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Millions of people in America with mistakes on their credit report- Credit Law Center

 

 

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.

 

 

The Truth About Inquiries

Credit Reports. The Soft and Hard Pull Inquiry Finally Explained

There Are Two Main Types of Credit Inquiries

Chances are when you have applied for a credit card or a loan, you have heard the term “inquiry.” This inquiry is a credit check to take a look at your credit report, but there is a difference between the two inquiries.

Often times, we hear the same few questions when dealing with clients. Do they impact my score? What is a hard/soft inquiry? Here is the difference:

Soft Inquiry

A soft inquiry can happen when you pull your report on a website such as credit karma, or background check ran by an employer, or applying for utilities. Remember; these are not your true Fico scores. For more info on the difference in scores, view our blog. At the bureaus discretion, a soft inquiry may be recorded on the report. The soft inquiry will not have an impact on the credit score but a hard inquiry will.

Hard inquiry

Lending institutions such as a bank, mortgage lender or credit card issuers will pull a hard inquiry BEFORE they approve you for the credit card, loan or mortgage. This helps these institutions also determine what the interest will be. When your credit cards are paid down (30% or below) and your accounts are in good standing, the chances of you being approved and paying low interest rates is very good.

Hard inquires do mean you lose a few points from your credit score, however most people lose less than five points. These inquires do not have a long term weight on the credit report. You are looking at about a two year window for hard inquiries.

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If you are curious on how to get a credit score to view your personal report, we can help. You will want to check your scores here.

Do you have inquiries on your credit report?

If there are inquiries on your credit report and you are unsure where they came from, check with a credit repair service such as Credit Law Center-we use the law to help fix your credit in a quick and affordable way! Credit repair companies can help look through the report and address any errors that may have occurred for you to have inaccurate information. We recommend reviewing your credit history often.
Please note that you can only dispute hard pulls executed without your permission. Hard pull inquiries can take up to 2 years to no longer appear on your credit history.

How do I refrain from having too many inquiries?

Every credit card, loan, mortgage application you submit results in a hard inquiry. If you continue to have your report pulled, and those 3-5 points come out every time, you may end up tanking your scores by shopping around. Space your applications out by several months if possible. However, FICO allows 30 days before weighing your inquiries into their algorithms which determine your credit scores. If inquiries occurred within the same period of time, they can be counted as multiple pulls. This is why mortgage companies recommend not having your credit pulled as a hard inquiry due to the possibility of it lowering and in turn qualifying for a higher interest rate and finally potentially unfortunately not buying a home. Nobody wins!

Conclusion

Credit scores have a critical part in our financial outcomes in life. A good credit score is considered to be scores higher than “700”. When applying for credit, take the time to build your scores. Feel free to use our site as a resource, we love answering questions!To get assistance on tracking soft or hard inquiries that could impact your credit scores, inspect credit reports from Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. CLICK HERE to get in touch with a credit analyst for more details.
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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 Breana Washington

5 Myths on Credit and Divorce

5 Myths On Credit and Divorce

Making the decision to end a relationship with a loved one can be one of the toughest calls to make in a person’s life. If you are considering divorce, what is not working is outweighing what is. Whether you are waiting for your spouse to pull the trigger because you can’t yourself. Or, you’re getting your finances in align prior to making the move, there are a few things to know and how the decision will directly impact your credit score.

In this article we address 5 myths about divorce and credit, so you can make the best financial decision for YOU when D-Day comes.

Myth #1: Spouses share a credit score

In the credit world, each person carries their own credit score. Purchases made together still show on each report. If your spouse is negatively reporting due to a late payment and you are an authorized user on that account, your report will also reflect that negative trade line.

Note: There is a major difference between being an authorized user and having a joint account.
Signing divorce papers

Myth #2: Being married or divorced affects my score

Status, age, gender, race, income, or investment does not have any impact on your credit score. Your negative or positive credit history is what makes up a score. Paying bills on time, keeping balances low and your credit utilization.

Myth #3: The legal status of a relationship doesn’t matter

Joint accounts, mortgages and car loans do. Managing those accounts will affect both of your scores whether you are married or divorced.

Myth #4: After my divorce is finalized, my score is no longer impacted by my ex

Unfortunately, your scores can continue to be affected by your previous spouse long after the marriage ends. Co-owner of a credit card that is used by your ex can mean you are still responsible for the debt, married or not. Some states consider all open accounts opened during marriage, a joint account.

Myth #5: One spouse acquires credit card debt he/she is solely responsible

A divorce decree does not cancel previous credit contracts. As such, the decree is only responsible for writing out who is responsible for existing debts. A divorce decree will not automatically remove joint or authorized users from accounts. Read more on divorce decrees here!

If you have previously gone through a divorce and are unsure of what your credit report is reflecting, please pull a report here IDIQ
Contact:  1-800-994-3070

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Article by Breana Washington

How to fix your Credit

The winds come whipping in, the sky turns black and-BOOM-a tornado blew through all of your life plans! Are you feeling as if Oz himself is behind the curtain pulling random numbers from the debris and  tossing them out one by one? After the dust has settled you see a score that makes no sense, but the damage has been done. So what do you do to pick up the pieces?

Credit Law Center Credit Score

If you are looking to fix your scores but continue to find ways that take longer than the time you have available, don’t quit…there is hope for you yet- your yellow brick road is closer than you think!

Although time doesn’t always seem to be on our side, and the credit bureau’s don’t seem to be either, there is still some good news when it comes to fixing your less than perfect report. A healthy credit report will take time to build, but the wait is worth it.

Oz is not going to improve your scores for you and unfortunately you can’t just tap your shiny red shoes together for a quick fix. It is up to you as the consumer to take some action. Here is what you can do to get started:  1. Pull your report and check your scores. You need to view all three (Transunion, Experian and Equifax) 2. Find out what the issues/negative items are on the report. Are the debts yours? 3. Clean negative items off the report 4. Build and establish positive credit/tradelines.

First: Pull your report

You will want to enroll in a credit monitoring service that allows you to see all three bureau’s. A lot of the credit reports consumer’s can pull on their own show you two reports, the third one is just as important as the other two. Remember: scores will vary as they are only a consumer score and will always be different than what a lender or bank will tell you. Check out : vantage scores vs Fico….. Credit monitoring is also great for identity theft monitoring, among other things. Interested in having a three bureau report pulled for just $1? Click here!

Second: What is negative?

Can you imagine that the bureau’s have incorrect information? Actually, 79% of credit reports contain errors. Not only is it important to verify that the debts on your report are yours, but it is just as important that your addresses, name, DOB, etc. are correct as well. “Oz” uses an algorithm that is hard to crack! What we do know is this:  • Payment history makes up 35%  • Credit utilization makes up 30% • Age of credit accounts 15% • Length of life on card 15%
If you play the game right, you’ll start to see your scores on the rise. Keep pushing.

Third: Clean up negative items

Just like the lion, tin man and the scarecrow, you’re going to need someone to help guide you down the path. Recruit well, and do your research! Credit Law Center, attorney based credit repair can assist you in cleaning up your negative items on your report such as:  • Collections/Repossessions • Public Records • Late Pays • Bankruptcies/Foreclosures  • Tax Liens/Judgments
This team not only assists you in removing derogatory items from your report, but coaches through the process on how to build on the positive side of your report as well. An unbelievable team for you to depend on, Credit Law Center is a combination of all of Dorothy’s confidants into one company.
The tin man: a heart that cares about the future of the consumer’s, and what happens next
The scarecrow: a brain full of knowledge about credit and the resources to aid clients
The lion: courage/legal prowess to take action
Ready to get to work on your report? www.creditlawcenter.com

Fourth: Build and establish

You might have been denied credit cards previously, but that are a few other ways around establishing that you don’t know. Secured credit cards are one route you can take. They require a deposit that will serve as your credit limit. Making on time payments and keeping an eye on your utilization is vital. Keep those balances as low as possible. Your limit is $1,000? Keep that card under $300 if possible! A few more things to do to start building:  • Pay balances down as low as possible while holding off on making new purchases • Credit builder loans with a bank can be a good start • DO NOT close old credit card accounts when you have them in good standing, the longer the life on the card, the better • Increase your credit limit so your balances seem to be back down under that 30% utilization (See, this game can be won!)  • Become an authorized user on an account of a TRUSTED family member or friend. Don’t worry, you never have to even see/use their card, you will benefit from their positive history (make sure they pay their bills) Again, the longer the life, the better! Their shiny scores won’t be hurt by your scores, the only one taking a risk is you. Choose wisely!
Now, that the clouds have cleared and the sun is peaking through, you can take on Oz with the right team behind you. We are excited to help you so you too can tap your shoes together and exclaim “There’s no place like home!”

If you would like to learn more, please contact Credit Law Center and an analyst will be happy to provide you with additional information.
Article by Breana Washington

Contact:  1-800-994-3070

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6 Common Credit Terms – Credit Law Center

We recently asked the question on social media, “What is one thing that should be taught in school?”, several came back with the answer “credit.” Unless you are a financial guru at understanding complex financial terms, the world of credit can be slightly confusing. Understanding the most common credit terms and credit score terms could help you save money.

 

6 Common Credit Terms

 

1.Credit Mix

The different types of credit that make up your credit report. Your credit mix makes up 10% of your credit score and can be a mixture of credit cards, a mortgage to student loans and auto loans. Having a good mixture of positive credit can impact your credit score.

2.Credit utilization

This is the amount of available credit you are using. To calculate your credit utilization, you would divide your total credit card balances by your total credit limits. Then multiply that number by 100 for the percentage. Keeping your credit utilization under 30 percentage is best, by keeping it under shows lenders that you are capable of managing debt.

3.Installment loan vs. Revolving credit

An installment loan is a cash loan that requires a fixed number of regular payments that are equal in amount. Payments on an installment loan are calculated over a set duration, home loan and a car loans are examples of installment loans.

Revolving credit is credit that can repeatedly be used and paid off without having to reapply each time. Credit cards and lines of credit are two forms of revolving credit. Revolving credit does not require a set payment plan, and you can borrow up to your limit. Revolving credit is riskier for lenders. Therefore the interest rates are higher.

4.Hard Inquiry

A hard inquiry happens when you have applied for credit, and a business or lender “pulls” your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. This type of inquiry can affect your credit score.

5.Soft Inquiry

A soft inquiry occurs when a consumer checks their credit file or when a lender sends you a pre-approval letter. This type of inquiry does not affect your FICO credit score.

6.Payment History

35 percent of your credit score is made up by your payment history. Therefore it is a crucial element in your credit score. Payment history is calculated on how well you pay your bills and if you pay them on time. With payment history being such a big portion of your credit score being late on a payment or defaulting on a loan could cause you to be denied credit or have high-interest rates.

Are You Getting Calls From Fake Debt Collectors? – Credit Law Center

Have you received a call from a debt collector and you don’t recognize the debt or loan that they are trying to collect? Consumers all over the U.S. are reporting that they are receiving calls like this. Fake debt collectors pretend to be lawyers, debt collectors and do anything to scare you into paying them, and occasionally, the imposters may have some of your personal information, and they are incredibly slick and will do anything to scam you into paying.

The FTC recently stopped imposters who pretended to be lawyers. These imposters threatened people with lawsuits and jail time to collect debts that didn’t exist.

Common Characteristics of Fake Debt Collectors

  • They use names of real small businesses or names that are similar to existing businesses.
  • Trying to collect on a debt you are not familiar with or do not owe.
  • High pressure to try and scare you into to paying, such as threatening jail time or calling and reporting you to the local law enforcement agency.
  • Fake debt collectors may threaten to sue you or tell you that they are suing you
  • Refusing to give you an address or telephone number
  • Asks you personal financial or sensitive information.

What to do if you think you are speaking to a fake debt collector

  • Ask the caller for his name, company, street address and telephone number. Advise the caller that you refuse to discuss the debt, asks them to provide you with a “validation notice.” A validation notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and your rights under the FDCPA. If they refuse to provide this information, DO NOT PAY!
  • Do not provide the caller with any financial or sensitive information. Never give out personal information or confirm personal information like bank account, credit card or social security number unless you are sure you are dealing with a legitimate debt collector. These imposters can use your information to commit identity theft, charging your credit cards, or open new credit.
  • Contact the creditor. It may be possible that they are calling on a legitimate debt that they have somehow accessed information on. If you believe the debt is legitimate, but you do not believe the caller is a real debt collector, contact the original creditor directly, be sure to share the information with them so they can keep track of the behavior.
  • Report the Call to the FTC. Contacting the FTC and your state Attorney General’s Office with the documented information about the suspicious callers, and most States have their own laws in addition to the FDCPA.

My Credit Card Statement Now Has a Credit Score – Credit Law Center

You may have recently noticed that your credit card statement has provided you with a credit score for free. Having this credit score on your credit card statement could potentially help you spot an error on your credit report. For example, if the score is lower than you expected, it may be a perfect time to request your credit reports, dispute any errors that you may find.

Things to consider about the scores provided on the credit card statement

Each credit card company uses a different formula for assessing your credit profile. The credit score you get from one credit card company may be slightly different from the credit score you receive from another credit card company. The score you receive on the credit card statements may also be different than the score you receive from a lender or a finance company. FICO scores are the credit scores used by 90% of the top lenders to determine your credit risk.

FICO Scores

You will have three FICO scores, one for each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. As well as the three different scores from each bureau, FICO has a total of 56 versions of FICO scoring. Just think of it like Microsoft word, every year a new version comes out updating the software. Each of the 56 versions old or new are tailored for different types of lending. One version may be used for mortgage lenders, while another may be used for a credit card company. With so many versions being the major reason the score on your credit card statement may differ from one a lender pulls.

 

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No matter what version of FICO is being used your score is calculated by the information on your credit report. Therefore your credit score could differ from bureau to bureau as well. For example, you may have a loan from a small community bank; this bank may only report your activity to Transunion, and not report to Experian or Equifax, leaving your credit file with the other two bureaus thin.

Things to keep in mind

Each month when you receive your score on your credit card statement use it as a tool to help identify any possible errors. Focus on paying your bills on time, and not overextending your credit. If you notice your score has gone down, review your credit, and look for any errors in your credit report. Each bureau allows one free credit report per year and you can request at www.annualcreditreport.com

What is a Good FICO Score? Credit Law Center

One of the most well-known types of credit score is FICO Scores and used by many lenders. The average FICO score for Americans, as of April 2017 was 700. When you check your credit score, you’ll probably want to find out how you compare. What is a good FICO Score?

 

What is a Good FICO Score?

Think of your credit score like a grade. If you do not have any credit or tradelines, FICO has nothing to grade you on. FICO scores often range from 300 to 850, and a FICO about 700 is considered a good credit score. A FICO of 800 is an exceptional score, and approximately 19.9 % of Americans are in this range. Applicants in the excellent range are at the top of the list for the best rates from lenders. 17% of people range in the very poor range and these individuals may be required to pay a fee or a deposit, before getting approved.

Top 5 Credit Myths (1)

Why Do Credit Scores Matter

Lenders use credit scores to help them determine how likely you are to repay your loan on time. A Credit score allows lenders assess the risk that you won’t be able to pay your loan as agreed.

Establishing and maintaining a good credit score is important because it can determine whether you are approved for a loan or not. It will always determine what interest rates you qualify and potentially save you tons of money over the length of the loan. Every major financial goal you have, like owning a home, or purchasing a new car, your credit will be a part of the financing.

Common Credit Score Facts

Marriage: When you get married your credit score will not merge with your spouse’s

Joint Accounts: Joint accounts will show up on both individuals credit report, and both individuals are responsible for the debt. If a payment is missed both parties will see the delinquency on their credit report and it will affect both individual scores.

Checking your score: Checking your score will not hurt your credit report. Checking your score is considered a soft inquiry, and it allows you to review your score without harming it.

By law, credit reports are required to be timely, accurate and verifiable. Monitoring your credit is a great way to avoid any mishaps when it comes to your score. Depending on what type of reporting error you could have on your report it could significantly drop your score.