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Tag Archives: Credit Repair

Step Two – So now your have your reports?

After collecting your credit reports and identifying any inaccuracies in your report; you’re going to want to send the bureau(s) a certified letter demanding the removal of your incorrect item(s) with the report included.

The first time you send your letter(s) be sure to include COPIES of all documents and every time after that you will want proof of your dispute in the future so DO NOT PUT IN THE ORIGINAL COPIES. You want to keep files of all your disputes, have a copy of the ‘package’ you mailed the bureaus. Credit bureaus are known to bring things back up that is why I am forewarning you. A good example would be past (paid) collection accounts. I would hate to have that report again to your credit if it was already settled, right?

When you mail a certified letter through the post office you will need to pay a little bit more but you are ensured someone is going to sign for your letter. Typically you will get a ‘green slip’ in the mail after 3-5 days with a stamp from the entity on the back verifying that it was retrieved. From that point on you can begin counting your days. The investigation process takes some time which we will get into, but as a friendly reminder:

  • Do not sign your name on anything you send to the CRA’s
  • Never send original copies
  • Always send certified return receipt
  • Include your report (highlight or make prominent the inaccuracy)

You are also going to want to ensure you stay organized. Do not send all disputes at once, you are allotted three disputes at a time. You do not want to be marked as frivolous because you will be in a sense ‘blacklisted’ from disputing that inaccuracy. Do your research make sure you’ve included everything for the bureaus to start the investigation process. The more you can provide them the better off you will be and the faster you will be traveling on your path to having great credit.

What helped me in this process is my monitoring service as well. Although I had my reports I would compare and contrast them to the monitoring service. The reason I did this is because the monitoring service doesn’t typically give you all the information and address that the CRA would typically give in their report. The monitoring services really give you the bare minimum. What can make your credit repair process a lot harder.

It’s also a excellent idea to get your reports in full from the bureaus individually and use the monitoring service only to track updates.Then you can make sure that the monitoring service is working as expected and you can also see your scores rise as you dispute items on your credit. As you watch your scores raise it will give you the benefit of the doubt that it is working. There are stagnant times when your credit doesn’t budge. Those times happen to the best of us! Usually what will happen is the big stuff makes the biggest difference, that is what you want to attack first.

CG

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How to identify inaccuracies on your credit report – Who do I write to?

Your credit has 6 sections:

  • Personal Information: your full name, your social security number, your birth date, your current and previous addresses, your employment history, and your driver’s license information.
  • Account Information: opening and closing dates on accounts, student loans, lines-of-credit, mortgages, balances and credit limits, history of payments, child support, over-the-limit checking accounts.
  • Inquiries: a hard pull of your credit report from a creditor when you apply for credit.
  • Public Records and Collection Accounts: including information that has been collected from debt collection agencies and court systems.  Also includes reports on liens or judgments, foreclosures, bankruptcies, wage attachments, and accounts in collection.  Court records included in this section can include divorce, which is usually considered a negative by lending institutions.
  • Consumer Statements: you may add a statement to your credit report explaining certain adverse situations appearing on their credit report including ID Theft. These statements are seldom considered in financial transactions and have no effect on an individual’s credit score.
  • Credit score: which rates your overall risk.  This number ranges from 340 to 850, with higher numbers the less risky you appear to a lender.

If anything in your report is incorrect, inaccurate, appearing to show as ‘late’ or ‘missed payment’, be sure to address that immediately. Also if you see that an inquiry is posted on your report that you did not initiate contact the creditor requesting proof of your signature. It’s always a good idea as well to submit a consumer statement. Especially if you are asking for forgiveness from other lenders after a judgement, bk, repossession, etc.

Below are the addresses for the bureaus, be sure you include all of the required documents in order to speed up the investigation process.

Experian
P.O. Box 9556
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

TransUnion
Trans Union Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

GC

 

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Comparing services – Monitoring services I’ve used

As I stated earlier I was going to dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services. First I am going to touch bases on the services I’ve used and my experiences with them.

  1. Free Score
  2. Score Sense
  3. Identity Guard

Free Score – I utilized Free Score for probably about 6 months. It was my very first monitoring service that appealed to me. Unfortunately after that extended period of time I started to feel a bit ‘taken advantage of’. I say this because I was not receiving notifications/alerts that my credit was being updated.

I know too that my credit indeed was updating. I became a bit frustrated after I applied for a new line-of-credit to establish my credit further and I did not receive a notification that I had a ‘new installment loan’. I decided to part with Free Score after I realized their information was not posting as immediate as I would prefer.

Score Sense – I found Score Sense which I felt was just up my alley like Free Score. I started to fool around with their site and realized that once again, I needed to get up to speed with my alerts. I began to notice that I wasn’t getting my monies worth. The education center on the site wasn’t as detailed as Free Score either.

Identity Guard – Identity Guard is a little higher in price, but you get what you pay for! I have been with Identity Guard now for about a month. I am very satisfied with the results. I know that with this service I actually feel safe. I feel like my information is secure, I know I’m protected in all verticals. I am alerted almost instantly by email when there’s an update to my report or score! Which isn’t that the purpose of having a monitoring service? To make you feel safe, secure, protected?

Overall all three of these were ideal for the time being. It really comes down to what is the best for you and your situation? What features would you like to see in a monitoring service? Those things matter!

My suggestions to you would be to do your research. It’s good to use a free trial first, therefore you can fool around and get comfortable before you lock yourself in!

GC

 

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The Credit Goddess – How can I help you?

 

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Soft inquiries – When was the last time you saw your credit report?

It’s very important to start a monitoring your credit once you’ve receive your reports. Credit monitoring services also protect you from ID theft and allow you to stimulate your credit score by entering specific information pertaining to: additional inquires, paying down your debt, missing a payments, etc.

When was the last time you saw your credit report? How long did it take you to feel comfortable or confident enough to really make the educated decision to pull it?

When you do secure a credit monitoring service and your credit is pulled; the inquiry will be a soft pull. A soft pull does not harm your credit score. It is done occasionally by insurance companies or rental agencies, and it is only visible to you. Do not be afraid to utilize a monitoring service because it will ‘hurt your score’ – that is a myth.

I know for me once I saw the damage on my report I knew I had to start the disputing process. My very next step was to secure a legitimate service to help me. I could then begin to track my progress when I was disputing the inaccuracies I found.

There are a few great monitoring services out there that you can choose from. I will dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services I have used in the past soon! Then you can make the executive decision on which one is best for you based upon my past experiences with their sites.

CG

 

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Step One – Crawl before you walk!

The first step in starting to repair your credit is to begin collecting the copies of credit reports from the various bureaus otherwise known as a CRA’s. After obtaining the three credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion start making evaluation of your financial position. You can dispute anything and everything that is negative but start with your personal information.

You will need to thoroughly review your reports. Each CRA (credit reporting agency) is it’s own entity and they do not do business together. Often times you will have variations of the same item on each report. Any item that is potentially negative should be disputed and the CRA. From here the bureau(s) check with the creditor to begin the investigation process.

It’s very imperative that you know what your report actually reflects. Next step is ‘Understanding how to read your report’.

GC

 

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Credit Cards – For high school students

When you get a credit card, you should be instructed on how to properly use it. Although you will be tempted to run up your balance on your credit card like I experienced. It should be saved for emergency situations.

Students in high school that are looking to start building their credit early can get high school student credit cards like I had. These credits cards can help teach the responsibilities of credit and how to manage credit early on. These types of credit cards are issued to high school students before going off to college.

**FACT: I established my credit in 2008. Can anyone tell me what happened in 2008?!

Before applying for a high school student credit card you should always look at their available options. There are a lot of banks and credit card companies to choose from, which makes it in your best interest to look around. I told you the reason I went with Wells Fargo – they have branches nationwide. Some cards will come with high APR and a high annual fee, while some are more reasonable.  With high school students not having any credit, some lenders will try to charge unreasonable rates – which is reason enough to do your research and know the best deal.

It is important to build your financial intelligence at a young age. As you may already know for some – credit cards can be an ideal investment. As for others – it’s always going to be a hard lesson to learn. Although I knew what I was doing I continued to spend. It is necessary to keep yourself from buying frivolous things that you can’t afford initially!  I was irresponsible, maxed out my limit and over drafted by $200, then started paying minimum payments. I relocated to a different state. I was out of work (at least work with decent pay). On top of all that I was a full-time student.

Even though I read the terms of use for my College Card I still was never taught in school about finances. I would hate to see more people fall into the ‘World of Debt’? Do not leverage over 30% of your line or ‘money borrowed’. At the end of every month, you should try to pay the whole bill, to avoid getting into debt.  If you can pay the bill – it will also help boost your credit.

“Use your credit wisely”.

GC

 

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