How Healthy Is Your Credit
There's only one way to discover the "health"of your credit. You need to examine your credit report. Your credit report is your "consumer identity" that potential lenders will use to judge yourcredit worthiness.
Use these tips to give your credit profile the"tune-up" it needs for 2004.
Tip #1- Check for ErrorsYour credit report or profile is more than just a collection of who your creditors are and how much you owe them or have paid them.
The first thing you need to do is carefully check thatyour credit report is accurate. Nearly 70% of credit reports contain errors.
These errors may be as simple as an incorrect middle initial or address. Or it could be as serious as a creditor reporting that you were late with a payment when in fact you were not late at all.
This error might not seem like a big deal to you. However,to a future lender like a mortgage company it makes a big difference !
Carefully examine your credit report and if you find an error contact your creditor and the credit bureaus. Catchand correct these errors now before it hurts your chancesof securing credit in the future.
Tip #2 - Correcting ErrorsThe two most common errors contained in credit reports are:
1) wrong account information
2) incorrect recording of late payments.
If you find an account reported that does not belong you, you need to contact the credit grantor or issuer immediately. Remember, finding accounts that you have not personally opened is a sign of possible identity theft.
Hopefully you'll discover that this error is nothing more than an oversight and not an identity theft problem. Most often this occurs when they report an account belonging to a family member or someone with a similar name on your credit report.
If your problem is an error in reporting a late payment you will need proof to back up your case before this error can be corrected or removed. The most common error occurs when a payment is reported as "late" when it was actually a current or "on time" payment.
In either case, the problem can and should be corrected. You will need to correct the error in writing. Keep a journal or log of all calls and correspondence.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit bureaus and the agency reporting the information to the credit bureau to correct inaccurate information in your credit report. Therefore, it is important that you contact both the credit bureau and the creditor whose information is in dispute.
A sample letter is included here to help you in correcting your credit profile. Make sure that you clearly identify the information that you dispute, include copies of receipts or documents that support your position. Then request that the information be corrected or deleted from your file.
Send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt from the recipient. Keep all correspondence that you mail out. Give the agencies involved 30 days to begin their investigation. You can call them but be aware that phoning them does not protect your consumer rights! You must notify them in writing to protect your rights.
They must notify you of the results of their investigation. Although the process will take time, it's important to do it. This is your credit profile, your "consumer identity" that is at stake. Don't expect an error to correct itself.
At your request, the credit bureaus must send notices of corrections to your credit profile to anyone who has requested your report in the last six months. If you applied for a job and were turned down because of inaccurate information in your credit report, you can have the corrected report mailed to anyone who received a copy in the past two years.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Sample Dispute LetterDate
Your NameYour AddressYour City, State, Zip Code
Complaint DepartmentName of Credit Reporting AgencyAddressCity, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute are also encircled on the attached copy of the report I received. (Identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.)
This item is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)
Originally Posted at http://www.ftc.gov/
Tip #3 - Budget PlanningYou can also use your credit report to help you plan and implement a personal budget. Your credit report will show you where you are spending your hard earned dollars. While the credit card balances may not be completely current, you'll still see which of your cards has the highest balance outstanding.
If you have more than one major credit card you should compare the annual percentage rate (APR) you are paying on each account. If you are working on a budget to "pay down" your credit cards, start by paying down the one with the highest APR or interest.
Once that credit account is paid off, move toward paying off the account with the second highest APR. Using this method you will be able to concentrate your efforts toward paying down your outstanding credit obligations.
You should also check with your credit card company to see what's the best annual percentage rate (APR) they can offer you. If you are a good customer, you can often qualify for a lower rate than what you are currently being offered.
Caution: Ask if the new rate you are getting is a "promotional" rate or a "contract" rate. A promotional rate will expire at the end of the promotional term, for example 6 months. A contract rate does not have an "expiration" as long as you continue to meet the terms outlined by your creditor for that rate.
Tip #4 - Making a major purchaseIf you are considering a major purchase such as a car or a home, checking your credit report gives you the chance to see what a potential lender sees and uses to judge your credit worthiness.
You want to make sure that your credit report is accurate before you apply for that sports car or new home. Errors or problems can be corrected before your lender can use those against you and deny your credit request. You'll also have a better idea of what type or rate of credit you should expect from a potential lender.
Tip #5 - Check your credit report regularlyCheck your credit report regularly. Guard your "consumer identity" as you would anything else you treasure. Use your credit wisely, along with these tips, and you will enjoy the benefits that your good credit and your good name deserve now - and for years to come.
© 2004, www.yourfreecreditreportnow.com
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Credit Cards And Loans - So Many Options - So Little Time
Credit Cards and Loans sounds like just two things, but in actuality, it is dozens of things. Due to a combination of user preferences, lifestyles, and marketing ideas, there are dozens of different types of credit cards out there.
SuperCharged Secret 3, Credit Card Utopia
TURBO-CHARGED KILLER RATE SAVING INFORMATION!Let's just take a brief moment to recap:If you've been following along on this journey with me, learning the 5 Super-Charged secrets to Credit Card Utopia, then you now know 2 very important things:You now know how to take advantage of zero to low interest credit card offers.You now know that there is safety in numbers, and you know the magic "Who's Who" of the major credit card companies.
Debt Collection Agencies
Debt collection agencies are often a viable option for receiving payment on overdue bills. Here you can earn how debt collection agencies work and what to look for in reputable debt collection agencies.
How Healthy Is Your Credit
There's only one way to discover the "health"of your credit. You need to examine your credit report.
Credit Cards for Home Business
It is wise for you to have a company credit card like a VISA card. How can you find the least expensive bank card for your business? You may decide to use a VISA card from your local bank.
Is Your Credit Score Being Held Against You?
Credit Scores That HurtIs your credit score being held against you?More and more the staples of life depend on your credit score. Your mortgage, insurance premiums,employment opportunities and even your landlord may be using your credit score to determine yourfinancial future.
Easing Your Financial Burdens With Credit Counseling
It is a well-publicized fact that more of us are getting ourselves into greater debt, and this may be true for you. The embarrassment of your financial situation can mean you are unlikely to seek credit counselling or other credit management solutions.
Fair Isaac Corporation Credit or FICO Score
As I am not from the US, I had no idea what FICO meant before researching it. FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, a company based in California.
New Credit Scoring Model Could Help Millions
Mark and Beth, a young married couple in their twenties, established a goal to buy a home within the first three years of their marriage before starting a family. They budgeted and used their money wisely in order to save for the down payment.
Applying for Credit Cards Online
In the olden days, about 10 years ago, before the internet, consumers would have to fill in applications for credit cards, loans, mortgages and so on by hand. It's hard to believe now, but this lengthy process was the norm, with requests for extra documentation and references going backwards and forwards, until finally the application was accepted or rejected.
Choosing a Credit Counseling Company
If you have considered credit counseling as an option to your financial problems, then you are probably wondering how to choose from one of the many credit counseling companies that are popping up left and right these days. There really is not an easy answer to this dilemma but there are some things that you can look for in a credit counseling company that might make the decision a little easier.
Its Your Credit - Take Care of It!
Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Act, American consumers can receive a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus-Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can order your free credit report by visiting www.
Avoiding College Credit Card Traps
Congratulations college freshman! You're about to embark on one of the most exciting times of your life. By now your parents, siblings, and friends have offered you all kinds of advice on how to make your transition to college smoother - how to get along with your roommate, what classes to take and which ones to avoid, where to find the best off-campus food, and how to stay safe on campus.
Start Building Credit Fast!
There are a couple of reasons for this. You can pay your bills on time for years and never gain more than a few points on your credit score.
Know Your Credit Card Rights
When you apply for a credit card, the application that you sign is also a legally binding contract laying out all the termsbetween you and the bank, such as the interest rate and how its calculated, the grace period, whether there's an annual fee, etc.While you have to agree to the terms and sign if you want the credit card and while the lender will certainly hold you to the terms, the lender doesn't feel similarly committed.
Rate Tarts Losing Ability to Cherry Pick
A "rate tart" is someone who switches from one zero per cent introductory credit card deal to another to avoid paying interest; however they may be set to become something of the past. Recently a number of the major credit card companies, including Egg, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland and MBNA have introduced transfer charges for people who want to shift their outstanding credit card balances to a new card to take advantage of a zero per cent introductory rate.
Opting For A Credit Card? Check Out Certain Terms
You've just received a "pre-approved" credit card offer in your mail. Without wasting a minute you're ready to accept it, especially if it's the "before-the-offer-expires" one.
The Hazards Of Your First Credit Card
You probably don't need me to tell you credit cards are easy to get a hold of; at least, that is so in the US and UK. How many weeks pass without a glossy brochure promoting a credit card popping through your letter box? And that's just your mail; the tv advertising budgets for credit card promotion are enormous, with some famous faces often adorning your screen, smiling beautifully as they tempt you.
How a Credit Card Can Be Your Friend
We have all heard countless stories of people over theirheads with credit card debt-maxing out every card they own,then only being able to afford the minimum monthly payment. High interest payments shackle people to their debt foryears, not to mention the significant income drain thefinance charges have on their families.
Bankruptcy vs. Credit Counseling: What Should I Do?
Credit Counseling and bankruptcy are both ways to relieve the stress of debt. However, they are very different and it is important to understand both before making a decision as to which is best for you.
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