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Credit Score

Financing A Vehicle II Where To Start

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.

Credit Cards for College Students

What Really Impacts Your Credit Score?

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

 

#1 Payment History

 

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

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

 

#2 Missed Payments

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

Credit scoring models look at:

-Are there late payment appears on your credit report?

– How late are those payments?

-How recent were those late payments?

– How many late payments appear on the report?

 

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

 

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

#3 Credit Utilization

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

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

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

 

#4 Length of Credit History

 

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

Fico will consider:

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

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

 

# 5 New credit

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

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

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

 

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

Inquire for free credit review & consultation.

Contact:  1-800-994-3070

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Fact or Fiction? A Look At Hard Inquiries

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

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

 

What Is A Hard Inquiry?

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

   -Soft Inquiries-

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

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On A Report?

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

 

How Much Do Hard Inquiries Hurt My Score?

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

Can I Dispute Hard Inquiries?

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

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

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       -Disputing Inquiries Made By Car Dealerships-

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

 

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

 

Article by Joe Peters

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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The In’s and Out’s of Medical Debt

What is Considered Medical Debt

With there being more than 45 different FICO scores in circulation there is bound to be some variances in how each score is reported. Each debt listed on a report holds different weight; from revolving debt to past due debt, each instance is judged differently across each scoring model when determining risk. With the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, many consumers have experienced a new type of debt over the past year, unpaid medical debt.

It is rare for a medical debt to appear on your report listed under your practitioners’ company or service provider. You will primarily see your medical debt appear on your report as a collection under a third parties’ agency.

Medical collections is one of the more daunting debts held by a consumer as they do not willingly place themselves in the situation unlike opening a tradeline with a credit card provider or loan officer. The dilemma sits with the morality behind paying off the debt. Medical service provides are entitled to payment for their services like any other provider. On the other hand, no one chooses to fall ill or succumb to injury. Regardless of the situation, there have been many changes made by the credit reporting and scoring communities to attempt to pad and reduce the impact of medical debt to the consumer.

Are you unsure what is on your report? You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

 

NCAP

In March of 2015, the three credit reporting companies (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian) established a plan to provide more accurate and accessible information. The National Consumer Assistance Plan was set to help consumers better understand and correct errors found on their reports as to bolster their credit portfolio. This plan adjusted common practices in many beneficial ways:

1- Consumers who acquire their annual credit report and dispute information that causes the report to change will receive an additional free credit report after updates have been made.

2- The reporting time for medical debts has been changed to report after 180 days to allow insurance to be applied. Credit reporting agencies will also be removed from the reports that previously listed medical collections if they have been paid or are being paid by insurance. If the debt is reported by a debt collector, the account still needs to be noted as being a medical debt as stated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Section 623.

3- Traffic tickets, parking tickets or any other debt that didn’t not come from a contract or agreement will not appear on a consumer’s report.

4- Victims of identity theft will receive special attention or those that have another individual’s information listed on their report.

Do you have medical debt on your credit report? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

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An Ever-Changing Reporting System

Every few years a new credit scoring model is developed in an attempt to make meaningful changes in how credit report entries are considered. Currently we are acknowledging almost 50 different FICO scores, each assessing different aspects of the consumers debt. VantageScore (another leader in the credit scoring community) has also faced many changes in their scoring model throughout the years when it comes to medial debts. In the past, VantageScore had ignored medical debts that were furnished by the original medical provider. Though the situation was found to be extremely rare, this meant that a medical facilities debt had no impact on any generation of the current VantageScore (1,2,3 and 4).

Now, with the later VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, all paid collections are ignored and removed from the account. This had provided a more lenient scoring model that has been much more forgiving to consumers who face medical debt. Keep in mind that a medical debt that is paid by insurance is different from an account that is settled. A settled account is not applicable when it comes to removal and only paid collections made by insurance companies will be removed.

The most current and forgiving VantageScore (4.0) is the only scoring model that distinguishes medical collections from other accounts on your report. This means that medical collections are in a realm of their own leaving accounts such as credit cards and auto loans to be reported normally. This is meant to minimize the impact of a medical collection on consumers reports and better differentiate these accounts from all other types of collections.

Article by: Joe Peters

 

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Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission has stated that reports of identity theft had skyrocketed to record highs in 2020 and continue to to rise in 2021! In 2019 the total amount of reported cases was around 650,00o while cases in 2020 had  breached 1 million!  2021 is shaping up to have similar results and it is grossly apparent that consumers need to bolster themselves against the onslaught of thieves looking to take advantage of there information. In this blog, we will go over how to protect yourself when it comes to identity theft, what to look out for and what you can do if someone has stolen your identity!

Ways Thieves obtain your Identity:

  • Stolen Credit Cards
  • Documents or receipts from the trash
  • Phone or email scams
  • Hacking unsecured and wireless networks

Types of Identity Theft?

Once a thief has gained access to your personal information they can obtain access to your existing credit cards, open new accounts, file fraudulent tax returns and more. Below we have named a few:

  1. Financial Theft
  2. Medical Theft
  3. Insurance Theft
  4. Criminal Theft
  5. Driver’s License Fraud
  6. Social Security
  7. Phishing Scams

Have you been a victim of identity theft? 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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Ways to Protect Yourself

1.Be Careful of What You Share. With social media and technology on the rise, these pesky crooks can find out a lot of personal information about just by doing a simple search. The information you share on Facebook, Linkedin and all the other media sites these criminals may be able to use the information you have shared to validate your identity. When you are sharing be careful of the information you share.

2.Keep Financial and Personal Information Secure. Here is another example of where technology can come back to bite us if we are not careful. Many Americans use their computers to pay bills, keep bank statements, financial planning and much more. If you do this the important thing to remember is to make sure your computer has a firewall installed; you should use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and secure your wireless network. Another important reminder is when you do have the actual hard copy of any financial or personal information dispose of it properly, and always keep them in a safe place.

3. Keep Your Cellphone Protected. Cell phones apps allow us to track our bank accounts, track your budget and finances, store credit card information, and just about anything else your heart desires. When downloading these apps make sure you are using a trusted and reputable company. Always check the ratings and reviews of any app you are downloading. Make sure you secure your device with a strong password, in case you lose it.

4. Make Sure Your Passwords Are Strong and Secure.  Create strong passwords, not easy to guess. Using passwords that contain, kids names, birth dates, maiden names or anything that may be guessed.

5. Monitor Your Credit. You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

Are You a Victim?

If you believe your identity has been stolen, it is necessary to immediately contact any financial institutions we have accounts with and place a hold on them. You will also want to contact the FTC to file a formal complaint. Make sure to provide them with any and all questionable activity so they can thoroughly build a case.

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The Roadmap to Better Credit

Time to Pass Go: 

How to Establish a Good Credit Score

 

Whether it’s finding a home for your growing family, financing your dream car, entering a career or even attempting to acquire a decent rate on car insurance, everything in our lives revolves around credit. No matter what you do, someone is going to be viewing your past choices to asses if you are a liability in your future endeavors and they could be the deciding factor in whether you are living your life or just surviving.  I’m not saying this to scare everyone or say that without good credit you can’t live the life you are meant to live, but that acquiring good credit could provide opportunities that may seem out of reach!

So, I guess its time to get a credit card and start building my credit! Before we get overzealous with the power we have been given with this seemingly divine piece of plastic, let’s take a look into a few ways to reliably start building and maintain our credit.

 

Good Credit Starts with Good Financial Habits

Many people are trapped in credit purgatory, looking for debt consolidators that can act as magical credit faeries to reset their credit scores after they have fallen behind on payments. If you can’t establish good financial management habits, then the attempt to establish better credit will be futile. When building a house, you must start with a strong foundation and the same goes for credit. Some great financial habits that can help you improve your creditworthiness are:

  1. Record every transaction. I know it seems like a pain to keep everything logged, but in the end, you can observe how much you spend down to the last cent. If you wait to record your transactions, you may lose details along the way.
  2. Round up expenses. Say you go out to eat and your bill comes up to $24.14, you should list the transaction as $25.
  3. Round down income. When recording your transactions, you should round down your income. If you got paid $483.23 for the week, round it down to $483.00. This way you’ll have a few extra bucks when you balance your accounts. If your hard-core round down to $480.00 to save a little more and build the habit!

Start with a Secured Credit Card

Now that you have a good record of your finances, you can show your bank that you have a stable income and can responsibly manage your finances. This puts you in a better position to apply for a secured credit card and shows that you are low risk.

When you acquire your secured card, the bank will require you to deposit the limit of the card into an account. So, if the discussed limit of your card is $500, then you will deposit $500 into the secured account. When you make a purchase with this, the $500 is not touched (unlike a debit card that allows you to withdraw the money in your account). The purpose of the money you deposited in the secured account is to provide collateral if you default on paying off your balance.

 

Pay it Off on Time

Now that you have your secured credit card and you have made a few purchases with it, make sure that you have your balances paid off on time each month. The credit card companies make money from the interest charged for late payments and we are trying to establish and raise our credit!

Since you are beginning to establish credit, your interest rates are going to be pretty high compared to someone with established, good credit. In the end would you rather pay the final $20 that was left on the account, or $200 after the absurd interest rates? Some credit companies could also charge you a late fee or reduce your limit if you fail to pay your balance in full when it’s due!

 

Don’t Use Your Credit for Emergencies

Now, an emergency is classified differently among different people. Some classify an emergency as not having gas left in the car a few days before pay day and they are running on empty. Others classify an emergency as a new plasma screen TV going on sale at their local department store and the sale ends before payday. Learn to use your credit card for when it would be more stressful to pay with cash, don’t have an ATM around and can’t pull out cash or small day to day transactions. If you use your credit card for just “emergencies” you may find yourself slipping into a situation where everything is an emergency and spur of the moment purchases will become more frequent. Not having an 80-inch plasma TV to watch “Stranger Things” on is not an emergency!

 

Strive to be Creditworthy

Credit cards can have quite a lot of perks and pros associated with them; however, it could send you into bankruptcy if you aren’t vigilant in how you handle them. Once you have acquired a good credit score it may be tempting to open many additional cards because it’s easy for banks to lend to you now.  You should strive to be credit worthy and push on till your financial freedom. If you are credit worthy, you’ll have a good credit score and can enjoy your transactions and purchases without having to pull out your journal to log everything. Just like working out to get fit or building your career for a future, establishing and maintain good credit does not happen overnight, but in the end will help you achieve the life you know you are meant to live!

 

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 Much Is Your Credit Score Costing You?

How Your Score Is Costing You Thousands

Back when I graduated high school (a few years after dinosaurs walked the earth) I had absolutely no idea how detrimental my credit score would be to my  future purchases. My brother was sitting pretty with a 750 credit score and financed his new car at an extremely low interest rate!  On the other hand, I was sinking with a 580 credit score and financed an older Honda Civic for almost double the interest rate! No big deal, I saw this coming but what about insurance. My brother is only 3 years older than me, had 2 accidents on record and we had the exact same insurance agency providing our car insurance. Even with a good driver discount, an older vehicle, no accidents and basic liability coverage;  I was paying 40 dollars more a more a month than my brother for my insurance!  Why is it that I had to pay so much more than George and how can I get  the same payments as he does? The answer all comes down to our credit score difference!

Low FICO Scores

Your credit scores play a major role in the financial freedoms you have. There seemed to have been a misconception that if someone made great money, the credit scores didn’t really have too much pull. Credit impacts us all, from the moment we start to take on paying bills, buying cars, cell phones etc.

Your employer might even take a look at your credit report and deny you for a job if they are low.

Contrary to popular belief, FICO impacts us all, across all demographics.

So, how does a low credit score cost you more money?

 Higher Interest Rates

If you were to apply for a 60 month car loan with a credit score between 500-589, one could expect to be quoted around 15.2% interest rate. That means that your poor credit is costing you and holding you back from lower interest rates (home and auto) and you are actually seeing your money be used in a way that is not benefiting you or your credit score.

Denied Financing

If you have low credit scores, you may have been denied a bank account, credit cards, a home loan or worse. While you may feel defeated right now, there are several ways to start improving your score. If you are in a tight spot financially and are thinking of completing credit repair on your own, please visit our DIY blog to learn more. If you would like to speak with a credit advisor about how to improve your credit score quickly, please contact Credit Law Center today.

How Do I Make A Change?

It is a good idea to monitor your credit scores. If you have noticed that you have any the below items on your credit report, you might be in need of credit repair.

  • Collections
  • Charge Offs
  • Repos
  • Bankruptcies
  • Foreclosures
  • Tax Liens

If you are thinking about going and paying these items off in hopes that they will increase your credit scores, rethink that option. Your credit report will change, but not in the way you want. If you have a 10 year old medical collection reporting and you decide to pay that collection off, the last date of activity on your report changes to the day you pay it. FICO is looking at your activity and weighing it heavily. Your score may decrease significantly due to the last date of activity being updated. There is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity. This does not mean we are advising you to not pay your bills or let things fall into derogatory status.

 

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The easiest and quickest way to start seeing a change in your credit scores is to start paying down balances you may have on current credit cards in your possession. This will have a direct/immediate impact on the score. If you are planning to start paying down your cards, try to keep the utilization down below 30%. This will help you start to see a swing in a positive direction.

The largest factor on your credit report is your payment history. Late payments are huge when it comes to dropping the credit scores. At any given time, always try to make at least the minimum payment on your loans.

 

Facts on Fico

 

Saving Money Starts Here

Whether you are looking to get into a new home or buy a new car, your credit scores are vital. If you are hoping to make changes for your financial future, you can start taking small steps now to get back on the right path. If you are in need of assistance today, our credit advisors can help educate you on what you can be doing on your end while we work on derogatory items on the credit report that are hindering you from higher scores.

 

 

 

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.

Article 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.

 

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.

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Do You Have Mistakes On Your Credit Report?

Believe it or not we live in an age where much of what goes on in our daily lives is monitored, collected and sold to interested parties. Our driving records, our medical history, our internet traffic and most importantly our credit information. Which can make you vulnerable to identity theft or a mistake on your credit report, that could cost you money. These mistakes can increase the interest you pay on your loans, prevent you from getting a mortgage, buy a car, landing a job or getting a security clearance. A government study indicates as many as 40 million Americans have a mistake on their credit report. Twenty million Americans have significant mistakes and the credit reporting industry shows that those mistakes can be nearly impossible to get removed from your record.

Consumer Credit Reporting

Consumer credit reporting is a four billion dollar a year industry dominated by three large companies Experian, TransUnion, Equifax. They keep files on 200 million Americans in traffic and our financial reputations. They make their money gathering information from people we do business with and sells it to banks, merchants, insurance companies and employers. These businesses use it to make judgments about our credit worthiness and reliability.

But now the reliability of the industry is being questioned by the Federal Trade Commission. John Liebowitz served as FTC chairman says “One out of five Americans has an error on their credit report and one out of ten has an error on their credit report and because of these mistakes Americans credit scores might be lower as a result”.

Close your eyes for a minute and trying to think of another industry where a 20 percent error rate would be acceptable. Maybe weather men and woman are the only ones that you were more than likely able to come up with. Even then, you want to make sure you remind them that they were wrong because they ruined your plans.  The same applies to your credit report.

Errors On Your Credit Report

These errors are clear violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act which performance based credit repair companies can take care of for you, that monthly credit repair companies just can’t. Performance based credit repair companies like Credit Law Center uses those mistakes as leverage to get their clients results faster, without dragging out the process to simply collect as much money as they can get.

 

These banks, merchants and debt collectors have a legal responsibility to make sure that the information is accurate. The federal law says that if you believe that there is a mistake you can go to them and they have an obligation to do a reasonable investigation. Let’s face it, they are not doing a reasonable investigation.

Disputing Your Credit Report

Eight million people a year file disputes about their credit report, which usually requires a visit to the Experian, TransUnion or Equifax websites. Those sites are primarily designed to sell you premium products, not resolve a dispute. There’s a toll free number you can call which is likely to connect you to someone on a faraway continent.

Besides the toll free number, they also give you a post office box address where you can send a letter and documents supporting your claim in each case. It’s extremely unlikely that anyone with the authority to resolve your dispute will ever actually see it. Usually if you challenge your credit report and mail your information to a post office box in the United States, the dispute will likely be investigated in India, Philippines or South America.

Then your dispute will be sent with a two or three line summary and no documentation back to the bank,merchant, or debt collector that furnished the original information. If there was a difference of opinion between the creditor and the person who was filing the complaint. The bureaus usually resolve it in favor of the creditor. You heard correctly, the creditor was always right.

The difference between monthly and performance based credit repair

Much of what’s known about the inner workings of the consumer credit agencies come out of lawsuits filed by performance based credit repair companies like Credit Law Center who have subpoenaed company records, deposed employees and executives and say under the current system there is no way for people to get these issues resolve.

Performance based companies like Credit Law Center can get a jury verdict for hundreds if not thousands of dollars for their clients.That’s chump change for these bureaus! They would rather pay a verdict in a hundreds to thousands of dollars, than to actually go in and change the policies and procedures that they have.

 

What most people don’t understand is that monthly credit repair companies are limited by what they can do. Basically you are paying $65 to $100 a month to send dispute letters that are going to India, Philippines, South America or filling out the dispute on the 3 big credit bureau sites on your behalf and keeping their fingers crossed. Very little if any fighting for consumers rights are going on.or people to get their problems solved. So clients who take the time to meticulously document their case that the bill isn’t theirs or the bill has been paid, have sometimes not only got the items deleted but also has received a check from the bank, merchant or collector for damages.

By- Credit Law Center