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credit cards Archives | Ovation Credit Repair Services

College Students – Don’t Make These Common Financial Mistakes

By | Personal Finance, Uncategorized

College can be expensive, and some college students add to the price tag when they make financial mistakes such as using student loan money for a trip. Another mistake some make is going to a pricey college for four years when they could go elsewhere for two years and transfer. Here is an exploration of these mistakes.

College students financial mistakes

Using Student Loan Money for Unintended Purposes

Many times, students have money left over from their loans after tuition, room and board, and other direct expenses are taken care of. These loans are supposed to cover educational expenses and educational expenses only. Related expenses such as essentials for a dorm room could be okay. But a vacation during spring break or splurging on renting a high-end place — most likely not. Yet, quite a few college students see that leftover money as “free money,” not realizing that years of compounding interest rates could end up doubling the price tag of that spring break trip.

The solution is usually to anticipate your expenses well and to accept only that amount of student loan money. If you don’t have the money, you won’t spend it.

Not Taking Advantage of Financial Opportunities

Going to college inexpensively has become trickier, but there are still some ways, especially if you live in certain states. For example, community college students in Tennessee, Rhode Island, Oregon and New York will be able to attend for free by 2018 (or are already able to), provided that they meet residency requirements, GPA requirements, income requirements (sometimes) and a few other regulations.

Some other states also have similar programs. For example, tuition in Minnesota is free if you study a high-demand subject. California also gives one year of community college free, and low-income students have been able to attend with their per-credit fees waived since 1986. Virginia’s community college students get a $3,000 annual grant when they transfer from a state community college to a participating four-year college. In short, ways to save can be found in many places, cities and states.

What does all this mean? It means that some college students who aim for four-year degrees should seriously consider attending community college first and then transferring to a school offering a bachelor’s program. The difference could be many tens of thousands of dollars and paying off student loans much more quickly.

College Students Using Credit Cards Irresponsibly

Some students graduate owing as much as $7,000 on their credit cards; the average student graduates with $3,000 in the negative column and has four or more cards, according to Sallie Mae. College is the first taste of freedom for many students, and even those who charge only $20 here and there, or even just $500 a few times a year, could find themselves at risk of hurting their credit scores sooner rather than later.

After they graduate, they may be looking for work while juggling obligations in the way of rent, student loans and credit cards. It takes just one missed payment for a credit score to suffer.

Responsible credit card use in college often means:

  • Having a sound reason for getting a card
  • Using a card with low credit limits and interest rates, and no annual fee
  • Paying your balance fully every month
  • Having one card
  • Charging something only when you know you can afford it
  • Being the sole user of your card (not lending it out to friends)
  • Not getting cash advances

If you think you may be prone to abusing your credit card, go ahead and close the account. On the other hand, if you have already graduated, credit repair services could help you get back on track.

College should be a time of great freedom and learning. Making good decisions can set you up for life, but it can take only one financial misstep to hurt you.

 

Sources:

www.thebalance.com/what-can-i-use-my-loan-money-for-315568

money.cnn.com/2017/05/16/pf/college/states-tuition-free-college/index.html

money.cnn.com/2017/10/16/pf/college/california-free-community-college/index.html

www.thebalance.com/smart-ways-for-college-students-to-use-credit-cards-960105

www.vccs.edu/vccsblog_post/community-college-awareness-month-virginias-community-college-students-pull-back-the-curtain-on-cost-cutting-strategies/

Protect Your Credit from Other People’s Credit Problems

By | Your Credit

Many people think its just about building your credit but you also have to protect your credit. Whether you already have great credit or have been steadily improving your score over the years, you’ve worked hard to get where you are. It can be tempting to use your good score to help loved ones when they come to you for assistance, but doing so can damage your credit standing. If you want to protect your credit and financial future, you should think hard before you help someone out. Simply say no when there’s a chance your assistance could hurt your credit. Read these 6 tips before you agree to “help” a friend or family member.

Protect Your Credit

1. Think Carefully Before Cosigning

If you have family members or close friends with bad credit, they might ask you to cosign with them on a loan at some point. Maybe they need to buy a car or get a rental lease and need your help. But the problem is that if they default on the loan or rental contract, their credit won’t be the only thing affected. As a cosigner, you’ll be expected to make any payments they default on. If you can’t make those payments, your credit will be negatively affected. For this reason, you should protect your credit by avoiding cosigning for loved ones, especially if you know they have a history of not making their payments on time. The only exception is if you can afford to pay for the loan yourself should the worst occur, and if you know your loved one is responsible with money and just needs help establishing credit.

2. Don’t Let Other People Use Your Credit Cards

Just as you shouldn’t give just anyone access to your good credit, you also shouldn’t let others use your cards. Maybe someone has asked you if they can become an authorized user on your credit card, or perhaps they want you to make a major purchase on your card and they promise they’ll pay you back. Either way, the debt is yours in the long run. If they suddenly can’t repay the amount they used on your credit card, you’re responsible for it. This means you either have to pay for the bill yourself or allow your credit to be ruined when you don’t pay it.

3. Don’t Rent with Unreliable People

If you need to rent a house or apartment and need a roommate, make sure you can trust him or her to help you pay rent on time every month. Otherwise, you’ll end up with late fees, and your landlord may even report you and your roommate to the credit bureaus once you’re more than a month late on rent. So if you have a best friend who is frequently unemployed and can rarely pay bills on time, do yourself (and your credit score) a favor and don’t rent with him or her–unless you can afford to pay the entire rent by yourself every month. And of course, if you own a house and you want to rent it out, perform a credit check on your new renters to make sure they have a history of paying bills on time.

4. Don’t Make a Habit of Lending Money to Friends or Family

The rule of thumb for lending money is to only lend what you can afford to lose. This means if you lend someone $500, you’d better not be depending on getting that back, because you probably won’t. If you have the money to lend, just give it as a gift if you feel the need to help a friend or family member. However, if the same people are constantly asking you for money, giving it to them may be enabling them. Instead of being a crutch for their bad money management habits, offer to help them make a budget or find a second job to pay their bills. This will protect your credit and go farther than lending them money every once in a while.

5. Build Up an Emergency Fund

Sometimes bad things happen that are out of your control, and you can’t help that. But what you can do is be prepared, and usually having extra money on hand is part of that. For example, maybe you picked a great roommate who can normally pay her bills, but she lost her job and won’t be able to pay rent this month. If you can’t cover the full payment, your credit could be affected and you might even be evicted. Having at least three months’ worth of expenses in savings will help you keep a roof over your head while your roommate finds a new job. Of course, it will also help you in case your own emergency occurs, such as if your car breaks down, you lose your job or you have a sudden health crisis.

6. Protect Your Credit by Focusing on Your Own Financial Goals

Having an emergency fund is a good start if you want to improve your financial security. But you should also have other goals when it comes to money. For instance, buying your own home is a great goal to have if you want to invest in your future rather than throw away money on rent every month. If you already own a house, upgrading it every few years is a good way to improve your investment, so you should save up money to do that. And if you have any debt–such as credit cards or student loans–you should have a plan to pay it all off so you spend as little as possible on interest.

If you need help improving your credit–or want to tell a loved one where to go for financial help–come to Ovation Credit Services. We offer a free credit consultation, so contact us today to get started!

Sources:

https://blog.equifax.com/credit/should-i-co-sign-on-a-loan-for-a-family-member/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/money-rules-of-thumb/

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1011/top-5-ways-to-protect-yourself-against-problem-renters.aspx

Build Credit: New Credit Lines vs. Authorized User

By | Credit Cards

“It takes credit to build credit.”

This statement is all-too-common and a big reason for why many new borrowers turn to relatives for help. The method of becoming an authorized user to build credit is nothing new. In fact, many parents put their children down as authorized users on their own credit cards for this exact reason.

But, is the authorized user route really better than trying to build credit with new credit lines or is this all just a mirage?

Build Credit Credit Card

 

Credit Lines & Authorized Users, What’s the Difference?

A credit line is a fresh account — this could be a credit card, loan, line of credit or something else. An “authorized user” is merely someone placed on your account for the purpose of permitting them to access your credit line.

Why Add an Authorized User?

In most cases, this is done so multiple individuals can legally share a credit card. The example of a child accessing a parent’s funds is a common scenario. Many spouses will also do this, especially if only one has good credit.

Next, some people choose to add authorized users to their accounts to help the other person build their credit. This technique is debated heavily and for good reason, but it can be effective if the circumstances are right. Even so, it’s important that the primary account holder knows what they are getting into before they help.

Does an Authorized User Hurt Your Credit?

Co-signing for a home loan will potentially destroy the co-signers credit score. The impact is not so extensive when merely adding an authorized user to an account. But there is still a majority similarity between these two situations because the main borrower is extending trust to the authorized party.

The primary account holder does take on an inherent risk, but not in the same sense as with co-signing a loan. There will be no credit score damage for the act of adding an authorized user. The problem comes as a result of the authorized user being irresponsible — for example, the primary cardholder’s score will drop from late payments.

Can Authorized Users Build Credit This Way?

Many credit card issuers will report authorized users to the credit bureau. These entries will not show the same as they do for the primary borrower. Positive behavior will look good and influence a better credit score in the long run. Negative behavior will do the opposite and can drag down the authorized user’s credit score too.

Furthermore, it’s important to look at just how damaging an authorized user can be for the primary account holder. The best way to understand this is by looking at how a person’s FICO score is calculated in the first place. Here’s the breakdown for the vast majority of FICO scores that exist:

  • Payment history (35 percent)
  • Amounts owed (30 percent)
  • Length of credit history (15 percent)
  • New credit (10 percent)
  • Credit mix (10 percent)

For the primary borrower, the biggest drag here happens with the “amounts owed,” particularly when an authorized user maxes the card. The utilization rate will hit 100 percent for this card and will ultimately lift the total credit utilization rate between accounts. The primary holder will feel obliged to pay off the debt for the authorized user — and if they don’t, their credit score could decline as a result.

For the authorized user, there’s not much to complain about when considering the scoring metrics above. The biggest issue arises when the primary account holder needs to extract funds from the card. This action could make it seem that the authorized borrower has a really high utilization rate, even when it’s not their fault. The other variables, such as new credit and payment history, are not as important and are a non-factor when there’s no borrowing history.

The Better Option: Build Credit With a Credit Card

The faster way of obtaining a higher credit score is by establishing credit lines directly under yourself. Forget about the authorized user option and begin building your score with a basic credit card.

Believe It or Not, Secured Credit Cards Rock!

Here’s a good idea: Go for a secured credit card and plop down a $1,000-$3,000 collateral. Make sure it’s a card that offers conversion to unsecured after you prove that you are a responsible and trustable borrower.

Why? Because a higher credit limit helps and makes it less difficult to be active with your card without triggering a high utilization rate. This factor is very important because your debt-to-credit ratio weighs heavily on your FICO score. In fact, 30 percent of your credit score comes down to this single variable.

Conclusion

Building your credit can be difficult when you have no history to show a card issuer or lender. Having someone who will put you down as an authorized user can often help, but only if the creditor reports you as well. Be careful before getting into any of these situations — and if you want quicker results, set up your own credit lines instead.

Sources:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-utilization-fico-1270.php

www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/credit-card-secured-unsecured-change-switch/

https://wallethub.com/edu/authorized-user/24717/

http://blog.ovationcredit.com/2017/03/understanding-your-credit/

Why We Love Improving Credit (And Why You Should, Too!)

By | Credit Repair

Improving credit can give people such a great feeling. It comes as a relief because it lets you put money-related setbacks or mistakes in your past. At the same time, it offers an exciting new start for your financial life.

Love Improving Credit

In particular, improving credit can positively affect the following areas.

1. Credit Cards

With a more impressive credit, it’s easier to get credit card applications approved. Plus, your interest rates will be lower.

Also, in some cases, credit card companies will automatically raise your borrowing limits as your credit score goes up. And, if they don’t, you could always apply for higher limits. Even if you don’t spend any more money with your credit cards than you have in the past, a higher credit card limit will help you. That’s because it will lower your credit utilization ratio. That ratio measures how much you spend versus how much you could spend. A lower credit utilization number will mean an even higher credit score.

In addition, there are various credit card bonuses that people with good credit may be eligible for, including programs that provide rewards points or cash-back offers.

2. Loans

Reputable lenders are much more likely to authorize loans to people with solid credit reports. Therefore, you’ll surely be capable of securing larger loans and more favorable terms ― such as lower interest rates ― with a better credit score.

Equipped with that higher score, you could also try to renegotiate and refinance loans that you’ve already taken out, especially a mortgage if you have one. Maybe you’ll be able to eliminate certain fees or extend the length of a loan, which obviously would mean making smaller payments each time.

3. Rental Homes

Nowadays, it can be difficult to find a landlord who’ll let you rent an apartment or other type of housing if your credit is poor. Many landlords feel, rightly or wrongly, that tenants with bad credit are less likely to pay their rent on time.

This fact holds true for rented vacation homes as well. Whether you’re renting such a place for one time only or on a recurring basis, you very well might obtain lower rates and fees if the owner knows that you have good credit.

4. Security Deposits

When your credit report is healthy, you may not have to pay security deposits when you sign up with a new utilities company or buy a new smartphone. And, by not having to pay such deposits, you could save hundreds of dollars over time.

5. Getting a Job

If you’re applying for a new job, your prospective employer might ask to look at your credit report. You’d need to give your consent in writing before anyone could do so. And, if you have an excellent report to show off, it might make you look especially responsible and mature.

At this time, most employers don’t look at credit reports, but that situation could change. Moreover, if you’re applying to a company that does check out these reports, having better credit might give you an extra surge of confidence when you go in for your job interview.

6. Auto Insurance

Car insurance companies often calculate that people with higher credit scores file fewer claims. As a result, they frequently charge higher premiums to those with lower scores. Therefore, improving your credit can be a major advantage when you’re looking for an auto insurance policy.

 



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Repairing or Improving Credit

With all of these benefits in mind, you might be wondering how to begin repairing or improving your credit. Well, a reputable credit repair company is a good place to start. The professionals will work with you to comb through your credit report and find errors that are negatively affecting your credit. For example, perhaps your record states that you forgot or were late with a certain debt payment, but you’re sure that you paid it on time. Your credit repair company will dispute on your behalf to hopefully get that removed. Not to mention, in the process of advocating for you, your credit repair representatives could offer you a wealth of financial advice on how to live a better credit life.

It’s all too easy to spiral downwards financially. As you’ve read, when you have bad credit, it’s harder to obtain favorable conditions from lenders, landlords, credit card companies and others, which means it becomes harder to pay back the money you already owe. Then, if you fail to make some of those payments, your credit score will drop even further, which can put extra monetary strains on you. The cycle is vicious.

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. When you boost your credit, you’ll accrue an array of benefits that will make it much simpler to live within your means and save for the future. As time passes, your economic outlook should look brighter and brighter. With an outstanding credit repair service at your side, you can finally break free from harmful spending patterns and take charge of your financial life. That sense of personal empowerment may be the best reward of improving credit.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nextadvisorcom/6-surprising-ways-having-_b_6000364.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-biggest-ways-bad-credit-110012930.html

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2012/02/21/6-benefits-and-rewards-of-having-awesome-credit

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/moneymatters/reap-the-benefits-of-an-excellent-credit-score/ar-AAdgJjH

https://www.thebalance.com/having-good-credit-score-960528

Start Living a Better Credit Life

By | Your Credit

Better Credit Life

We all struggle with the stress that money creates. Take it from Antoine Walker, a former Miami Heat star that ‘went from $108 million to bankrupt‘ in less than a decade. This serves as a reminder: it’s not how much you make, but how you use it.

If you have a stable job, it is possible to live a Better Credit Life as long as you put the time and organization into your financial planning. Ready to get started? Here are 10 ways for you to start living a Better Credit Life:

1. Plan for Disaster from Day One

If you anticipate a financial crisis, then there will never be one. So planning for the near and mid future will keep you safe in the long run. And you have no excuse; just join the millions of Americans that already use budgeting and personal finance tools. Having a budget and sticking to it, is a sure way to stay on track to a Better Credit Life.

Simply download Mint, YNAB, or another highly-rated app, and finally take charge of your financial freedom today!

2. Watch for Credit Report Errors

It’s surprising how often errors end up on credit reports. Stats suggest this impacts 1 in 20 consumers, which is five-percent of Americans. While some errors are more damaging than others to your credit score, as many as 1 in 250 consumers are behind more than 100 points from errors.

You can request a free copy of your credit file from AnnualCreditReport.com once a year from each credit bureau. Further, with our services you’ll find out if there are any errors right away – as we provide a copy of your Equifax and TransUnion files.

3. Examine All Your “Fees”

Most Americans have no idea how much goes to waste on preventable fees. It’s said that hundreds of dollars are spent every year on unknown costs. According to the Ponemon Institute, an average of $942 is spent on hidden fees each year.

Online banking has made a difference, but there are new ways to lose money without realizing in the digital age. Get digging and see where you’re losing!

4. Negotiate What You Pay

Many things are made cheaper so compare costs and cut deals where you can. As you look for high fees, this might open you to ideas like switching bank accounts and utility providers.

Don’t ever be scared to negotiate – for instance, most cable, phone and Internet providers have a user retention line. Most that inquire end up getting a moderate to large discount on their services.

Heck, even some “extreme couponing” could make a big difference!

5. Consolidate Your Large Debts

Your total amount owing is the second biggest variable of your FICO score. So it only makes sense to limit your overall debt.

FICO’s algorithm weighs revolving debt higher than installment debt. This means temporary loans set with payment installments (like a student loan) will drag your score down less.

Therefore, by obtaining a consolidation loan for your credit cards (which are revolving debts), you can eliminate the biggest credit hindrance of all.

6. Build a Relationship at a Credit Union

You stand a better chance getting a home loan with moderate credit at a credit union than a traditional bank. This is especially true if you get familiar with the staff at your local credit union. Further, you will find many rates are better, insufficient funds fees are easier to waive and other perks.

7. Don’t Become a Data Breach Victim

Your information on the web is never safe. Make sure to audit your Internet safety from time to time. The single most effective way of doing this is by checking whether your email was hacked. If your data was leaked on the web, you will be able to find out through HaveIBeenPwned.com’s search tool. Further, you can set up email alerts to inform you if a data breach occurs.

8. Plan for Christmas in January

You should look at your past year of finances and what you expect to make and spend for the following year all at once. Do this after Christmas is over and prepare your budget for the next winter holidays. If you don’t want to buy the items right away in case it’s not appealing later, stash the money in gift cards or make a savings account for this purpose.

9. Shop Online for the Best Cards and Loans

Whether you need a consolidation loan, a travel rewards card or even an auto loan, you should compare the best rates online. Sites like BankRate.com make it easy to see which cards and lenders provide what you need.

10. Honor Your Debts

Everyone wants to disavow their debts, but no one wants to go bankrupt. The key is to forget how owing money can damage your life. Since 15% of your FICO score is based on your credit length – it’s better to keep your lines open. So when you pay off a card, don’t close the account!

Even taking on a higher credit limit is good – it improves your credit utilization rate, so long as you don’t waste the new funds.

Conclusion

Never give up on the idea of living a Better Credit Life, because it’s available to you with a little discipline. Even if you need credit repair help or require consolidation loans to make it happen–as the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way…”

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/24/investing/antoine-walker-nba-bankruptcy/

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2013/02/ftc-study-five-percent-consumers-had-errors-their-credit-reports

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamtanner/2014/04/14/these-sites-tell-which-of-your-accounts-have-been-hacked/

http://fraud.laws.com/false-adversiting/surcharges-and-hidden-fees

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

By | Debt

Good Debt vs Bad Debt

If you’ve been trying to improve your credit score, you probably already know that “debt” can be a scary word. As such, you’ve likely been trying to avoid it as much as possible. But according to many credit experts, not all debt carries the same weight when it comes to how it affects your credit score. In fact, some types of debt are considered good debt — or at least not likely to harm your credit score. Here’s a look at how certain types of debt may affect your credit rating.

What Separates Good Debt From Bad Debt?

The first thing you should know is that any type of debt that is considered an investment tends to be good debt. This means if you’re taking on debt to buy an item or service that will improve your net worth in the long run, it’s likely good debt. In short, common examples of good debt include mortgages, student loans, business loans or anything that will save you money in the future.

On the other hand, bad debt won’t make you wealthier or help you save money. Most people who rack up bad debt do this by using credit cards to buy items they want and then make minimum payments on those cards so the interest continually accumulates. Basically, if you’re just using credit cards or taking out loans to buy disposable items, you’re collecting bad debt and will likely lower your credit score.

Types of Good Debt

Mortgage Loans

One of the best types of debt to take on is a mortgage because houses usually increase in value over time, unlike most other items you might buy. You will likely recoup the costs of your house and then some when you sell it, so taking on a mortgage loan is considered a good investment for most people. And even though you pay interest on this type of loan, it’s far lower than most credit cards, and you can deduct it on your taxes.

Student Loans

If the career you have in mind requires a college degree, you shouldn’t be afraid to take out student loans to pay for it. Of course, getting free money in the form of scholarships and grants is even better, but it’s not realistic for everyone to pay their entire college tuition this way. This is why student loans don’t tend to have a negative effect on your credit score, as long as you pay them back according to your payment plan once you graduate.

Business Loans

If you have a solid plan for a business, you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for a business loan to cover your startup expenses, including equipment and advertising. After all, you stand to make it all back and also support yourself if you have a stable business. This is why business loans are considered good debt when it comes to your credit score.

Expenses That Will Save You Money

Some types of debt are good because they will save you money over time, even though they cost money right now. For example, buying solar panels for your home is often considered good debt, since this addition will save you money on utility bills and improve your home’s value. Another example of taking on good debt is when you refinance via a loan with a low interest rate so you can pay off a loan that has a high interest rate. This move could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so it’s usually worth taking on more debt.



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Types of Bad Debt

Credit Cards

The No. 1 type of bad debt is the credit card. The average U.S. resident who carries a credit card balance has more than $5,000 in credit card debt, so it’s not uncommon to have this type of debt. But it can easily affect your credit score in a negative way, especially since you’re probably using credit cards to buy items that are depreciating rather than increasing in value. If you have credit cards and want to improve your credit score, you should stop using them and start paying more than the minimum, particularly on the card with the highest interest rate.

Payday Loans

If you’re low on money until you get paid, it may be tempting to get cash today by taking out a payday loan. But in the end, you’ll pay much more than you borrow because the fees and interest rate can be very high. In fact, the interest rate is often three times the amount you borrowed, making payday loans bad debt. If you need money fast, your best option is to borrow from a friend or family member who won’t charge much or any interest, and then work on building up your savings account to help you in times like this. That way, your credit score won’t suffer even when you have unexpected expenses.

Overall, if you’re going to have any debt on your credit report, it’s better to have good debt than bad debt. So if you’re trying to improve your credit score, you can start by focusing on paying off credit cards and any other high-interest debt. As long as you stay current on your good debt — such as your mortgage, business loans and student loans — your credit score should start improving.

Sources:

http://www.moneycrashers.com/good-debt-vs-bad-debt/

https://www.thebalance.com/good-debt-vs-bad-debt-960029

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/good-debt-bad-debt.asp

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/good-debt-vs-bad-debt-1.aspx

How to Improve Your Credit Score

By | Credit Scores

Improve Your Credit Score

If your credit score is not great or even good, don’t despair. You have the power to change it. It might take months or possibly years to get close to the coveted 850 credit score, but it can be done. You can get started by taking these tips into account.

Check Your Credit Report

The most effective way to improve your credit score is to keep a close eye on it. Start by ordering your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com — everyone gets one free report every year. It won’t tell you your score unless you pay a fee, but it will let you instantly see all the accounts that add up to your credit rating.

Your first goal should be to make sure your report is accurate, starting with your contact information, birth date and social security number. Then look at the accounts on your report. They should all look familiar. If you see any accounts that you did not open, you should follow the steps on the site to get the errors fixed. Similarly, if you see late payments reported that you know you made on time or you see derogatory marks that don’t belong there, you can contact the creditor. If the creditor does not fix the error, you can dispute it.

Establish Credit by Using a Credit Card Responsibly

If your credit report is pretty bare, it may be time to get a credit card. You might wonder how that will improve your credit score since most people are advised to avoid credit cards. But the fact is that you need to show the credit bureaus that you can handle credit well. This is hard if you don’t have any accounts to handle yet.

This doesn’t mean you should go out and apply for a car loan or mortgage to improve your credit score. You won’t have much of a shot at these types of loans if you don’t have any credit to your name. Instead, start by getting a credit card. Your best bet is to apply for a secured credit card. With this type of card, you pay either a portion or the total amount of your credit limit upfront and then use the card. Since you pay the creditors ahead of time for this type of card, you know you’ll likely be approved, even without any credit history. Then you can work on building your credit by making your payments on time.

If you already have some credit, but what you have is poor, you may be able to get an unsecured credit card to improve your credit score. The only catch is that you might have to apply for a credit card for people with bad credit, which may have a high interest rate. But the good news is that once you get one, use it regularly and make your payments on time, you will improve your credit score so you can eventually apply for credit cards for people with good credit.

Pay Your Bills on Time

If the main issue with your credit report is that you have a lot of late payments that were reported to the credit bureaus, you can turn it around by making sure you never miss a payment again. Even if you can only make the minimum payment some months, it’s crucial that you pay on time. Otherwise, you will likely be facing fees and a lower credit score after it gets reported to the bureaus. And if it’s a credit card payment you missed, you might also end up with a higher interest rate.

This is why many people with good credit automate their payments so they always get paid on or before the due date. If you are ever having trouble paying a bill, your first step should be to contact your creditor to see if you can make arrangements to pay late without it affecting your credit score. And keep in mind that the longer you pay all your bills on time, the less your score will be affected by any late payments you made months or years ago, which means it’s never too late to get into this habit.

Pay Down Debt

One of the best ways to improve your credit score is to keep your credit utilization down. More specifically, you should strive to keep your credit card balances at less than 30 percent, meaning you have at least 70 percent available. If you’re a little above that, just keep paying down your balances.

You can also get faster results by requesting a credit limit increase, which will automatically reduce your credit utilization. Just be sure you don’t spend more once you get an increase! And if your credit utilization is already around 30 percent or less, keep paying it down, since many people with the best credit scores boast credit utilization of 10 percent or less.

Get Help from Credit Experts

If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you work to improve your credit score, you can come to us for help getting started. We’ll give you a free credit consultation so you can see what you need to improve on your credit report. We’ll also help you dispute inaccuracies on your report and monitor your credit so you know about any changes to your credit right away. Contact us today if you’re interested in getting help improving your credit score.

Sources:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/7-simple-ways-improve-credit-score-1.aspx

http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score/

http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/score-basics/improve-credit-score/

Repair Your Credit – “Waiting It Out” Doesn’t Work

By | Credit Repair

Repair Your Credit Now

You ran into a few problems with credit and now you have negative accounts listed on your report. Derogatory information no longer appears after seven years, so you may be tempted to wait it out as a way to repair your credit. However, you run into several major issues when you take this approach.

1. Creditors Reselling Debt

Once you miss a few payments on an account, a creditor typically claims a loss on the debt through a process called a charge-off. They may sell the account to a collection agency. This company attempts to get payment for the delinquencies. If they’re unsuccessful, the debt may pass to other debt collectors. These accounts may linger on your credit report, particularly if you make a payment to one of the businesses. You may get stuck waiting several additional years past the seven-year limit due to this activity and debt reselling.

You also get into a position where it’s difficult to keep track of the agency holding your debt. Some scam companies may act as though they are the responsible party, but they’re simply trying to get your personal information. With identity theft on the rise, you put yourself at risk.

2. Delayed Drop-offs

Why repair your credit when the negatives will just go away in seven years? Well actually, your bad debt doesn’t disappear from a credit report when the account reaches seven years in total. It’s calculated based on the date of the first delinquency, which is when you began missing payments. If you skipped several months then attempted a payment plan with the company before the charge-off, you may end up adding months or years to the predicted drop-off rate.

3. Multiple Listings

Another issue with waiting out seven years instead of repairing your credit, is the number of negative account listings you end up with on your credit report. You may only have one charge-off, but you can have the original listing, plus another one for every collection agency that purchased the debt. Waiting it out actually causes you to accumulate even more bad debt. Time is of the essence when you need to repair your credit. These entries bring down your credit report and can make your credit-worthiness look worse than it is.

4. Legal Consequences

You are legally liable for the debt you incur, even after the original creditor charges the amount off. The company has a certain statute of limitations in which they can take legal action against you for the account. This period varies from state to state but lasts for several years. You can get served with a lawsuit for the full amount, plus legal costs. Not only do you need to go to court, but you get a judgment against you that also ends up on your credit report.

5. Financial Consequences Costing You Thousands

Bad credit does more than stop you from getting credit cards. You end up with higher interest rates on mortgages, personal loans and car loans, if you can even qualify for them at all. Insurance companies use credit scores as part of their risk profiling, so you get a higher premium when you pick up vehicle or home insurance. Some creditors may place a wage garnishment or bank account lien on you after winning a judgment. You get money taken out of your paycheck or directly from your checking account, which can have disastrous consequences if it happens at the wrong time.

If your delinquent accounts come from the same company that holds your checking or savings account, it may end up pulling money from your accounts to cover these costs.



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6. Career Consequences

Government contracting often requires a security clearance for employees. If you have significant debt, you may not qualify for the right level to get the job. Many companies, particularly those in the financial industry, also look at your report as part of the hiring process. They may feel that many collection accounts show a lack of responsibility. To think you could be fully qualified but not get the job because you didn’t repair your credit.

7. Personal Consequences

Finding a place to live becomes difficult with bad credit. Landlords look through credit reports to determine whether you can afford to live in the apartment and whether you would be a good tenant. If they see a lot of charged-off accounts, you could get passed over for other applicants. Most professionally managed properties look at this information, so you would have to search out a private landlord instead.

The stress associated with bad credit is also significant. You have to worry about constant application rejections, wage garnishments, lack of access to credit products and an inability to get good rates on anything. In an emergency, you can’t turn to a credit card, which leaves you at the mercy of predatory lenders.

Since you can’t get credit cards, you don’t have access to incentives such as cash back, rewards points, roadside assistance and travel insurance. If you do qualify, you may have to pay an annual fee to keep the card open or secure the credit limit with your own money.

Sitting back and waiting for everything to blow over works well in a natural disaster, but it’s not a great tactic when you need to repair your credit. You face legal action, personal consequences and financial instability when you aren’t proactive about your credit health. Start looking into credit repair assistance, so you don’t have to put your life on hold for seven, 10 or even 15 years.

Sources:

http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/creditscores.aspx

http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/when-negative-information-will-be-removed-from-your-credit-report/

http://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/5-smart-ways-to-reduce-stress-around-personal-debt/

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eegk45gidm/credit-scores-dont-stop-with-credit/#54e166fd44c6

Boo! Credit Scores Can Be Scary, Fear Not with These 5 Secrets

By | Credit Scores, Uncategorized, Your Credit

Credit score repair company

Credit Scores can seem scary when you think about how that three-digit number can affect so many financial decisions in your life. Frightening enough, that score can then scare away lenders when you’re applying for a loan or a mortgage. The ones not frightened away give you a horrifying interest rate!

Before you go and hide under your covers, here are 5 ways to calm your fears and improve your credit score.

1. Pay Off Your Balances, Especially Large Ones, Quickly

This pointer might sound obvious, but the sooner you can eliminate your balances, the healthier your credit score will be. If you make a hefty purchase with a credit card, try to pay it off right away, even if you must sell a favorite possession to obtain the funds. When you do so, you might find that your score goes up substantially. Plus, you’ll lower the interest rate you’re paying. At the very least, try to pay down your highest balances to the greatest extent that you can.

If you’ve routinely paid your credit card bills late, don’t fall into despair and assume that punctual payments won’t do you any good now. Instead, start paying those bills on time. Despite your history, your credit score will eventually reflect your newfound effort. What’s more, you’ll get into a good habit.

Remember as well that you can use an online service that will automatically pay your credit card debts each month. Such a tool will ensure that you won’t ever forget one of your bills.

2. Consider a Debt Consolidation Loan

You could speak to a financial expert about taking out a debt consolidation loan. This solution isn’t ideal for everyone, but perhaps you’d benefit from one.

First, you might find it easier to pay off your credit cards by combining the amounts of money you owe to various credit card companies into one sum. It might feel less painful to make a more substantial payment each month rather than a series of smaller payments. Plus, you won’t accidentally overlook a payment that you owe. Even more appealing, your overall interest rate will be lower. And taking out such a loan might soon result in a higher credit score.

3. Bring Your Credit Utilization Ratio Down

Your credit utilization ratio is the portion of your total credit limit that you spend every month. This ratio should be less than 30 percent. Of course, that number might sound low, especially if your limit is less than $1,000.

Keep calculating your credit utilization ratio each month. If you find that it exceeds 30 percent, try to pay more with cash or a debit card. You could also try to make fewer purchases, rely on coupons and discounts more often or start shopping around for less expensive products and services.

Another way to improve your credit utilization ratio is to ask for a higher line of credit. That way, you might not need to reduce your spending rate. If you have any credit cards that will grant such an increase without investigating your credit, consider making this request. Just be certain that none of those companies plan to do a hard credit check; having such an inquiry performed lowers your score a little.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Credit Cards

Even though it’s important to keep your credit utilization ratio down, you should still be making regular purchases with all of your credit cards. Spending with your plastic and then making your payments in full is a highly effective way to raise your credit score. By contrast, when you completely avoid taking your credit cards out of your wallet or purse, you’re not doing anything positive for your credit report. And closing one or more of your credit cards could actually hurt your score.

On top of that, using your credit cards might allow you to collect exciting rewards. Possibilities include securing special deals on airfare and hotel stays as well as getting cash back when you buy certain items. Why pass up those goodies?

5. Seek Help from an Outstanding Credit Repair Service

Finally, a dependable credit repair service can help you boost your score and maintain that higher number over the long haul. It can keep careful track of your credit report and identify any mistakes or irregularities that might be unfairly damaging your credit.

The experts who work at such a company could also sit down with the credit card companies and other parties you owe money to. And they might be able to hammer out new agreements that are more lenient and favorable to you.

So there you have it: five financial tricks that can lead to real credit treats. These actions could provide you with the monetary rewards ― including better loan terms and insurance rates ― and the peace of mind that come with a healthy credit report.

 

Credit Cards: What You Need to Know Before Applying

By | Consumer Rights, Credit Cards, Credit Reports, Credit Scores

Think you know everything there is to know about your credit history and how it will impact your access to credit? In 2013 it was reported that 5% of consumers in the U.S. had an error on a credit report that led to them paying a higher interest rate on a loan.

Out of all the disputes credit card companies faced 16.5% of them were about billing. That’s more than double the amount of disputes regarding interest rates or fees.

That tells us that consumers don’t fully understand and utilize credit reporting. By habitually checking your credit report you can prevent errors and fraud and save money on fees and interest.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, there are a few steps you should take first. By following these steps you can secure a good interest rate and possibly be approved for a higher line of credit.

Prioritize

Determine what your goals are before shopping for a credit card. If you need to pay down debt on a credit card with high interest, look for credit card promotions that offer 0% balance transfer fees. If you need to make a big purchase look for cards that offer 0% interest for 12 or more months to provide ample time to pay down your debt before interest kicks in.

Shop Around

According to a consumer satisfaction survey first reported in US News Money, consumers are most satisfied with American Express. Credit Card companies that fall short include Wells Fargo and Capital One. Shop various credit card offers before applying.

Compare Rewards

Credit card point programs can be rewarding if you choose the right card. If you travel often and are looking to earn additional travel points go with a card that offers additional rewards on purchases made at hotels and on flights. If you tend to make a lot of small purchases, look for a card that rewards every day purchases like trips to the gas station or market.

Check Your Credit Score

Use a site like CreditKarma.com to get your credit score and review your credit history. If your credit card utilization is high, you may want to pay down some of your debt before applying for a new credit card. If you’ve already paid down your debt, but your score hasn’t refreshed wait for this to process before applying for an additional line of credit. By waiting you could save yourself money paid in interest later.

Access to credit can be a great thing when used responsibly. Always make sure to practice financial responsibility before applying for additional credit. Review the terms of a credit card agreement before signing up. Be aware of interest rates and due dates to stay on top of your bills and avoid late fees.

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