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Credit Repair for a Renter

Credit Crisis

What can I do to improve my credit?

Have you been through the 'Credit Mill' and come out the other side feeling crushed? Have you climbed back up, but the Credit Agencies & Banks still won't trust you yet? Would you like to optimize your credit score as soon as possible?

The average American credit score is about 692

This chart suggests the impact of your score:

  • 720-850 - Excellent - The best score range gets the best financing terms.
  • 700-719 - Very Good - Qualifies a person for favorable financing.
  • 675-699 - Average - Qualify a person for most loans.
  • 620-674 - Fair - May or may not qualify, and will pay higher interest.
  • 560-619 - Risky - Will have trouble obtaining any loan.
  • 500-559 - Very Risky - Work on improving your credit rating.

Your Credit Report is not always accurate due to various factors. The Credit Reporting agencies do their best to reflect the truth, but they are dependant on what others report to them. For that reason, it is good to monitor your Credit Report yourself.

Obtain a copy of your credit report

Under Federal laws, any individual can access a free copy of his/her credit report once a year from any or all of the credit bureaus. You can also obtain a free report if:

  • If you've been turned down for a loan, you can get a free report within 60 days of denial
  • Your report is inaccurate detail due to fraud or identity theft
  • You're unemployed and are looking for a job within the next 60 days
  • You're on welfare

You can request a free credit report by calling the toll-free number 1-877-322-8228, you can request a free credit report at the central website set up by the credit bureaus. Or you can fill out the Annual Credit Report Request form available at the website and mail it to:

      Annual Credit Report Request Service
      P.O. Box 105281
      Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

When you cannot obtain a free credit report

Credit Reports can also be purchased for $10.50, through the mail, or online. When ordered through the mail, it will take about 15 days to receive it. You can get it instantly online.

What your credit report includes

Your credit report is comprised of four sections including the personal and financial information your creditors report to the bureaus. These sections are:

1.     Personal Information: This includes -

  • Your name, address & contact number
  • Social security number
  • Your date of birth
  • Current and previous employers' names

2.     Tradelines: This section includes -

  • The types of credit accounts or loans you have
  • The date when you opened the account
  • Credit limit or loan amount
  • Your account balance Account Status (open, inactive, closed, paid)
  • Payment history (late payments, default, charge off etc)

3.     Inquiries: This is the list of the creditors, lenders, and anyone else who has accessed your credit report so far. Inquiries include -

  • Soft inquiry (involuntary): This occurs when you check your report/credit history or when the lender/creditor checks your report for promotional purposes.
  • Hard inquiry (voluntary): This occurs when lenders or creditors pull your report when you apply for loans or credit. Only hard inquiries are shown to lenders when they order a copy of your report. Soft inquires are shown when you ask for your credit report.

4.     Public records and collections: This includes -

  • Liens, judgments, foreclosure, and bankruptcies
  • Wage garnishments
  • Reports from State and County courts
  • Collection accounts along with name and contact details

Helpful Services:

Although credit reports are occasionally free, as explained above, your Credit Score is not included. You will pay extra for your score when ordering your report. Some banking services do offer free scores as a perk; but for those without such a perk, we recommend monitoring your Credit Report and Credit Score through TransUnion.

TransUnion's expertise in providing easy-to-read credit reports, scores, analyses and informative, unbiased content is well known. Less known, TransUnion also has a Credit Monitoring service.

To try it out without any risk, TransUnion offers a FREE 7-day trial of their TransUnion Credit Monitoring service, which includes Unlimited access to your TransUnion Credit Score. This service also includes TransUnion 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring with alerts from Experian and Equifax after the free trial period ends.

Get your credit score now!

When should you dispute your credit report?

With all the important life opportunities dependant on your good credit report, what if you discover that there is a mistake on it? First you may want to determine if the mistake is detrimental or not. Some mistakes are minor and will be automatically updated, (like account balances,) others should be addressed immediately. Most mistakes are not malicious, or identity theft; most are simply a matter of human error.

If you discover a different initial, an unknown address, or an account you've never heard of ... first contact the agency that reported the mistake, then follow-up by sending a written information correction. It may also be advisable to notify the other credit reporting agencies, since they tend to share information.

If your report reflects a Foreclosure that never happened, there are several possibilities. For the most part, reporting agencies tend to classify short sales, strategic defaults, loan modifications, and foreclosures all in the same category. The reporting industry is slow to catch up to new trends in banking, and therefore don't always get their facts straight. For example, most modified loans start out as foreclosures in the making, but once modified, they become 'refinances' instead of foreclosures. This oversight can be corrected by asking your bank to straighten out the reporting agency.

If you cancelled one of your credit cards, and the report says that the company dropped you instead, this can be seen as quite detrimental. You will want to have your former credit grantor contact the reporting agency for you to straighten it out. Then be sure to follow-up by rechecking your report in a month or two to confirm it.

If you discover old debts are still being reported, only worry about the bad ones. If you discover a delinquency or charge-off left over from a bankruptcy, you can support the correction with your bankruptcy paperwork. There is a seven year rule that requires bad credit to be removed, but the rule doesn't apply to good credit.

What is the process for notifying the credit reporting agency of an inaccurate listing?

To simplify this as much as possible, follow this procedure:

  • Send a certified letter to the credit bureau explaining the problem and ask for help.
  • Send another to the financial institution that mis-reported your facts.
  • Support your claim with copies of the related checks, statements, or other legal papers that prove your point.
  • Be sure to also keep a copy of everything you send.
  • And be prepared to wait 30 days while they investigate.
  • The credit bureau should contact you with their corrections.

If you don't get the results you believe are fair, consider getting help.

Would you like some help repairing your credit?

When you're dealing with something as important as your credit, you don't just want someone good on your side. You want the best.

That's what offers. It's a process that has been developed, refined and proven over many years and thousands of customers. It's people who are not only experts in the credit repair field but also experts at helping individuals meet their credit goals. They're ready to put industry-leading experience and technology to work for you. And they're ready to develop a game plan for your situation.

Their objective is to help you make a change for the better!

What factors affect (FICO) credit scores?

In general, there are five factors that affect your credit score. These factors are listed in order of their importance:

1.     Payment history (35%): This includes information on -

  • Accounts paid as agreed.
  • How you've paid credit cards, installment loans, mortgages, etc.
  • Adverse public records such as bankruptcy, liens and collections.
  • How many and how long past due accounts have been on the report.
  • How many and how long adverse public records have been reported.

2.     Amount you owe (30%): This provides details on -

  • Number and type of accounts you owe.
  • Ratio of balance to total credit limit on revolving accounts.
  • Ratio of balance to original loan amount on installment loans.

3.     Length of credit history (15%): The amount of time sense you've opened different types of accounts.

4.     New credit (10%): This provides details on-

  • The accounts you've recently opened.
  • Number of recent credit inquiries you initiated.
  • Time since recent credit inquiries you initiated.
  • Time since new accounts opened.
  • How you've rebuild credit after past credit problems.

5.     Credit/loan types used (10%): This factor includes the different types of credit/loans you've opened. The variety of types is a plus.

So what can I do to improve my credit score?

  1. Have any mistakes corrected as mentioned above. (Also check to see if you have several different credit reports at the same bureau due to different name-spellings, including middle initials being included or dropped. You would want these reports to be combined into one.)
  2. Pay your future bills on time. (A 30-day late payment may reduce your credit score by 50 points, so avoid missed or late payments whenever possible. Set up automatic bill pay if you are a little forgetful.)
  3. Pay off debt quickly, don't use too much of your available credit. (Maintain balances between 10% and 40% of your limits, or pay off the balances in full ... but remember to use the credit every few months to keep the credit active. Also remember that closed and unused accounts will encourage your credit providers to reduce your available credit, which also lowers your credit score.)
  4. If you need some new credit, be sure to search for it within a 30-day period. (All inquiries made within a 30-day period are usually treated as a single inquiry.)
  5. Don't open too many department store cards. (Too many of these open lines of credit are often considered to be risky.)

Over time you should be able to improve your credit score by following the above suggestions.

If you don't have much credit history to show your credit worthiness, there is a way to demonstrate it with your rent payments. Homeowners have the advantage of showing their mortgage 'Paid as Agreed.' You can have your Rental Payment do the same for you!

Follow this link to get credit for making your rental payments on time: Rent2Credit

Credit Repair is not a complete solution, it is only a start in the right direction. Please be sure to consider one of our other solutions for your specific situation.

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