Credit Repair...DIY or Pay for Services?

credit repari diy or pay for service

When it comes to the subject of "Credit Repair", you have choices. Should you Do it Yourself or Pay someone for credit repair services?

There is no clear answer to this question because it depends on several factors:

There is a misnomer that a professional credit repair company can "magically" make bad credit disappear from your credit report!

The point of credit repair is to make sure that any ERRORS on your CREDIT REPORT are removed.


What kind of errors can be removed from your Credit Report?

  • debts that you have paid off that still show an outstanding balance due
  • debts or a bankruptcies that have been on your credit report from longer than the statute of limitations in your state allows
  • judgments that have been satisfied (paid-in-full or settled)
  • Incorrect personal information...Social Security Number, Date-of-Birth, etc.

Credit Repaire is simple, yet can be VERY TIME CONSUMING!

  • Order your credit reports (
  • Review all three credit reports very carefully
  • Dispute any errors you find
  • Document ALL communication & keep copies of EVERYTHING
  • Follow-UP, Follow-Up, Follow-Up

Although these steps seem easy, you will most likely have to dispute items several times before getting to a resolution with the credit bureau.  Some items will be easy to clean up, such as incorrect address or employer information.  However, removing trade lines from your credit report can be more tricky and can take several months and many hours of your time to complete.

Why pay for Credit Repair services?

Although the Credit Repair process is relatively simple, it can be extremely time consuming.  A reputable Credit Repair agency will handle the hours of paperwork and follow-up for you for a relatively small fee. Plus, they can often clean up your credit report much faster than you can on your own. Good Credit Repair agencies have been doing this work for years and know the tricks and techniques to get items removed quickly.

It's important to do your research and only work with a company that you trust and that has a good BBB rating.  There are a lot of scammers out there, but there are a lot of good companies too. 

Look for a Credit Repair company that charges fees based on performance.  Most good Credit Repair companies will bill you a set amount once an item has been removed from your credit report, however, there are others that will charge a monthly fee until the disputed items have been removed. 

It's up to you to decide if it makes sense to pay for services or do it yourself.  Only you can make that decision based on your available time and budget.  If you have outstanding debts that you actually owe, we can help you eliminate those debts for much less than what you currently owe. 

If you'd like more information, give us a call at 877-492-4109 or simply click on the link below for a free debt elimination evaluation.






Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, free credit report, diy credit repair

How to Spot and Prevent Credit Card Skimming

credit card skimming scam

Have you or someone you know been a victim of Credit Card Skimming?  Skimming is a method by which thieves steal your credit card information, and all it requires is a little technology and a lot of criminal intent by those who handle your credit card.

Unfortunately, this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem across the country. You need to understand how Credit Card Skimming works and what you can do to protect yourself.

Here's how it works

The bad guys buy magnetic card readers (readily available online) and attach them to legitimate card readers at ATM machines, gas station pumps, movie rental kiosks, or anywhere they think they can get away with it.

credit card skimmingThe counterfeit card reader captures the credit card information of everyone who uses the machine. (On ATM machines, crooks also attach tiny video cameras to steal PIN numbers.)

They then remove the phony device and use the stored information to buy stuff online or write the data onto new magnetic strips to make counterfeit credit cards or ATM cards.

Counterfeit Credit Card Trends

Portable skimmers (small enough to fit in a palm) can be used by anyone who handles your credit card, such as a waiter. All they have to do is get your card out of your sight for a second. That's enough time to swipe it through the device, and steal your information without you suspecting a thing.

Follow these tips to protect yourself from Credit Card Skimming:

• Don't let your credit card out of sight. Watch carefully anyone who handles your card.

• Keep track of receipts and check your credit card statements regularly to make sure you authorized all purchases.

• Report any unauthorized purchases immediately to your credit card companies.

• Don't use a credit card reader if there are any signs of tampering. Don't swipe your card through devices that offer to clean the magnetic strip. Those are scams designed to capture your credit card information.

Have you been a victim of Credit Card Skimming? 

  • Call the police. When your identity or credit card is stolen, it's just like having a car stolen. Make a police report and hang on to the police report number.
  • Contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately and tell them your card was stolen. If you don't make a report quickly, you may be liable for some or all of the unauthorized charges.
  • If you report swiftly, federal law caps your liability at $50. Most credit cards voluntarily go further, and won't charge you at all -- again, if you report quickly. "If you end up being a victim, it's probably not going to cost you any money," Brewer says. "If you notify your bank quickly, they'll return the money. Don't get hung up about the fact that someone might drain your bank account. The most you will probably spend on it is wasted time and lots of aggravation, since it can be a long process to get everything worked out."
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus -- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian -- to request a security freeze, which prevents new credit authorizations without your consent. Brewer suggests visiting the website "It's an institution created in response to a large number of identity theft victims and the cost incurred to them," Brewer says. Through the site, which was mandated by federal law in response to consumer outcry, you are entitled to receive one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Need help eliminating your credit card debt?

Our Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement programs can get you out of debt fast and save you money.  Give us a call, or click on the link below to get your FREE Debt Elimination Summary or talk to one of our Debt Solutions Specialists today!

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Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, credit card skimming, free credit report

How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

how does bankruptcy affect my credit

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering…

How does filing bankruptcy affect my credit?

That is a great questions, and one that we get asked all the time.  The simple answer is, filing bankruptcy will significantly impact your credit score.  However, the question is not really that simple to answer.  If your credit score is high, a bankruptcy will drastically lower it.  On the other hand, if your credit score is already low due to late payment and large unpaid debts, bankruptcy may have a slight negative effect, but the benefits may outweigh the cost.

What to expect when you file for bankruptcy

1.   Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for a long time.

    If you decide to file, you will likely file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7, which essentially wipes the slate clean and eliminates all of your debt, will remain on your credit report and potentially affect your credit rating for 10 years; a Chapter 13 will remain for seven years.

    2.   Bankruptcy will lower your credit score

      Once you file for bankruptcy, you may see your credit rating drop anywhere from 80 to 220 points.  I know that is a big range, but as I explained before, bankruptcy does not affect everyone the same. The higher your score is before the bankruptcy, the more points you will lose.

      Another surprising fact is that, your credit score is not only affected by what you do.  When determining your credit score, your information will be compared against others who have filed for bankruptcy.  It’s crazy but true!

      If you don’t know what your credit score is, you can check it for free at

      3.   You will be stuck with some of your debt

        Even if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, some debts are still protected.  Except in extreme circumstances, you will still be required to pay student loans, child support, and tax debt. If you are behind on these payments, your credit rating may drop an additional 70 to 120 points.

        4.   You can improve your credit score

          Within a year or two, you may be able to get your credit rating above 700. Paying all bills on time will greatly help to improve your score. Another suggestion is to use a secured credit card to build your credit.  Apply for a secured credit card, use it regularly and pay off the balance each month.  This will add positive marks to your credit report to start balancing out the negative. 

          The bottom line is, bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort.  If you are overwhelmed with debt, there are programs out there to help you such as Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement.  Both of these options will help you get out of debt fast and save you money in the long run. 

          If you have questions about whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you, give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click on the link below for a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our Debt Solutions Specialist. 


          Tags: how does bankruptcy affect my credit score, debt settlement, FICO, debt consolidation

          Beware of Credit Card Hardship Plans

          beware of credit card hardship plansIf you are late or behind on your credit card payments, you may receive a call from your creditors offering you a Hardship Plans

          Are Hardship Plans a Good Idea?

          If your hardship is short and temporary, a hardship plan can be just the help you need to get by.  However, never forget that the goal of the credit card industry is to make money...lots of money!

          The collections agent on the other end of the phone line doesn't care:                  

          • about you
          • about your family
          • if you lost your job
          • have had major illness

          They make a commission when you agree to make payments.  So BEWARE when they offer a hardship plan.

          If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

          A typical hardship plan will usually waive or reduce interest rates and fees for 6 - 12 months.  The pitch is that this will give you a little breathing room and you can renegotiate your payments or plan later.

          • They will want you to set up automatic deductions from your bank account or send them 6 months of post dated checks. 
          • By giving them your banking information, and authorization to withdraw funds, you will have a difficult if not impossible time getting them to stop the automatic payments once the 6 months has passed. 
          • Unfortunately, when they take these future payments, they are generally much higher than the amount of the hardship payment.

          Let's take a look at what your Hardship Plan might look like.

          • Your balance is $5000
          • You current minimum monthly payment is $150
          • They offer you payments of $100/month for 6 months at a reduced rate of 6% and no fees.

          After six months:

          • you've paid $600
          • $150 went to interest 
          • $450 went to reducing the principle 
          • your balance is $4550

          That sounds like a pretty good plan.  However, what they didn't bring to your attention, and what you failed to read in the fine print is that all of the interest and fees that you were not paying during that 6 months will now be charged and added into the balance!

          WHAT?  That makes no sense right.  WRONG!  At the end of most Hardship Plans, you end up owing the same if not more that what you started with. The only thing the Hardship Plan did was allow you to remain current for six months of temporary hardship due to the reduced payment.   

          When you call to renegotiate your payment and interest rate, more often than not, you'll be back to high interest rates and fees which means it will take you several years and thousands of dollars in interest to pay off your card.

          Consider a Debt Consolidation Program

          If your hardship is not temporary, you may want to consider a Debt Consolidation program instead.  Through a Debt Consolidation program, your interest rate will be drastically reduced for the life of the debt or as long as you remain in the program. (whichever comes first).  Not only that, if you have already fallen behind, your creditors will "Re-Age" your accounts to bring them back to current status. 

          Debt Consolidation programs will help you to eliminate your debt in a short amount of time while saving you thousands of dollars interest.  For more information, please feel free to give us a call or click on the link below.  One of or Debt Solutions Specialists can help you determine which option is best for your situation. 

          beware of credit card hardship plans

          Tags: debt consolidation, credit card hardship plans, debt elimination

          4 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked!

          Contrary to Michael Scott's opinion, you can't declare bankruptcy by simply saying it in public!

          But that is not the only Bankruptcy Myth that is going around.  It is important to know which Bankruptcy Myths are true and which ones are just plain silly!  Here are 4 common myths that are absolutely NOT TURE!

          Myth #1: You Can Only File Bankruptcy Once

          You CAN file bankruptcy more than once. In fact:

          • You can receive a discharge from a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy once every 8 years

          • You can receive a discharge from a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy every 2 years

          Also, if you complete a chapter 7, you must wait 6 years before filing a chapter 13. And if you complete a chapter 13, you must wait 4 years to obtain a chapter 7 discharge. 

          Myth #2: A Bankruptcy Hurts Your Spouse

          If you’re married, filing bankruptcy doesn’t affect your spouse’s credit. However, if you’re struggling to pay debt that’s in both of your names, then you should file bankruptcy together. Otherwise, creditors will simply demand payment for the entire amount from the non-filing spouse.

          Myth #3: You Can Go to Jail if you Don't Pay Your Debts

          No matter what anyone says—especially an aggressive debt collector—it’s not against the law to owe money. There is no such thing as debtor’s prison in the United States. 

          Bankruptcy Myths

          Creditors can sue you, take you to court, lien your property, and garnish your wages, but they can’t send you to jail. You can only be arrested if you commit a crime, like fraud, hiding property to avoid a judgment, or refusing to pay income tax.


          Myth #4: Bankruptcy is Expensive

          The filing fees for chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies vary, but aren’t more than $300. The real expense is hiring an attorney, which could range from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the firm and the type of bankruptcy you choose. You can file bankruptcy without an attorney, but I don’t recommend it. A less expensive option is to hire a bankruptcy paralegal.  They can do everything an attorney can do, but usually charge much less!

          While bankruptcy may be inevitable for you, there are other options that can help you to eliminate your debt without filing bankruptcy.  Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement are some of the choices you have when you are struggling to pay your debt.  For more information, click on the link below or ask a question in the comments section at the end of this post!

          bankruptcy myths


          Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, best way to eliminate credit card debt, credit report and credit score, bankruptcy myths

          How does bankruptcy affect my credit score?

          how does bankruptcy affect my credit scoreNO!! Stop!  Don't do it. . . .you'll regret it!  After filing for bankruptcy, you will be wailing like the witch from Wizard of Oz, "No. . .I'm melting. . .aaaaa!"

          Although bankruptcy gives you a reprieve from your current bills, it will be on your credit report for 10 years.  Now, ask yourself this, would you rather have a ding--or rather a huge dent--dogging you for ten years or a small ding for two to three years by using Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement programs?  Hold that thought while we take a trip into understanding a bankruptcy vs. debt consolidating and debt settlement programs and their affect on your score.

          Bankruptcy And Your Credit Score:

          In the latest report by the National Bankruptcy Research Center, there has been a slight decrease in bankruptcy filings as people are slowly pulling themselves out of the economy dump.  It also states that this year's first eight months have seen a 10% drop.  That is a start, but the national average shows that one out of 285 people are still filing to get the debt out from under them.  FICO has recently made available examples as to how many points a bankruptcy can actually have on your credit rating:

          • Ironically, those that have a very high score can have a significant drop, indicating not even a dent, but a train wreck--could be 240 points or more
          • Those who are already having problems with their debt may have just a dent--could be as low as 130 points

          Even after filing, lenders require at least two years before applying for credit again.  They do this to give the person the time to begin rebuilding their credit.  Don't be a statistic.  Bankruptcy will only tell future lenders that you failed in meeting previous creditors' requirements.  There are better options. 

          Debt Consolidation and Settlement Programs And Your Credit Score:

          • Debt Consolidation is a combining all of your debt into one lower monthly payment.  You will generally get a smaller monthly payment, lower interest rate, and few if any fees.
          • Debt Settlement Programs work with your creditors to settle the balance for less than owed. (Most of the time less than HALF of what you owe!)

          Your score is affected, yes.  However, the score is far less affected than if you were to file bankruptcy, or do nothing.  Ten years is a long time to be haunted by bad credit.  In the two years it takes to apply for credit after filing bankruptcy, you can have your credit score back on track with Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement programs.

          For more information on your options, click on the link below or call 1-877-492-4109

          how does bankruptcy affect my credit score

          photo by: photosteve101

          Tags: how does bankruptcy affect my credit score, debt settlement, debt consolidation, alternatives to bankruptcy

          5 Easy Steps to Living Debt Free

          living debt freeIf you’re struggling with debt, you likely feel like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders each and every day. Whether it is due to student loans, mortgages, credit cards or other financial struggles, the clutches of debt are enough to make anyone feel trapped and helpless. Luckily, no matter how bad your debt may seem, there are techniques for living debt free.

          By taking five easy steps, you can begin eliminating your debt, cleaning up your credit and enjoy financial independence fast.


          #1 Lock Up Your Credit Cards

          The first step is to lock up your credit cards and make all purchases using only the money in your wallet or checking account. Often, people feel that purchasing on credit is simply buying them time before they have to pay up. In reality, you’re only digging yourself a deeper hole.

          #2 Make a List of Your Financial Goals

          Secondly, make a list of all of your financial goals and set a timeline toward living debt free. Your goals may include buying a home, taking a vacation or purchasing a new vehicle. Keep in mind that these types of goals cannot be accomplished until you eliminate your debt. Your goals can serve as incentive to pay off your debt as fast as possible.

          #3 Create a Budget

          Third of all, create a budget. Calculate all of your monthly bills and living expenses and decide the minimum amount of money you can live off of while you work towards living debt free. Consider eliminating unnecessary bills such as health clubs or downgrade your cable plan. The extra money you save can be used to reduce your debt.

          living debt free

          #4 Hold Yourself Accountable

          The fourth step to living debt free is to hold yourself accountable. Debt is a slippery slope and often it is hard to determine the “wants” from the “needs.” Keep a list of your expenditures and post it on your refrigerator. If you share an account with another person in your home, ensure that they also track their spending so you can determine where you overspend and where you can cut back.

          #5 Get Help

          Finally, be sure to seek professional advice. Our Solutions Specialists are experienced in debt elimination and can advise you of the best methods for your unique situation. While some people can eliminate their debt by using our Debt Consolidation program, others may need to go with Debt Settlement. Whichever method you end up choosing, our debt specialists can help you take the next step to living debt free.

          living debt free

          photo by: woodleywonderworks

          Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, create a budget, living debt free

          How to Read a Credit Report

          Reading a credit report can be confusing, but it is much more simple than you think.  This video from will walk you step by step through a credit report and explain just what it is you are looking at.

          If you don't have a current copy of your credit report, you can get a Free credit report at

          So, how do you Read a Credit Report?

          Now that you have carefully reviewed your credit report, you have a better understanding of what creditors are seeing when you apply for a loan. 

          If you found any mistakes or debts that you do not believe you owe, you can dispute these errors and have them corrected by the credit reporting agencies. Credit Card Debt Depair is easy and you can do it yourself!

          If you have more debt than you realized or more debt than your monthly budget can handle, there are programs that can help.

          • Debt Consolidation or Debt Management will reduce your monthly payment, reduce your interest rate, eliminate creditor fees, and have you out of debt in just 3-5 years! This type of program is great if you are basically current or just starting to get behind on your monthly payments, but you have high interest rates and fees.
          • Through the Debt Settlement program, your Debt Solutions Specialist will work with you and your budget to determine a monthly payment that will work.  The money you pay monthly will be used by your personal Debt Negotiator to settle your debts for 50% or less than what you owe.  

          If you would like some help getting rid of your debt, click the link below for a FREE Debt Elimination Summary!

          read a credit report

          Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, read a credit report

          It's Time to Make a DEBT PAYOFF PLAN

          debt payoff planWorrying about your debt won't make it go away, but for millions of Americans the stress from deepening debt is becoming a major pain in the neck - and back and head and stomach! But stressing about your debt won't make it go away. 

          You MUST make a Debt Payoff Plan! 

          With so many different debt elimination methods available these days, it can seem like a tough task getting started and following through with a plan that will actually get you out of debt.

          The answer is simple.  You just have to take one step at a time.  In this post I’m going to cover a simple debt elimination plan that will have you on your way to getting debt free in no time at all!

          Clean Up Your Budget

          The first thing you need to do is clean up you budget or if you don’t have one get started now.  A budget will help you get things in order and let you know how much money you are spending each and every month and how much you are saving.

          What you are really looking for is how much money you actually have left over at the end of the month.  Having an extra $100 set aside for your debt elimination plans is all you need to get started.  If you don’t have any extra money left, you may have to eliminate some things from your budget, get a part time job to help out, or find a way to reduce your monthly minimum payments while still eliminating your debt. (such as Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement: see below)

          debt payoff plan

          Get Your Debt Together

          Next you need to get all of your debts in order.  To do this grab all of your creditor statements.  And put all of your debts in order, so pull out a blank sheet of paper and list all you debts from the lowest balance to the highest balance.

          When you have this done your mortgage should be listed as the last debt to be paid off and something like a credit card should be the first thing you pay off.  The reason for this is because I want you to see results quickly by paying of the debt with the lowest balance.

          Eliminate The Debt

          There are several ways of going about eliminating your debt.  However, what you must stop doing is only paying the minimum payments.  If you don't, you will end up paying back at least three times what you originally owed and will spend decades paying back the debt.  Here are three of the best debt elimination options available to you:

          • Debt Consolidation or Debt Manegment - In this program, your Debt Consolidation or Debt Management company will work with your creditors to reduce your interest rate, eliminate fees, and lower your monthly payment.  Another plus to this type of program is that your payment will stay the same over the course of the program which will get you out of debt in just 3-5 years on average.
          • Debt Snowball Method - This method basically involves listing your debts from smallest balance to highest and paying them off in that order.  You will always make the minimum payment on each debt, but will also contribute any extra money you found in your budget to the smallest debt.  Once that debt is gone, you use the money you were paying on it to pay in addition to the minimum payment on the next debt.  If you can find a little extra in your budget, this is a great plan.  You might also consider the "Debt Avalanche" which uses the same principle. However, instead of paying off the smallest balance first, you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. 
          • Debt Settlement - This is a great plan for anyone who needs to drastically reduce their monthly payments or for someone who is already significantly behind on their payments.  Your Debt Settlement company will negotiate with your creditors and settle your accounts for usually 50% of what you owe.  (sometimes even less)

          If your looking more info on creating your Debt Payoff Plan, one of our Debt Solutions Specialist would be happy to anwser any and all of your questions.  Please feel free to email or call us at 877-492-4109.

          photo by: BLW Photography

          Tags: debt snowball, debt settlement, debt consolidation, budget, debt payoff plan

          Can Social Security checks be garnished?

          can social security checks be garnishedWe get asked this question nearly every day.  So, it's time to answer the question:

          Can Social Security Disability check be garnished?

          The simple answer is SOMETIMES.  Social security disability benefits can be garnished. However, garnishment can only be carried out in a few specific instances. According to the social security administration, social security disability benefits may only be garnished to enforce child and alimony obligations, pay federal tax and debts owed to the IRS, and pay debts owed to federal agencies.

          Your Social Security Disability checks CAN be garnished if:

          • You have alimony or child support obligations
          • You have a delinquent student loan
          • You owe taxes or IRS penalties

          Creditors, however, are NOT entitled to garnishment provisions for social security disability benefits. 

          Your Social Security Disability checks CAN'T be garnished if:

          • You are delinquent on a personal loan
          • You are delinquent on a car loan
          • You are delinquent on a credit card debt

          However, if you are behind on a personal loan, car loan, credit card or other type of debt, you need to set up a plan to get the debt caught up and on a re-payment schedule.  There are programs, such as Debt Consolidation & Debt Settlement, that can help to reduce your monthly payment, lower or even eliminate the interest being charged, and get you out of debt FAST!

          Our Solutions Specialist can help you decide what is the best option for you.  Give us a call for a Free Debt Elimination Consultation or click on the link below!


          photo by: the Italian voice

          Tags: wage garnishment, debt settlement, debt consolidation, can social security checks be garnished