5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

How Could You Be Hurting Your Credit?

The more you know about how credit works, the better your score will be. This is because, without a lot of background knowledge, your own logic and reasoning will oftentimes fail you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your credit score, so trying to make decisions when it comes to your credit without studying up first can be tricky. There are five big mistakes a lot of consumers often make because, without any background knowledge, they all sound perfectly reasonable.

1. Close A Credit Card

Just because you don’t really use your card does not mean you should close it. Closing a credit card will stop any subsequent reporting of positive credit and payment history and positive credit utilization. Keeping a card open, even if you rarely use it, can be beneficial. Be sure to use your card every once in a while, be it for a cup of coffee or a drive through sandwich. This will keep activity on the account and keep the card holder from deactivating the account.

2.Believing that Paying on Time is All You Need for A Good Credit Score

Yes, paying off all your credit card debt on time is good for your credit score, but that is not all it takes to have what is considered a quality credit score. If you are using a huge portion of your credit limit every month, even paying it off completely and on time will not be as beneficial as lowering your credit utilization ratio would be. Your credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors that goes into creating your credit score, and the lower is it, the better your credit will be. So, keeping your utilization ratio under 30 percent per credit limit will benefit you even more when it comes to your credit.

3. Pay Off A Loan Early

It definitely can benefit your finances to pay a loan off early, especially if you are paying a very high interest rate on the loan, but this can also hurt your credit score. It would be very easy to think that paying a loan off early would help your credit, but in reality, it lowers your credit mix and therefore lowers your credit score. So, if the interest rate on your loan is not burdening you financially, then you will actually benefit from not paying a loan off early.

4. Reject Higher Credit Limits

The only reason you should reject a higher credit limit is if you know you will not be able to stop yourself from overspending because of it. Otherwise, keeping your spending at a consistent rate while also increasing your credit limit will raise your credit score because your credit utilization ratio would then be lower. So, accepting a higher credit limit will in most cases raise your credit score if you can keep yourself from overspending.
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5. Send in Partial Payments

Paying off a debt partially does not put you in better standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. You will still be reported as paying late and are at risk for a delinquency on your credit report. So, if you are struggling to pay your minimums every payment cycle, talk to a credit counselor before trying to appease the creditor by only paying partially.
Other Factors Causing A Drop
  1. Late payments
  2. High Balances
  3. Too many Inquiries
  4. Late reporting (possibly your credit cards reporting at different times to the credit bureaus. An easy fix to this is call your credit card and ask them when they report to the bureaus so you know when to make payments so your score reflects better)
  5. Paying an old collection (there is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity)
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.
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!

 

5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

How Could You Be Hurting Your Credit?

The more you know about how credit works, the better your score will be. This is because, without a lot of background knowledge, your own logic and reasoning will oftentimes fail you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your credit score, so trying to make decisions when it comes to your credit without studying up first can be tricky. There are five big mistakes a lot of consumers often make because, without any background knowledge, they all sound perfectly reasonable.

1. Close A Credit Card

Just because you don’t really use your card does not mean you should close it. A lot of the time consumers will close a credit card because it is not getting used, but that actually will raise your credit utilization ratio, and thus hurt your credit score. So, keeping the card open, even if you rarely use it, can be beneficial. Make sure you use it at least every once and a while though in order to protect yourself from the card issuer closing the account for you due to inactivity.

2.Believing that Paying on Time is All You Need for A Good Credit Score

Yes, paying off all your credit card debt on time is good for your credit score, but that is not all it takes to have what is considered a quality credit score. If you are using a huge portion of your credit limit every month, even paying it off completely and on time will not be as beneficial as lowering your credit utilization ratio would be. Your credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors that goes into creating your credit score, and the lower is it, the better your credit will be. So, keeping your utilization ratio under 30 percent per credit limit will benefit you even more when it comes to your credit.  

3. Pay Off A Loan Early

  It definitely can benefit your finances to pay a loan off early, especially if you are paying a very high interest rate on the loan, but this can also hurt your credit score. It would be very easy to think that paying a loan off early would help your credit, but in reality, it lowers your credit mix and therefore lowers your credit score. So, if the interest rate on your loan is not burdening you financially, then you will actually benefit from not paying a loan off early.

4. Reject Higher Credit Limits

The only reason you should reject a higher credit limit is if you know you will not be able to stop yourself from overspending because of it. Otherwise, keeping your spending at a consistent rate while also increasing your credit limit will raise your credit score because your credit utilization ratio would then be lower. So, accepting a higher credit limit will in most cases raise your credit score if you can keep yourself from overspending.  
free credit repair consultation

5. Send in Partial Payments

Paying off a debt partially does not put you in better standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. You will still be reported as paying late and are at risk for a delinquency on your credit report. So, if you are struggling to pay your minimums every payment cycle, talk to a credit counselor before trying to appease the creditor by only paying partially.
Other Factors Causing A Drop
  1. Late payments
  2. High Balances
  3. Too many Inquiries
  4. Late reporting (possibly your credit cards reporting at different times to the credit bureaus. An easy fix to this is call your credit card and ask them when they report to the bureaus so you know when to make payments so your score reflects better)
  5. Paying an old collection (there is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity)
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.

Empowering Your Credit In The New Year

Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to start on our resolutions for the year. My group of friends all discussed what we wanted to work on this year to better ourselves and the  lives we live as we sat painting miniature figurines. A couple of us are looking to hit the gym more frequently while Chris wanted to work to progress his hobby. As we conversed over our drinks and brushes, my good friend Rylee said “I want an 800 credit score!” We all looked at him and asked what his game plan was to get his credit in order…his response… “I have no idea where to even start.”

Rylee, this blog is for you to go over 4 easy steps to begin empowering your credit and hopefully, get you closer to that 800 credit score!

Step 1- Be Informed

If I asked you off the top of your head “what is your credit score” you would probably respond with a broad range of numbers; ” I am around six or seven hundred maybe?” The first step to credit empowerment is to become well acquainted with your credit score and the items associated with it.  Thankfully, there are many different sites out there that can provide all three bureau reports along with each items listed information. Credit Armor is a wonderful sight that provides all three bureau reports, debt negotiation options, in depth item information and identity theft protection to assist you while empowering your credit.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can claim  a free credit report once every 12 months from all three credit bureaus as well!  To get your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com!

Step 2- Start Correcting Your Errors

Now that you have an full copy of your report from all three bureaus, it’s time to start correcting your errors! Did you know that over 70% of Americans have a reporting error listed on their credit report? These errors can be anything from incorrect addresses to manner of payment issues. Any information on your account that is listed incorrectly could be harming you in an area that you have never noticed!

Step 3- Make Your Payments

There are many factors on your credit reports which can influence your FICO Scores such as your credit mix and types of credit . But the most important information that can hurt your score is your payment history . Payment history affects over one-third of your FICO Score—35%, in total!

To build yourself up for success, be sure to make these payments on the date and track your payments made. If needed, review your financial obligations and make a payment calendar to keep track of when exactly a payment is due and the funds are withdrawn from your account!

Step 4-Tackle Your Debts

Now that you have review your items that are listed incorrectly and assessed your financial situation, it is time to deal with your existing debt. Your credit utilization rate (the amount of credit you use from your credit cards) has a significant impact on your score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization rate as low as possible and make payments higher than the minimum to keep those low rates.

Keep in mind  that the credit card balance that is appearing on your credit report could be different than your actual account balance. Many credit card issuers only update your account information with the credit bureaus once a month.

 

There is much more that goes into building your credit that just paying your cards and disputing some infractions, but that is a subject for a different blog. This is meant to be the starting point for Rylee and all of those out there that do not know where to begin.

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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4 Ways to Build Credit Without Credit Cards

Building Up Your FICO

Understanding and building credit in a positive way takes discipline and some education. Do you recall being taught in school, how to build your credit scores? Did your teachers let you know how big of a role credit would play in your life as you got older? Honestly, it is probably likely that even while going through the process of applying for a credit card or car loan, you were still unsure of what your credit scores really meant.

So what is a credit score made of?  Your FICO is determined by the categories below on the pie chart. Payment history and amounts owed on your credit make up the two largest portions of your scores. What if you do not have credit cards? There are a few other options for you, so that you can still fulfill parts of the FICO scoring model.

Facts on Fico

The Importance Of Credit

Can you imagine not having access to a bank that could lend you money for your home or car? Credit is so important for everyone, whether they have a credit card or not.  A lender or banking institution pulls your credit in order to see how reliable and likely you are to default on your loan. If your payment history is bad or you are lacking credit history, it is hard for them to lend to someone that they cannot be sure of. If you are someone that has no credit score, that is almost as bad as having bad scores. It is hard to justify lending to you when they are not sure how you use your money or pay your bills.

The Typical Way To Build Credit-Credit Cards

If you are opening your first credit card, your bank is usually open to issuing you a credit card with them. This credit card is not to take on your next shopping spree, but small purchases like filling up your vehicle. Many people open up credit card for “emergencies” only, while some use them and live outside of their means. Credit can end up getting you into large amounts of debt if you are not careful and capable of setting limits for yourself. So what are a few other ways to start getting a score, without the card in hand?

Other Options Besides Credit Cards

Become an authorized user

Parents trying to help their children build and establish credit usually allow for them to become an authorized user on a credit card. Prior to adding your kid on the credit card of your choosing, take a look at the length of history and the payments on all of the credit cards you have. If you have an old card, with no late payments and great credit history this is the best one to add your child to.

Young adults trying to establish credit should talk to parents or family members that will allow them to be added to a card as an authorized user. Understand that at no point do they give you access to the credit card but rather, you are just now benefiting from their positive history while having to make no effort or open up new credit lines.

free credit repair consultation

 

Report Monthly Bills

Are you currently renting and paying your bills on time? There are now many companies that will allow for you to have your rent reported. It can be very frustrating to constantly pay bills that are not showing up to show your credit worthiness, so many companies have listened to consumers and now are helping them out in an effort to eventually get a loan.

Join A Credit Union

A starter loan at the credit union works about the same as a secured credit card does. In order to build, the consumer deposits their own money to get started. The funds are not immediate but secured in a savings account until the term is complete. Making payments on this credit building loan are most important as again, positive payment history makes up 35% of the FICO pie chart. These are usually shorter terms (12-36 months) just to begin building credit. Often times, proof of income is required as well.

While it may seem a credit card is the only way to build credit quickly, that is not always the case. There are other avenues to take rather than signing up for the first credit card that is dropped in your mailbox. If you don’t trust yourself to avoid those credit card solicitations visit this site to keep from receiving junk mail and credit cards filling up your mailbox.

 

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

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.

MORTGAGE LENDING REFORM

4 Tips For Buying A House

Building Buying Power

 Have you been picturing the day when you can paint your own walls and mow your own grass? The dream of homeownership comes with great financial responsibility. Many first-time home buyers have questions about their down payment, and how they can start saving to make that first major purchase. We’ll discuss several organizations that are willing to help you with the financial burden and get you into your own home soon.

The process of applying for a loan can be overwhelming and stressful. Without an excess amount of funds, you may find yourself digging in couch cushions and trying to work extra hours to come up with the funds and savings to start the journey toward homeownership.

There are a few major factors that come into play when getting pre-qualified for a home loan.

  • Credit Scores
  • Income
  • Debt
  • Down payment

Paying Down Debts? │ Not Enough Left For A Down Payment?

If you have been trying to pay down debts or have been in the credit repair process, again, excess funds may be low. After your income has been reviewed by a trusted lender, more than likely you have discussed how much money you will need for a down payment. Did the amount of money sound manageable?

There are a few loan programs that require no down payment like USDA, which you have to meet strict income guidelines for. Another is the VA loan which is only available to eligible Veterans. Let’s say you won’t qualify for either of these, what happens next?

All hope is not lost! There may be help right around the corner, you just have to know where to look. Below is a list of some other options out there to possibly help jump-start the home buying process for you.  

free credit repair consultation

Down Payment Assistance Programs

For down payment assistance, there may be a household income limit or a limit on the purchase price. Look in your area where you are hoping to purchase. There are some cities will also contribute and help with down payment assistance. You can search on your City website where they may talk about things like how to get grant money or down payment assistance for first time home buyers!

Talk to your lender further about what programs they may know of in the area in order to help you with funds. If you are a first time home buyer, there may be a program for you! Hoping to buy a home in a historic district? There are grants for homes in certain areas of towns where they would like to see the homes restored and rehabbed too.

 

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity occasionally partners with homes with income restrictions that are in need of an overhaul and some DIY. For this program, reach out to your local organization to learn about the qualifications and application process or visit their website https://www.habitat.org/

 

Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts are also nonprofits that are willing to make the buying process more affordable by selling just the building. There would be a lease on the land that you occupied. In an effort to strengthen and serve low-income families, these Community Land Trusts serve the community and work to create homes that are permanently affordable and last for generations.

 

Ready For Home Ownership?

Throughout the home buying process, there will be so many new things to learn as you become a homeowner.

A few things to start doing in order to take the next step in the process are:

Shop Around For The Best Mortgage

If you are ready to take on home ownership, start looking around at lenders in your area. Consider the pros and cons of a bank, credit union, online lender or mortgage broker.

Be extremely careful as you shop around that you don’t allow each institution to start pulling credit right away!

Apply

Your credit will be pulled at this point by the lender you are using. When you have decided on the best option you will need several documents like your paystub, recent bank statements and tax return documents. There will be many different types of documents that dive deep into your finances. Remember to hold off on applying for new credit, buying a new car or making large purchases before you close!

This can really hurt your credit scores and may cause an issue for your home purchase. If your lender cannot get you pre-approved with your credit scores they may refer you to a credit repair company so that you can work on your scores. Some credit repair companies work with you as quick as they can to get your scores up so you can get back to the lender as soon as possible!

Pre Approval

Once you complete the application, your lender will decide based on the documents you provided. At this point, the lender will let you know how much they are willing to loan. This document is typically good for 60-90 days.

Start Shopping!

Now is the time to grab your agent and start checking out all the open houses and find your dream home!

Make An Offer

Once you find the house you are looking for, your agent will write a contract up and have you sign the purchase agreement.

As you move forward with your home purchase there will be loads of paperwork and numbers thrown at you. Your lender will be your guide throughout the process and will keep you updated on documents they need in order to get your file closed on time. Talk with friends, your agent, and family about lenders they have used. The home buying process is one that can be stressful, but with the right guide, it can be exciting too!

credit repair consultation

 

Too Many Inquiries

Getting Ready For A New Car!

Time For A New Car?

Several years ago when I was broken down on the side of the interstate in my 92 Jeep Cherokee I thought to myself “My next car is going to be brand new so I don’t have to deal with this gain!”  I knew that I would need to finance as I was just a twenty something with a low end painting job, but I was hopeful that I would be approved. I was quite ambitious for a boy with little to no credit reported or open trade lines.

Fast forward to later that evening; I sat in the Nissan dealership for hours, hoping one lender would overlook my credit score and provide me with anything! Spoiler: No lender would even consider me and my abysmal credit score. At that moment I knew that I would have to go about this a different way if I ever wanted to even be considered for financing and began my research over how exactly credit worked.

 

Understanding Your Credit

First off, I had to get a hold of my credit report and see just exactly what was going on. My credit adviser directed me to Free Credit Hub where I was able to sign up for credit monitoring and finally see what was dragging my credit! I was greeted with a cacophony of different numbers, phrases and names that filled the pages and made my stomach drop. My adviser walked me through each  line on the report and explained that there were multiple categories that made up the report. Those categories were:

1. Payment History-  35% of your credit score is based on your past bills and how they were paid.

2. Amounts Owed- 30% of your credit score is based on the available credit card limit you’re using and the amount you owe across your accounts.

3. Length of credit history – 15% of your credit score is determined by the credit history you have built. This is based on the average age of your accounts  along with a few other factors. The longer the history, the better the results!

4. Credit mix – 10% of your score is from the mix of revolving credit (credit cards) and installment credit (car loans, mortgages, etc.) you have.

5. New credit – 10% of your credit score comes from new credit accounts that you have established.

 

Time To Build!

Alright, now that I know what exactly makes up my credit, it is time to start building it up! I took 3 easy steps to start building positive credit and the foundation for a strong credit score.

  1. Lowering My Card Utilization– When I got my first credit card I was told to never use more than 50% of the allowed credit and I would be fine. If we look at our credit utilization like a grade card, a 50% utilization rate is a solid F. 30% is about a C rating and the lower you go the better your rating. Keeping your utilization under 10% is an A rating and is sure to build your credit the fastest.
  2. Becoming An Authorized User– Becoming an authorized user is by far one of the easiest ways to build credit and is kind of like passive income. If you are listed as an authorized user on a trusted family members card, their history is listed on your report as well and you don’t even have to use the card! Be sure you work with someone you trust because the negative history will be placed on your report as well.
  3. Pay Your Bills On Time-  Paying off those balances on time is extremely important when building credit as it provides positive credit history and establishes a exceptional trade line. Late payments are one of the largest discrepancies on most Americans credit report!

 

Your Car Loan Will Help Build Credit.

After about 6 months of building up my credit, I was able to acquire financing toward a new vehicle. You don’t need to have perfect credit to acquire a car loan, but it will affect your financing options and future payments. The wonderful thing about this loan is that it establishes another line of installment credit to your account. As long as you are making your payments on time, this installment credit will soon become a wonderful trade line that builds a long credit history. In the end it is all bout finding the right lender for you and managing a positive ascending credit score. If done correctly, you will be on the road that that fabled 800 credit score!

 

 

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.

How To Start Building Your Credit

I Have No Credit History!

“I’ll just pay cash for everything.”

I have said many things in my life with the best of intention, but this had to be the one that hurt the most when it failed. When I was younger, like most people out there, I saw credit as a trap to get us to pay double the money for something we couldn’t afford in the first place. I didn’t know that having no credit would affect me in almost every aspect of my life and I learned that having no credit would impact me even harder than having a poor credit score. High car insurance payments, poor rates and high monthly payments on my car and home were just the tip of the iceberg and I knew something had to change!

“OK… but how do I build credit” I thought to myself as I scoured the internet, looking for a referable source of information. Well, after much trial and error and the help of Credit Law Center I happily present my 5 Easy Steps To Building Credit!

Step 1- Acquiring A Credit Card and How To Use It Safely!

So,  to start building credit I got 15 credit cards and…. I’m kidding! No lender in their right mind would set me up with anything other than a secure card.  A secure credit card is the perfect way to start establishing credit while with very little risk. A secured credit cards works the same as any other credit card, but it is backed by a cash deposited. This is a great way to get you begin building your credit and get it to a point where you can acquire an unsecured card later down the line! Once you can acquire the sweet unlimited power of the unsecured credit card, you can begin the task of keeping the over all usage to about 30% of the spending cap. A 30% utilization rate is still about a C+ rating and you really would like to get the utilization rate to around 10-15% in the long run to really build a positive trade line. Just be sure to make your payments on time!

Step 2- Find That Special Someone, Your Co-Signer!

Acquiring a trusted Co-Signer can really get you on the right foot to build credit safely. You need to be extremely diligent however because your co-signer is affected by the positives and the NEGATIVES the same as you. So make sure that both you and your co signer are aware of the consequences of delinquency when dealing with credit, lest you both end up with a credit score in the low 400s.  Attempting a co signer can be difficult for many people attempting to build credit, but a co signer is not the only way to passively grow your credit score!

Step 3- “The Buddy System” -Becoming an Authorized User!

If possible, become an authorized user on a family members or significant others card. This adds their payment history for that card onto your credit files…just make sure they are a responsible cardholder. You don’t need to use the card to reap the benefits as an authorized user most of the time, but please, if you end up using the card, be sure to pay your fair share!

Step 4- You Work for the Bills, Make the Bills Work for You!

Rent- Reporting services like RentTrack take a bill you are already paying and put it on your credit report, showing off how responsible you have been with those on time payments. Not every credit score takes these payments into account, but those that do could be the deciding factor for a car loan! This will be a slower way to build up your credit, but it is a steady

Step 5- Establish Positive Trade Lines and Keep Them Positive!

Paying your accounts on time, low credit utilization, keeping your accounts open and keeping positive credit history is paramount in establishing perfect credit. I say this as one of my steps to building credit because it is important to acquire these habits early! Your credit is an investment, the more that you put into it early, the better off you will be in the long run!

 

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Though your credit score will not sky rocket from 400- 800 over night, these 5 steps will help you climb! If you can make your payments on time, establish positive trade lines, establish a positive credit history and keep your card usage below 30% then you will notice your score climb. After that, it is only a matter of time until you are sitting high at the fabled 800 credit score! Your credit is like a garden, you need to give it plenty of attention, take care of it and occasionally pick out the weeds for it to flourish!

 

Author- Joe Peters

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.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
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How To Empower Your Credit

Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to start on our resolutions for the year. My group of friends all discussed what we want to work on this year to better ourselves and the  lives we live. A couple of us are looking to hit the gym more frequently while Eric wanted to work on his hobbies. As we talked over our drinks, my good friend James said “I want an 800 credit score!” We all looked at him and asked what his game plan was to get his credit in order…his response… “I have no idea where to even start.”

James, this blog is for you to go over 4 easy steps to begin empowering your credit and hopefully, get you closer to that 800 credit score!

Step 1- Be Informed

If I asked you off the top of your head “what is your credit score” you would probably respond with a broad range of numbers; ” I am around six or seven hundred maybe?” The first step to credit empowerment is to become well acquainted with your credit score and the items associated with it.  Thankfully, there are many different sites out there that can provide all three bureau reports along with each items listed information. Credit Armor is a wonderful sight that provides all three bureau reports, debt negotiation options, in depth item information and identity theft protection to assist you while empowering your credit.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can claim  a free credit report once every 12 months from all three credit bureaus as well! (Note: You can claim free weekly reports through April 2021 in response to the COVID.) To get your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com!

Step 2- Start Correcting Your Errors

Now that you have an full copy of your report from all three bureaus, it’s time to start correcting your errors! Did you know that over 70% of Americans have a reporting error listed on their credit report? These errors can be anything from incorrect addresses to manner of payment issues. Any information on your account that is listed incorrectly could be harming you in an area that you have never noticed!

Step 3- Make Your Payments

There are many factors on your credit reports which can influence your FICO Scores such as your credit mix and types of credit . But the most important information that can hurt your score is your payment history . Payment history affects over one-third of your FICO Score—35%, in total!

To build yourself up for success, be sure to make these payments on the date and track your payments made. If needed, review your financial obligations and make a payment calendar to keep track of when exactly a payment is due and the funds are withdrawn from your account!

Step 4-Tackle Your Debts

Now that you have review your items that are listed incorrectly and assessed your financial situation, it is time to deal with your existing debt. Your credit utilization rate (the amount of credit you use from your credit cards) has a significant impact on your score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization rate as low as possible and make payments higher than the minimum to keep those low rates.

Keep in mind  that the credit card balance that is appearing on your credit report could be different than your actual account balance. Many credit card issuers only update your account information with the credit bureaus once a month.

 

There is much more that goes into building your credit that just paying your cards and disputing some infractions, but that is a subject for a different blog. This is meant to be the starting point for James and all of those out there that do not know where to begin.

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.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews
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credit scores

Understanding Your Credit Rating

Good, Better, Best and Bad

The internet and cell phones have now made it easier than ever to check your credit score as often as you’d like. Millennials are starting to check their credit scores more frequently than any other generation. This could be due to the fact that credit has become vital in many aspects of life. Whether you want to buy a house, car, or take out a loan, you can expect that your credit report will be scrutinized. Do you know what you are looking at when it comes to those numbers?

A Numbers Game

Your credit score is ever changing. While you may not suspect that things are moving and shifting, they are. Often times people think of their scores as either really bad or good enough. When you are browsing the internet and you start to check your credit scores, please take note that you are looking at a consumer score.

What is a consumer score? This is the scores you have access to online that may show higher than what a lender or bank would pull for you. These are called vantage scores and are not your true FICO score. These scores show higher so that you will start shopping around for products, or continue to spend. Your score may be significantly lower when you apply for a home loan. Once you understand this, the frustration or mind game you feel that happens when your scores are so different won’t be so frustrating. You should pay closest attention to what a bank or lender tells you your score is. So, what are all these numbers really saying?

  • Very Good : 740-799
  • Good : 670-739
  • Fair : 580-669
  • Poor : 300-579

Having scores higher than 799 is possible to obtain but can be hard. A 670 and up is considered exceptional. The better the score, the better the interest rates, among other things. If you are below a 700, there is definitely some room for improvement!

Increasing Credit Scores

If you have a low FICO score, you can bet that is due to a combination of factors rather than just one culprit. A credit score is made up of many different factors. If you are thinking your credit is low due to just inquiries, you are probably incorrect. The chart below demonstrates the factors that come into play with your FICO.

Facts on Fico

Positive Payment History

The largest section of the pie chart is your payment history. If you have been behind on bills, have late payments or cannot keep up current credit cards, your score will be dramatically impacted.

One late payment can potentially drop your score 100 points.

If the creditor sends your card into collection or charge off, we can take a look at your report and discuss what the next options are for your credit report or how you can try to make up for those late pays in other ways  to increase the scores. There is a method to the madness when it comes to your credit scores, you just have to know how to play the game.

 

free credit repair consultation

Credit Scores and Savings

If you take a look at the numbers above and fall into the category of poor or fair credit, you may notice how much you are having to pay on your auto or home loan. When your credit score is low, you’ll notice how much higher your interest is on your payments. While it is great that you may be able to get approved for a car loan or auto loan with a lower score, you would be better off waiting until you can improve your credit scores. We want to help you save!

Financially speaking, if you can wait and try to get your scores back up  you can be saving yourself a significant amount of money each month for your family.

Quick Ways To Improve
  • Become an authorized user on family member or spouse’s card
  • Look into a credit builder loan
  • Apply for a secured credit card
  • Invest in credit repair to get derogatory items removed

Your credit will be around for the rest of your days. While you may have made financial mistakes in the past, you can improve and learn from them. If you have found yourself in a huge hole, and have debt collectors and collection companies calling you daily, please get in touch with a company that can help you. At Credit Law Center we educate our clients on everything they may need to know, to continue to better their credit scores as well as represent them so that the calls can stop. We know the importance of great credit and what doors it can open when you reach that “very good” zone.

Open new doors today for your family, and invest in your financial future.

 

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.