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Improve Your Credit Score, Don’t Let Your Past Financial Decisions Keep You Down

Your past financial decisions may feel like they are coming back to haunt you, and handling the complications that arise from having a less than perfect credit score can be rather stressful. Dealing with your past credit mistakes can leave you feeling extremely frustrated and hopeless, but the good there is re-establishing a good credit score can be done.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score After Bad Financial Decisions

A credit score belongs to you and only you, and no matter what caused you to a have a less than stellar credit score it is only yours to improve. It is common for many Americans living with a low credit score to ignore the problem. The first step in improving your credit score is to face it head on and attack the situation with confidence. Here are a few steps to take when what to improve your score.

Look for errors in your credit report

The first step in repairing your credit is to thoroughly carefully review your credit report to determine that all information is yours and it belongs to you. By law, credit reports have to be timely, accurate, and verifiable, and even though the particular item may belong to you finding an error may allow the item to be removed entirely from your report. You will want to pull all three credit reports from each credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Make sure you review names, addresses, social and look to make sure the dates on the accounts reporting are correct. If you determine there is inaccurate information reporting you will need to dispute the information.

High Balances

Often having a low credit score can be caused by utilizing too much of your available credit. You may wanted to buy that 60″ TV, but did you understand what maxing out your credit card would do to your credit score. 30% of your credit score is based on your available credit, if you have credit cards with balances greater than fifty percent of the maximum, you should pay those down as quickly as possible. Creditors like to you see you using your available credit, but still keeping the balances under 30% of the allotted credit.

Not able to get credit?

If you do not have enough trade lines, the key number is to have two installments and two revolving; you will want to try and obtain credit slowly. So don’t rush out and try to get all four at once! Start out with one. If your credit score is too low and you do not qualify for a loan or credit card you do have options. Obtaining credit with a low score can be done if you are willing to put up a security deposit. Many banks have secured credit cards and or a CD Building loan. Since your credit score is like a report card and you are graded on your payment history, you will need to make certain you can pay the monthly payments and make sure you can pay on time. One late payment will significantly impact your score.

Pay on time

Earlier I mentioned that credit bureaus grade you on how you pay your trade lines. Making sure you pay at least the minimum balance and on time each month will significantly impact your credit score. One late payment could drastically lower your credit score and as much as 100 points.

Increasing your credit score doesn’t happen overnight and each individual score has a different circumstance. There is no cookie cutter way to follow and coming up with the correct action plan designed for you is the key. Once you have determined the correct plan of action, being disciplined will be extremely important. If at anytime you feel like you might backslide, remind yourself ut what motivated you to improve your score, maybe it is to buy a house, finally buy a brand new car, or to get the job you always wanted. Whatever your reason may be, once you have reached the light at the end of the tunnel it will be well worth it.  If you aren’t exactly sure what steps to take reach out to one of our credit analysts and get a free consultation.

Are You Being Sued By a Debt Buyer? – Credit Law Center

Are you being sued by a debt buyer? If you have, you’re not alone. Our office has seen a significant increase in clients coming in with lawsuits from debt buyers.

What is a Debt Buyer

A debt buyer is a company that purchases delinquent debt from original banks and credit card companies, these companies then utilize the states court systems to collect on the acquired accounts that have been charged off from the original creditors.

 

Practices of Debt Buyers

Debt buyers will purchase these charged off debts from original creditors after they have charged them off their books. Many debt buyers are able to acquire debts at a very low price, sometimes pennies on the dollar. The debt buyers main goal is to make money, and the easiest way for them to make money is to use the state’s court system to do that. Their main goal isn’t to string you along in a lengthy court battle, it’s to summons you in hopes, you don’t show up. Approximately 90% of lawsuits filed by debt buyers end in a default judgment, this means by you not showing up the judge will grant them exactly what they are asking for and sometimes this will include lawyers cost and interest. Basically, you have forfeited all your rights and they get everything they want.

Why is it important you show up

If you have been served with a summons remember you have rights to legal representation. You have the right to make sure the debt is yours. It must be timely, accurate and verifiable. Often times when these debts are purchased it may be bought by the highest bidder in online, and it is often sold more than once. The information they purchase may even be on a spreadsheet and can easily prone to errors. If you are being sued by one of these companies make sure you do your due diligence and show up. Do not allow a default judgment, make them prove to you it is your debt. If you are being sued and need further assistance, please reach out to one of our attorneys.

79% of All Credit Reports Contain Errors – Credit Law Center

Hard to believe that 79% of all credit reports contain errors, but according to the FTC it is true. I know you are thinking!!!! How many of us would still be employed if we even made half the mistakes as the credit reporting agencies do on a consumers report?

So… When was the last time you looked at your credit report? Professionals suggest reviewing your report at least once a year, and you may do that at freeannualcreditreport.com. You’re probably thinking; well what do I look for? Here a few of the most common mistakes on credit reports.

1. Identify Errors

Look for information that isn’t your name, address, date of birth, social security numbers. Credit reporting agencies may often get this type of information mixed up. We see a lot of cases where you may be a Jr and your father a Sr, at one time you lived in the same house, so the credit reporting agencies can easily get this information crossed. Another example of how things can get information can be mixed is f you have a common name like Bob Smith; it’s common to have more than one Bob Smith in the same town. If you have ever been a victim of identity theft, you will want to carefully review this section to make sure the addresses are correct, date of birth.

Inaccurate reporting of account status

Inaccurate reporting of an account status can have a significant impact on your credit score. Below are the most common ways per a recent publication from the CFPB.

    1. Closed accounts reported as open
    2. Debt listed more than once(possibly using two different company names)
    3. Incorrect date of last payment, date it was opened, or date of the first delinquency.
    4. You are listed as the account owner when you were just the authorized user on the card.
    5. Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent.

 

 

Here is an example of inaccurate reporting.

credit repair

 

Here is what correct reporting looks like.

 

Correct Credit Reporting

What if you find an error?

Finding errors on your report can be upsetting, but always keep in mind that by law credit reports must be timely, accurate and verifiable. There are several different outlets you can take in trying to correct the errors, you may dispute the information with major credit reporting agencies, or seek professional help. Be careful who you choose as some credit repair companies may not be able to help with all areas

 

 

Correcting Errors May Significantly Impact Your Score

Leaving incorrect information on your report may significantly impact your credit score and any interest rates that you have on future loans.

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What is a Credit Report? – Credit Law Center

A credit report is a detailed compilation of information about the way you handle your debt, which is managed by businesses known as credit reporting agencies. In the United States, we have three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. All three credit reporting agencies collect your detailed information from lenders to create a credit report, and depending on the type of accounts you have will update every 30 days. Occasionally, some business do not report monthly, but if at any point you let the trade line go unpaid or late they will report.

What is a Credit Report?

1. Personal Information

This section will include Social security number, date of birth, address and employment history. This information can be excellent in identifying identity theft. Always verify that the information reporting is correct, especially if you have the same name and address as another family. This information can easily be reported incorrectly, and you may end up with a mixed credit file. Having a file that is combined could be a significant hassle when trying to correct it.

2. Trade Lines

This section will include department store cards, automobile loans, mortgages and credit cards, and depending on the status of the account it may or not be positive or negative. If you have had a bankruptcy, charge off or repossession this may be negative.

3. Collection Accounts

A collection may be an unpaid medical bill, an unpaid utility bill, or any other bill that went into delinquency and being reported to the credit bureaus from the original company. A Collection item listed on the credit report will always be considered harmful no matter if it is paid or unpaid.

4.Court Records

Court records include bankruptcies, satisfied or unsatisfied liens, and satisfied or unsatisfied judgments.

 

5.Inquiries

When you apply for a credit card, personal loan or home or automobile loans a lender will pull your credit file, and an inquiry will be reported to the credit reporting agencies. An inquiry may not show on all three major credit reports, as some lenders us just one bureau to pull your history.

Making sure your credit report is accurate and verifiable is important. You should check your report at least once a year to make sure the items reporting are correct. AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to review each major credit reporting agency once a year at no cost.

Are Free Credit Scores a Waste of Your Time? – Credit Law Center

Are free credit scores a waste of your time?

Last week, 2 of the big 3 credit bureaus were ordered to pay $23 million for deceiving customers. The CFPB accused the credit bureaus of misleading marketing of false information of credit scores and products being sold to the public. According to the regulator, “TransUnion and Equifax falsely represented that the credit scores they marketed and provided to consumers were the same scores lenders typically use to make credit decisions. When in reality the lenders do not use the credit scores provided at all. So you can imagine the frustration of going to get a loan, when your score is different from the one the lender is using.

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2 of the Big 3 Credit Bureaus Busted for Deceptive Marketing – Credit Law Center

2 of the big 3 credit bureaus busted for deceptive marketing – Credit Law Center

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau bust 2 out of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus due to the marketing of their over-priced, under-performing credit monitoring subscription products.  Combined fines and  consumer restitution total $23 million.  CFPB will more than likely also bring a case against the remaining bureau, Experian. Experian doesn’t prevent identity theft, nor do they always accurately disclose your credit score.

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