Credit repair, done right, can do wonders for your credit report and your scores too! Here are a few tricks of the credit repair trade that will really make your scores move fast. Put them to work individually, or all at once, depending on your own needs, and watch the magic happen.
1) Open Accounts Right Now!!!
The FICO scoring model will give you bonus points for opening new accounts after a period of bad credit. It is all in the timing. Those old cards that survived the tough times are still worth something, but when it comes to credit repair FICO wants you to prove that you still have what it takes to get back in the swing of borrowing money. If your credit is crummy, secured credit cards are ideal. Small is good! Open now, pay on time, keep your balances low, and your scores may rise over 100 points in the next six months.
2) The Balance-Limit Connection
This credit repair tip is just as urgent for those opening new accounts today as it is for those managing already well seasoned revolving accounts. A little change in your balances can send your credit scores flying or diving. Have you maxed out a card lately and then checked out your scores? This is a fairly recent FICO tweak which can work for or against you. Try to use less than 30 percent of your limit for the best result.
3) Take a Look!
Have you seen you credit report lately? If not, why not??? There may be errors lurking and a simple dispute or challenge to the credit bureaus may be all it will take to get your scores back on track. Not sure how to check your report or how to dispute? Contact a professional right away. Good luck!
By Cesar Marrufo
ELITE FINANCIAL, LLC.com
Consumer Protection Through Education.
Sen. Dick Blumenthal wants explanations from the three credit rating bureaus about a New York Times report about a VIP list they allegedly keep that favors the rich and famous over everyone else.
The Connecticut Democrat wrote a letter Monday to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion about the reported separate system in which errors and disputes are resolved faster and with more attention than with other consumers, who must rely on an automated system and outsourced customer support to clear up mistakes.
“I am deeply troubled by the implication that your companies are neglecting the majority of consumers and providing preferential treatment for wealthy, famous or well-connected persons, and I ask you to confirm or deny these reports and provide more information on your dispute resolution process,” he wrote in the letter.
“An error-free credit report is vital to a consumer’s financial health, and consumers must be able to quickly resolve disputes and mistakes with the cooperation of the credit reporting bureau,” he wrote. “Every consumer deserves this cooperation, not just the rich and powerful.”
But the credit bureaus deny keeping VIP lists.
“We did respond to the senator, and to be as clear as possible, we do not have VIP lists that provides preferential treatment to anyone,” Tim Klein, a spokesman for Equifax, told FoxNews.com.
“We received the letter, and will be providing a response to Sen. Blumenthal,” Gerry Tschopp, a spokesman for Experian, said in an email to FoxNews.com. “As we’ve stated before, Experian does not have a VIP list.”
The New York Times interviewed an Arkansas resident who said she had been denied employment and credit because her filing was mixed up with a felon who had the same name and birthday, and a Louisiana consumer struggled to remove errors from her credit report that stemmed from a mix-up with a less credit-worthy person with the same name, similar address and Social Security number.
The newspaper also interviewed a number of consumer lawyers and advocates who accused the credit bureaus of lacking an incentive to improve the system because their main clients are the creditors, not consumers.
But Klein cited a new study from the Policy and Economic Research Council that showed less than 1 percent of all credit reports reviewed by the consumers prompted a dispute that resulted in a credit score correction and an increase of a credit score of 25 points or greater. It also showed that one half of one percent of all credit reports reviewed by consumers after the dispute process ended had credit scores that moved to a higher “credit risk tier” as a result of the dispute.
“We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we get it right a preponderance of the time,” he said.
Published May 17, 2011 | FoxNews.com
Follow these common-sense tips to get more stuff done — faster.
Odessa Hopkins knew she wasn’t spending her time as wisely as she could. The owner of a small Greenbelt, Md., marketing and advertising consulting firm called Another Approach Enterprises, was always juggling projects and keeping busy. But she “would work on a lot of things all day long, but at the end of the day I didn’t really finish anything,” says Hopkins, 52. While client deadlines were met, she says projects were sometimes taking longer than they should because she was juggling so much.
In 2009, she sought the help of a productivity coach and began learning ways to better manage her time. “Whenever people think about deadlines, they think about only the deadline that someone else gives them — not their own deadline,” says Hopkins, who also owns CEO Business Café, a local meeting venue for entrepreneurs. “Now, I give myself deadlines all the time.”
Time-management coaches say entrepreneurs often waste a lot of time in their day, but there are strategies for being more productive. Consider these five tips to get more done in a day.
1. Break projects into smaller pieces with deadlines. You can start by prioritizing activities for every day, writing a to-do list each night and scheduling each task, suggests St. Louis, Mo.-based productivity coach Cathy Sexton. For example, Hopkins realized she needed to place a higher priority to projects based on their revenue-generating capability. Once she had a list of what to tackle first, she scheduled a specific time on her electronic calendar to handle each item.
“If you don’t block out your time, everything else is going to get in the way,” Sexton says. Also, consider keeping a timer next to your desk to make sure you keep to your deadlines.
2. Delegate tasks that don’t generate revenue. Bookkeeping, payroll and copywriting are three tasks entrepreneurs often try to handle themselves to save money. But they often aren’t qualified or equipped to handle these tasks and end up losing valuable time that could be spent on revenue-generating activities, as Hopkins learned. “They end up doing what I call lower-value tasks that others could be doing for them,” says Audrey Thomas, a Minneapolis-based productivity coach. Business owners should realize, Thomas says, that outsourcing these activities allows them to devote more time to making money.
3. Stop obsessively checking email. This was another huge time-waster for Hopkins, as it is for many entrepreneurs, especially when messages are constantly flooding your inbox and distracting you from other important work. “I’d say I spend more time talking to my clients about managing email than anything else,” Thomas says. She recommends setting your email program to retrieve messages only manually — when you press a button to check it — or no more frequently than every 90 minutes. Moreover, she says, emails that are easy to respond to should be answered immediately, so you’re not wasting time reading over the same messages again.
4. Take advantage of technology shortcuts. You likely already use Microsoft Outlook, Excel and other common software programs with built-in time-saving features. Yet many business owners end up wasting time because they never learn how to properly use these programs — and the shortcuts. For instance, Microsoft Outlook lets people move items from their inbox directly onto their calendars, but many people still manually create calendar items, says Peggy Duncan, a time-management expert in Atlanta. Simply taking a class or reading a book about how to use common software programs can save a lot of time over the long run, Duncan says. “Any situation you bring up, there is technology out there to make that work basically go away,” she adds. “But people won’t spend the time learning how to use it.”
5. Train your employees adequately. A big time drain for business owners is employees who constantly ask questions, interrupting their day. If this is happening to you, the problem may be that they’re not adequately trained to do their job, warns Duncan. So make sure you have the resources and training procedures in place to best prepare and support employees in their work. Another big time waster, she adds, are customers who call with questions that could otherwise be answered on your company’s website. One solution is to create a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that prominently displays the helpful information on your website. “It should be a no-brainer for your customers to do business with you,” she says
BY Kelly K. Spors | July 29, 2011| entrepreneur.com
Will Defaulting on Season Tickets Hurt My Credit Score?
Attention sports fans: This answer could prove helpful if your team ticks you off.
We recently received a reader question that was very interesting — something we hadn’t thought of before. This one’s for you sports fans out there:
Does anyone know the impact of defaulting on season tickets will have on one’s credit? Will it have an impact on my car insurance, current loans for cars, or anything else? Please let me know. – Angry Fan
How defaulting on season tickets would impact your credit would depend on whether or not the organization reports the incident to the credit reporting agencies. If the default is reported as a collection, because collection accounts are considered severe delinquencies, the account would have a significant impact on your current credit standing and would hurt your credit scores.
This wouldn’t necessarily impact any accounts you currently have open, but if the impact is significant and your credit scores take a severe hit, it could affect future loans, their interest rates and your ability to qualify for them.
Your question prompted us to make a couple of calls to find out exactly how season ticket holder accounts are handled by major league sporting establishments. Interestingly enough, policies vary depending on the establishment, but what we learned may ease your mind.
According to the two major league establishments I spoke with, season tickets are normally paid for in advance, prior to the tickets being released and issued to the purchaser. Generally speaking, there are no contractual payment plans or financing options for standard individual season ticket purchases.
However, depending on the ticket package, some plans may allow the purchaser to hold their preferred tickets with a deposit, offering them a short grace period before they’re required to pay the remainder of the balance.
In the event the purchaser is unable to pay the remaining balance before the deadline defined by the establishment, the hold is ended and the tickets are re-released to the public for purchase.
In some cases the deposit will be refunded, and in others the deposit may be forfeited. It all depends on the purchase rules outlined by the individual establishment. In either case, defaulting on a season ticket purchase would have no bearing on your credit unless there were a contractual obligation or financing option involved with the purchase.
For corporate packages or purchases where suites are a part of the season ticket package, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Suites are contractual and legally binding. If you sign a contract and default on the purchase agreement, this is when defaulting on season tickets could end up as a collection in your credit reports and hurt your credit scores.
Here is some sound advice on what to do if you feel your credit card has been tampered with. Recent security breach teaches us all a lesson.
This is part 6 in a series of videos on basics of credit, which is Credit 101. What are my avenues of recourse? Where do I file a complaint? How do I challenge this information? Dispute to the credit bureaus and more is explained. This is something that should be taught in high school. A brief explanation of credit. Interview between Adam Villaneda and Cesar Marrufo. Elite Financial, LLC credit repair in Yucaipa, California. Learn how to fix your bad credit report and position yourself to purchase a home. I do NOT own rights to this music and am not claiming that I do.
New to the US? How can you build credit?
Dear Credit Card Adviser,
My son and his family recently moved to the U.S. after living abroad for 11 years. His wife does not have a Social Security number. Can she qualify for a credit card? Are there other actions she can take to boost her credit history?
This is a trickier question than it seems, with many parts. Let’s start with your son’s wife, or your daughter-in-law, and discuss how to get her a credit card.
Depending on the creditor, she may or may not need a Social Security number to apply for a credit card. Capital One and Chase require this number on their credit card applications. Discover and Bank of America accept Social Security numbers, but they also will take a taxpayer identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
American Express accepts several forms of identification: Social Security, taxpayer ID, a foreign driver’s license or a foreign-issued passport. Citi doesn’t require a Social Security number, but applicants who don’t have one may be asked to show a government-issued ID at the closest Citi bank branch.
Your daughter-in-law also can be added as an authorized user on many credit cards without an SSN.
Now, let’s look at her credit history. Unfortunately, your daughter-in-law’s foreign credit history can’t be transferred to the U.S. But she can start building one here even though she doesn’t have a Social Security number. It’s best to have one, though, to ensure her credit information is recorded accurately, says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education at Experian.
“Name and current address are the minimum requirement, but we strongly encourage the lender to provide the SSN, date of birth and previous address if it was within the last two years,” she says. “That additional information can be very important in helping us match the account to the correct consumer.”
TransUnion also builds credit histories on individuals without a Social Security number. Equifax didn’t respond to emails asking about their minimum identification requirements for a credit report.
Getting a Social Security number isn’t easy. Generally, only immigrants OK’d to work in the country by the Department of Homeland Security qualify for an SSN, according to the Social Security Administration website. There are exceptions, so contact the agency for more information.
Now, here’s a potential problem you probably didn’t anticipate: Your son may have a hard time getting a credit card, too. If your son didn’t maintain any open or active U.S.-based credit — such as a mortgage, credit card or other loan — while he was abroad, a lender probably won’t be able to pull his credit score. He may not even have a U.S. credit file anymore.
A U.S. credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion is based on payment history on mortgages, car loans, student loans, personal loans, credit cards and other loans he got here. If he doesn’t have any activity on these types of accounts in the past year or so, his credit report has gone stale, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.
“At that point, the credit report will cease to be scoreable under any credit score criteria,” he explains. Credit scoring models need recent activity to calculate a credit score. No activity, no credit score. No credit score, no new credit in most cases.
That’s not all. The credit reporting agencies don’t maintain credit files indefinitely. By law, negative credit information must fall off credit reports after seven years. Bankruptcies disappear after 10 years. Sounds good, right? But Ulzheimer says credit reporting agencies will eventually drop the good stuff, too. After 11 years, your son’s credit history may have vanished.
Your son should see if he has a credit report. If he does, he should give it a thorough read and make sure there aren’t any errors. He can pull his credit reports from each of the bureaus for free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. If he finds he has little or no credit history, he will need to start building credit again the same way a young adult does: through a secured credit card or as an authorized user.
Secured credit cards require an upfront deposit to act as collateral against the line of credit. The deposit equals the credit limit, and it’s placed in a money market account or certificate of deposit while the account is open. Typical deposits run between $300 and $500. The problem is that you need at least six months’ worth of activity on the card before a FICO credit score — the most widely used score out there — can be created.
This is where you, as a parent, can help out, if you have good credit history. Adding your son (and daughter-in-law) as an authorized user on a credit card (or two) will immediately populate his credit file with the card’s payment history. That means he’ll have a calculable credit score, too. He’ll be able to apply for credit in his own name and build from there. Good luck to the whole family!
By Janna Herron | Bankrate.com
One of the most common questions I get has to do with the impact of closing credit cards, “Which card or cards should I close?” Most consumers are aware of the fact that closing credit cards can lower your credit scores but that’s really where the facts end and the fiction begins…
Sometimes the relentless pursuit of those great credit scores causes us to do things that might seem foolish or even silly. Some of these are going to be situations where the smartest move might not be the best move for your credit scores. Please keep that in mind as you read on.
First and foremost, if you’ve conceded that you simply can’t properly manage credit cards then you shouldn’t have them, period. But, if you simply want to prune your wallet of some unused or expensive plastic then there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Each strategy has its pros and cons.
The Most Financial Benefit
If you want to get the most financial bang for your buck then rank your credit cards by their interest rate from highest to lowest and then slice off the top card/s. This strategy, which you didn’t need to hear from me because it’s so fundamental, is only useful if you revolve a balance from one month to the next. If you pay your cards off each month then the interest rate is irrelevant.
The annual fee associated with a card can also seem to be a reason for closing it. But, most annual fees are well below $100 so if you think about the other things you’re spending money on, a credit card annual fee doesn’t seem so bad. Having access to thousands of dollars of unsecured capital has value. Remember that before you close cards just because they have annual fees. You might regret your move.
The Most Credit Score Benefit
The above header is purposely deceptive. There is no credit score benefit to closing credit card accounts. When you close an account you lose the value of the unused credit limit, which can really slam your scores. If you close credit cards that have a balance the damage will be less than if you close cards that have no balance.
If you do choose to close accounts that have no balance then choose the card with the lowest credit limit, which is probably going to be a retail store credit card (those will also likely have the highest interest rates). Or, alternatively, close charge cards since they have no credit limits and are not counted by newer scoring models in the infamous “debt utilization” category.
The Biggest Myth About Closing Credit Cards
Here goes…”Close the newest card because if you close old cards you’ll lose the value of their age in your credit scores.” No, no, no. That’s incorrect. The only way you lose the value of an old account is if/when it’s removed from your credit reports. As long as the account is still on your credit reports then the scoring models see how old it is and your scores will continue to benefit from its age. The incorrect assumption is that credit-scoring models only look at open accounts when considering age related factors.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act doesn’t require the removal of closed accounts that are positive (void of negative information). We know at least one of the credit bureaus will allow a closed account to remain on file for 10 more years. Point being, when you’re going through the process of choosing which accounts to close don’t worry about how old they are.
By John Ulzheime http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/2011/05/which-credit-cards-should-i-close/
10 reasons you can’t get credit
When an application is turned down, you should know why. Here are some of the common reasons, and what you should do next.
If you’ve never been rejected for credit, count yourself fortunate. Somewhere between 25% and 35% of credit card applications are typically approved, “depending upon the pricing value proposition and other factors,” according to Robert Hammer, the president of R.K. Hammer and Associates, a consultant to the card industry.
With some issuers, the approval rate may be a mere 10% or so.
If you’re not turned down for credit, you may be told instead that you didn’t qualify for the best rate. Either way, if a credit score (or credit-based insurance score) was used in the decision, you must be told the main factors that contributed to your score.
Deciphering those reasons can be maddening, though. “What do you mean, I have no recent revolving balances?” Or, “So it says my account balances are too high. What does ‘too high’ mean anyway?”
Here’s a guide to some of the main reasons you may be turned down — and what you can do about them.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the factors that may be used to evaluate your credit. Not all of them will apply in all situations, and there may be variations on these as well.
‘Proportion of balances to credit limits is too high on bank revolving or other revolving accounts’
What it means: The score likely looks at your total available credit limits and compares them with your outstanding balances, individually and in the aggregate. The greater the percentage of your available credit that you are using, the greater the impact on your scores.
What you can do about it: Focus on paying down balances that are close to the credit limits as quickly as possible. What about transferring a balance from a maxed-out card to one with a smaller balance? While that might help, it’s not likely, since you still have just as much debt as before (another factor).
‘Amount owed on accounts is too high’
What it means: This factor may look at your debt in comparison with that of other consumers, and if your debt is higher than optimal, it could show up as a reason why you weren’t approved.
What you can do about it: This one is particularly frustrating because you probably have no idea how much debt is too much, nor do you know which balances to try to pay down first. Typically, though, you’ll get the most bang for your buck, credit-wise, by focusing first on paying down your credit cards with balances that are closest to the limits.
‘Too many recent inquiries in the past 12 months’
What it means: This reason appears when your credit report indicates a high number of credit applications (inquiries) within the past year. But not all are counted the same. Checking your own credit reports doesn’t count; nor do promotional inquiries, inquiries from employer and insurance companies, and account reviews by your current creditors. The impact of inquiries on your credit will vary, depending on your overall credit profile, but the typical inquiry can be expected to affect your score by about five points.
What you can do about it: This reason is more likely to appear when you have a limited credit history or strong credit, simply because there are fewer other significant negative factors affecting your scores. But it doesn’t hurt to lay low for a while. Avoid opening new retail cards. While inquiries resulting from shopping for a mortgage, student loan or auto loan aren’t as likely to hurt your score as the same number of inquiries for credit cards, limit your applications to a short period of time, such as 14 days.
‘Level of delinquency on accounts’
What it means: Delinquency refers to payments that were late. The general rule of thumb is that the further you fall behind, the greater the impact on your credit scores.
What you can do about it: If the information is inaccurate, you can dispute it. If it’s correct, you’re going to have to live with it for a while; usually up to seven years. Focus on making your current payments on time. If cash is tight, remember that all you have to do is make the minimum payment on time to avoid a delinquency on your report.
‘Time since delinquency is too recent or unknown’
What it means: Recent late payments will have a greater impact on your score than older late payments. Typically, delinquencies within a year or two will hurt your scores the most. If an account was delinquent a while ago but the credit report doesn’t indicate the date, this factor can pop up as well.
What you can do about it: The good news is that as time passes, these delinquencies will carry less weight, especially when you are paying current bills on time. But the date is important here. If an inaccurate date (or no date) is reported for a charge-off or collection account, for example, make sure you dispute that with the credit-reporting agency.|
‘Serious delinquency, derogatory public record or collection filed’
What it means: This can mean that your credit report includes a bankruptcy, judgment, tax lien or collection account. Bankruptcy remains on your report 10 years from the date you file (seven years for a completed Chapter 13). Paid judgments can be reported for seven years, but unpaid judgments can stay even longer. Paid tax liens are removed seven years after being paid, but unpaid tax liens can remain on your report indefinitely. Collection accounts may be reported for seven years and 180 days from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor, leading up to the account being turned over to collections.
What you can do about it: If the information is accurate, this is also a matter of biding your time and making sure you have as many positive credit references currently reporting as possible. (A secured card may be an option if you can’t qualify for a regular credit card.) And while paying a collection, judgment or tax lien won’t likely change this factor in the short run, it could result in the public-record item being removed from your report sooner and protect you from being sued for a debt, which could result in additional judgments or collections on your credit reports. If dates are incorrectly reported or payments are not being reported — not uncommon with collection accounts — dispute them.
‘No recent revolving balances (or no recent bank card balances)’
What it means: This reason may appear when your credit report doesn’t include any revolving accounts (usually credit cards), or when all your credit cards closed or are no longer being reported. If you have open credit cards, it may also appear when there are no balances on those accounts.
What you can do about it: Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you have to have debt to have good credit. As long as you use your cards from time to time, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you are avoiding credit cards altogether, you’ll have a tough time getting a top credit score. Get a credit card and use it occasionally — even a secured card — pay it in full and on time, and you should be fine.
‘Lack of recent installment loan information’
What it means: Your mortgage was paid off years ago. You pay cash for your cars. You don’t have any outstanding student loans. Guess what? The fact that you’re ultra-responsible here doesn’t help your credit scores.
What you can do about it: The strongest credit scores go to those with a mix of different types of accounts. Does that mean you have to rush out and take out a loan? No. But next time you go to buy a car, you may want to find out if you qualify for 0% financing or a low-rate loan. Or you may want to see if you can get a low-rate personal loan to consolidate some higher-rate credit card debt. On the other hand, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to pay a lot in extra interest charges.
‘Too few accounts currently paid as agreed’
What it means: This reason appears when your credit report does not show enough accounts paid on time relative to the number of accounts with late payments. But if you haven’t been late with payments, this reason most likely means that you need more accounts reported on your file as “paid as agreed.”
What you can do about it: You may want to think about adding a current credit reference, or even a couple of them over time. If you’re having trouble getting approved for a credit card or personal loan, consider a secured card.
‘Too many consumer finance company accounts’
What it means: Consumer finance companies make relatively small personal loans, usually limited to a several thousand dollars, and quite often at interest rates higher than those on most credit cards. Consumers who rely heavily on consumer finance company accounts tend to be riskier to lenders than consumers without such accounts.
What you can do about it: Paying off these types of accounts will not improve your credit immediately, but it’s still a good idea to pay them off as soon as you can, since the interest rates are probably high. Next time you need to borrow, try first to get a standard personal loan through a social-lending website, for example, or from your bank or credit union.
By Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com