never the target of a credit limit cut. Be sure to monitor your credit report for any changes, errors, and fraudulent accounts that could lead to a credit limit cut. You are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit bureaus, and it can be obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com. There are many other monitoring services out there like Credit Armor that take a deep dive into your credit report and provide helpful tools to help dispute and correct misinformation on your report.

The best way to prevent a decreased credit limit and keep your credit in good standings is to make sure to keep your credit utilization as low as possible, pay your balances on time and monitor your report for any inconsistencies that may pop up!

 

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Debt Collector or Scam Caller? How Can You Tell?

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.

 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:

They must

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication
  • Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
  • Verify the name and address of the original collector
  • Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt

If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.

Taking Legal Action

The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.

  • Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
  • Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
  • Profane or abusive language is not allowed
  • Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
  • A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
  • Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop

A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.

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Suing the Debt Collector

If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.

Continued Harassment and Next Steps

The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:

  1. Collection Letters you received
  2. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
  3. Telephone Bills
  4. Notes and contact info taken during call
  5. Take screenshots of your caller ID info

 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

 Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

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Why Should You Hire A Law Firm For Credit Repair?

Why Consumers Hire a Law Firm For Credit Repair

There is a major difference between what a credit repair company can do versus what a law firm specializing in credit repair can.  What you may find even more interesting is that a consumer can actually do more than what a credit repair company will. A Law Firm however, trumps all. We have been using the law since 2011 to help consumers every day and this is what makes us far superior to other “repair” companies.

Here is how we help our consumers and fight for their rights!

Harassing Phone Calls:

If you are constantly receiving phones calls and are tired of trying to dodge collectors, we can get these calls to stop. At Credit Law Center   we notify all your creditors that you are now a client of our law firm. We also send out correspondence to them indicating that all communication to you should go through us. They must comply with this request! If they do not, it is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and they are liable to you and to us. If they continue calling after you’ve informed them you are represented by Credit Law Center, this could mean money in your pocket!

Violations with FCRA
The Fair Credit Reporting Act    mandates that everything on a report must be verifiable, accurate and timely. A recent study indicated that 79% of credit reports contain errors! Many of these errors are easy for us to spot and we can give our consumers a great idea of what to expect on certain items that may in fact fall off due to a FCRA violation. At Credit Law Center we sue for those inaccuracies.
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Debt Negotiation:
As a law firm we have the ability and power to negotiate judgments, repossessions, charge off, or any sort of debt that is still reporting on a report.  We use the power of the law and our attorneys to negotiate these items in a way that’s favorable to you. While not Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy, we do have significant tools available to us that help negotiate these debts and save you significant amounts of money! We have four attorneys in house that you can lean on for advice and guidance while working on negotiation. Their extensive negotiating experience with banks, collection companies, and collection attorneys has helped our clients save thousands.  Our goal is to negotiate the debt as low as possible out of court and get your case dismissed.

We Win!
At Credit Law Center we use federal statutes to assist our consumers. The first one is the FDCPA or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  This  statute lays out a specific way in which debts can be collected both legal methods and illegal methods. The second is the FCRA or the Fair Credit Reporting Act.   Lastly is TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)  This act is specifically designed for text message, fax machine violations, pre recorded voicemails.  Three of these federal guidelines provide for attorney’s fees if we are successful. What that means is if we take your case and pursue it and are successful, the other side pays our fees and as our client you would owe us nothing! Please contact us today if you think you might have a case in any of these areas of the law, we would happy to speak with you further 1-800-994-3070!

Credit Cards for College Students

What Really Impacts Your Credit Score?

I have clients from all over the country asking me how much particular items on their credit report are affecting their credit and if the item is removed, then will their credit score rise. It is difficult to provide a precise answer because there are many underlying factors that can make or break your credit! Follow Credit Law Center as we delve into the 5 major factors that impact your credit score!

 

#1 Payment History

 

Payment history holds the most weight over your credit score is calculated. Your payment history roughly translates to 35% of your FICO score and could be one of the reasons you aren’t seeing those numbers rise. It is extremely important to establish healthy and beneficial trade lines and to make sure that your debts are monitored and paid in a timely fashion.  Therefore, it is more difficult for beginners to start establishing healthy credit because they have not had the time to acquire a positive credit history.

It goes to show that if you have upheld your credit obligations in the past then you will reap the rewards in the future!

 

#2 Missed Payments

It happens to the best of us, something comes up and we miss a payment! Even a 30-day late payment can hurt your score and if you make frequent late payments then expect your score to start to drop.

Credit scoring models look at:

-Are there late payment appears on your credit report?

– How late are those payments?

-How recent were those late payments?

– How many late payments appear on the report?

 

Automated payments are one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t make a late payment. Most credit card issuers will offer scheduled payments and the option to either pay in full or pay the minimum payment and will allow you to choose whichever fits your financial needs.

 

I use automatic payments on my CareCredit account, and it lifts a lot of stress knowing that I don’t need to remember to log into my account every month to set up a withdrawal. It is smart to check your transaction history to make sure that the payment was made successfully!

#3 Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is almost as important as your payment history in terms of credit health and importance. Your credit utilization rate makes up roughly another 30% of your FICO score!

The lower your credit utilization rate, the lower risk you are to lenders. Say you have a $6000 limit on your credit card, and you are using $2000 worth of credit. You are using a little more than 30% of your credit cap and are seen as a lower risk borrower.

Paying off your statements in full is the best way to keep your credit utilization at a healthy percent and can really bump up your credit score!

 

#4 Length of Credit History

 

Length of credit history and payment history go hand in hand when it comes to establishing your credit score. Length of credit history only takes up about 15% of your credit score but can be a wonderful way to passively grow or stabilize your report!

Fico will consider:

  • Your oldest account held
  • Average account age
  • Usage of accounts

Becoming an authorizes user is a wonderful way to start building credit history if you are just beginning to start building credit. If you have established credit then keeping those older accounts open and in use will be beneficial if done responsibly.

 

# 5 New credit

Studies show that people who apply for a lot of credit in a short period of time are riskier borrowers. In other words, they’re more likely to pay a credit obligation 90 days late in the following 24 months.

Some people apply for many credit cards at once to boost their score quickly. This can have negative implications for your credit score as it makes you seem desperate for credit and you will be seen as a high-risk borrower.

When a financial institution pulls your credit score, a record known as an “inquiry” is added to your credit report. Most inquiries stay on your report for 24 months. Certain inquiries, known as “hard” inquiries, have the potential to damage your credit score for 12 months.

 

Your credit score determines many factors in your life and the more that you understand it, the more fruitful your endeavors will be!

Inquire for free credit review & consultation.

Contact:  1-800-994-3070

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A Guide To Your Credit Mix

Your Fix of the Mix

We all know the importance of having a good credit score.With a high credit score, you can open to door to better interest rates, loans, benefits and more! Good credit can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get approved to rent a home or get a particular  job. Therefore, it’s  is important to  fully understand the various factors that make up your credit, including the credit mix.

To clarify, credit mix is not the most important factor in determining your score. Your payment history carries the majority of the weight, followed by your credit utilization rate and then your credit history and longevity. The good news is, your credit mix comprises  only  10% of your credit score! In the end, your credit mix determines your credit health and can be a beneficial indicator of your credit prowess!

What are the two types of credit accounts?

What exactly is credit mix you might ask? Credit mix refers the different types of accounts associated with your credit report and usually fall into two categories:

  1. Installment loans, in which you borrow a specific amount and have payments due each month for a specific amount of time.
  2. Revolving credit, in which you borrow as much you need and pay it back in either a minimum or full payment until the amount owed is fully paid.

Examples of installment loans are home loans, auto loans, and personal loans. Revolving credit refers  to credit cards; although home equity lines of credit are another example.

 

Understanding Credit Mix - Dollars And Points

What is a healthy credit mix?

If you are looking for a healthy credit mix you will want an even mix of both installment loans and revolving credit .Having a mortgage or auto loan along with a couple of credit cards should set you up with an even credit mix and will reflect positively on your report. On the other hand, if you have only credit cards listed on your report, it can reflect poorly and harm your credit report in the long term.

Now, what happens if you have a few credit cards, but have your vehicle paid off and are all set on your home? Should you take out a personal loan so that you have an installment loan in the mix?

Not necessarily. It is not usually a good idea to borrow money when you don’t need to.Remember, your credit mix makes up only 10% of your credit score.If you are doing well in areas of your credit that hold more weight, such as  credit utilization and payment history then you are more likely to maintain good credit even if your credit mix isn’t as developed as you would like. There is not reason for additional expenses to try and diversify your credit mix!

 

Should I worry about my credit mix?

Every aspect of your credit is important, but don’t fret too much over your credit mix! Not everyone  has that classic mortgage-car loan-credit card mix of accounts. If your score is already high, your credit mix is one of the last things you should worry about! Instead you should focus on keeping your payment history in line and avoiding applying for too many new credit accounts at once.

Inquire for free credit review & consultation.

Contact:  1-800-994-3070

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Author- Joe Peters

Credit Terms

What Is A Mortgage Score

Buying your first home is a daunting milestone in everyones life and can bring both joy and anxiety when beginning the process. One large source of anxiety comes from the ever looming need of an acceptional credit score to aquire acceptable rates. For those that meet this criteria as displayed by your credit monitoring service; you may be surprised to know that everything may not be as it seems!

When Jennifer Bingham began house hunting back in 2019, she felt confident that her 740 credit score would secure her dream home when she came across it with an admirable interest rate. As jennifer began the preapprovla process, she was shaken when her bank disclosed that her mortgage credit score was only 700! This score still situated Jennifer in a good credit range, but was unable to get her the rates that she had origionally imagined.

This exact situation happens to many first time home buyers when they find out that they have a mortgage credit score -often showing to be much lower than their  primary score. Consumers have many different credit scores that they are unaware of with the mortgae credit score being only one of them! The difficulty lies with the the fact that it is difficult to view their mortgage credit score unlike their FICO 9 with help of credit information applications. It is not impossible however to track and build your mortgage credit score, but it is important to first understand why there is a gap between your regular credit score and your mortgage credit score.

 

Why is it Different?

A mortgage score, unlike most other credit scores, is based on a formula that hasn’t changed in over 20 years! This is because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac state these loans must be underwritten to be underwritten based on the FICO formula. Though there have been efforts to make changes to the mortgae credit score, the process has yet to see reults.

The issue with the old formulacomes down the the way it reports. Unlike the more consumer friendly formulas of other credit scores, the old formula may report lower scores for its consumers. Medical debt is one example of an item that is no longer conted toward newer fico scores, but is still taken into account when it comes to the mortgage formula. The same goes for collection debts that have been paid. These paid debs are not counted in the newer formulas, but hold weight when it falls to the classic FICO formula.

Mortgage credit scores are also more difficult to improve than their FICO 9 counterpart. While other FICO formulas have tools like Experian Boost to help to being building credit or suppliment thin credit profiles, mortgage credit does not take these tools into concideration when reporting. With theses reporting diffences between reports, it is not unlikely that there will be a discrepancy of 20 or so points between the two scores.

Another major difference that can be found within your mortgage credit score is the “shoppinh period allowed. Newer formulas allow for a 45 day window where multiple credit requests made by lenders will only count as one inquiry.  With your mortgage socore, that window is only 14 days, meaning more inquiries that will impact your score.

Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) has announced that it would concider alternative credit score formulas when it came to mortgages. Sadly, until the concideration leads to action, the old formula will remain in use.

 

How To Improve Your Mortgage Score

The first step to improving your mortgage score is to know what is listed on it by getting a copy. Sites like myFICO.com, though you will have to pay a monthly fee of about $20, will give you access to up to 28 different FICO scores! Another way to find your mortgage score would be to go to a lender and have them pull an informational credit check for pre approval from one of the bureaus!

The second step is to reguarly review your credit report and identify errors when they arrise. More than 70% of Americans have wrongful information on their credit reports that can be challenged for removal! You are legally entitled to one free copy of your report each year, but due to the pandemic, you can request weekly reports from all three bureaus until April 20, 2022!

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

Fact or Fiction? A Look At Hard Inquiries

What's the Difference Between a “Hard” and a “Soft” Credit Inquiry?

Whether you are applying for a new credit card or a home loan, hard inquiries are constantly present when attempting to build credit. Although hard inquires are one of the most common items found on a credit report, there is still much mystery surrounding their effect on a credit score. In todays “Fact or Fiction” we will be taking a deep dive into hard inquiries to shed light on some of the most common misconceptions and answer some of your most asked questions!

 

What Is A Hard Inquiry?

It is a common misconception that in any instance that there is a request to pull your credit, a hard inquiry will be listed on your report. A hard inquiry will only occur when you inquire for financing with a lender directly. This does not apply when you are inquiring for pre approval or pulling your credit for informational purposes and is considered a soft inquiry. Unlike hard inquiries, a soft inquiry will not appear on your report and does not impact your credit score.

   -Soft Inquiries-

Soft inquiries are a little different from hard inquiries; while they do show up on your credit report, they are strictly for your personal reference and have no impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries are not visible to lenders as they are strictly made for informational and pre approval purposes and are only seen by the consumer. Soft inquiries will fall off of your report in anywhere from 12-24 months depending on their type!

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On A Report?

Hard inquiries differ from other items on your report when it comes down to their expiration date. A hard inquiry will usually stay on your report for about 2 years but only affects your score for about 12 months! Hard inquiries are meant to serve as a timeline of when and how often you have applied for credit and can mean different things to different lenders. Multiple hard inquiries can portray a sense desperation to a lender as it shows that you have attempted to apply and were denied by multiple lenders. In some cases, like when inquiring for a home loan, there is a short window where multiple inquiries will count as a one!

 

How Much Do Hard Inquiries Hurt My Score?

There are many misconceptions about just how much a hard inquiry is “worth” when it comes down to affecting your score. It isn’t a case of “One hard inquiry amounts to 5 points and if I have 10 hard inquiries, that means I’ll drop 50 points”. Hard inquiries do not necessarily have a dedicated point value and their potency really falls to how healthy your credit score is prior. Someone with a long positive payment history and multiple open accounts with low credit utilization will not be as heavily affected by hard inquiries as someone who is new to building credit.

Can I Dispute Hard Inquiries?

Unlike other items on your report that can be disputed due to infractions in their listed information, legitimate hard inquiries are difficult to remove. If a hard inquiry  is pulled from your report without your knowledge, you do have the right to request its removal. This also applies in the instance of identity theft as the application is not legitimate to your inquiry.

Do you have hard inquiries on your report that were made without your knowledge? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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       -Disputing Inquiries Made By Car Dealerships-

How to Find the Best Car Dealerships in Los Angeles - Silverback Automotive

 

Disputing multiple inquiries made by an auto dealership is a rough area for many consumers. When submitting a loan application at a dealership, they will often inquire with multiple lenders to attempt to get the best financing opportunity for the consumer. This practice is referred to as shotgunning and is common in every auto dealership and when signing  a car loan application, is essentially giving the dealer permissible purpose to make multiple credit pulls. Depending on the FICO score used, similar to shopping for a home loan, there is often a window where the multiple inquiries will only count as a single inquiry on the report. The FICO score used will depend on which lender is being inquired with.

 

Article by Joe Peters