The material you are about to read in this report can help you improve your credit and enrich your life. It can also prevent you from being a victim of potentially unethical or dishonest creditors that are trying to prey upon your unfortunate circumstances.
“KEYS TO A BETTER CREDIT SCORE!” IS POWERFUL. On the following pages, I will put a lifetime of research to work for you. I will also share with you the “Confidential Information” that the nation’s leading creditors have attempted to keep to themselves.
By reading this report, it will put you in a much better position to take control of your credit future because you will be better prepared. You will know the right questions to ask and who to ask them to.
I encourage and look forward to your feedback regarding this report. Please feel free to call me, write me or email me with your comments or questions at the address or number listed at the end of this publication. So if you are ready to regain control of your credit life… read on!
I talk to a lot of people from nearby Bloomingdale, Georgia, with credit issues they never knew they had. Maybe you didn’t get that bill the hospital sent, or perhaps you just forgot. So the first thing you need to do is find out what is on your credit report. And the government has finally made something easy for you: they REQUIRE all three credit reporting agencies to provide a free copy once per year.
The three credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you have access to the internet, go to AnnualCreditReport.com, and get your free copy. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call and get a copy at 877-322-8228.
Once you get your report, look it over carefully. Are there records of past due payments you can show you made on time? Are there accounts still listed that have been closed? Worse, is someone else’s account or address listed under your name? One reason to check your report is to see if identity thieves have been opening accounts in your name. If you find any mistakes, write to the reporting agency and ask to have the information corrected. You should get a response within a few weeks; if not, give them a call.
So, now you know what your report says about you. Unfortunately, while the law gives you free access to your credit reports, you’ll have to pay to get your FICO score. Some lenders will provide your score when you apply for a loan. But if you want to know beforehand, you have to go to MyFico.com and pay $15.95 (You can sign up for a free 30-day trial).
You’ll see several other pitches out there for “free” reports, but BEWARE! When you get to the fine print, you have to supply a credit card, sign up for a “credit monitoring” service and then cancel after they’ve charged your account.
When you find something incorrect in your credit report, you should alert in writing both the credit bureau that provided the report and the information provider. This is the process to dispute credit report information.
If you have statements or canceled checks that support your claim, include copies of them with your statement (keep the originals for records). In your statement, include your name, complete address, the information you are disputing, and the reason the information is not accurate. It will be helpful to include a copy of your credit report with the disputed information highlighted.
Send your credit report dispute by certified mail with return receipt requested. This way, you not only have proof that you sent the dispute, but also that the credit bureau received your dispute. Keep a copy of the letter along with any enclosures you sent.
The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute and respond to you in writing with the results of the investigation. Any data you provided about the inaccuracy of the information will be forwarded to the original information provider. The information provider is then required to investigate and respond back to the credit bureau.
Once the investigation is complete, the credit bureau will provide you with the results, along with a free copy of your credit report if the dispute resulted in a change. You can request that the credit bureau send a correction notice to any company that accessed your credit report within the past six months.
If there is inaccurate information in one credit bureau’s version of your credit report, the information will likely be incorrect on the other two bureaus’ reports as well. You should check all three credit reports to be sure that the information in each is complete and accurate.
Often people become confused as to how to pay off their debts. Some pay one payment when the bill comes in and then another payment in a couple of weeks. By doing this, the company (or creditor) can become confused as to which month this payment should be applied to.
To stop this problem use online bill pay, which eliminates physical checks and stamps. When the bill arrives, you can make the monthly minimum payment due. You can make additional debt payments $5 or $100 or whatever you feel comfortable with until you receive your next bill. Start with the bill that has the highest interest rate.
After this first bill has been paid off, take the minimum payment you would pay on that bill and pay it on the next bill which has the second-highest interest rate in addition to what you were already paying to that card. Once again, throughout the month apply whatever you can on this online bill (like you did with the first bill) until it has been paid off.
If you continue to do this by attacking each bill one by one and not charging anything NEW, you will be able to conquer your bills and be without debt, other than perhaps your mortgage.
Also, by paying your bills online, you will have an accurate record of all of your payments, dates and the exact transactions that were made if needed later on for your credit report.
Consolidating student loans is one of the most effective ways to improve your FICO score dramatically. Just a few additional points on a FICO score can save tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime by locking in low-interest rates on houses, cars, and other items purchased later with credit.
Look through your wallet. How many credit cards do you count? While most Americans carry between five and ten credit cards, some people carry up to 50 — which could wreak havoc on your credit score. So, how many credit cards should you have?
Most experts say there’s no single magic number. Instead, the question can be answered by asking yourself how much you spend and how much you can pay off. But there is an upper limit: Credit agencies warn that the more cards you have, the more significant the risk you carry for racking up debt and damaging your credit.
“Some people go hog-wild at Christmas and open lots of store credit cards to get that 10% to 15% off their purchase,” says Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy at Money Management International. “Relatively speaking, that is a good idea if you pay off the balance and close the card right away. If you don’t, then you will cost yourself more money in the long run when your credit score isn’t up to par.” Consumer education experts agree to say that each time you open a store credit card, 20 points are taken off of your credit score. This is because historically store credit cards are issued to anyone with a pulse. They issue credit cards to people who otherwise can’t get credit.
Other credit counselors say that you should open a store credit card if it is a store that you shop frequently. Many store credit cards provide their customers with coupons, bonus points, and information on upcoming sales that can only be obtained if you carry the store’s card. However, it is highly recommended that you open no more than one favorite store card. A good rule of thumb is to keep two to six credit cards and make sure the credit cards you have are Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover because merchants will take almost any of them. Also, try your best to pay them off regularly, or if you can’t pay them off, find a credit card that has a low-interest rate to use for emergencies when you need new tires or when your water heater breaks. It’s also a good idea that your other credit card has reward points or air miles, something that gives you something back. That card doesn’t have to have a low-interest rate if you pay it off every month.
Credit inquiries will not significantly impact your credit rating if you do all your shopping in a short period. Since the market can change from day to day, this is the only effective way to shop anyway.
Credit scorers generally ignore auto and mortgage inquiries that occur within 30 days of a score date. For example, suppose you shop a lender on March 13, and the lender has your credit scored that day. Even if had shopped 50 other lenders in March and they had all checked your credit, none of those inquiries would have affected your credit score on March 30.
Circumstances can cause a consumer to shop, drop out of the market, and return later when conditions are more favorable. You minimize the adverse effect on your credit score by concentrating each shopping episode to 14 days or less.
Consumers should not be concerned about inquiries they make, such as ordering a credit report. Self inquiries don’t affect the credit score. Neither do inquiries from your existing creditors, potential employers, or businesses considering whether or not to solicit you. The only inquiries that affect credit score are those by new credit grantors who you have explicitly authorized to check your credit.
You need to read the fine print when it comes to 0% balance transfers. A few years ago, 0% balance transfers were extremely popular. You may not see as many offers for this as you did in years past, but card issuers are still trying to get customers to move their debt from one card to another with low rate offers. Unfortunately, many of these seemingly tempting offers are full of traps for the unknowing. To make matters worse, bouncing a balance from card to card can hurt your credit score.