Credit Repair After The Holidays

Credit Repair After The Holidays

Credit Repair After Christmas The holidays are a wonderful time of the year filled with family time and joyful experiences.  They can also be a time when extended travel, purchasing gifts and other expenses can take a toll on debt loads and credit scores. Additionally, the holidays are also a notoriously popular time for credit card fraud, identity theft and other white collar crimes.  In this article we will cover some tips for how to stay within your limits this holiday season and also how to recover if you are a victim of a crime that impacts your credit score. Holiday Budgeting It can be easy to get carried away during the holiday season, maxing out credit cards and wearing savings thin to pay for extra travel expenses and to get the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  The following are some tips for keeping your financial standing upright leading into the New Year. Make a Budget – Set up a holiday financial plan that includes planned and unexpected expenses Be Frugal with Travel – Traveling during the holidays can be the most expensive time of the year.  Look for the best all inclusive deals or stay with relatives to keep costs down. Don’t Max Out Cards – Instead of maxing out one credit card use other options such as store lines of credit to level out the debt to income ratio   What to Do if Your Information Gets Stolen If you have your identity stolen or your credit card number used fraudulently during the holiday season, it can have a major impact on your credit score.  The first thing to do is close your credit cards and notify the bank of the situation.  The next thing you need to do is follow the steps for identity theft recovery.  Refer to our series of articles on Identity Theft for more help. After you have done this be sure to consult with credit repair specialist about restoring your score.  Reach out to an expert on our credit repair hotline when you are ready.  Call us...

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Secrets For Repairing Credit After Bankruptcy

Secrets For Repairing Credit After Bankruptcy

A Few Quick Tips for Rebuilding Credit Post BK Despite how overwhelming bankruptcy may be on your credit, there are a few lesser known secrets that can help you rebuild and quickly repair your credit score.  There is not an exact order in which these steps should be followed; however every single one of these actions will help improve your credit score.  Over time, with good borrowing and spending habits, it is possible to 100% recover from a bankruptcy filing regardless if it is chapter 7 or 13.   Open a Bank Account – Make Timely Payments This may seem very obvious; however you would be surprised how many individuals post-bankruptcy move to a “cash only” system.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this philosophy, if the goal is to rebuild credit, using cash only to make payments will not help the process. Regardless if it is a checking or savings account, opening a bank account and using it to pay bills will keep your payment history visible to creditors and lenders.  This is a good thing from a credit score standpoint.  Remember from What Makes Up a FICO Credit Score that payment history is the largest factor at 35% of the credit score.   Open Credit Cards (3 is Magic #) The ideal situation is to open credit cards right before or during bankruptcy because prior to the BK showing up on your credit report it will be easier to get approved for unsecured lines of credit.  However based on amount owed, this may not be possible.  Post-bankruptcy if you cannot get approved for any unsecured credit card, go with a secured credit card, a opposed to cash.  This is the type of card that requires you to deposit funds in an account to establish spending limits.  It may seem somewhat futile; however this goes a long way to helping show credit worthiness. Additionally it is better to have small balances on credit cards instead of having them maxed out or zero.  Also be careful when applying for multiple cards in a short period, as this will generate inquires which will actually negatively affect your credit. Become an Authorized User on a “Good Credit” Account This does not give you access to the funds on the account, however it does allow you to borrow the good credit of the account holder.  This is an easy one to do as long as you...

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Debt Settlement Information

Debt Settlement Information

Debt Settlement Programs That Work: Why Trusted Debt Settlement Programs Can Be Exactly What You Need In Your Life! Debt Settlement, also known as Debt Consolidation, is the process of paying less than is owed on credit cards and other unsecured debts, by negotiating with your creditors. Secured debts such as student loans, auto loans, and home mortgages unfortunately do not qualify for such programs. You will need to be in default on your current loans to utilize any debt settlement program and be able to gain the leverage needed to negotiate with your creditors. Typically, debts can be reduced by 40-70%.   Debt Settlement FAQ’s:   Does Debt Settlement Work?:   Yes! However, debt settlement isn’t for everyone. Debt settlement is designed for those who can no longer make their payments, already behind on their payments, or even considering bankruptcy. Debt settlement, when done properly, is a very safe alternative to bankruptcy. Debt settlement may not be an ideal option for those with very little debt. On average, a debt settlement client has $30,000 of unsecured debt.   Does Debt Settlement Hurt Your Credit?:   Debt Settlement is listed on your credit report, so yes, it will definitely impact your score. Debt settlement only works once you’ve been in default on your loans, because if you’re still current, creditors are unlikely to want to work and negotiate with you. Even though debt settlement can adversely affect your credit score, when compared to filing bankruptcy, debt settlement is far less detrimental to your score.   Is Debt Settlement Better Than Bankruptcy?:   Like we’ve discussed Bankruptcy, comparing debt settlement to bankruptcy, should be on a case by case basis. They both have their pro’s, and they both have their con’s. Bankruptcy will offer you legal protection under the court so that you don’t have to worry about being sued or harassed by creditors during the bankruptcy process. Debt settlement does not provide the guaranteed legal protection that bankruptcy does, however most reputable debt settlement companies will work to assist you in minimizing creditor calls and harassment where they’re able to.   Obviously there’s much to consider when deciding which route to take between bankruptcy and debt settlement. Our recommendation is to speak directly to a bankruptcy attorney to make sure you understand all the ins and outs of the process. This will help you make a more informed decision and...

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5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

A Proactive Approach Never Hurt Anyone: Improving Your Credit Score One Step At A Time A damaged credit score can affect a number of things in your everyday life. Aside from the emotional strain and stress that damaged credit provides, a poor credit score can affect anything from applying for loans, to potential job opportunities. Credit restoration takes more than just time; it requires effort on your part as well. It’s easy, we’ll show you how.   1. Order Your Credit Reports You can’t begin the process of credit restoration without having a good grasp on your own credit situation. This is an extremely important step. You must find out what the 3 main credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, have on file about you and what is being reported.  Chances are all 3 are going to vary, this is completely normal as creditors aren’t required to report to all 3 bureaus.   2. Carefully Examine Your Credit Reports We can’t stress this enough! Be extremely thorough in your examination. The majority of Americans have incorrect information reported on their credit reports. The credit bureaus are not required to verify the information the creditors send over to them. They generate your credit score/reports based solely on what they receive, regardless of the accuracy of the information. This leads us straight into our next step.   3. Credit Disputes and Resolution Credit errors hurt your credit score more than you may think. This is why creating a dispute is vital. You can do this all online as you’re investigating your credit report. If you prefer to have hard copies of your documents, mailing these disputes in is an option as well. It is important to clearly identify and document all the disputes being submitted. Make sure to print out and keep extensive records of EVERYTHING. Once submitted, a resolution may take up to 45 days to be completed. If you need assistance with this step, please call 888-586-7099   4. Get Caught up on All Open Accounts Devise a structured plan to bring all your open accounts current. Do this as fast as you can. If you’re struggling to make your monthly payments, call your creditors and let them know your situation. Communication is key during this time. The easy way is to just ignore it and hide under a rock, but if you show the creditors you’re actively trying...

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Only YOU Can Prevent Identity Theft!

Only YOU Can Prevent Identity Theft!

Fool Me Once, Shame on Me, Fool Me Twice… How Identity Theft occurs and the consequences of this crime have been covered. At this point you should have a better understanding of what is done with your social security number, banking info, and other personal information once it has been stolen. Below we’ll cover basic, yet important steps to take to ensure your personal info stays……..personal.   Steps you can take to prevent Identity Theft: Destroy private records and statements. Secure your mail. Safeguard your social security number. Don’t leave a paper trail. Never let your credit cards and check cards out of your sight. Know who you are dealing with. Take your name off marketers’ hit lists and opt out of sharing info. Be defensive with personal info. Monitor your credit report. Review your bank statements carefully. Add passwords to all accounts. Don’t allow your kids to use the same computer on which you do online banking and store financial records (children are apt to download games and attachments that host damaging viruses or attract spyware). Beware of offers that appeal to greed or fear in exchange for personal data. Be aware. A lot of people associate identity thieves as “shady guys sitting in a hotel room who pick names at random.” Be aware that everyone from organized crime to your father-in-law could potentially be an identity thief. Don’t give out your social security number before carefully evaluating if it is absolutely necessary. Your bank may need it, but your grocery store savings club does not! Invest in a shredder. Get into the habit of shredding all documents before tossing them in the garbage. Practice safe shopping. Only shop from secure sites that will encrypt your order. To make sure you connection is secure, look for “https://” at the beginning of the URL and also check for a little picture of a padlock or an unbroken key in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser. Be suspicious of unexpected calls or letter. Even if the caller asking for your information seems real, it’s best to double check. Protecting yourself from identity theft is important and can be accomplished by being constantly aware and taking simple measures such as those listed above.   Don’t Hit “Send” Just Yet: Sensitive Information That Should Not Be Emailed: Social Security Number Drivers License Number Account Number(s) Credit or Debit Card Number PIN or...

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