Category

Consumer Rights

What is an EIN? Since My Credit is Bad, Can I Apply for an EIN and Start Over with a New Credit File with the Credit Bureaus?

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Consumer Rights, Credit Laws, Credit Repair, Personal Finance, Your Credit

An EIN is an Employer Identification Number.  It is given to new businesses and used to track their payroll and business taxes and for businesses to file their taxes.  This is not to be used for individual use. However, there are some credit repair companies out there that tell consumers to apply for an EIN for their personal use and for their credit. By trying to use an EIN as your SSN you will actually create a File Segregation (two different files at the credit bureaus) AND it is Illegal. Once the Credit Bureaus find this error they will put both of your credit files together usually making your credit situation worse than what it was before.

If you are looking to improve or repair your credit and you call a company for help and they tell you to apply for an EIN, turn and run. It is illegal and will get you into trouble which can include fines and other consequences. Make sure you write down the information about the company and then file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.  Tell the FTC about this company and any other information that you have about them: like where they are located, a web address, what they told you, the company name, phone number, etc.

If you are looking for help with your credit reports and with credit repair then don’t worry about those companies.  Contact the BEST, Ovation Credit Services and you will not have to worry about anything illegal or any type of scam.  Give our Credit Analysts a call at 866-639-3426 – Option 2 or send them your questions to [email protected].  If you have any questions for our Credit Expert Kristi Thornton you can write her at [email protected].  We look forward to helping you with all of your credit needs!!!

When I pay off a collection or charge off account, will it start reporting as paid in full and as a positive account?

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Collections, Consumer Rights, Credit Cards, Credit Laws, Credit Repair, Debt, Payment, Personal Finance, Your Credit

When you pay off a collection or charge off account on your credit report that is great. It is always in a consumer’s best interest to pay off their debt. However, a lot of consumers think that once the account is paid that it is no longer negative and has actually become positive. That would be great, unfortunately that is not the case, and it is still a negative account. The creditor should update your account on your credit report to show that it is paid in full or paid collection/charge off.  By updating that information it will have a positive impact on your credit report and more importantly on your credit score. The amounts owed on your accounts is 30% of your credit score, so as you pay accounts off it will help to raise your credit score. By paying accounts off they no longer have such a bad impact on the credit score.

Your credit scores will improve when you pay off accounts because your reports will show you owe less money to creditors, it will stop the account from updating every month that it is not paid and it’s late, and it will keep the date of last activity as when it was paid.  When the account is paid off it stops the activity on the account so that it will fall off of your credit reports 7 years (for most items) from the date of last activity.  All collection, charge off, and late payments should come off your reports 7 years from the date of last activity. If you have accounts that have not updated as paid or have not come off your reports when they were supposed to, then give us a call.

If you have any other questions about items on your credit reports, how items are reporting, and when items will come off your credit reports, please call one of our Experts at Ovation Credit Services.  Call 1-866-639-3426 and schedule a FREE credit consultation! Check out http://www.ovationcredit.com/howItWorks/howWeHelp.php to see other ways we can help! We are here to guide you to a BETTER Financial Future!

Can I dispute an account on my credit reports that I know is my account?

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Bankruptcy, Collections, Consumer Rights, Credit Cards, Credit Repair, Payment, Your Credit

Yes, you can dispute accounts on your credit reports that belong to you.  Just because an account is yours, does not mean that it is reporting accurately or that all of the information reporting on the account is correct. Statistics show that 79% of credit reports in the United States contain errors.  If an account has incomplete or inaccurate information then you would want to dispute the account and any information reporting on it that is incorrect.  You can dispute the balance of the account, any incorrect dates reporting with the account, whether the account is open or closed, or any other information that is listed incorrectly. For example, if you have an account that is reporting as being 90 days late and you know it was never late, then you would dispute the late payment to get the late payment updated/removed from your report, not the entire account.  That is exactly why you want to review your report at least once a year.

As a consumer it is in your best interest to go through your credit report once or twice a year and review all of the accounts and the information reporting on each account. That way if you find inaccurate information and/or accounts, you can dispute them right away. Too many consumers wait and then review their credit reports when they are trying to finance a car or a home and then it is too late. If there are negative errors on your credit reports you run the risk of being declined or being approved but with a high interest rate or needing a co-signer. So, check your report and review each account that is reporting to make sure everything is accurate. If something is inaccurate or incomplete at that time then you can dispute the information and get it corrected before you need to use your credit.

If you need help disputing your credit reports, contact the Experts at Ovation Credit Services where you will get First Class Customer Service! Go to www.ovationcredit.com for more information, or call 1-866-639-3426!

The Truth About the Credit Bureaus

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Consumer Rights, Credit Laws, Credit Repair, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Your Credit

Let’s talk about the Credit Bureaus. A lot of consumers think that because they are called bureaus that they are some type of government run agency – however, that is incorrect.  The Credit Bureaus are for-profit businesses just like any other business and the majority of their money comes from lenders/creditors. Our creditors pay the Credit Bureaus to store, collect, and report our credit information – good or bad. They also make money from creditors buying our credit reports, so they can review our credit history and decide if they want to grant us credit or review our credit for our current accounts. Another way they make money is from consumers, when we buy our credit reports, credit scores, and credit monitoring directly from them.

There are three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. There is also a fourth company that is trying to become one of the large Credit Bureaus and that is Innovis. The majority of creditors and lenders do not report to them at this time. The main law that governs the Credit Bureaus and how they report our credit information is: the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). The agency that governs the Credit Bureaus and makes sure they do not violate the FCRA is the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). If you ever have a problem with a Credit Bureau where they are violating the FCRA, you can file a complaint against them through the FTC at www.ftc.gov.

The Credit Bureaus are the only ones that can change, update, and delete information on a consumer’s credit reports. If there is an error on your report, you would need to dispute to the Credit Bureaus. The Credit Bureau then contacts the creditor to investigate the error. The creditors have 30 days to investigate and update the Credit Bureau. If the creditor finds there is an error then they tell the Credit Bureau to update the information or delete it from the credit report. It is the Credit Bureau’s job to fix the information on the credit report.

The Credit Bureaus are not perfect, as I said before they are businesses and just like any other business they make mistakes. As a matter of fact 79% of all credit reports have errors. Check your credit reports at least once a year for any errors. You can obtain all three credit reports and scores by clicking here. This site offers consumers credit reports and scores with a FREE seven-day trial in monthly credit monitoring. You will not be charged for anything as long as you cancel the service during the free seven-day trial membership. If you need any assistance ordering your credit reports, please give me call.

Once you review your credit reports, if there are any errors you can dispute them directly with the Credit Bureaus. You can dispute with the Credit Bureaus online, over the phone, or by sending a letter. For more information about disputing with the Credit Bureaus you can go to their websites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com, and www.transunion.com. If you want professional assistance in disputing your credit reports then call the BEST in the industry: Ovation Credit Services at 1-866-639-3426 Option 2 or go to the website to get more information www.ovationcredit.com.

For specific questions about your credit or disputing, ask our Credit Expert Kristi Thornton, email your questions to [email protected].

HOW DO I ORDER MY CREDIT REPORTS FOR FREE?

By | Ask a Credit Expert, Consumer Rights, Credit Repair, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Personal Finance, Save Money, Your Credit

Getting your credit reports for FREE is much easier since the FACT ACT was passed in 2003.  The Fact Act is an amendment made to the Fair Credit Report Act making it possible for consumers to get one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus.  When the Fact Act was passed the credit bureaus got together and created one site for consumers to use to get their FREE copy of each credit report.  You can log into www.AnnualCreditReport.com to get your copy of each credit report (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once every 12 months.

Some other options for free credit reports, are websites that offer you a week to a month FREE trial of their Credit Monitoring program so you can log in, order all three reports (sometimes credit scores too) and review your credit reports.  Once you get your credit reports from the credit monitoring company it is up to you whether you stay with the program or not.  If you decide you do not want the program then make sure you cancel before the trial is up so you do not get billed for their service.

If you have been denied credit in the last 90 days you can get a credit report for FREE from which ever bureau the potential lender used to decide if you were approved or not.  You can also order your credit reports from the credit bureaus directly at www.TransUnion.com www.Experian.com, and www.Equifax.com.

For qualified consumers, there are some additional options provided under the Fair Credit Reporting Act that entitle you to receive a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you’ve been denied credit, insurance or employment and request the report within 60 days of notice, or if you can prove that (a) you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days, (b) you’re on welfare, or (c) your report is inaccurate because of fraud or identity theft. If your application for credit, insurance, or employment is denied because of your credit information, the company to which you applied must give you the name and address of the credit bureau they used to make their decision. If you don’t qualify under any of those categories, you can use one of the options above, or you will need to purchase your credit reports, which are approximately $9.00 – $12.95 each when purchased directly from the credit bureaus.

Once you get your credit reports, please give us a call at 1-866-639-3426 Option 2 or email [email protected] to schedule a FREE Credit Consultation.  At Ovation Credit Services, our Credit Analysts would be happy to review your credit reports with you.  We can discuss your credit options and how we can help you to improve your credit reports and credit scores. You can also visit http://www.ovationcredit.com/services/services.php to learn about our programs and services.

Where, Oh Where has My Money Gone

By | Consumer Rights, Debt, Your Credit

During these tough economic times, many Americans have seen major downturns in their savings, their retirement accounts and cost of living.  So do you know where your money has gone?  Maybe it is time to check where your money is going.

The best way to do this is to start with your budget.  If you don’t use a budget maybe it is time to start.  Begin by making a money diary that will show your complete spending for at least two weeks.  It is better to do a money diary for one full month but two weeks will give you a pretty good understanding.  This money diary will help you know where your money is going.  Then you can build a budget that will help you pay all your bills, save a little money and maybe even have some fun.

Once you have your budget built then take the time to check out your debt.  Start with your revolving credit such as credit cards, department store cards and gasoline cards.  Most gasoline card require that you pay the balance in full at the end of the month.  But if you have a card that you carry a balance on make sure your balance due is at least 30% or below of your available credit.  If you have any card debt that is carrying more than 30% then you need to reduce that debt as quickly as possible.  Once your debt is below 30% your credit will begin to see improved credit scores.

Now you have a budget and you have reduced your revolving credit debt it is time to start building your savings or emergency fund.  You should have at least three to six months worth of living expenses in your fund.  If you have a two income family then your fund should reflect that amount.  No one expects you to have your fund overnight.  But you’ll want to build it up as quickly as you can.  Having this much money in savings will protect you from life’s little emergencies.

Finally, you should review your retirement account.  If you don’t have a retirement-plan then you should investigate getting one.  Many companies offer retirement plans and most will contribute those plans.  You’ll need to check out where your contributions are going.  If you had most of your contributions in the higher risk categories then you lost quite a bit of money recently.  Choosing a less risky option will take you longer to build a solid retirement account but odds are you won’t lose money as rapidly.

This will help you get on the right track financially.  Review your credit history report and dispute any inaccurate information.  Good credit is so vital in today’s economy so you should monitor your report at least once a year.  If you need additional help then look to hire a legitimate credit repair company.  Good credit repair companies will dispute as you instruct them to.  Good financial management begins with knowing where your money goes and maintaining good credit. 

Teach Your Children Good Money Management Skills

By | Consumer Rights, Your Credit

If your parents taught you some basic money management skills then chances are you are properly handling your finances.  Simple things like budgeting, paying your debts on time and saving some money for a “rainy day” are basic money management skills.  Teaching your children at a young age is much easier than trying to teach them as teenagers.  Young children are easier than teenagers when it comes to money.

Begin by giving your children an allowance.  As they grow older teach them that their allowance is similar to having a job and getting paid by their employer.  Once your children are receiving an allowance, you can begin to teach them how to save money. Learning to save money to purchase the things that they want is a great habit to get into.  For example, if your child wants a video game, teach them save their money to buy the game.  You can even use this same example to teach your children about credit.  Offer to pay for the video game and allow your child to make payments from their allowance.  You can even set up a fee to make the loan similar to an interest payment.

You can even teach your children how the real world works.  Show what it’s like to have to pay daily living expenses.  You can even charge rent, utilities and other expenses so that your children can learn good financial habits.  By teaching your children how to save money and control their debt you are giving them a solid footing for their future.  Additionally, should teach your children as they approach the age of going out on their own about their credit report.  Show them how to get it, how to read it and finally, how to dispute any information that is inaccurate.  My daughter found errors on her credit report before she turned 18.  We disputed the information and got it corrected before she started out.

Good credit is hard to come by so teaching your children is very important.  Take the time to make sure they understand how important this is to their future.

Tax Time is Credit Time

By | Budgeting, Consumer Rights, Credit Laws, Credit Repair, Personal Finance, Your Credit

Once a year you should review your credit report.  Since you already have your financial documentation out, tax time is the perfect time to review your report.  If you have never reviewed your credit report then you may have many items that need to be disputed.  Taking the time to fix your credit report may take quite a while the first time.  But once your report is correct and accurate you can check your report once a year confidently.

You can get a free copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com once a year.  This is truly a free copy of your credit report.  Other web sites tell you that you can get a free copy of your credit report if you sign up for their monitoring service.  Using a monitoring service is not necessary unless you do not want to monitor the work yourself.

Once you have a copy of your credit report highlight any errors that you see.  Make a list of any errors by the individual credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).  Write dispute letters to each credit bureau listing 2 or 3 items per letter.  Keep disputing until all items on your credit report are deleted or corrected.  This will take more time if you have never disputed before.  Do not be discouraged if you have never done this before.  Your credit did not get that way overnight and you certainly won’t get it fixed overnight either.  It may take from six months to one year to get your report completely accurate.  An accurate report is critical to having a great credit score.

Now that your credit report is accurate you can start building up your credit.  Simple things like paying your bills on time and in full will help your score continue to rise.  Then by reducing your revolving (credit card) credit, your credit score will continue its upward path.  Having installment loans such as car payments or mortgages will also help your score but they must be paid on time every time.  It is best to setup automatic payments on your credit cards and installment loans so that you never have a late payment.  Late payments make up over 30% of your credit score.  Even if you set up automatic payments to only make minimum payments then you go back and pay however much more you want at least your payments will never be late.

 By using tax time to remind you that it is credit report time you can stay on top of any problems that might appear on your credit report.  Good credit is vital in today’s economy and having errors on your credit report will hurt your credit score.  If you need someone to assist you in disputing errors on your credit report don’t be afraid to hire a professional.  There are legitimate credit repair companies out there who can help you.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

By | Consumer Rights, Credit Repair, Your Credit

There are some simple yet effective ways to help your credit score.  Once you have updated your credit report and got the report as accurate as possible then begin the following suggestions.

 

1.       Have a major credit card.  Gas cards and department store cards can help build your credit but without a major credit card you will have problems getting into the 700 plus scores.  Major credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.  If you don’t have a major credit card then you need to get one.  If your scores won’t qualify for a regular card then you need to look into a secured card.  A secured card will require a deposit into the issuing bank.  Verify that the bank and the card will report to all three credit bureaus.  Additionally, try to get a card that can be converted to a regular card after so many on time payments.

2.       Make payments for every credit card and loan on time.  The best way to confirm that is to make arrangements for automatic payments.  By setting up automatic payments you will never make a late payment again.  You also can setup automatic payments to take the amount you specify, either the minimum payment, a set dollar amount or the balance in full, every month from your checking account.

3.       Never let an account go to collections.  You dispute any amount on a bill then communicate with your creditor.  Because if you have an account that goes into collections you will have a negative mark on your credit report.  The best way to handle it is pay the account and take it to small claims court.  If you have accounts that go to collections and then become judgments against you will really hurt your credit score.  These may take up to seven years to no longer affect your credit score.

4.       Reduce your debt.  pay large portion of your credit score is based on how much of your available credit are you using.  The credit bureaus use a formula that likes to see large gaps between your available credit and your balances.  The scores will improve dramatically when you pay down your credit card debt.  So having a small balance on several cards better than a big balance on one card.

5.       Monitor your balance on your credit cards.  Even if you pay your cards off in full each month that may not be the balance being reported to the bureaus.  By monitoring your credit report you can determine on each credit card what number is being reported as your balance.  For example, if you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and you charge $8,000 to the card then pay the complete balance in full, the credit card company may report your balance as $8,000.  This would show that you are using 80% of your available balance.

6.       Use less of your available credit for better scores.  Keeping your credit card balances below 30% is good for your credit score.  But getting your balance below 10% of your available credit will help you even more.  Using several cards is better than using one card for everything.  Additionally, make payments on your credit cards prior to their statement date.  Because this will lower your balance that is being reported to the credit bureaus.  You can also set up a automatic payment just before the due date to avoid any late fees.

 

These are just a few suggestions to help you improve your credit score. Having a good score is very important today with the current economy. Getting some help to correct your credit report can help you get on track more quickly. Don’t be afraid to hire someone to assist you in getting your credit report accurate. We can all have good credit if we want and work hard to do things properly.

Great Credit is Not Impossible

By | Consumer Rights, Credit Repair, Your Credit

Many Americans are struggling with low to average credit scores.  But the good news is that you can improve your credit scores.  Having a credit score above 740 means hard work and diligence but is obtainable by everyone.  You must decide how hard you want to work for that goal.  Hard work and being meticulous is the only way to raise your credit score.

 

If your credit score is below 740 then you will have problems with the following:

·         Insurance companies – setting premiums and evaluating applicants.

·         Getting an apartment – landlords and management companies check credit on applicants.

·         Employment – employers today check credit to protect themselves from employees with troubled finances.

·         Buying a home – without good credit buying a home will become almost impossible in today’s economy. 

But you can be taught proper techniques to improve your credit score.  In America, 50% of all Americans have a credit score below 720 and 50% of all Americans have a score above 720.  Only 13% have scores above 800 according to Fair Isaac, the company that created FICO scoring. 

You can have a good credit score if you are willing to work hard for it.  Here are some basic tips to help you:

1.       You can’t fix your credit score if you don’t have control of your finances.  This means can’t pay your bills you can’t fix your credit.  Fixing your credit will have to wait until your financial problem is resolved.  You must be bringing in more money then you have in expenses.

2.       You must use your credit if you want to raise your score.  If you are living on cash only then you can’t raise your credit score.  Your credit score tells lenders how you manage your credit.  If you don’t use it then your credit score will never go up.

3.       You don’t have to carry a balance to use your credit.  Many people who have achieved 800 plus credit scores do not carry a balance and pay off their balances regularly.  Charging items to your credit card and paying them off completely each month will help you build your credit score.

4.       Your credit score did not get this way overnight and certainly can’t be corrected overnight.  Once you begin to reduce your debt then you will notice improvement in your scores within 30 days.  But if you have serious problems such as bankruptcies or foreclosures, you may have to wait until those negatives are deleted from your credit report. 

Dispute any items on your credit report that are not yours or any reports of late payments when you paid on time.  Any information over seven years old except for bankruptcies should also be disputed.  Any accounts listed that were included in the bankruptcy should be reported that way but if they are not dispute them.  The seven year clock usually begins 180 days after the account went delinquent.  By correcting your credit report and working hard on following the tips given to improve your credit, you should say improvements in your credit score.

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