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How do Reputable Credit Repair Companies Work to Raise Your Score?

How do Reputable Credit Repair Companies Work to Raise Your Score?

You’ve probably heard of credit repair scams: companies who promise dramatic results but want you to pay all the money up front, or who say they can remove legitimate items from your credit report. But what is it like to hire a credit repair company that actually has your best interests at heart? Not all credit repair companies are scams, and there are situations when hiring a credit repair firm can yield great results well worth the cost. Here’s what you can expect from a legitimate credit repair company. They Will Go Over Your Credit Report With You in Detail A trustworthy credit repair company wants to help you improve your credit situation, but they won’t sugar coat anything. The first order of business is pulling all of your credit reports and going over them with a fine-toothed comb. Your credit repair company should be upfront about items they can potentially fix in the short term, and which items they won’t have any control over. In addition to this, your credit repair company should give you the tools and advice you need to raise your credit score in the long term. They Identify and Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report An experienced credit repair company will have been helping people improve their credit for a long time. They know the ins-and-outs of credit laws and regulations, using their expertise to identify and dispute legitimate errors on your credit report. Over 40 million Americans have errors on their credit reports, and so there is a good chance that your report isn’t squeaky clean. However, a legitimate credit repair company will...
How Long do Negative Items Hang Around on My Credit Report?

How Long do Negative Items Hang Around on My Credit Report?

Your credit report provides a detailed history of your credit usage. It’s unfortunate, but even one missed payment can bring your score down significantly. However, the negative items on your score don’t hang around forever. Let’s break down exactly how long you can expect to wait before your credit report is washed of those negatives. How Long Do Negatives Stay on Your Credit Report? 7 Is the Magic Number Most negative items will be reported on your credit report for 7 years. This includes: Missed Payments Foreclosures Collections Public records Bankruptcies for Chapter 10 If seven years sounds like a long time, you’ll probably be relieved to learn that the effect of these negative items decrease with time. This means that the older a negative item is, the less impact it will have on your credit score. Negative Items that Hang Around Longer Than 7 Years The main exception to the 7-year rule is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In this case, the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years. An unpaid tax lien is considered the most serious, and may remain on your credit report indefinitely. Once it’s paid off, then it remains on your report for another 7 years. The Good News While negatives can seriously hurt your credit score, you may be pleased to learn that positive information (like an account paid off as agreed) will remain on your credit for up to 10 years, according to Equifax. Inquiries, which have a relatively small impact on your credit score (and some types of inquiries have no impact on your score), will stick around for 1 to 2 years. To learn...
How to Find the Contact Information of a Creditor or Collection Agency

How to Find the Contact Information of a Creditor or Collection Agency

Sometimes we simply forget about a payment, or get behind on a loan. Other times a credit report error (or worse, a case of identity theft) can lead you on a wild goose chase just looking for a simple address or phone number. Life can get messy, and creditors aren’t always the easiest to contact when you need to. When it comes to tracking down your creditors, it’s often easier said than done. It’s not uncommon to not know the exact company name of a creditor, let alone their address or phone number. Things can get even more complicated when a creditor decides to hire a collection agency, which may be harder to identify and contact. If you need to write a credit dispute letter, or if you simply need to contact a creditor to verify the amount of money you owe, then you’re going to need a phone number or address. Here are the best places to look for this information: Check Your Credit Report The first place you should look to find creditors is your credit report. By law you are allowed one free credit report per year, which you can access at AnnualCreditReport.com. To find contact info for your creditors, look in the account history portion of your credit report. Here you will find info (address, phone number, and abbreviated account number) of all your accounts from the last 10 years, whether they’re open or closed. If an account has gone to collections, it will show the contact info for the collections company. Other Places to Look If the contact info you find on the credit report proves unreliable, there...
Little-Known Factors That Negatively Affect Your Credit Score

Little-Known Factors That Negatively Affect Your Credit Score

Unless you’re brand new to credit, you probably know the basic things that can negatively affect your credit score: missed payments, credit report errors, maxed-out credit cards, bankruptcy, etc. All these factors are pretty serious, and may require some outside help in the case of credit repair errors. However, there are a few lesser-known factors you should know about that can also lower your score. Missed Rent Payments If you thought your rent payments were free from the credit bureaus, think again. Missed rent payments are routinely reported to the credit bureaus, resulting in a lower credit score. Thankfully, with the help of companies like RentBureau, ClearNow, and RentTrack, positive rent histories can actually help raise your credit score. So if you’re looking to improve your score, maintaining a good rental history can give you a good boost. Missing Accounts If you have positive accounts that are missing from your credit report, then you’re missing out on their potential to improve your score. Fixing this problem is fairly simple, just follow these steps: Get a copy of your credit report Make a list of any accounts that you make monthly payments on (including things like cable, internet, utilities, etc.) See if any are missing from your credit report (which is likely) Contact the companies where you keep the missing accounts and ask them if they will report your positive history to the credit bureaus You may be surprised that many of these companies will be more than willing to help you out. The extra positive credit history these accounts provide are sure to be a boon to your credit score. Paying on...
Protect Your Credit Score While on Vacation

Protect Your Credit Score While on Vacation

A vacation has many benefits besides just downtime. According to WebMD, people who take vacations lower their risk of heart disease and reduce their stress levels. But taking a vacation can be risky for your credit. The extra costs of travel, lodging, and dining can strain your finances, and using credit cards abroad often comes with added fees and hassles. It can also be easy to forget to make monthly payments while you’re on vacation, and even one missed payment can potentially lower your credit score. Here are a few ways you can protect your credit score while on your next vacation: Start Saving For Your Vacation Several Months In Advance Being financially responsible is at the heart of keeping a good credit score. To ensure you don’t have to go into debt to finance your vacation, start saving several months in advance. Giving yourself plenty of time to save makes it easier to get the money you need to truly enjoy your vacation. Make a Vacation Budget, and Stick to It Vacations have a way of draining bank accounts if you’re not careful. While you might think that having a vacation budget only adds stress when you’re supposed to be relaxing, the opposite is true. Without a budget, you’re only going to be more stressed when you come home and discover that you spent twice as much as you planned on spending. Your vacation budget should include all your planned expenses, but it should also include enough wiggle room for spontaneous activities. Plan How You’ll Pay Your Bills While You’re Away One of the tricks to maintaining a good credit...
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