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!

 

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.  

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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!

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Credit Law Center Teaching Credit and Money to Our Children

Helpful Tips To Manage Your Accounts

Credit Alerts Worth Setting Up Now

In order to maintain great credit scores, keeping track of all the activity on your accounts is key! Smart phones are attempting to make our lives easier with a multitude of applications. All major banking institutions now have online banking or apps to make life easier on their customers. These apps have the ability to “control” what comes and goes out of your bank. Gone are the days of driving to the bank to make a deposit. You can now take a screenshot and deposit through mobile banking. The possibilities are endless! We’ve made a list of several other ways to get the most out of your banking apps, most of which are free! Here are a few other ways to use those apps:

Maintenance Notifications:

Statement Notification: Many times it feels like the month flies by and bills are  due once again. ‘Payment due’ is now one of the most used alerts on mobile apps. When the payment is due, an alert pops up, reminding you ahead of time when to make a payment and what the balance is. You can set it up to notify you as soon as you would like! While auto pay or auto draft is great, it is still important to double check that the payment was taken on time. For many families with many different bills due at a time, this is a great way to reduce the headache of having to remember one more thing on that laundry list of “to-do’s” for the week.

Payment Received: Having this notification can ensure that the payment successfully went through and will notify  you immediately on your mobile device.  One of the worst things that can happen is  falling late on a credit card or payment.  Many times if something happens with a card on file and the payment is not processed, consumers don’t catch it. This will ensure that you know those payments are made on time and for the correct amount. To set these up, you will want to download the credit card or bank app you use and turn the notifications on for all purchases and payments made.

Balance Notification: This is a great notification to have set up, as it is very important piece of the puzzle for your credit score. A great rule of thumb is to keep the balances below 30%. The best thing for your credit score is two revolving accounts and two installments in order to have a healthy credit profile. The lower the balance, the better the score is! So, if you’ve noticed your credit card keeps creeping out of your wallet, you can set up notifications at a certain balance so overspending is combated. It is almost like an accountability partner and is great if you find yourself overspending often!

 

credit apps

 

Preventative Notifications:

  1. Suspicious activity- Your bank or credit card company will now send a text message to you if you would like if  there is suspicious activity on the account. The message may sound similar to this: Please verify activity on ____ card ending in ___ at this Location. You can then confirm or deny this text.  If you reply deny, a text follows up with a message that you will receive a phone call in the morning to go over the details. Easy enough, right?
  2. Card not present-Purchases made online will notify you with an alert. Online shopping has seen a dramatic spike in identity theft. For this reason, a feature such as this is a great to keep in mind.
  3. Gas-Any purchase made at a convenient store or gas station will alert you, if you wish. Unfortunately not every station requires a pin to make purchases.
  4. International Purchases-This is not a new feature but is great to keep in mind. If you are traveling, always notify your institution of the activity. Some will automatically turn the card off on you in order to protect the cardholder.
  5. Over limit-This notification is set up by the cardholder and notifies them any time a purchase is made over a certain price.

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

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.

Building Credit Without 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.

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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.

 

freezing your credit

Closing Credit Cards? How Can It Affect You?

From a young age we were taught the importance of living debt free. When assessing your personal finance goals, you may find it tempting to close out some of your credit card accounts in an attempt to lower your debt. To many, it may feel good to close out an account that held negative payment history or feel at piece with one less credit card in your wallet to temp unneeded purchases. While the sense of accomplishment may be present, the effects of closing a credit card account can be a detriment to many aspects of your credit report.

 

When Should I Close my Credit Card

In terms of  your credit score; canceling your credit card can harm you in a few different ways. A large portion of your credit score is dependent on the length of your credit history. The longer you make on time payments on an account, the better impact it will have when building your credit score. The good news is, if you have established a positive credit history with a particular card and do decide that closing it is the best option; it will be ten years before that cards history falls off of your account. This means that even if the account is unused, it will still factor into your credit history length!

Your credit history length is not the only aspect of the report that can change when closing a credit card account; your credit utilization rate will also take a hit. Your credit utilization rate is based off of the available amount used out of the cards available limit. This means that the lower the balance, the more positive effect the account will have on your score! Depending on the amount available to you, cards removed with a higher limit will harm you more than a card with a small available limit.

If you are attempting to establish credit, then closing your account can be a harmful setback. If you have already established positive payment history and have other revolving account active, closing a card may not harm your your score or harm it at all.

Looking for help in deciding if you should close out one of your credit cards? 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 Does Canceling A Credit Card Hurt My Score?

A single credit card can be the deciding factor when it comes to achieving a higher score. The majority of your credit report analyzes how well you are able to manage your open accounts and how trust worthy you are with the funds you have been allotted. A exemplary credit score will mirror the individual who holds long term, well managed accounts.

Once you have closed an existing account, the amount of available credit to be reported and your credit profile becomes less diverse. It is important to know that opening too many accounts or applying for new accounts too frequently can also hurt your score. The key is to manage the accounts you have currently open and not apply for new ones if the current accounts are not in order.

As mentioned previously, your credit utilization is another factor that is effected when a credit card account is closed.  Say that you have 3 cards with $5,000  in available credit ($15,000 all together). If you utilize $3000 of your limit per month, you are sitting at about a 20% utilization rate among all accounts. If you happen to close out one of these cards and keep using $3,000 each month, you have risen your credit utilization rate to about 33%.

 

Should I Re-Open My Closed Accounts?

Once a credit card is closed, the only way to re open the account is to contact your creditor and attempt to negotiate a reopening of the account. Reopening the account can prove to be troublesome in many cases as the creditor will treat the reopening as a new account. The creditor will pull your credit report and evaluate your credit habits since closing the account when determining whether or not to reopen your card.

Instead of closing your card,  an alternative measure would be to keep the card off of your person in a safe place and use it only on rare occasions to keep it from going inactive. A small charge should keep the account active and avoid the cards automatic cancellation.

 

Always Remember

  1. Do not close positive credit accounts.
  2. Avoid opening a gratuitous amount of accounts (just a couple of cards should do the trick).
  3. Only attempt to reopen a closed account after you have established good credit practices and can show credit worthiness.
  4. Assess your personal credit situation before considering  closing a card.

 

Have you experienced a drop in your credit score after closing a credit card or a decrease in your cards limit and want to get your credit back on track? Follow us on Facebook or join us on our site for tips and tools to help get you back on the road to better credit!

 

 

Decrease In Credit Card Limit? What can I do?

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.

CREDIT REPAIR CONSULTATION

 

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!

 

 

credit card debt

Understanding Your Credit Card

Making the most of your credit cards

Credit cards are one of the easiest and most accessible ways to build credit , but can a detriment  to your finances if you don’t know how to utilize them properly. If utilized incorrectly, you could find your self  with extraordinary amounts of debt, a low credit score and even miss out in extremely beneficial opportunities! Today we will go over how exactly credit cards operate and provide the knowledge you need to avoid common mistakes!

1. How a credit card works

When you purchase anything with credit, you’re not paying for it right away. Your credit card issuer pays for the item and then sends you a bill for the purchases that you have made during the billing cycle. Once you receive the bill, you begin making payments towards paying off the debt owed. You can only charge up to the provided credit limit and must pay down the amount to make further purchases.

There is normally a  grace period of at least 20 days beginning at the end of the billing cycle. If you pay your credit card bill in full before the grace period ends then you  won’t have to worry about your cards APR! If something happens and you are unable to pay the full amount of the bill, the remaining  amount will accrue interest. Most credit cards have fairly high interest rates and in some cases, can reach over 30%!  This interest will causes your balance to increase faster and will make paying off your debt much more strenuous! The more purchases made, along with the looming interest,  is the reason many slip into debt!

Your credit card statement will list a minimum payment that you you must make for that month. If you fail to pay this minimum payment (you can always pay more than the minimum) by the end of the month, then the borrower will consider this a late payment. This late payment will not only further affect your APR, but will also be reported to your credit report, potentially harming your score.

At this point a debt is owed and if not properly taken care of, can be transferred to collections or be bought by a debt collector. This will damage your credit report even further and about 7 years to fall off the report if not handled.

2. How you’re going to pay back what you owe

It is essential that you always pay your credit card bill in full every month so you do not need to worry about interest rates or the threat of a late payment. Regulate how much you’re spending and don’t charge more than you can  comfortably afford to pay back if you can help it. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization as low as possible (preferably below a 30% utilization rate). This means that if you have a cap of $1000 on your credit care, you want to try to keep the balance below $300 if possible!

For those out there that  have  accrued credit card debt, you should make a plan to pay back what is owed as soon as possible! Though this process can take a few months or even a few years, it is important to eliminate the debt as fast as possible!  First, make a list of all the cards that are currently carrying  a balance, noting their interest rates, balances, and minimum payments. Put those cards in order, starting with the card with the highest interest rate and amount owed. Make your minimum payment on all of your cards and put any remaining  money on the card with the highest interest rate until the card has been fully paid. After that, move to the  next card with the next-highest interest rate and continue the process

There are many other ways to address credit card debts such as debt negotiation, payments plans and so on. This is a story for a different blog and each option has its pros and cons to cleaning up your debt.

3. How to keep your credit card information safe

Sadly, credit cards are a prime target for identity thieves , who look to use  stolen card info to make as many purchases as possible without your knowledge. Most companies are pretty vigilant when it comes to notifying  you of suspicious activities or locking the account! It is important to keep an eye on your report and your spending so that you can cancel your card as quickly as possible when identity theft occurs.  Keep your information secured, do not purchase from unsecured sites or give your information to a non accredited source.

We are a society of technically advanced individuals and have data for almost every aspect of our personal life. In some cases, data breaches can occur and a mass amount of information becomes available to an unsavory crowd. Many times, these businesses will catch the breach, but some may find it too late. This is why it is important to know where you can access your spending reports and take steps to mitigate the outcome of a breach.

Check your credit card statements monthly for any charges you don’t recognize and notify your card issuer immediately upon their discovery . You will want to change your passwords to personal accounts or add secondary security measures such as SMS codes or external validation upon login.

You want your credit card history to be beneficial  to you, not a burden, so be diligent when using your card. If you  spend only what you can afford to pay back, secure and protect your credit card information carefully, and always pay your bill on time, you will reap the benefits and not have to worry about the consequences associated with mismanagement!

 

If you have been affected by identity theft or credit card debt, call Credit Law Center at 1-800-994-3070 for information and assistance with your report!

For more information on Credit Law Center and Credit Repair,  find us at https://www.creditlawcenter.com/credit-repair/

Article written by Joe Peters

 

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Is Your Credit Card Company Helping You During the Virus?

 

Many businesses have shut down during the coronavirus outbreak, and a lot of people are wondering how they will be able to pay their next, mortgage or credit card payments. This article will help guide you on what you can do and where you need to go to find some help. At the bottom there is a list of  most of the major credit card companies in the country with what they are doing and their contact info!

 

Image result for credit cards

 

Some consumers have financial concerns about emergency savings and being able to keep up with the bills.

The social distancing programs have shuttered restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other places where people like to gather. This has a lot of people wondering how they will be able to afford their next mortgage payment or even credit card payments.

For many Americans, their primary source of income has been called into question (for a period of time). Consumers are nervous because they don’t know how long it will last and how they will stay up with all there bills until they can get back to work.

Banks are stepping up to offer relief amid virus

Some credit card companies are allowing customers to skip their next monthly payment (some are willing to do more than  just one) without charging interest. These include Apple CardAmerican Express and Capital One.

The key here is without interest accruing – many other issuers are offering temporary relief like reduced minimum payments or forbearance, but interest is continuing to stack up, which can add up.

Most important part here is if you’re having trouble, contact your credit card companies and ask for help. Consider using online chat or social media, because many call centers are light staff and very busy. So while you are quarantining and watching Netflix reach out to your credit card companies and see what they will do for you. Remember if you are having trouble making the payment reach out to the creditor communicate with them and evaluate what they have to offer and always ask how it will be reported on your credit report. If you run into questions you don’t understand please reach out to us we are here to help.

See list below from creditcards.com is your credit card company on it?

 

American Express

Cardholders who are having difficulties paying their bills can contact American Express by calling the number on the back of their card or by online chat or the Amex app to discuss their situation.

Solutions are tailored to an individual’s situation. These might include offering flexibility in paying bills or directing them to American Express’s financial hardship program. Under the financial hardship program, consumers might be able to have reduced monthly payments, get temporary relief from late payment fees, get a temporary reduction in interest rates or prevent their accounts from going past due.

In a March 17 report, CreditCards.com sister site The Points Guy noted some of its readers were getting relief from Amex in the form of refunded interest charges and waived or refunded late fees on both personal and business credit cards. However, one reader reported that if you accept the assistance, your account is frozen until it’s paid off and you can’t use your Membership Rewards.

Bank of America

A customer who has trouble paying their credit card bill related to the coronavirus is encouraged to call Bank of America customer service at (800) 732-9194, visit a bank branch or connect via online banking or mobile application for assistance. The company also has a hardship program in place to provide assistance to consumers and small business clients.

Barclays

Barclays urges credit card account holders to call for assistance if they have problems paying their bills because of COVID-19. Barclaycard’s number for general inquiries in the U.S. is (866) 928-8598.

Capital One

“We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for many people, and we know that there may be instances where customers find themselves facing financial difficulties. Capital One is here to help and we encourage customers who may be impacted to reach out to discuss how we might be of assistance,” Capital One said in a statement.

Because each customer’s situation is different, the bank encourages customers to call it directly. To contact Capital One customer service about an existing account, call (800) 227-4825. Options might include reduced minimum payments or fee waivers.

A March 17 report by the New York Times suggested Capital One is allowing cardholders to skip payments without incurring interest if they request it. (The same report noted Barclays and Bank of America are allowing some customers to pause their payments while still accruing interest, while Discover “would not commit” to stopping interest charges.)

See related: The Fed’s rate cuts won’t help much if you’re in credit card debt

Chase

Chase encouraged its customers to call the number on the back of their cards if they’re affected by COVID-19 and need help with their accounts.

Citi

The bank said it is offering a range of assistance to impacted credit card customers, including offering increases in credit lines and forbearance from collections. Cardholders can call the number on the back of their cards to find out about assistance programs.

For those with bank accounts, Citi is offering waivers on monthly service fees and penalty waivers for early withdrawals from CDs. Customers can contact the bank for assistance with their individual or small business needs.

“We continue to monitor developments closely and will evaluate additional actions to support our clients and communities as needs arise,” Selva said.

Discover

Discover will be extending relief to qualified customers who are experiencing financial difficulty caused by the spread of COVID-19. Discover customers may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees and late payments.

“We encourage them to contact us by calling, and are directing them to www.Discover.com/coronavirus for phone numbers for each product line and other FAQs,” Discover said in a statement. “We also can provide relief through our mobile text app, which connects a customer directly with an agent.”

Goldman Sachs

Apple Card customers were sent an e-mail offering enrollment in an an assistance program that will allow affected cardholders to skip their March card payments without incurring interest charges. If you have questions, contact an Apple Card specialist at (877) 255-5923 or via chat in the Wallet app.

Synchrony

The bank said it is monitoring the situation to determine what action is needed.

Truist (formerly SunTrust and BB&T)

Truist is offering payment relief assistance to customers with personal and business credit cards, among other products. The bank is also offering 5% cash back when SunTrust and BB&T consumer credit card holders use their cards for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies through April 15, 2020.

Truist encourages customers to call (800) 786-8787 or visit SunTrust.com if they’ve been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.

“As we assist clients and businesses who may be affected by the coronavirus situation, we’re also listening and learning from those conversations to help us evaluate and possibly implement additional client relief measures as they emerge,” the bank said in an e-mail to customers.

Wells Fargo

The bank encourages consumers to call customer service at (800) 219-9739 to discuss options to aid in their specific situation.

 

Blog- Bo Thomas

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.

Credit Companies Credit Law Center

How to Protect Your Credit During 2020

Amidst the  COVID-19 outbreak, Americans are struggling in more ways that one. With many people getting sick, countless workers being laid off or seeing their wages hit due to new restrictions and guidelines from social distancing, credit becomes the last thing on anyone’s mind!

If you are one of the many Americans that are being impacted by the effects of Covid-19 you may be finding it increasingly difficult to allocate funds for bills . Of course, if you have an emergency saving fund, now would be time to utilize is . But if you don’t, you’ll risk falling behind on your expenses and obligations which can make keeping your credit score at a healthy number difficult.

Of the many ways that your credit score is determined, payment history  holds a hefty amount of weight over your numbers. Payment history shows that you have ability to pay your bills in a timely manner, and with limited or no income, that will prove challenging. Here’s what to do if that’s the scenario you’re faced with.

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1. Talk to your lenders

So, you may have some debts you owe whether its from a few credit cards, a car payment or a mortgage and you are faced with decreased income . You could have trouble keeping up with those payments if your income has dropped or disappeared, your best course of action is to reach out to your credit card or loan issuers and ask for assistance. Explain your situation and be sure that you are able to provide proof that you’re currently without an income. In many cases you may be provided with the option of pausing your payments for a time.

2. See which service providers are offering relief

Many of the  utility and telecom companies are granting their customers assistance if they can’t pay their bills do to the current state of events . Be sure to call your providers and find out what options you have and what assistance they can provide. You should also confirm that your lack of payment will not be reported to the credit bureaus during this time, otherwise it can still become a negative mark on your credit!

3. Ask for a credit limit increase

Your credit utilization ration is another factor that helps determine your score in the end. Your credit utilization rate is how much of your available credit your are using from the limit your lenders provided, the lower it is, the better. Specifically, you need that ratio to stay at or below 30% to avoid a hit to your credit score.

However,  if you’ve lost or are on reduced income, you may need to increase your credit utilization due to expenses, thereby racking up a balance! To combat your credit utilization spiraling, call your credit card issuers and request a higher credit limit so so that you will have more to spend without exceeding a certain percentage of your credit available credit. Of course, now is not the time to splurge, only use this increased credit limit for essential purchases only!

 

If you’re having trouble, contact your credit card companies and ask for help. Consider using online chat or social media, because many call centers are light staff and very busy. So while you are quarantining and watching Netflix reach out to your credit card companies and see what they will do for you. Remember if you are having trouble making the payment reach out to the creditor communicate with them and evaluate what they have to offer and always ask how it will be reported on your credit report. If you run into questions you don’t understand please reach out to us we are here to help. It is important to monitor and control your credit during this time so that you are more likely to be granted the option to borrow money when it is most needed. Though we are unsure of how long the Covid-19 situation will persist, but the more in control you are over your credit, the easier life will be at the end!

 

Blog by: 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.

Credit Repair- Credit Builder

The 5 Easy Steps To Building 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.

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