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CREDIT REPAIR FACTS
How does credit repair work?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute any item on your credit report. If that item cannot be verified it must be removed. Even accurate negative items can often be removed. Some require negotiation. You do not need software for this. You can do it all on your own. However, credit repair software will certainly save you a lot of time by creating all the credit dispute letters for you,
What are my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
The FCRA was designed to ensure that consumer reporting agencies, or CRAs, “furnish correct and complete information to businesses to use when evaluating your application.” To help ensure the information is correct and complete, the Act ensures that consumers can check their own reports and make changes to them, if necessary.
As a consumer, you have a number of rights under the 1971 Fair Credit Reporting Act. These include the rights to:
For the complete and up-to-date text of The Fair Credit Reporting Act, we suggest visiting the Federal Trade Center website. This page has the most current information regarding The Fair Credit Reporting Act http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcrajump.shtm
Can I really repair my own credit?
US Credit Laws give you the right to dispute any listing on your credit reports that you feel may be inaccurate, untimely, misleading or unverifiable. If a credit bureau can't verify the accuracy of an item that you dispute, by law they must remove it from your credit report.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to accurate credit reporting. Exercise your right by having all of your questionable credit listings either verified as accurate or immediately removed from your credit reports. By law, the bureaus must comply.
Credit Repair Companies can do this for you, but they can be very expensive (and many of these companies buy their software from us). Credit-Aid Software is the affordable alternative. It guides you through the process of ordering and examining your credit reports, generates all the necessary paperwork and tracks the entire process. It can save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of valuable time.
How can software help me to repair my credit?
Our software can save you hundreds of hours in helping to automate the process; generating all the letters you need, guiding you, and helping you to organize and track your progress. If you'd like to see exactly how it works, please watch our four minute video tour (see link at top of page)..
What does a low credit score really cost me?
A higher credit score can save you an enormous amount of money because it usually means a lower mortgage interest rate. It also can mean the difference between qualifying for a loan or not.
According to Fair Isaac, lenders would probably demand a 9.8 percent interest rate on a $300,000, 30-year fixed mortgage for a borrower with a credit score between 500 and 579. That would translate into a $2,585 monthly payment for principal and interest. But a borrower with a score between 760 and 850 seeking the same loan would qualify for about a 6 percent rate that would cost just $1,796 a month for principal and interest. That savings of $789 each month would total $284,040 over 30 years!Do you know what your credit score really costs you over the life of a loan? If your score is above 720, you should have no trouble qualifying for a low rate loan. But the lower your score is the more difficult it will be to qualify, and the higher the interest will be. Your monthly payments can be over 40% higher with a low score!
Here is a chart that illustrates the effect a low credit score can cost you over the life of a loan:
|YOUR CREDIT SCORE||*ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU|
*Based on a 30 year $200K loan @ 5.6% interest
How your FICO (Credit) Score directly affects your Interest Rate:
FICO stands for Fair, Issac & Co. They're the folks who created the mathematical formula used to calculate what is common
ly called the FICO score. This three-digit number, is a big, determinant in whether or not you get a mortgage or any other type of loan. FICO helps banks, credit card issuers, auto loan companies and other lenders decide if you're a good credit risk. It also makes a difference in the interest rate you're offered. Obviously, the higher your score, the more likely you'll be approved for a mortgage (and one with a low rate).
|YOUR FICO SCORE||*INTEREST RATE|
(*based in August 2007)
SEVEN STEPS TO BOOST YOUR FICO SCORE
#1 Correct all inaccuracies on your Credit Report.
Go through your credit reports very carefully. Especially look for; Late payments, charge-offs, collections or other negative items that aren't yours, Accounts listed as "settled," "paid derogatory," "paid charge-off" or anything other than "current" or "paid as agreed" if you paid on time and in full, Accounts that are still listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy, Negative items older than seven years (10 in the case of bankruptcy) that should have automatically fallen off your report (you must be careful with this last one, because sometimes scores actually go down when bad items fall off your report. It's a quirk in the FICO credit-scoring software, and the potential effect of eliminating old negative items is difficult to predict in advance). Also make sure you don't have duplicate collection notices listed. For example; if you have an account that has gone to collections, the original creditor may list the debt, as well as the collection agency. Any duplicates must be removed!
#2 Make sure that your proper credit lines are posted on your Credit Reports.
Often, in an effort to make you less desirable to their competitors, some creditors will not post your proper credit line. Showing less available credit can negatively impact your credit score. If you see this happening on your credit report, you have a right to complain and bring this to their attention. If you have bankruptcies that should be showing a zero balance…make sure they show a zero balance! Very often the creditor will not report a "bankruptcy charge-off" as a zero balance until it's been disputed.
#3 If you have any negative marks on your credit report, negotiate with the creditor/lender to remove it.
If you are a long time customer and it's something simple like a one-time late payment, a creditor will often wipe it away to keep you as a loyal customer. If you have a serious negative mark (such as a long overdue bill that has gone to collections), always negotiate a payment in exchange for removal of the negative item. Always make sure you have this agreement with them in writing. Do not pay off a bill that has gone to collections unless the creditor agrees in writing that they will remove the derogatory item from your credit report. This is important; when speaking with the creditor or collection agency about a debt that has gone to collections, do not admit that the debt is yours. Admission of debt can restart the statute of limitations, and may enable the creditor to sue you. You are also less likely to be able to negotiate a letter of deletion if you admit that this debt is yours. Simply say "I'm calling about account number ________" instead of "I'm calling about my past due debt."
#4 Pay all credit cards and any revolving credit down to below 30% of the available credit line.
The scoring system wants to make sure you aren't overextended, but at the same time, they want to see that you do indeed use your credit. 30% of the available credit line seems to be the magic "balance vs. credit line" ratio to have. For example; if you have a Credit Card with a $10,000 credit line, make sure that never more than $3000 (even if you pay your account off in full each month). If your balances are higher than 30% of the available credit line, pay them down. Here is another thing you can try; ask your long time creditors if they will raise your Credit Line without checking your FICO score or your Credit Report. Tell them that you're shopping for a house and you can't afford to have any hits on your credit report. Many will not but some will.
#5 Do not close your old credit card accounts.
Old established accounts show your history, and tell about your stability and paying habits. If you have old credit card accounts that you want to stop using, just cut up the cards or keep them in a drawer, but keep the accounts open.
#6 Avoid applying for new credit.
Each time you apply for new credit, your credit report gets checked. New credit cards will not help your credit score and a credit account less than one year old may hurt your credit score. Use your cards and credit as little as possible until the next credit scoring.
#7 Have at least three revolving credit lines and one active (or paid) installment loan listed on your Credit Report.
The scoring system wants to see that you maintain a variety of credit accounts. It also wants to see that you have 3 revolving credit lines. If you do not have three active credit cards, you might want to open some (but keep in mind that if you do, you will need to wait some time before rescoring). If you have poor credit and are not approved for a typical credit card, you might want to set up a "secured credit card" account. This means that you will have to make a deposit that is equal or more than your limit, which guarantees the bank that you will repay the loan. It's an excellent way to establish credit. Examples of an installment loan would be a car loan, or it could be for furniture or a major appliance. In addition to the above, having a mortgage listed will bring your score even higher.
Throughout this process, always remember:
It takes up to 30 Days for any of these things to get reported and often longer to reflect on your Credit History Reports. It feels like a slow process, but hang in there, because it DOES work. This tedious process can be made much simpler with the automated help of Credit Repair Software. Credit-Aid™ stores your user information to merge into its database of letters, saving you many long hours of letter writing.
Common things that will affect your FICO score:
Opening too many accounts during a 12-month period
CREDIT REPAIR COMPANIES ARE EXPENSIVE
"Credit repair companies often claim that they can 'clean up' or 'erase' a bad credit. Before you pay for their services, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, there are several points that you should consider. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit repair companies cannot do anything that you cannot do for yourself at little or no cost." - Federal Trade Comission www.ftc.gov
OVER 70% OF ALL CREDIT REPORTS CONTAIN ERRORS!
A study conducted by US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) showed the following shocking results: "79% of the credit reports surveyed contained either serious errors or other mistakes of some kind. These errors result in lost jobs, denied mortgage applications, and higher interest rates for those who do obtain credit." - U.S. PIRG web site http://uspirg.org
FIX IT YOURSELF AND SAVE WITH CREDIT DOCTOR!
Credit-Ais Software ™ stores your user information, generates letters and automates the process of cleaning up your credit. State-of-the-art animations and wizards guide you through: Ordering Free Credit Reports, Removing Errors and Negotiating with Creditors. Includes Organization and Planning Tools, Financial Calculators and useful Tips. Ease of use and powerful features make it the best Credit Repair software available.
A credit report is the equivalent of a consumer's financial report card. It details your credit history as it has been reported to the credit reporting agency by the lenders who've given you credit. Your credit report lists the types of credit you use, the amount of time your accounts have been open, and if you pay your bills on time.
Your credit report is used by many different companies to make decisions about you. Credit card companies, Banks, mortgage companies, auto loan and insurance companies, also landlords and employers check credit reports to check on your credit history. Why? They know that if you were responsible in the past, you are likely be responsible in the future (and vice versa).
"Credit scoring" of is a system creditors use to help determine whether to give you credit, and how much to charge you for it. When you apply for credit, the creditor or lender will often request your report (or credit score) from one of the big three bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union). In some instances, however (such as when applying for a Mortgage), the broker or lender will pull reports from all three. These Bureaus grade your "credit worthiness" by calculating your credit history against a system called the Fair Isaac Model. Fair Isaac uses a variety of factors to determine your score, such as; your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, late payments, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts.
The final outcome of those calculations is referred to as your FICO® score. FICO® scores range from 300 to 850, but the majority of scores fall between the 600s and 700s. Higher scores indicate a lower credit risk. A FICO® score above 700 will get you a very good mortgage rate. A score above 720 will get you an excellent rate. A score below 700 will make it very difficult for you, and definitely should be worked on.
Correcting mistakes on a credit report in order to repair an undesirable credit score takes time. It's your responsibility to correct mistakes that may appear in your credit report. To do this, you must regularly obtain copies of your credit reports, and contact each of the big three credit reporting bureaus to correct any misinformation.
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies Equifax, Experian and Trans-union are the three major bureaus that maintain credit reports on you. To order your reports, you simply write or call them at the numbers below.
You are also eligible for Free Credit Reports once a year.
Requests for free Annual Reports are not made to the bureaus themselves, they are made to their Combined Service. You can order your free reports online instantly thru Credit-Aid Software, or complete an Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. With the new laws, you are now entitled to one free copy from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every 12 months.
You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide consumer reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.
There are also other circumstances which will allow you to receive free credit history reports. Under federal law, you're entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You're also entitled to one free report per year if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you're on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud or identity theft. Otherwise, any of the three consumer reporting companies may charge you up to $10.00 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.
To buy copies of your credit history report, contact:
Under state law, consumers in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont already have free access to their credit reports.
Free Credit Reports ordered from the Bureaus of the Annual Service DO NOT HAVE SCORES
For getting reports WITH scores, we recommend clicking here:
Recent studies by a Public Interest Research Group found that over 70% of credit reports contain errors. Incorrect information in your credit file lowers your credit score. As the result you get a higher interest rate when you: take a loan, open a new credit card account, lease a car, etc. 29% of the credit reports in this study contained even more serious errors that could result in the denial of credit. These errors included false delinquencies, public records, judgments and credit accounts that did not belong to the consumer. Sometimes these errors are the work of sloppy data entry, but it is also often due to the ever growing epidemic of identity theft.
Since your Credit Reports are used to determine IF you are to be given credit (and what rates you will be charged), it is in your best interest to examine your reports carefully, correct inaccurate information and make every effort to remove ALL Unfavorable information. If you see problems on your report, such as an unpaid bill that you simply forgot about, act right away to resolve the debt. Then ask that creditor to send a letter to the credit reporting agencies stating that the matter has been resolved.
Check for accounts you didn't open, charges you haven't made, and delinquencies you didn't cause. If you suspect fraud on one of your reports, contact that credit bureau IMMEDIATELY. Explain the situation and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. Also report the fraud to the police.
Your credit reports follow you throughout your life and can help you greatly -- or hurt you. Review them carefully!
The bulk of the report will be filled with credit information showing the following:
1). Identification Information The first thing listed will be your name, date of birth and Social Security number. These are used for identification. Employment information may also be listed. As well as current and past addresses, spouse's name (if you're married) and date of birth are also listed for further identification.
2). Public Record Information -- Data from federal, state or county court records. Bankruptcies, liens or judgments and other types of claims. Info listed will be; Date filed, court case number, amount, status and date settled.
3). Collection Agency Information -- A collection is an account that has been turned over to a collection agency by one of your creditors because you have not paid the account as agreed. Listed here are; Collector's name, originating creditor/client, original amount, balance due and account number.
4). Credit Information -- This section makes up the bulk of the report. It will include Mortgage, Installment, Revolving, Other, Open and Closed Accounts. It will also list Accounts in Good Standing, Accounts Currently Past due and Negative Account History. Merchant/Creditor name, Subscriber Number, account number, Date opened, Date closed, Current Balance, Highest credit limit, Highest amount of credit used, and your Repayment History. Your Repayment History is shown as a string of numbers showing your payment history.
With each credit account, you will see listed the account's status and history. They are generally marked as follows;
• Current Account - "Account Open" or "Closed in Good Standing"
• Closed Account - Credit Account Closed
• Paid Account - Closed Account or Zero Balance
• Credit Account Reinstated - Previously Closed Account Now Available for use
• Foreclosure - Collateral sold to collect Defaulted Mortgage
• Collection Account - Credit Account Assigned to Collection Agency
• Inquiry - your credit information was requested by this Company or Creditor
5). Inquiries that display
All authorized and legitimate requests to see your credit history.
6). Inquiries that DO NOT display
These inquiries are displayed only to you and are not considered when tabulating your credit score. Examples of this inquiry type include a pre-approved offer of credit, insurance or periodic account reviews by an existing creditor.
7). Consumer Statements
If for some reason you cannot prove that a negative item is an error or if you are having a disagreement with a certain creditor, you have the right to tell your side of the story in 100 words or less. This statement will be ADDED to your report.
Credit Reports seem rather cryptic at first, but once you see how they are laid out they will start to make sense. These are the important things to examine:
Make certain that all information is current and accurate, including the Personal Identification information (address, social security, etc…). If you find an error (for example, a loan that you have PAID OFF is still listed as outstanding), tell the Credit Bureau (in writing) EXACTLY what the mistake is, and explain the way that the information SHOULD be listed. For example, "My Loan to Bank of Fred is NOT outstanding. It was paid in full on 02/14//05." Send photocopies along with all the necessary information to backup your claim.
After you have done this send it to the credit bureau by "CERTIFIED MAIL." When the credit bureau receives your report and the information in question, they are required to investigate and ADVISE YOU of the results of their investigation. They must do this Free of charge.
Anytime that you are denied credit you have the right to know why. If you are turned down for a credit account at a store, you will receive a statement from the store stating that you were denied credit and their reason why. If the store based their decision on your credit history, they must provide you with the name and address of the agency that reported it.
If for some reason you cannot prove that a negative item is an error or if you are having a disagreement with a certain creditor, you have the right to tell your side of the story in 100 words or less. This statement will be ADDED to your report.
When correcting items on your credit report, you have the right to demand that the credit bureau send corrected copies of your report to all creditors who have received the incorrect reports for the past six months. Note: Credit bureaus will not do this automatically! They will only do it if you ask. So make sure you ask. It's your right!
Here is a sample letter with sample dispute items. Use the ones you need and delete the rest.
City, State Zip
Your Date of Birth:
Social Security Number:
Credit Report Number: ____________
Credit Bureau Name
Credit Bureau Address
City, State Zip
Re: Letter to Remove Inaccurate Credit Information - Credit Report #__________________
To Whom It May Concern:
I received a copy of my credit report and found the following item(s) to be errors. See the attached copy of my credit report, the errors have been highlighted.
Here as follows are items in error:
Incorrect Personal Information:
Correct Personal Information:
The following accounts below are not mine:
The account status is incorrect for the following accounts:
The following information is outdated. I would like it removed from my credit history report:
Date of Last Activity
The following inquiries are more than two years old and I would like them removed:
Date of Inquiry
These inquiries below were not authorized:
Date of Inquiry
The following accounts were closed by me and should state that:
Other information I would like changed:
By the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I demand that these items be investigated and removed from my report.
It is my understanding that you will recheck these items with the creditor who has posted them. Please remove any information that the creditor cannot verify.
I understand that under 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681i(a), you must complete this reinvestigation within 30 days of receipt of this letter. Please send an updated copy of my credit report to the above address. According to the act, there shall be no charge for this updated report. I also request that you please send notices of corrections to anyone who received my credit report in the past six months.
Thank you time and help in this matter.
Make sure you send this letter by certified mail. Enclose a copy of the credit report containing the items you are disputing. It may also help to circle the items. Also include copies (not originals) of any paperwork you may have that validates your claims.
Despite popular belief, it is often possible to negotiate removal of negative items on your credit reports posted by creditors. In some cases, you might not even have to pay them the full amount owed*. The important thing is to be positive, be patient and get in contact with them to try to work out a deal.
If you've ignored (or never received) a creditor's bills or phone calls, or if you failed to keep up with payments, your bill may be turned over to a collection agency. Keep in mind that collection agencies are hired by the creditor and their only goal is to collect the money owed (or as much of it as they can) as quickly as possible. For their efforts, they are paid a percentage of what they collect.
If you feel that the amount in question is being billed in error, you have the right to ask for proof and verification of the charges. If the charges are indeed yours it may be in your best interest to negotiate with the collection agency. You may be able to negotiate payment of the total sum (or even a partial amount) in return for their removing their negative marks on your Credit History Report. You might be able to settle on paying a portion of your debt, or you might be able to work out a payment installment plan with them. Many of the Creditor letters in the STOREROOM can be used with collection agencies for these situations. Whatever deal you make with them, be sure that you have it all in writing prior to paying them.
Collection agencies can be very aggressive when it comes to collecting money. Remember that you have rights. You have the right to ask a collection agency stop contacting you, especially if you feel harassed. Use the letters in our software to give yourself breathing room while working through your plan to reorganize your finances.
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records). Here is a summary of your major rights under the FCRA. For more information, including information about additional rights, go to www.ftc.gov or write to: Consumer Response Center, Room 130-A, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
• You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment - or to take another adverse action against you - must tell you, and must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.
• You have the right to know what is in your file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in the files of a consumer reporting agency (your "file disclosure"). You will be required to provide proper identification, which may include your Social Security number. In many cases, the disclosure will be free.
You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:
You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on information from credit bureaus. You may request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies that create scores or distribute scores used in residential real property loans, but you will have to pay for it. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information for free from the mortgage lender.
You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous. See www.ftc.gov for an explanation of dispute procedures.
Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected, usually within 30 days. However, a consumer reporting agency may continue to report information it has verified as accurate.
Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information. In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
Access to your file is limited. A consumer reporting agency may provide information about you only to people with a valid need -- usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business. The FCRA specifies those with a valid need for access.
You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers. A consumer reporting agency may not give out information about you to your employer, or a potential employer, without your written consent given to the employer. Written consent generally is not required in the trucking industry. For more information, go to www.ftc.gov.
You may limit "prescreened" offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report. Unsolicited "prescreened" offers for credit and insurance must include a toll-free phone number you can call if you choose to remove your name and address from the lists these offers are based on. You may opt-out with the nationwide credit bureaus at 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
You may seek damages from violators. If a consumer reporting agency, or, in some cases, a user of consumer reports or a furnisher of information to a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you may be able to sue in state or federal court.
Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights. For more information, visit www.ftc.gov.