Credit Repair, Do It Yourself or Pay For Services?

Should you pay a "credit repair" company or can you improve or repair your credit report yourself?

debt free credit repair

Here a some tips on DO IT YOURSELF CREDIT REPAIR:

You have probably seen a TV  commercial or pop up ad that claims that "so-n-so credit repair company" can remove:

  • negative items from your credit report
  • history of late payments
  • judgments
  • bankruptcy
  • charge offs

Sounds like it is "too good to be true", right?

Well, you know the old saying...."if is sounds too good to be true, it probably is"!

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three top independent reporting agencies.

Many people think they are non-profit or government agencies, but they are not.

They collect data and put it in a report to sell for profit!  There's nothing wrong with that, but it is important to understand that the credit reporting bureaus are in business to make a profit.

After they gather information about your credit, a report is then sold to creditors, individuals or other companies seeking information about you in order to determine your "credit worthiness".

Here is a quote from a portion of a very good article entitled:

                 How Credit Scores Affect the Price of Credit and Insurance


Information about you and your credit experiences, like your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, whether you pay your bills by the date they’re due, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts, is collected from your credit report.

Using a statistical program, creditors compare this information to the loan repayment history of consumers with similar profiles.

For example, a credit scoring system awards points for each factor that helps predict who is most likely to repay a debt. A total number of points — a credit score — helps predict how credit worthy you are — how likely it is that you will repay a loan and make the payments when they’re due.

 

So what happens when you find out that you have a low or poor credit score due to errors or incorrect information on your credit report?

You could seek the help of a reputable, credit repair company, but be careful!!!!

A good, reputable, credit repair company should not charge exorbitant up-front fees and should only be paid AFTER THE ERROR(S) have been removed.

But why pay for something you could do yourself?

Here's what you can do for yourself:

First, you will need a current credit report.

The law allows all consumers to receive a FREE Credit Report from all 3 of the credit reporting agencies annually.

Click here or go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

NEXT, study your credit report carefully.

Don't be surprised to find errors, such as:

  • Balances on accounts you know and can prove that you have paid off
  • Judgments that have been satisfied
  • Mistakes about your personal information, such as name change, age, social security number, address, etc.
  • Accounts that should have been removed because they have exceeded your state's statute of limitations.
  • Accounts that you have no idea about and know for certain you never opened

IT IS IMPORTANT TO STATE THAT YOU CANNOT DISPUTE ITEMS THAT ARE LEGITIMATE ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT!

This is called "frivoulous" and could result in you getting into serious trouble!

But, if you find errors or inaccuracies, and have proof that it is indeed an error or the information reporting is inaccurate, you must INITIATE A DISPUTEwith each credit reporting companies.

The best way to do this is to go on line and complete each credit reporting agencies form for disputing an error.

Here are the links to the top three credit reporting agencies:

Equifax disputes

Experian disputes

TransUnion disputes

 

  • The credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question and this must be done within 30 days!
  • The credit reporting company must forward the date that you provided to the creditor or collection agency reporting the information.
  • If the creditor or collection agency cannot dispute your claim, it must notify each of the credit reporting companies to remove the incorrect information from you file.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must send you the results, in writing plus a free copy of your credit report showing the changes have been made.
  • You may also request that the credit reporting company send notices of these corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the last 180 days.

However, if you do not have access to a compute to file your dispute on line, then you will need to WRITE A LETTER (CTA) and mail it by CERIFIED REGISTERED MAIL.

After you have initiated the dispute, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!

Although going online is the best way to initiate a dispute, you may need to call the credit reporting agency directly:

       Equifax                 888-202-4025

       Experian               888-397-3742

        TransUnion          800-916-8800

 

 

If you absolutly, without a doubt know that the listed accounts is not yours (you never opened and have no idea where it came from), then you can demand that the creditor to VALIDATE THE ACCOUNT.

This is a little different than disputing inaccurate information.

You must write a letter to each of the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and challenge the account asking the original creditor to PROVE that it is valid.

You should enclose a copy (don't send the whole report or original) of the portion of your credit report with the item(s) that you are disputing circle and/or highlighted.

Once again, the credit reporting companies have 30 days to forward and request your dispute.

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR DISPUTE!

Most creditors and/or collection agencies think that the average consumer will not go to all of the trouble to either DISPUTE A DEBT OR REQUEST THAT THE DEBT BE VALIDATED!

One woman in Bend, Oregon won a lawsuit against Equifax of a reported $18.6 Million because Equifax failed to correct her credit report!

But what if you find out that the debts are valid?

You may be able to have them removed due to the statute of limitaions or through DEBT SETTLEMENT for a 50% or more savings!

 

 

Photo Credit to Chris Potter and StockMonkeys.com

 

                                      

 

Tags: debt validation, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, credit reporting companies, credit report dipute

Is it Time for Debt Relief?

New year, new year's resolutions. Don't you think it is about time for you to consider Debt Relief?

stress-reduction

Sure, you say, but what is "Debt Relief"?

I'm talking here specifically about finally starting to take control of your unsecured debts...mainly credit card debt.

You've heard or read the statistics about how many individuals have too much credit card debt based on their income and living circumstances.

With credit card interest rates anywhere from 12%-24% or higher, if you are just making the minimum payments required, it could take you 10 years or more to finally pay off those debts!

Wouldn't it feel great to be DEBT FREE? OK, here are some tips that can really help if you will apply:

FIRST:  Do you know exactly where you are financially?  I mean, can you account for almost every dollar that comes in and for every dollar that goes out?

Most people have a vague idea, but have never taken the time to do a complete, thorough Financial Worksheet.

After completing a Financial Worksheet, I've had people say, "WOW, I had no idea that I was spending so much money on stuff like Starbucks, movies, burgers, etc."

Until you get a clear picture (and you may not like it) of where you really are, you cannot possibly make a plan to become Debt Free.

Here is a simply, easy-to-use Financial Worksheet that you can download:

Budget Worksheet FREE Download here!

SECOND: Now that you have a clear, honest (it won't help if you are not honest with yourself!) picute of where you are, it's time to get an up-to-date CREDIT REPORT.

You can get a FREE CREDIT REPORT annually that will tell you how much debt is being reported to the 3 Major Credit Bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian).

Not only will this report tell you to whom and how much debt you have, you may also discover that there are errors on the report.  I've read reports that 1 out of 4 people have errors on their report.

If you find errors, you can file a challenge to each of the bureaus on line or you can mail a challenge.

The following links will help:

Equifax disputes

TransUnion disputes

Experian disputes

There is a very good site from the Federal Trade Commission that will give you some good points on for do-it-yourself credit repair.

OK, but how about all of the legitimate debts that is being reported?

Break them down into two basic groups:

Secured debts, such as:

  • First Mortgage loans
  • Second Mortgare or Equity Line of Credits
  • Auto, boat, RV loans
  • Government Student Loans

There is not a lot you an do about these except keep paying.

But on the other hand, all of the UNSECURED LOANS, such as:

  • Credit Cards
  • Store Cards
  • Personal loans
  • Mecical bills
  • Pay Day loans
  • Private Student Loans

You do have options as to how to repay these...read on.

NEXT... List all of the unsecured loans like this:

             Creditor, Interest Rate, Payment (minimum), Balance

Here is where the Financial Worksheet is so important.

After completing the Financial Worksheet, you will be in one of the following groups:

After all bills (including all debts) are paid, I have $100 - $200 extra each month that could be used to start paying down unsecured debt.

You find out that you are basically even at the end of the month.  You are paying all bills (including all debts) and you have basically $0 left over, but not negative.

Finally, if after completing a thorough Financial Worksheet, you realize that you are coming out negative at the end of the month. 

You probably alreaday knew this, as you have been "robbing Peter to pay Paul" for a long time.  In fact, some, if not all of your unsecured debts are 30,60 or 90 days late and some, if not all, have been charged off and gone to a Debt Collection Agency.

Here are your options, based on your personal financial situation (revealed from the Financial Worksheet and Credit Reports):

Group One... Those of you who can put an extra $100-$200 towards paying down unsecured debts.

You should use a SNOWBALL PLAN to pay off those unsecure debts a lot sooner and at the same time, save you thousands of dollars in interest!

Basically, you break down your unsecured debts and start paying extra to the one with the lowest balance. 

After this one is paid off, you use the same extra, plus the minimum payment just paid off plus the minimum payment due  on the second and put all of that towards that second debt.

For a more complete overview, click here.

But what about Group 2?  You are making all of your payments, but there is just not anything left over?

You should be able to qualify for a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

  • In a Debt Management Program, you will have one monthly payment that will be disbursed to each of your creditors by a Debt Management Company.
  • Your interest rates should be reduced significantly.
  • Late fees and over-the-limit fees should be stopped or forgiven.

In short, a Debt Management Program can not only help you become Debt Free in a shorter amount of time (usually about 48 months), but save you thousands of dollars in interest and fees.

Finally, what about Group 3?  Those of you who have too much unsecured debt and are not only not getting anywhere but really can't afford your payments...here are your choices:

  • DEBT SETTLEMENT
  • BANKRUPTCY

Debt Settlement is a great way to pay off/settle your unsecure debts without having to resort to bankrutpcy.

Debt Settlement will allow you to have:

  • One Monthly Payment (usually much lower than the required total minimum payments now)
  • Your Debt can be settled at 50% or lower (depending on several factors)
  • You can be DEBT FREE in about 48 months.

To receive a FREE REPORT called DEBT SETTLEMENT FOR BEGINNERS, click below:

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

But if you cannot even afford the reduced payment of a Debt Settlement Program, then you should consider BANKRUPTCY as a way to not only cancel your unsecured debts, but relieve the constant finacial pressure and worry that comes from such a severe financial condition.

You should consult a Bankruptcy Attorney who specializes in Bankruptcy.  You should be able to schedule a Free Consultation to deteremine if you qualify.

Regardless of your situation, there is a way to not only become Debt Free, but stop the collection calls and relieve the constanct pressure that comes with too much debt.

 

Photo By: Eamon Curry

Tags: debt collection, debt settlement, Credit Score, Bankruptcy, credit report, debt settlement in oregon, debt management, credit report dipute, unsecured debt

3 Tips on How to Repair Your Credit Report

 3 tips to repair your credit report

Credit repair is a popular and often misused term.

If you have errors on your  credit report, here are 3 tips on how to repair  your credit report:

1.  If you haven't done so already, request a FREE COPY of your Credit Report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of consumer information on the nation's credit reporting agencies.

If you want to dispute items on the report, you need to follow some simple steps.

But first, you need to be aware that there are many so called "Credit Repair Companies" that are making claims like:

  • We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens and bad loans from your credit report!
  • We can remove all charge offs and bad credit history to improve your credit score!
  • Improve your credit score by 50-100 points in 30 days!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  You can accomplish the same thing on your own!

Understand that a Credit Report is a history of your credit...how much, what kind, repayment history, etc.

If you have had a rough time and missed payments or had accounts charged off and go to debt collectors, your credit report will reflect it and THERE IS NOTHING A CREDIT REPAIR COMPANY CAN DO ABOUT LEGITIMATE ITEMS.

However, if you have items on your credit report such as:

  • Accounts showing a balance when you know AND HAVE PROOF that you paid it off...
  • Items that still remain after the STATUE OF LIMITATIONS for your state has passed...
  • Address or employment errors...
  • Accounts that you don't have...AND CAN PROVE IT

...then, you can dispute those items yourself and with the proper proof and/or documentation, can have those items removed.

2. Gather evidence and proof for your dispute.

Let's say that there is a Visa account with a balance of $5,000 that you paid off either IN FULL or Settled for Less Than the Full Amount.

Get a copy of your cancelled check(s) or bank statements clearing showing that you have paid this account as agreed.

If you cannot find the proof, then you can try to make the creditor VALIDATE THE DEBT.

Mail a detail account along with copies (not originals) of your canceled checks or bank statements (make sure to black out bank account numbers) to each of the credit reporting agencies.

You can also go on line to each reporting agency, but I think the written proof mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL (so you can prove they received it) is much more efficient.

The credit reporting agencies will contact the disputed creditor or debt collector.

Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must provide you with a copy of the results and a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in a change.

3.  If you receive a letter from a debt collector and you don't think you owe the debt, MAKE THEM VALIDATE IT!

Many debt collection agencies BUY OLD DEBT at pennies on the dollar and try to collect. Some of the debts are legitimate and yet many are not. Because of the harsh language and threats of PENDING LEGAL ACTION, many consumers just pay the debt!

If you know that you don't owe the debt, send the same information as above the to debt collector.  Demand that they provide you with documentation of the original contract showing your signature and date.

If they cannot provide the documentation or if they deem it is too much trouble to investigate, they will cease collection activities.

If they do not provide documentation that clearly shows you owe the debt, and they continue to contact you, REPORT THEM TO YOUR STATE'S ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AND the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC).

If you find that you have old debts that you legitimately owe, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for much less than the balance!  We can help you through the process.  Simply give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click on the link below.

how to repair your credit

 

 



Tags: debt validation, credit repair, credit report, credit report dispute, credit report and credit score, credit report dipute, validate

What Can You Do About Credit Report Errors?

credit report errorsIs there anything you can do about credit report errors?

YES!  If you find errors, you can contact the three main credit reporting agencies:

  • Equifax

  • Transunion

  • Experian

To dispute a Credit Report Error, you will need to go online and fill out a dispute form or write a letter to:

 

Equifax (800) 238-8067
Mail to:
Equifax Disputes
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

 ______________________

Experian (714) 830-7000

Mail to:
Experian
Attn: Disputes
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

 ________________________

TransUnion (800) 916-8800
Mail to:
TransUnion Consumer solutions
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

What do you need to dispute a Credit Report Error?

  • A statement or settlement letter from the creditor showing that the account balance was paid or settled-as-agreed
  • A copy of the canceled check proving payment was received

Follow up in about 2 weeks if you do not receive any confirmation that the error has been corrected.

BEWARE OF COMPANIES THAT CLAIM TO BE ABLE TO CORRECT ERRORS AND IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE! ! !

The Federal Trade commission (FTC) has good information on how to correct credit report errors.  CLICK HERE

For a FREE Credit Report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

If you need professional help, we have been helping clients for almost 10 years to settle debts for much less than they owe!

For mor information on fixing Credit Report Errors or to get help eliminating your debt, Give us a call!

1-877-492-4109

or Click on the link below

Credit Report Errors


 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: credit report errors, ftc, credit repair, credit report dipute