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Monday Mailbag 10/15/2018

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Question:

My credit card debt keeps increasing. I keep spending and spending, it’s very hard for me to stop. How do I stop spending and pay down my credit card debt?

Answer: 

If you don’t have the self-control to stop using your credit cards then you really only have one option to pay down your debt. Cut up all of your credit cards and use a debit card or cash for your monthly expenses. Create a budget to make sure that your expenses are lower than your income and have money saved over at the end of the month to pay down your credit card debt.

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Question:
What does an outstanding judgment on a credit report mean?

Answer:
A judgment refers to a court’s decision to side against you in a lawsuit. Basically, it means that someone (person or company) filed a civil lawsuit against you, won, and a judgment was entered against you.

An outstanding judgment refers to the fact that the judgment is unpaid and still open.

In most cases, we see judgments originate from charged-off credit cards or other collection accounts. Ultimately, a court has decided that you are liable for the debt.

A judgment may also give the plaintiff (the person or company which filed the judgment against you) legal authority to garnish your wages, garnish of your tax refund, or even access the money in your bank accounts to recover their funds.

According to the FCRA, judgments can report for a period of up to 7 years on consumer credit files from the filing date.

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Question:
How long does it take to remove inquiries from a credit report?Answer:
Hard inquiries can report on consumer credit reports for a period of up to 2 years from the date that they are initiated.A hard inquiry may be removed before the 2-year clock expires if the creditor which is reporting the inquiry cannot provide documented proof of their permissible purpose for pulling your credit report.

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Question:
How accurate is the credit score you get on Mint.com?

Answer:
Mint.com’s credit score is calculated using the VantageScore v3.0 scoring model.
90% of all lending decisions in the U.S. are made using FICO credit scores. Depending on the information reporting in your credit reports, your VantageScore and FICO score might only be 5 points off of 50 points off. Every situation is different and sometimes the VantageScore is very accurate but, sometimes it’s completely off. If you’re interested in seeing your actual FICO scores you can access them at myFICO.com.

Are you ready to get started on your journey toward a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Monday Mailbag 10/8/2018

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Question:
It seems that I can only cancel within the first 5 days based on your credit repair agreement. If I want to cancel 4 months from now how do I go about doing that? Are there any penalties or fees involved?

Answer:
You can cancel the service at any time. The 5-day cancellation window is something that all credit repair companies have to give their clients in accordance with the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). It’s basically a cooling off period where you can cancel the service if you decide you changed your mind and not incur any charges. You can cancel the service at any time via the following page: https://creditfirm.net/signup/cancellation/. There are no cancellation fees or penalties.

Question:
I paid off all my credit cards to 0 and my scores dropped. What happened?

Answer:
According to FICO, in order to reach an optimal credit score, the balances on your credit cards should be as low as possible without being $0. Based on statistics, the average credit card utilization rate for consumers with FICO scores of 780 or higher from 2017 was 5.8% (or $58 balance for every $1,000 credit limit). If the balances on your credit cards are $0 it looks like you’re not using your credit and this means that there are fewer data points from which to calculate a score, hence the drop in your scores.

Question:
What does investigation mean? Investigation into what?

Answer:
By investigation, we are referring to disputes that we initiate with the credit reporting agencies into the derogatory accounts reporting in your credit reports. We request that the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) investigate and verify all of the derogatory information that they are reporting in your credit reports. Data points which include, the payment history, status, balance, dates, etc….

If you have collection accounts reporting in your credit reports, we also request that the collection accounts be validated and that the furnishers provide copies of the original agreements from the original creditors as well as the billing statements to corroborate the information that they are reporting in your credit reports.

Are you ready to get started with your journey to a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Monday Mailbag 10/1/2018

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Question:
I received an alert stating that an account was created using my social security number. When I spoke to a rep @ Cap One, he told me to just keep an eye on my credit to make sure that nobody tries to apply for new things using my information. Should I be doing more?

Answer:
One thing that you could do to protect your identity and add another layer of security is initiating a fraud alert on your credit report. A Fraud Alert is a free service provided by the 3 credit reporting agencies which will warn you if anyone tries to access your credit file or open any accounts in your name.

What happens is, when you initiate the Fraud Alert, you input a phone number, then, if anyone tries applying for anything in your name, the creditor will call that phone number to confirm that it is really you who is applying for the loan.

If it’s really you who’s applying for the loan then you tell them that yes, you are applying and they will continue forward with the loan but, if it’s not, you tell them that you were not the person who applied and the creditor will not be given access to your credit reports. No inquiries will be added to your credit reports, no accounts will be opened in your name, the identity thief will be stopped dead in his tracks.

You can initiate a Fraud Alert via the following link: https://www.alerts.equifax.com

Once the alert is initiated with Equifax they will notify Experian and TransUnion themselves.

Question:
Do you know of any companies to pay a fee to instantly improve credit score overnight? I’ve heard of someone paying $600-$800 bucks for something like that….you know of anyone? I still want to use your services to remove the negative info but, I need to get my scores up 100 points right now.

Answer:
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a company that can improve your credit overnight, no matter how much you pay them. The FCRA, FDCPA, and FCBA laws allow the credit bureaus and furnishers 30-45 days to complete a dispute, 15 days to complete a method of verification request, 30 days for debt validation, etc…. There is absolutely no way to circumvent these laws, that is why you will never see a legitimate credit repair company advertising anything like that. Permanent positive results that increase your credit scores take a substantial amount of time and work. If you hear of a credit repair company advertising overnight results or something too good to be true… RUN.

Having said that, there are companies out there that sell trade-lines. Basically, they would add you as an authorized user to an old established credit card, something like a 15-year-old credit card with a perfect payment history, a high credit limit ($20,000+), and a very low credit utilization. Getting an account like that on your credit report can have a tremendous impact on your credit scores but, it typically takes 30-60 days to get the creditor to report the account on your credit file and the increase is temporary since the account will eventually be removed from your reports.

There are companies out there that do this but, we don’t really know of any reputable ones and have hears stories from clients where they have paid hundreds of dollars for a trade-line and it either never reported to their credit reports or reported and disappeared after a few weeks.

If you’re interested in permanently improving your credit scores, it will take time. You will need to pay your bills on time, pay down your credit cards or establish your credit, you will need to limit your inquiries and keep a good mix of credit, and you will need to work on removing your past derogatory information by leveraging all of the consumer protection laws including the aforementioned FCRA, FDCPA, and FCBA to name a few. Or you can hire a legitimate credit repair service to conduct the work on your behalf. And you can’t realistically expect to remove 7-10 years of bad credit from your credit reports overnight.

Are you ready to get started with your journey to a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Monday Mailbag 9/24/2018

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Q: Should I use your services or file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

A: Whether a Bankruptcy is right for you really depends on your goals. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will wipe out all of your debt and the creditors reporting charge-offs/collections will then have to report $0 balances and a status of included in bankruptcy. Those accounts would report for a period of 7 years on your credit reports from the date that the Bankruptcy was filed and the Bankruptcy itself, would report for up to 10 years in the Public Records section.

Typically, lenders make you wait at least 1 year to finance a vehicle and 2 years to get a mortgage after a Bankruptcy. There’s a lot more to a Bankruptcy, some people don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 and have to file Chapter 13 which is a repayment plan which can sometimes take upwards of 5 years to complete. If you’re interested in learning more about bankruptcies I would encourage you to contact a local bankruptcy attorney who can help answer your questions.

Q: Can you delete a Bankruptcy from my credit?

A: Whether Discharged, Dismissed or Withdrawn, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can report on your credit file for a period of up to 7 years from the date that the bankruptcy was filed and up to 10 years for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Having said all of that, we have had great success in removing public record information, such as bankruptcies, from our client’s credit reports significantly faster than the original date that they were scheduled to fall off.

Whether you use our services or not, there is a very important point that I want to make, make sure that all of the accounts discharged in the bankruptcy are reporting a $0 balance, a status of “included in bankruptcy”, and have deleted their payment history (not reporting any late payments).

In most cases, some creditors may not update this information and continue to report their accounts as past due, charged off, in collection, with balances, late payments, etc… The difference between all accounts reporting included in the bankruptcy and just one account reporting something like a charge-off can be the difference between a 650 score and a 550 score. It’s also the difference between being able to get approved for a credit card right after the bankruptcy and not being able to qualify for anything. Make sure that everything is reporting correctly so that you can start to reestablish your credit.

Q: Do you guys pay off my creditors or settle my debt?

A: We don’t do any debt settlement but, settling your accounts isn’t rather difficult. You can simply call up the collection agency and tell them that you would like to settle the debt.

They will make you an offer, you then counter their offer with a lower amount – and you usually meet somewhere in the middle. Most collection agencies have a bottom where they can’t settle lower than a specific amount per their original creditor’s instructions.

For Example: If they offer $500, counter their offer with $100. They will say that they can’t go that low but, they can set up a payment plan. Ask them if they will take $200 to settle the whole thing, they will reply back with another offer. Go back and forth until they can’t move below a number and offer you their best deal, 1-time payment or payment plan.

Once you agree on an amount, request that they fax, email, or mail you the terms to which you have agreed that state the amount that you are going to pay them to settle the account in full. Once you have that document in writing you can make payment arrangements with them.

Are you ready to get started with your journey to a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

What Do Americans Know About Credit?

September 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Blogs, Credit Report, Credit Score

credit scoring

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore Solutions have recently released their annual survey examining how much consumers actually know about their credit scores.

1,000 Americans were surveyed on their knowledge of how credit scores are calculated, where and how to obtain credit scores/reports, how to best manage their credit and what to do to improve their credit scores.

The results were pleasantly surprising, revealing that consumer knowledge of the credit industry and credit scores have increased overall.

Let’s take a look at some of the key findings from the survey.

The number of consumers who have viewed their credit scores at least once in the past year has increased from 49% to 57%.

Although the 8% increase is a great step in the right direction, I find it strange that 43% of the individuals surveyed have not inquired about their credit scores at least once in the last year.

With the availability of free credit reports and scores at all-time highs and the ability to get your credit information at will from credit card companies and credit monitoring services like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, Quizzle, Nerd Wallet, Wallet Hub, etc… not to mention directly from the 3 credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Everyone in the US should be checking their credit on a monthly basis.

So although it’s great news that the numbers have increased, the fact that a case of Identity Theft occurs once every 2 seconds makes us hope that the number of consumers that check their credit at least once a year gets up to 100% sooner rather than later.

The majority of the individuals surveyed who did check their credit scores were potential borrowers were planning on applying for a loan in the near future. These individuals also demonstrated an increased knowledge of credit when compared to consumers with no plans to use their credit.

This tells us that unfortunately, people only care about their credit when they need it. But, by that time it may be too late. It’s much easier to spend 15 minutes a month on reviewing your credit and making sure that everything reporting in your credit report is 100% accurate and reporting correctly instead of stressing out over issues you located in your credit report as you were applying for a loan.

With the recent data breach at Equifax where 143 million credit files were compromised containing names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and tradeline information; Identity Theft has never been more of a reality.

On top of the risk for identity theft, 79% of credit reports contain errors. Although these errors may seem rather small and insignificant on the surface, according to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission, 20% of credit reports contain errors that impact your credit scores enough to increase the consumer’s credit risk tier, making them less likely to be offered a higher interest rate.

Checking your credit every month is as important as paying your bills on time.

The CFA also found that a large part of the consumers surveyed was able to identify 3 factors used to calculate a credit score. Payment History, Credit Utilization, and Public Records such as Bankruptcy.

Several incorrect factors were also commonly listed as having an impact on credit scores including marital status, age, and income. These factors DO NOT impact your credit scores.

It is important to understand what factors are used to calculate your credit scores in order to increase them.

Several of those who were surveyed were able to get one or two of the factor used to calculate a credit score but, few were able to get all 5.

For your records, there are 5 main factors used to calculate your credit scores.

Payment History – 35% of your credit score.
Credit Utilization – 30% of your credit score.
Length of Credit History – 15% of your credit score.
Mix of Credit – 10% of your credit score.
New Credit/Inquiries – 10% of your credit score.

What your credit scores are made of

These findings suggest that Americans are more curious and knowledgeable about their credit than ever before, especially if they are interested in applying for a loan in the near future.

However, there’s still a long way to go.

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