How To Establish Immediate Credit:
Good credit can be achieved without working your way back into it by the usual method of applying with small firms and then to the larger firms. This technique was developed by a former security chief of one of the major credit bureaus. The FBI wanted to establish instant credit history for one of its undercover agents. It has worked for the FBI, and it can work for you.
The method to establish AAA-1 Credit in 30 days is to use the credit history of a trusted friend or relative. It is important that you review the credit file of your person before using this method. Someone whose credit history is AAA-1 and does not have any problems with it is who you’re looking for. Ask a friend to act as a guarantor for a card with a company he has an account with. The creditor should issue the card without hesitation because the person guaranteeing the second card has a good payment history with that account.
This method will bring complete history of that credit card account, which also includes the state the account was opened and the payment record, into the new file without any indication that it is a secondary card. This can result in an excellent credit history on your brand new credit file in a matter of weeks. You should let the person whose credit you are using know that immediately upon receiving the cards you will return the cards to him, so they can be destroyed. Make sure you let the friend know you will not charge on the account.
The creditor receives the letter, and once that happens, one of two things will occur. The creditor will send out a new card or he will send you a credit application. If you get an application, have your friend or relative complete the primary information and you complete the secondary information, using your new file information. All you have to do now is send the application and wait for the card. After about 30 days, request a report from the credit bureau. The credit information of your friend should be on your file.
You can repeat this process on as many credit cards your friend has. With the new credit file you can then apply for other credit cards with other banks on your own. You should take precautions, though. Do not put more than 3 to 5 of your friends’ information on your new file. Use only secondary information from Visa and MasterCard and one or two department stores and one or two oil cards. You do not want to overwhelm your credit file if you want to secure some new credit cards.
Keep in mind, this no longer works for the certain industry scoring models, like the mortgage industry. The mortgage industry uses FICO 2, 4 and 5.
In the world today, technology is weaved through everything we do. According to Pew Research, about three-quarters of U.S. adults say they own a smart phone, while 50% of young adults say they live in a home with three or more. As the use of technology increases, the way technology is used also changes.
Most banks have an app for mobile banking, stores have apps for shopping so with a click of a button you can have almost anything delivered to your door. With these conveniences comes the danger when entering your payment and personal identifying information into these apps and saving your payment information to make future transactions more convenient. Earlier this month, Equifax announced hackers stole more information than was previously reported, approximately 2.4 million more Americans’ were affected, making it even more evident that it’s important to act to secure your information.
Below are the steps to take to help protect yourself from the worst consequences of data breach and identity theft, and what to do if you become a victim.
It is always a good financial habit to your credit reports regularly throughout the year. They can be accessed at no cost on the www.annualcreditreport.com website which allows people to view their credit report from each of the three bureaus once every 12 months.
One of the best ways to know if someone is using your personal information to access your money is to frequently monitor your checking and savings account activity. Most banks and credit unions allow account holders to set passwords and add additional security measures that help reduce the chance of unauthorized transactions.
Although retailers encourage shoppers to store credit card and other personal information online as a convenience, we advise against saving your credit card information on those websites and always keeping your password secure. Time is critical when reacting to identity theft or credit fraud, and a good way to react quickly is to take advantage of email or text alerts that notify you as soon as transactions are processed. This is helpful for credit cards, checking and savings accounts. Even with alerts in place, you should review your regular monthly statements and report suspicious activity as quickly as possible.
If affected by a data breach:
- You should be contacted by email or postal delivery with details about the time the incident may have occurred and details about your exposed personal information.
- Financial institutions are required by federal law to inform their customers of any known breach activity.
- As of now, there are 46 states that have laws requiring other businesses to take similar action.
Here are some steps you can take in situations where different types of personal information are exposed:
o Take immediate steps to change that password and consider using a different password for all your other accounts if that is not something you are already doing. o Avoid using simple passwords that are easy for others to figure out, like “12345” or “abcde,” and always include a variety of letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters whenever possible.
- Your Credit Card Account Number
o If you have a technology enabled account that allows you to remotely control the card via an app, use that feature to lock access top that card. Otherwise, call the credit card issuer to request a new card with a new account number. Following a major data breach, your credit card company may automatically send you a new card as a proactive measure. Keep in mind that you are not liable for any authorized purchases under the Fair Credit Billing Act when you card number is stolen.
o You are not liable for any unauthorized transactions if you report them to your bank or credit union within 60 days of receiving your statement. o Immediately change your personal identification number (PIN) and cancel the card. o Don’t take any chances if your checking or savings account number was exposed. Request a new account with a different number. o Request additional layers of security like verbal passwords and photo identification to prevent your bank or credit union from discussing your account with anyone unable to provide the correct password or match your photo on record.
- Your Social Security Number (SSN)
o Place a fraud alert on your account by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion). o The credit bureau you contact will then reach out to the other two agencies to inform them of the fraud alert. o The fraud alert cautions lenders to take extra care verifying personal information before issuing credit and entitles you to a free credit report from each agency after the alert is in place. o Although not an ideal solution for every circumstance, consider placing a credit freeze on your account. Once in place, a freeze will prevent a credit bureau from releasing your report or score without your permission.
Consider Credit Monitoring When Offered as Compensation:
Some companies have been known to offer free access to credit monitoring services when notifying customers of a data breach. These free offers are typically time sensitive and the service will convert to a fee-based program after a year or two. While most monitoring services offer nothing more than you could do for yourself for free, it doesn’t hurt to consider taking advantage of an offer while you don’t have to pay anything for the product. Having your data stolen or at risk of being used for theft can be a very stressful event. Know that you are not alone. Nationwide Credit Experts can help you sort through the mess and make recommendations as to what steps to take!
Be Wary of Credit Card Offer Perks
Competition among credit card issuers means good news for consumers. Especially with the Federal Reserve moving to raise interest rates and make carrying a credit card balance more expensive – which would presumably discourage borrowing – card companies have to do what they can to attract and retain customers. That’s spurred an uptick in big sign-up bonuses, including cash-back offers and travel rewards, which are at near-record highs, according to personal finance site WalletHub’s 2017 Credit Card Landscape Report.
“There are so many card issuers in the market presently that the competition to get new and keep existing cardholders is an extremely fierce one,” says Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst. “[Rising rates] further strengthens the competition – card issuers are even more inclined to offer better rewards to retain their customers.”
Indeed, initial cash-back bonuses in the second quarter of 2017 averaged about $109, 10.3 percent more than a year ago, and ranged from $10 to $500.
Travel rewards, on the other hand, are coming down a bit after last year’s spike in big offerings. For example, when JPMorgan Chase & Co. introduced the Sapphire Reserve card in August 2016, it offered a whopping sign-up bonus of 100,000 travel points – worth $2,100, according to travel site The Points Guy – if you spent $4,000 on the card in the first three months. That offer is now just 50,000 travel points.
On average, the initial travel bonus in the second quarter of 2017 was 14,114 miles or points, down 0.5 percent from last year and 9.4 percent from last quarter (but still an impressive 30.2 percent higher than it was just five years ago).
Why are card issuers reining in travel rewards while making it rain cash back? “Travel perks cost issuers more than cash back when they’re actually used,” Gonzalez says. “They’re also widely complained about due to third parties – airlines, hotels, etc. – that the credit card companies can’t control, even though they’re the ones getting the complaints and bad ratings.”
Also, issuers are trying to limit the number of times an individual can score initial perks. Some people have really taken advantage of sign-up bonuses, collecting cards and rewards with a strategy called churning. But issuers are getting wise to this game and implementing rules to stop it. For example, Chase has a 5/24 rule – which is unofficial, but frequently grumbled about by travel connoisseurs online – that seems to reject applicants for many of their cards if they have opened five credit cards or more from any issuer in the past 24 months. American Express only allows you to get a sign-up bonus on the same type of card once in a lifetime.
“A number of issuers now are starting to clamp down on the number of bonuses and rewards you can get,” says Nate Matherson, co-founder of LendEDU, an online marketplace for loans and other financial products. “They don’t want to offer these big sign-up bonuses to individuals who are just trying to game the system.”
So should you pounce on all these generous offers while you still can? It depends. “For some people, some of these perks make sense,” says credit card expert John Ulzheimer, formerly of Equifax and FICO. “For other people, they don’t.”
Basically, whether these deals can benefit you depends on how you use credit already. For example, many sign-up offers require you to spend $3,000 to $4,000 within 90 days of your opening the account to get the bonus. If you typically charge that much – and pay off the balance in full every month – then this deal makes sense for you. “In the short term, it might hurt your credit [score] a tiny bit, but in the long term, as long as you’re keeping your credit utilization at a reasonable level and making the payments on time each month, having three or four credit cards is not a problem,” Matherson says. “In fact, it can be a very lucrative strategy.”
But if you rarely use your card, increasing your card usage just for the bonus can be dangerous. You can easily wind up with more debt than you can manage. “The worst thing you can do is carry a balance on these cards because you’re subsidizing the rewards program for you and someone else,” Ulzheimer says.
And remember that there’s more to a credit card than just a sign-up bonus. You also need to understand the ongoing terms of the card before you apply. Consider the annual and monthly fees, annual percentage rate, penalty charges and any ongoing rewards, Gonzalez says. If you’re not careful, you could wind up paying more in fees and interest than you stand to earn in rewards.
“To the extent [initial perks] benefit you, that’s great,” Ulzheimer says. “But never lose sight of the fact that all of these perks are carefully designed and marketed for the purpose of pulling you in.”
FICO vs. Vantage Score
FICO now competes with Vantage Score but Equifax, Experian and TransUnion still offer both score options. This is partly because FICO is so widely used and accepted.
The goal of the credit bureaus is to wean users off the FICO model and start using Vantage Score instead. Due to the overwhelming majority of lenders and credit issuer’s familiarity with the FICO model, the Vantage Score has not taken the credit world by storm as fast as the “Big 3” would have liked.
All three credit bureaus now offer Vantage Score in addition to FICO score to calculate the credit score, instead of only offering FICOs.
In reality, it really makes no difference in credit score variations. Credit score variations are inevitable because the data the credit bureaus collect is still derived from different sources, not all data furnishers report their information to all of the credit reporting agencies. So the problem of varying credit scores will not be solved by the new Vantage Score.
The three bureaus are branding the Vantage Score as something that will help banks and lenders further hone the subprime categories. Subprime lenders are those banks and lenders dedicated to borrowers with poor credit or harder to approve loans. Subprime loans have higher interest rates and fat lending fees.
In today’s credit crunched economy, this is a fast growing market and the credit bureaus are hoping to use that as a selling point for Vantage Score. Slick marketing!
Unlike FICO’s traditional 300 to 850 scale, the Vantage Score goes from 501 to 990. Here is a breakdown of the scores with the respective rating:
- A: 901–990
- B: 801–900
- C: 701–800
- D: 601–700
- F: 501–600
Contact us today for a Free Credit Analysis & Consultation
While an entire book could be written on this subject…the following 3 indicators should serve as a solid guide for you in selecting a professional credit repair organization.
Earlier in this guide several examples of professionalism were covered. But for this key indicator the focus shifts to underlying factors that identify a professional CRO.
For example, when you are talking to a potential CRO, do they present themselves like a professional? If you’re talking to them face to face…do they dress the part of a professional?
When they answer your questions, do they do so in a professional manner? Do they address you with respect? Do you get the feeling they truly want to help you (a good thing), or do they give the impression they are reaching for your wallet (not a good thing)?
So, when you’re contacting a potential CRO, it’s good to get an overall feeling of how they conduct business.
Here’s where you get to interview the Credit Repair Organization (CRO) a little.
Ask the questions about your credit which are important to you…
…and sit back and listen to their answers (this is VERY important).
Look for complete, well-thought out responses to your questions, confidence from the CRO representative and specific details that give you a good “gut feel” they know what they are talking about.
Keep in mind however, that CRO reps are not attorneys, so don’t expect them to know the law inside and out…
…but DO expect them to have a basic knowledge of the current state of affairs with credit laws and regulations (current means they should be aware of changes in their profession).
3) Prior results and testimonials.
Here you are going to research and verify the prior testimonials or client satisfaction the CRO provides.
Call references when you can, but if you can’t, use the Internet to make sure the testimonial “word for word” doesn’t appear on a number of websites by a number of CRO’s.
Also look for video testimonials…and here is a BIG one:
Check to see if the CRO will promise results for you. They should not.
If they promise results, it’s an indicator they are overly enthusiastic about their business (which is possible) or they are eager to dip into your wallet. Ask questions to determine which, and use your gut to determine whether or not to end the conversation.
To conclude, we’re going to provide you some resources to start…
There’s no doubt…it’s getting tougher to get the credit you deserve as a consumer. This problem is magnified if you have a less than perfect credit rating according to any one or all of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union).
Because of our economic situation, it’s tough to find a professional, reliable and trustworthy credit repair organization to help you navigate the huge bureaucracies and constantly changing credit repair laws. That’s where we come in.
We’ve prepared a guide for you, the consumer, to help you with the most critical piece to getting a big part of your financial life back:
Selecting a professional, reliable, and trustworthy credit repair organization (CRO) that gets results for you!
Let’s talk about:
6 definitive characteristics to look for in a top-notch credit repair organization, and what these characteristics mean for you as a consumer.
6 Definitive Characteristics Of A Top-Notch Professional Credit Repair Organization And
The 4 Red Flags You Need To Avoid
The credit repair industry has suffered in the media by means of a number of negative stereotypes. Some of these stereotypes are true for some “fly by night” CRO’s, but some are completely false.
The problem is rooted in the fact the credit repair industry was once a very secretive industry, and with little regulation. The “scam artists” in the industry, combined with some “loose cannons” (e.g. sales people that want to reach quota etc…) are the individuals that allowed these negative stereotypes to continue to gain steam.
Fast forward to today…
Now there are many more credit repair organizations that provide a legitimate and valuable service to clients that actually need their services (more on that in a moment). Following are several characteristics to look for in a top-notch credit repair organization:
1) They treat credit repair as a process, not an event.
The process of repairing one’s credit takes longer than sending a letter out to creditor and disputing items on your credit report. It involves responses from the creditor, and handling those responses in a timely and correct manner. In addition, more analysis and consultation is required over a period of time to ensure your results will be long-term.
This leads to one of the most important characteristics…
2) The professional CRO won’t help every person regardless of their situation…they have a qualification process in place to ensure they can get results.
Not everyone can qualify for the services of a true, professional credit repair organization.
Contrary to popular belief, if you don’t pay your current bills on time, you probably won’t qualify to have your credit repaired by a professional credit repair organization (CRO). It’s true that long-term credit repair services are much more effective for those people who had problems in the past and are looking to rebuild their financial lives, but are currently paying their bills. Contact your CRO for details.
Red Flag: So if a CRO (credit repair organization) is trying to “sell” you on using their services without asking you questions about your credit, payment history, and what led you to your current situation…ask them what they are doing to qualify you and ensure they can help you.
If they can’t answer that question…run fast and don’t look back.
3) The CRO will have a professional, two-way communication system in place. They will provide you an area on a website where you can login and view the progress of their efforts automatically.
Current technology has allowed for special software that lets a credit repair organization to automate the reporting of results for their clients. That’s you.
The CRO you select should be able to furnish you with a login to a website area where you can both communicate with them and be able to monitor the progress of your account step by step, day by day. With this technology, you won’t even have to call them to monitor your progress (obviously you should be able to pick up the phone and call them if necessary).
The communication system put in place by the CRO should provide you with complete contact information, mailing address, and easy to access instructions for “how to contact” them should the need arise.
4) The professional CRO doesn’t promise results. They don’t violate UDAP (Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices), and do not make false claims or show deceptive advertising.
Really, this boils down to basic integrity.
Any industry, let alone credit repair, shouldn’t be in the practice of over-hyped claims and under-delivered promises. But credit repair is a little different because of some negative stereotypes, and it’s regulated by the FTC pretty extensively.
Red Flag: The CRO you select won’t claim to be able to perform overnight miracles with your credit, nor will they promise the process will be simple and able to be completed within days. They also cannot guarantee 100% success. If they do make “too good to be true” guarantees or promises, run for the hills.
Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t as simple as sending letters to your creditors for $395.00 and increasing your credit score by 100 points.
This leads to our next characteristic of a professional CRO…
5) The professional credit repair organization will take as much time as necessary to completely explain everything to you up front so you know and are fully confident in what you’ll be doing.
When you enlist the services of a credit repair organization, you’re entering into a legal contract to pay for services rendered. The CRO is responsible to explain the entire arrangement you’re agreeing to in complete detail so you know exactly what services will be performed for what fee.
Red Flag: There is a federal law called CROA (Credit Repair Organizations Act) that prohibits collecting payment in advance in the following manner:
(b) Payment in Advance.–No credit repair organization may charge or receive any money or other valuable consideration for the performance of any service which the credit repair organization has agreed to perform for any consumer before such service is fully performed.
Full text of the law is here: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/croa/croa.shtm
Granted, your State’s laws also affect this scenario, and your CRO will know how your State governs credit repair transactions.
If the CRO you’re considering demands upfront payment for their services before those services are performed…get out of Dodge.
Here is the most common approach for credit repair agreements that is both acceptable and helpful for you.
It is known as a continuing monthly fee agreement, where an initial agreement is reached…the CRO performs the services agreed to…then this is paid for by you…with a continuing monthly fee as part of the agreement to maintain your credit report and provide additional services.
Simply have the CRO explain to you which option they are using for your individual situation…and they will be happy to do so.
While explaining your contract to you, a professional CRO will also explain your right to cancel the contract, and what your rights are in doing so. Most will explain it several times during explanation.
And one last thing when it comes to the CRO fully explaining everything to you as a consumer…
You will be provided a copy of “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law” by a top-notch CRO before any type of contractual agreement is reached.
It basically boils down to this…credit repair is a valuable service that has the potential of returning you financial power. But you need to know what you’re getting into as a consumer, so the CRO should be more than willing to explain it all to you in detail.
6) The CRO will operate their business in a professional way, according to laws and regulations set forth…and provide a legitimate service that adds value to the lives of its clients.
While this sounds simple on its surface, there are a few items that come into play here:
This isn’t a situation where a CRO should send a bunch of form written dispute letters to all of your creditors and “hope and pray” your credit improves (even if it does, that effect is usually temporary, not long-term). Credit repair is a process to be carried out by professionals who understand how to navigate the system properly.
Red Flag: If any CRO you’re considering offers to send a bunch of random dispute letters out for a one-time fee and claims that will bring you results…get in your car and drive away. This will only have a temporary effect on your credit (if any, the Bureaus have measures in place to stop this type of approach). These “fly by night” CRO’s usually leave you high and dry worse off than you were to begin with.
You absolutely can try and do this all yourself. In fact, a professional CRO will make sure that is an option for you.
We live in a world where access to information is almost unlimited. You can find anything you want to on the Internet. In fact, you can and should research credit repair for yourself.