Tag Archives for " Credit bureaus "

Disputing Credit Report

“Sometimes, it’s not easy disputing a credit report. Read these tips, as they are sure to help. Check them out now!”

Ways on Disputing Credit Report

Checking the accuracy of your credit report is important, given recent reports that 5 percent of consumers may have errors in their reports that can result in higher interest rates on a loan.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has developed a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for managing your report, which tracks your individual borrowing history. The major credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — use information in the reports to create a credit score, which lenders use to decide if you are a good candidate for a loan and what interest rate you qualify for. Scores can also be used to determine eligibility for other financial products, like insurance.

Here’s the foundation’s list:

Review your report for accuracy at AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re entitled by law to one free report from each of the three major bureaus every 12 months, so you can check a different one every four months. Despite the availability of free reports, few consumers check them, the foundation says. Reviewing your report at least three months before a major financial move gives you time to dispute any errors and have them corrected.

Understand your rights. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act provides protections for the accuracy and privacy of information in your credit file. The credit bureaus have dispute resolution processes in place. But it is up to the consumer to initiate the process by submitting the dispute form, either online or by phone.

Tara Siegel Bernard, writing for The Times, found that it’s better to submit a dispute in writing, to create a paper trail in case you need it later and to submit disputes to all three bureaus.

Credit reporting companies are required to investigate the items in question, usually within 30 to 45 days of the dispute being filed. The bureau receiving the dispute must forward all relevant information to the source of the information to begin the investigation process. After the provider’s investigation is complete, the results are sent back to the bureau. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all three credit reporting companies, allowing each of them to correct the information in their files.

Not all errors have an equal impact. Some mistakes are more serious because they may have a negative impact on your credit score, like accounts that don’t belong to you, or credit lines listed with lower limits than they actually have or negative information that has stayed on the report longer than allowed. Those sorts of errors should be addressed immediately. More at Tips for Disputing Credit Report Errors

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How to Get a Free Annual Credit Report

“Where and how can we get a free annual credit report? Read this now to find out!”

Getting a Free Annual Credit Report

All Americans are entitled to a free credit report every year, from each of the three major credit bureaus. The free credit reports, which used to cost as much as $9.50 each, come as a result of the passage of the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.

Thanks to the law, the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, are each required to provide consumers, upon request, a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from a centralized source. This centralized source includes a Web site, a toll-free telephone number and a postal address.

The reports will not automatically be sent out. Consumers who want their credit reports must initiate the request in one of the following three ways.

1. Online:
Go to www.annualcreditreport.com, which is the only authorized source for consumers to access their annual credit report online for free. Be careful not to make a mistake in the URL — some opportunistic entrepreneurs have staked out the URLs that are close in spelling, and they’ll try to sell you the reports, instead of giving them for free.

2. By phone:
Call (877) 322-8228. This may be the choice for those who aren’t Internet-savvy.

3. By mail:
You may complete the form on the back of the Annual Credit Report Request brochure, and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.

You’ll be able to order all three credit reports at one time, or at different times throughout the year. It’s your choice. But be sure to order from the centralized agency. If you go directly to the credit reporting agencies, you will be charged unless you fit another criteria for a free report.

The 2003 law did not eliminate the other ways to receive a free credit report. You’re still entitled to a free credit report if: you’ve been denied a loan, insurance policy or job based on your credit report; you’re applying for unemployment or receive public assistance; and you currently reside in a state that already offers an annual free credit report from each credit reporting agency (Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont. Georgia residents are entitled to two free annual credit reports from each credit reporting agency). More at How to get your free credit report

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How to Raise Your Credit Score

 “Having problems on how to raise your credit score? These tips will surely help. Check them out now!”

Tips on How to Raise Your Credit Score

If you’re like most people, the recession took a toll on your finances and probably your credit score. So how do you get it back to where it needs to be? While it usually takes seven years for any negatives marks to be removed from your credit report, there are a couple quick and simple ways to you can raise your credit score now. Here are a couple to keep in mind.

1. Keep paying things on time: The most important thing to remember is to keep your credit report clean from here on out. Pay your bills on time. Make sure you aren’t over your limit on any of your credit cards. Keep the balances on your credit cards low. Keeping your finances clean is the best way to raise your score.

2. Don’t cancel any of your credit cards: This may seem counterintuitive, but canceling credit cards actually lowers your credit score. Part of your credit score is based on how much credit you utilize (your credit utilization score), so the more credit you have available, the higher your credit score. If you cancel a credit card, you no longer have that credit available, which lowers your credit utilization score, which in turn lowers your credit score. Even if you’ve paid off a credit card, keep it open and gather up the extra points you get from having that extra line of credit. If you qualify, you can also apply for a new credit card to raise your credit utilization ratio, although don’t apply for more than one. Applying for too much credit at once can lower your score. Here is a good list of the best rewards credit cards that can help you save money and raise your credit score.

3. Open the lines of communication with your credit card lenders: If a bunch of credit card debt is keeping your credit score down, talk with your credit card lenders to see if you can strike a deal to pay off that debt. Many lenders are open to making deals with you, since all they are really after is the money you owe. Just remember, if you do make a deal with a lender, ask them how they will be reporting it to the credit bureaus. They have two options: “Paying as agreed,” which won’t hurt your credit score, or “Not paying as agreed,” which could bring your credit score down. Make sure they are reporting it as “paying as agreed” before you agree to any deal.

4. Sign up for a secured credit card: If your credit is so bad that you keep getting denied for a credit card or loan, try signing up for a secured credit card. Traditionally, you put down a “deposit” for a secured credit card that ends up being your credit limit, so it doesn’t matter how bad your credit is, secured credit cards are available for everyone. Just make sure to apply for a card that reports to all three credit bureaus, otherwise having the extra line of credit won’t affect your credit score.

5. Make sure there are no mistakes on your credit report: Over 42 million people in this country have errors on their credit report, and 10 million of those have errors that affect their credit score. Make sure you are regularly checking your credit report to make sure there are no mistakes and that you haven’t been a victim of identity theft. Fixing simple mistakes on your credit report can be a quick way to boost your score. Each of the different credit bureau has instructions on their web sites on how to fix an error, or you can hire a credit repair service to do the work for you (as well as try other methods to raise your credit score.) More at Simple Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

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