5 Reasons Why You Need A Good Credit Score Even When You’re Retired

Retirement is your reward for committing to years of hard work. But while you may be planning to see the world, finally write that book, or just spend lots of time with your grandkids, you may not be giving much thought to your post-retirement credit score. You may believe that, upon exiting the workforce, you can stop worrying about those pesky credit reports, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Still not convinced? Here’s a look at five reasons why keeping an eye on your credit score should still be a priority throughout your retirement.

1. Credit card rewards programs

Many savvy retirees choose to utilize credit cards for everyday expenses, as a good card can enable you to accumulate rewards. As long as card payments are made in full each month, you can avoid interest while still reaping the benefits of buying with credit. If you keep your FICO score high, you’ll enjoy access to the best credit card rewards programs – including platinum-level travel cards. This can make it a lot easier for you to manage airfare, hotel costs, and other travel expenses throughout your retirement.

2. Great insurance rates

Auto and homeowners insurance agencies look to credit scores when quoting monthly premiums. When your credit score is higher, you will appear to be more responsible, resulting in lower overall insurance payments. Even if you have been insured with the same company for years, you should never stop shopping around for a better policy. Keeping your credit score high can help you to find all of the best deals, and will provide you with negotiating power with insurance agents. This is especially important in retirement, as any monthly savings can provide you with more capital for both regular expenses and making the most of each day.

3. Refinancing your mortgage

Although entering into retirement without any debt is a noble goal, the reality of the matter is that nearly 40 percent of senior homeowners, ages 60 to 64, carry a mortgage. This statistic, provided by the research of Strategic Business Insights, makes it clear that retirees should make plans for managing mortgage payments after work. Those with a high credit score will enjoy the luxury of being able to refinance their mortgages, enabling them to save significantly on monthly payments… Ultimately, this could mean the difference between being locked down by your home, or living the dream.

4. Keeping an eye out for identity theft

Retirees who believe their credit scores to be irrelevant may not take the time to review your credit reports each year. This is bad news, as senior adults are often targeted for identity theft, and unless you regularly monitor your reports, you may not realize that you have been victimized. To minimize your risk, be sure to always keep an eye out for suspicious activities or mistakes.

5. Second acts

For many individuals, the meaning of retirement has changed dramatically. Instead of viewing retirement as the closing chapter of life, a growing number of retirees are viewing this as a “second act” – a time wherein they have the ability to pursue their dream careers, and finally do the work that they love. This may mean becoming the author of a children’s book, building custom furniture, or selling crafts and artwork at trade shows. While many second act goals may not require a lot of capital investment, some do. Having a good credit score could make it easier for you to obtain any necessary loans.

Your credit will always matter. By keeping tabs on your score, you’ll enjoy a happier, more peaceful retirement.

Author Bio: This article was written by author and blogger Chase Sagum. Chase covers Economic topics for BestCreditScoreCompanys.com.

Lenders Without Credit Checks

Consumers do not always have credit scores to get the money they need in an emergency.

The biggest challenge in securing a loan is the credit check.  This is a record of every account that a borrower has open, the balances on those accounts, the credit limits the borrower has available and a list of every late or missed payment.  This comprehensive look at a person’s finances strips away the humanity of the borrower, and reduces the borrower to nothing but a set of numbers.  Banks refuse to loan money to people with low credit scores, so where do borrowers go to the money that they need?

Pawn Shops

For centuries pawn shops were the only place that people could go for consumer credit.  These were shops were potential borrowers could take a portion of their belongings and offer something as collateral in exchange for a loan.  The loan was always for the short term, and the loans were designed to be paid back with interest before the items would be returned to the borrower.  Even today, pawn shops act as one of the easiest places for consumers to get money quickly.  There is no credit check needed; pawn shop employees just evaluate the value of the items to be pawned and make an instant decision about how much money they are willing to lend.  The problem with pawn shops is that the consumer must give up the items in order to get the loan.

Car Title Loans

Another collateral based short term loan option is a car title lender.  These companies allow consumers to trade in the clear title of any vehicle they own and get money based on the estimated value of the vehicle.  Again, there is no need for a credit check, because the value of the vehicle is equal to or less than the total value of the loan and the lender can easily recoup the cost of the loan by repossessing the vehicle if the loan falls in to default.  Car title loans allow the consumer to continue using their vehicle during the duration of the loan.  The problem with car title loans is that not every borrower has a title that is free and clear, and often the vehicles these borrowers do own have very little value.

Payday Loans

The newest trend in short term loans are payday loans.  This is money that is given to the borrower based on paychecks that are directly deposited into the borrower’s bank account.  Payday lenders do not worry about credit checks because they have the ability to reach into the borrower’s account and make payment withdrawals on payday.  Getting approval for a payday loan is incredibly quick and easy, with most applications taking less than ten minutes.  The problem with payday loans is that the fees associated with the loan can often cause the borrower to fall into a debt cycle, where each pay period the consumer has to borrow money because a good chunk of the previous check went to paying off the last loan.

Consumers have options when looking for short term loans.  Depending on their situation and what the borrowers have for collateral, choices range from a simple pawn shop transaction to a payday loan.

Author Bio: My name is Bill Carleson and I used to have terrible credit and had to take many loans out through a company called payday loans Australia that really helped me due to not having credit.  Over time I have learned a lot about them so I wrote this article to share a little about what I learned overtime. 

4 Key Things That Will Raise Your Credit Score

If you want to buy a new TV, there is a good chance that you don’t need credit for that and have enough cash to buy one. Do you want a new car? You don’t necessarily even need credit for that. How about a house? Chances are you are going to need a mortgage to buy that house. Do you qualify for one? If not, you need to start building credit. This can take some time. But here are four important factors that will build your score.

Pay On Time

I know I know, this isn’t some big secret. But it’s one of the most important things you can do to for your credit rating. A single delinquency on your credit report can haunt you for years. So do whatever you need to do to remember to pay on time such as marking your calendar or setting up automatic payments through your bank.

Get A Secured Credit Card

This really only applies to people who have awful credit or zero credit. The way a secured credit card works is that you send the credit card company say $500. They then send you a credit card with a $500 limit. You’ll have to pay a high interest rate and fees, all for borrowing your own money. However, if you are at the beginning of a credit recovery, this may be your only option.

It may not be the most desirable option, but this will help start the process of establishing a positive credit history and begin to rebuild your score. Just use it from time to time, then pay it off every month. Once you establish some credit history, you can get a different card and ditch the expensive secured credit card.

Debt To Credit Ratio

Your debt to credit ratio is an important factor on your score. What does it mean? For example if you have a credit limit of $1,000 and you have a $900 balance, your debt to credit ratio is 0.90, or 90% utilization. Lenders want to see you with a lower utilization. I know it seems like a sad Catch-22: showing that you REALLY NEED credit makes you less creditworthy.

Paying balances down will quickly raise your score. In fact, if you are in need of a quick score boost of a few points, go pay something down. The optimal debt to credit ratio is around 25%. Which leads me to my next point:

Don’t Close Your Old Credit Accounts

Have a card laying around that you don’t use? Don’t close it, hold onto it. Here is why. Lets say you have an old card with a zero balance on it, with a $4,000 limit. And then you have one other card with a $4,000 limit, and you have a $2,000 balance on it. With both cards, your debt to credit ratio is 25%, which is great. However if you close the old account, your debt to credit ratio changes. Even though you are only $2,000 in debt, you now only have access to $4,000 in credit. This raises your debt to credit ratio to %50.

Also, older, more established accounts will also contribute to your credit score. So if you have an old account that is in good standing, keep it, and keep it in good standing.

All four of these things are really there to help you demonstrate the most important thing: that you are a reliable borrower. It’s wise to think about your credit before you actually need it. Trying to spruce your credit up a month before you want to get a mortgage isn’t going to do you a lot of good. So plan ahead, and most importantly: be reliable.

Author Bio: Matt Hansen is a former realtor, investment property owner and contributor to the website Rental Property & Mortgage Headquarters.

Why Don’t Banks Always Offer Free Credit Scores?

While the words free credit score may perk up your interest, don’t get too excited as what you see is certainly not what you are hoping to get. When struggling with credit issues, monitoring your credit core is key to ensure you are improving your score, managing on payments, and sidelining potential errors that can badly damage your credit.

Do banks offer free credit scores?

Recently, Wells Fargo offered free credit scores to their customers for a limited time. After further investigation, however, it appears that this is not exactly what most people are looking for. Traditional FICO scores are in the 300-850 range. Wells Fargo’s VantageScore is an adjusted version of the their 501-990 scale.

It is important to remember that FICO scores are not free. Credit reports are free once each year, but these do not produce your actual credit score. When you choose to look at free credit scores what you are actually getting is an “estimated” score, based on your FICO.

Credit ScoresBanks do not always offer free credit scores because they don’t own them. Due to strict lobbying on behalf of financial interest groups, it is nearly impossible to get your score for free. Banks do not own your credit score, but merely provide information on your account standing and credit worthiness to consumer reporting agencies such as Experian, Equifax and Transunion, which are in turn monitored by FICO (Fair Isaac).

Are estimated scores even worth it?

Though you may not be getting the real thing, having a scaled version of your FICO score can still help. The FICO is what is used by most mortgage and credit companies to determine your creditworthiness. Since free scores reflect an estimate of your creditworthiness it is usually a good indicator of whether or not you actually have good credit. If you have a high credit score, your estimated score will be high and vice versa. Where this can be tricky is if you are one of few buyers in middle ground, whose score borders fair and average credit.

Can you ever get a free FICO score?

So, can you get ever obtain your FICO score for free? When you go to purchase a car, the company will run your credit to check out your trustworthiness and likelihood of paying the car off in time. If you really want to check your score for free, simply go in to a car dealership and have them run your credit to see “if you qualify.” The dealer will produce a paper with your actual FICO score. Be sure to take a strong-willed friend with you in order to quickly and effectively shoot down any sales tactics.

Another option for getting your credit score for free is through signing for a free trial through Fair Isaac, the owners of FICO themselves. Their Score Watch service monitors and reports any changes to your credit. You can access the trial for 10 days for free, after which you should cancel the trial to avoid the $14.95 fee for 3 months of credit monitoring.

How much is my credit score?

If you just want to purchase your FICO score you can do that too. It costs $19.95 every time you would like to see it and can be accessed through the Fair Isaac website.

Be Careful

Though you can check your credit score for free in this way, don’t do it too often. As Credit Repair firm Lexington Law warns, each credit score that is requested on your behalf shows up on your credit report. Too many of these requests, and your score will go down. This is because companies perceive you are out seeking too much credit and may incur debt.

Author Bio: This article was written by author and blogger Chase Sagum. Chase covers Financial and Economic topics from a political perspective around the web.

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How to Lower Credit Card Interest

You just realized you have been paying high interest rates and you do not know what the problem is? Here are some steps you can consider on how to lower credit card interest.

How much interest are you paying?

The first step you should take is look at the amount of interest you pay. This is done by collecting your latest statements of your credit cards. Listed at the top or at the end should be your Annualized Percentage Rate or APR. Alternatively, you can inquire about your APR fro, your credit card company. It is also advisable to do a search on what rates the credit company is offering new customers. By doing this you can get yourself lower rates.

Make a comparison

Making comparisons means you compare your credit card rates to those of national averages. Websites, for example, bankrate.com, cardweb.com and creditcard.com can be of help to you. From the websites, you will be able to compare the new credit card rates offered to borrowers.

What Rate should you be paying?

It is prudent to determine your credit score before calling the credit company and know where it lies. With this information, you can then be able to determine the exact rate you should be paying. It is easy to know your credit score if you do not know yet. You can click on the relevant website which have a lot of information that will assist you, depending on your country. In this case for example, you will click on the ‘credit score’ option from your account and it will be shown to you. A ‘super prime’ credit score, for instance, means you should not be charged within the regular ‘prime’ rate category. With this information, you can lower your credit card rate. Ask the company why they are charging you higher when you should be charged in a totally different category of rates.

Calling the credit company

You are now fully equipped with the necessary information and you have to make that important call. How do you go about it? Remember this is your financial situation at stake and if you do not do what you have to do, your rates will go on shooting higher and leave you in debt. Pick up the phone and ask to be put through to the relevant personnel. Explain your current credit rate and go ahead to state your credit score. Remember to ask the reason why they charge you higher rates when they offer better rates to other competitors. It may not work to your favor with the first call but do not give up. Call again and negotiate.

Credit card companies always lower rates, in fact, every single day. If you are not satisfied, however, you can ask the company about debt management plans. This can be taken as a last resort when everything else does not work. The credit company will help you restructure your debt situation, giving you a different lower rate. Make that call today and enjoy lower credit card interest.

Roger is a freelance writer that loves to cover financial topic. You can visit site here.

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Personal Loans for people with bad credit

Too often people with bad credit find it very difficult to secure a Personal Loan. They can get quite desperate in their search, and it is not uncommon for people to get involved with loan sharks. But what other avenues are open for personal loans for people with bad credit? Hilary Bowman offers some tips …..

Unsecured Personal Loans With Bad Credit: Why They Are Available to Those In The Know

Applying for unsecured personal loans with bad credit is no simple matter. The reason is down to the fact that the lender needs to be convinced the loan will be repaid. This is usually done by meeting their set criteria.

When it comes to traditional lenders, like banks, personal loan approval with no security is quite difficult to get, especially when a bad credit score is part of the equation. Banks like to know that they at least have something from which to get compensation should the loan be defaulted upon. Not having that security makes them nervous.

Understandably, getting unsecured loans approved requires a more selective approach, but it is important to know that it is by no means impossible to get the funds that are needed. Often, the difference between success and failure is the application itself, not the bad credit status.

Why Unsecured Loans Exist

Personal Loan Bad creditThere is no great mystery as to why lenders are willing to grant unsecured personal loans with bad credit. Statistically, most people do not possessions of the required value to provide as collateral. So, if unsecured loans were not offered, then lenders would miss out on a large amount of business.

Also, personal loan approval with no security is not such a detrimental move by lenders, with statistics showing that the vast majority of borrowers do repay their loans. By charging a higher rate of interest to compensate for the perceived extra risk, lenders make higher profits that cover losses from defaulted loans.

Also, being able to get unsecured loans approved, means that borrowers (if they have valuable items) do not need to put any of their own possessions at risk for what might be a relatively small loan.

Apply for What is Realistic

With that in mind, knowing what is possible is a key aspect when applying for unsecured personal loans with bad credit. Put simply, no lender will approve a loan that is too expensive to repay, so a person earning $5,000 will not be approved for an unsecured loan of $1 million. Realistic applications are far more likely to succeed.

Knowing your credit score is a good place to start when assessing what is affordable. The chance of getting unsecured loan approval with no security is greater when this is known, because the application can be tailored to suit. For example, a very low score like 500 will not help when seeking a loan of $25,000, but may be okay when seeking $3,000.

Of course, scores can be improved over time. It is easier to get small unsecured loans approved, such as payday loans, which can be repaid in full in a short period of time.

Sometimes what the applicant thinks is affordable is not what the lender thinks is affordable. Granting an unsecured personal loan with bad credit is a risk for any lender, but the income and the amount of existing debt the applicant has is a core issue.

All lenders go by the debt-to-income ratio when bad credit scores are a factor in the equation, but it is especially important when considering personal loan approval with no security. The ratio refers to the amount of debt an applicant already has compared to the amount of available income.

Set at 40:60, it means that debt is limited to 40% of the available income, so the borrower does not over-extend himself, even when getting an unsecured loan approved, even with bad credit.

Hilary Bowman is a Financial Expert who specializes in Loans for People with No Credit and Bad Credit Loans

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Hilary_Bowman

More Tips: Video – Personal Loan Tips if you have bad credit

The best way to get a personal loan with bad credit is to have someone with good credit act as a cosigner. Learn about the added responsibility of having a cosigner for a personal loan with information from a registered financial consultant in this free video on money management. More information: click here

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Fixing Your Credit Score

It used to be the case that most people had never heard of their credit score, much less knowing precisely what it was and keeping an eye on it every month. Nowadays however, that credit scoring system has become ever more important in the way people’s finances are judged and evaluated and millions of people have found out how difficult life can get, financially speaking, when they get bad credit. Consequently, most people now realise that in order to improve their financial situation it is massively important to improve their credit score and to fix their credit rating once and for all. Once they have done this and their credit is improved they will then be taken much more seriously when it comes to dealing with the bank and other financial institutions involved in the credit and loans industry.

The first thing to note is that it is not necessary to go to any of the companies out there offering quick credit repair. The best way to fix this problem is to do it yourself and the only way to do it is by careful and restrained financial management. This careful managing of finances will come about through the steady reduction of debts, the constant checking of your credit file and other details, as well as a sustained effort to reduce and negate any factors that might have added to that negative rating. This can be achieved through following these simple steps:

Pay Those Bills on Time: In the past you might have been financially disorganized or you might have just been disorganized when it came to getting payments in on time. It doesn’t matter. From this point onwards there will be no financial disorganization as that just leads to a trail of irresponsible finances, which wont help your file. Instead, the bare minimum you can achieve is to make sure payments are on time. Late payments have a genuine effect on your score and a number of them will give your score a significant kicking. From this point on they will be on time and will never be less than the bare minimum required. If you know you are disorganized then simply set up a standing order to make the payment for you.

No More Applying for Credit: A lot of people will try and apply for more and more loans to get themselves out of debt and will keep applying even when they have been turned down. This is a mistake. If you get turned down then do not apply again until your score has been repaired. That’s because each application and rejection will leave a big red mark on your file and a number of rejections both reduces your score and gives your file that desperate feel. Wait at least 3 months between any credit application.

Clear Cards Not Accounts: Whilst it is the aim of this process to get out of debt and clear your debts on credit cards, it is to your advantage to leave those card accounts open even once they are clear (though this takes some restraint on your part not to spend again!) If you have a lot of unused credit available to you this is a positive on your credit score.

Check Those Details: Finally, ensure that you keep an eye on your credit file and that all the information contained in it is correct. Any discrepancies or irregularities can affect your score.

Finally, keep in mind that the credit agencies are looking for responsibility and stability. Ensure you are registered for voting, that you keep any long term bank accounts and try not to move home too often. That way you will look like a reliable and decent candidate for credit.

 

Esther is a financial journalist and writer. She enjoys covering everything from personal finance to small business tax advice and from mortgages to investments. She also writes a blog for a payday loans UK site.

 

Surprising Things that Can Damage your Credit

Most consumers know the importance of keeping their credit score as high as they possibly can so that they can avail of loans and credit at low interest rates and good payment terms. This is the reason why people do not keep their credit card bills pending and avoid things such as tax liens and accounts in collections. However, there are many other actions that may seem completely unrelated to your credit rating, but can in fact damage your credit considerably.

Top 4 surprising things that damage credit ratings

Here is a list of the top 4 actions that can result in your credit score taking a major hit:

 

  • Not paying your parking tickets: In recent months, many municipalities have begun to send unpaid parking tickets to collection agencies. These collection agencies consider unpaid parking tickets to be accounts in collections, which can impact your credit score negatively. Hence, make sure you pay off all your parking tickets, even those that you may have incurred in states other than your home state.
  • Using debit cards: It makes perfect sense to use a debit card for purchases so that you do not increase your credit card outstanding unnecessarily. However, if you do use your debit card to rent a car, you could be in big trouble as far as your credit goes. Car rental agencies generally initiate a credit inquiry on any person using a debit card so that they can ascertain their creditworthiness before renting out their cars. Such an inquiry on your credit report can lower your credit score dramatically. 
  • Cancelling a credit card: Another surprising thing that can really impact your credit score negatively is cancelling a credit card or closing one that has no outstanding balance. You would think doing so would be better for your credit as you now have lesser credit cards, right? However, since your credit score depends on your credit history, closing even one card can lower this history and subsequently lower your credit rating.
  • Buying a mobile phone: There is no way consumers could even imagine that simply buying a new cell phone could lower their credit. However, when you purchase a new cell phone, this typically initiates a hard enquiry on your credit report. While one enquiry may not impact your credit negatively, if you have had multiple purchases and multiple enquiries in recent days then this can damage your credit significantly. Hence, consumers should ensure that they space out major purchases that could initiate credit enquiries.

 

Esther is a business blogger and journalist from Illinois. She regularly blogs about all sorts of business and legal issues, covering everything from business brands to mortgages and from umbrella companies to finance. She also writes for an Illinois injury attorneys blog.

How Debt Ceiling Works

The hot topic nowadays is about US Debt Ceiling rather it is also a political issue whether the debt ceiling issue should be raised or not. However, whatever the case may be but this current discussion is not good in any way for the world or the US economy. It seems that the US economy has been stressed out; the public is confused, since many people are losing their jobs more frequently than ever.

However, the question here is how the debt ceiling works or what actually debt ceiling is? In fact it is a restriction on the amount U.S. can borrow for handling the national debt. Currently United States has already under $14.5 trillion debt. In this way every taxpayer in the U.S. owes approximately $130,000. This is an enormous debt amount that the U.S. is facing. Now, the U.S. is going to lose its right on August 2, for further borrowing money over $14.5 trillion limit.

If this happens, the U.S. treasury would not be able to cope with billing they have to pay and therefore, they are working their paying plan for who to pay and who not to pay. Due to this debt ceiling the U.S. government will not be able to pay its current bills.

In this scenario, people are considering taking out their money from the banks, because in the event the U.S. debt ceiling is not raised, the government would go defaulter and they may pass special instructions to the banks. This is not too complicated, even a common person can understand that the U.S. deficit is going no where and everybody is giving his different opinions for cutting down the debt deficit.

U.S. would be facing grave consequences as it has been conjectured by everybody. This will severely harm the credit score of the U.S. government and investors are more likely be imposed elevated interest rates for the purchase of securities and as a result the U.S. borrowing cost will also be increased. This situation will make the U.S. debt crises worse in the coming years. It can also be imagined that how the world would react on the economy fall of the world’s strongest power.

There is no such kind of example found in the U.S. history that the government is not able to fulfilling their obligations. It is a matter of great concern for the U.S. that how they deal with the current debt ceiling crises.

However, in these tiring times, the importance of keeping a good credit score also becomes two fold for the U.S. government, since failing to keep with the reasonable credit score, the world will stop giving them any further loan before the fulfillment of the existing ones. The importance of credit score is very important especially for the U.S., since nobody is going to take risk giving debts to a country having bad credit scores. Not only the world would give any debt to the U.S. but also they would not sign any contract with them.

Normally, the credit score that is required for getting a loan is considered to be between in the range of 700-730. However, anyone should not put a ceiling achieving an even greater credit score for getting further conveniences in regard of getting higher debt amounts. Any one, a single person or a government can get good rates on their credit cards and loans in case their credit scores are higher. A good credit score can also lift any burden from the U.S. government’s shoulders or any single person from doing something extra for paying their debts, except taking good care of their credit transactions. If any government or a person can maintain a good credit score, they can pass a more relaxed and dependable life. No matter, how much better your credit score is, one must keep on trying to make his credit score even better.

However, these types of U.S. government economical crises also mean that they would have less tax revenue that would cut more budgets. Unemployment will also be increased. The U.S. would also not be able to fascinate international buyers. U.S. is also under a threat from the credit rating providers that in the event of failure in increasing the debt ceiling, the U.S. credit rate would be downgraded.

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How I Raised My Credit Score 200 Points

In the Spring of 2004, my credit was a mess. I was only 26 years old but I’d built up $40,000 in debt and declared bankruptcy out of fear. Months after the bankruptcy passed, I no longer received calls from creditors… but I wasn’t receiving any more credit card offers either. My credit score had dropped from a respectable 780 down to around 500.

One day I was surfing the net (primitive in those days) and I came across a company called Lexington Law. It was my first encounter with the notion of “credit repair”, and I was immediately suspicious. How were these guys supposed to help me raise my credit score? In order to sign up I need to pay about $40 a month and send these guys, paralegals, all of my personal info including social security number, credit reports, the works. It sounded like a horrible scam that I’d sheepishly end up explaining to my parents once they had milked me for all my money.

But for some reason I said what the heck, and I signed up. I sent them over all my docs and waited. Here was the general idea. Basically, the Fair Credit & Reporting Act was passed in 1996. And it gives any US Citizens the right to contest the accuracy of anything on your credit report. The credit bureaus have 30 days to verify the info or else, by law, they have to delete the items.

I learned a lot during that time. I learned that dealing with creditors in general was a waste of time, because the creditors don’t control the credit reports. Even if you pay off your debt there is no guarantee they will erase the debt. No it’s these three credit bureaus… Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, that hold millions of people’s fate in their hands. They are the big kingpins.

I basically got an online account with a laundry list of all the horrible black marks on my credit. Bankruptcy, Bank of America default for $10,000, Chase default for $8,000, and so on. My job was to pick the ones that I wanted to “question the validitity” of. This was a very “legal” term. You’re not lying exactly, you are just forcing the credit bureau to verify their information.

The Credit Repair company’s job was to draft letters on my behalf contesting the information. I’d heard of people trying to do this on their own, and getting no response at all. But being repped by a big firm, I always received a response. At first, the bureaus would send me letters warning me that someone was probably messing with my account, and that I should call them to verify (a stall tactic).

To my incredible surprise, one day in July I received a letter from Equifax informing me that my Bank of America debt item had been deleted. I went online and looked at my credit report and, sure enough, it was gone! I was stunned. Over the next 6 months 11 more items were deleted off my report. We even got the bankruptcy off 2 of the 3 bureaus.

By 2005 my credit score was back up around 680. And I was able to get reasoable credit card offers for decent APRs. It was fantastic. And I felt empowered enough to share this option with other people.

A couple of things you should know when considering a credit repair company:

1. This kind of legal disputing process takes time. If anyone promises you fast results without explaining how they will get them, be careful! There are a lot of scams out there.

2. Research the heck out of the company you will work with. Check the Better Business Bureau and Google them to make sure they are not scamming you.

3. Understanding that disputes do not always work for every item; in my case, Experian was very hard to get anything deleted off of. If the bureau verifies the information it will stay on the report.

However, even if you can get 3 out of 5 items deleted, it can make a huge difference on your score and in your life. It’s important to know you have options and are not at the complete mercy of the banks. If you are looking for a way to bring up your credit score and start fresh, then credit repair through a competent dispute process is definitely someting to investigate.

Seth Jared writes about financial issues for young adults. He runs blogs about film schools and credit cards for college students.

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