Erica Sandberg is a prominent personal finance authority and author of "Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families." Her articles and insights are featured in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Pregnancy, Babytalk, Redbook, Bank Investment Consultant, Prosper.com, MSN Money and Dow Jones MarketWatch. An active television and radio commentator, Sandberg is the credit and money management expert for San Francisco’s KRON-TV, a frequent guest on Forbes Video Network, Fox Business News, Bloomberg TV and all Bay Area networks. Prior to launching her own reporting and consulting business, she was affiliated with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Francisco where she counseled individuals, conducted educational workshops and led the media relations department. Sandberg is a member of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and on the advisory committee for Project Money.
The most important factor when it comes to one’s credit score is their credit payment history. What this means is, are you making on-time payments, have you ever missed a payment, and are you delinquent on any payments? Putting these numbers into practice, one missed payment can impact over 35% of your entire credit score. On our website, we discuss how, in some circumstances, this can be detrimental, leading to up to 100-point credit score drops.
Perhaps our favorite secured card, the Discover it® Secured, has numerous benefits for those looking to rebound from a bad credit score. There is a $200 minimum security deposit that will become your line of credit, which is typical of secured credit cards. An additional perk is the rewards program (very rare for secured cards) that offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. This card has another great feature: Discover will automatically review your account, starting at month eight, to see if your account is eligible to transition to an unsecured card. Discover will decide if you’re eligible based on a variety of credit factors, and if you are, you will receive notification and get your security deposit back.
If you’ve researched online, you have likely seen advertisements for debt consolidation loans. These can be incredibly powerful tools in helping you to end the cycle of debt but it’s important to understand how they work before you apply. Essentially, a debt consolidation loan is a personal loan that pays off your existing debts. The proceeds you receive from the debt consolidation loan will be used for this, and then you make a single monthly payment on that loan.
Debt relief is a broad term that covers all of the solutions you’ll find on this site. It refers to any solution that makes paying down debt faster, easier or more cost-effective. This includes do-it-yourself solutions, like consolidation loans, and professionally-assisted debt relief programs. Some programs focus on paying back everything you owe to save your credit. Others focus on providing the fastest exit possible.
There are many other ways to get rid your debt. Home equity loans and cash out refinances are a way to get a loan using your homes equity as collateral. Debt management and debt settlement programs are available to help reduce your debt or interest and provide a single payment. However, these programs come with high fees and will hurt your credit score in the process.
The months and years that follow can make the larger difference to your credit score, but only if you don’t rack up more debt as you pay off the consolidated debt. As you focus on paying down the loan, each on-time payment will be recorded and reported to the credit reporting bureaus and the positive activity will help to strengthen your credit score over time. To put the impact into perspective, your on-time payment history accounts for about 35% of your FICO credit score.
If you’re hoping to simplify your bills and potentially get out of debt faster, debt consolidation might help. Debt consolidation is most likely to make sense when you have good credit, but your debt amounts might be too high to complete a credit card balance transfer. Additionally, a debt consolidation loan may also be a good move if you don’t want to use the equity in your home to manage your unsecured debt.
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Still, the FTC notes that you should know that not-for-profit status doesn't mean that services are free, and that some credit counseling agencies charge high fees or ask their customers to make voluntary payments. With that in mind, you should make sure you know about all upfront fees involved in any service you seek out while you work to repair your credit score.
There are four other popular options that you could discuss with your creditors. The first is to have your interest rates reduced. If you have high interest debts of, say, 15% or higher and could get them reduced to maybe 12%, you would end up with much lower monthly payments, which could make it possible for you to meet your obligations. A second option worth discussing would be a timeout period of two or three months during which you would no longer be required to make any payments. This would give you time to get your finances reorganized and to save money that might allow you to catch up on your payments. A third possibility would be to have some or all of your credit card debts converted into repayment programs. You would likely be required to give up your credit cards but in turn you would have fixed payments for a fixed amount of time after which you would be completely debt-free.
Here is where it all comes together! Rapid rescoring can raise your credit scores quickly and help you siginificantly for quick credit repair. Many of the tactics on this list are highly effective but can take 30 days or more to actually reflect in your credit score. But a consumer can utilize a Rapid Rescore in order to speed up that recalculation of their credit – and raise their score within just days or a week. With a Rapid Rescore, the credit bureaus simply recompute your score immediately, instead of at the next natural cycle date. Therefore, if you’ve paid down debt, added yourself as an authorized user, deleted collections, or added new positive tradelines, it will show up post haste. A Rapid Rescore is invaluable if you’re applying for a business loan, trying to get approved for a mortgage so you can make an offer on a house, or just trying to clean up your credit before a potential employer checks your report. However, you’ll want to enlist some help to take advantage of a Rapid Rescore, so contact fast credit repair services from Blue Water Credit if you’d like more information or help with any of these tactics!
You have some control over when your payments are due — and how much you have to pay. All you have to do is log in to your account to access the Earnest online dashboard or mobile app. You can make same-day payments, push back your loan due date by up to seven days or change the amount you’d like to pay. There are no limits to how often you make changes to your payment schedule — change up your repayment as much as you need — but make sure you prioritize your loan repayments so you pay off your loan as soon as possible.
 To determine credit card interest over the course of a year, we used our estimate of revolving credit card debt and data of the average interest rate on credit card accounts assessed interest from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from August 2019. Assuming a constant balance, we multiplied the average revolving credit card debt among households with credit card debt by the average APR. This is just an estimate — for simplicity, our calculations don’t account for daily compounding or fluctuating balances.
Your credit score is a calculation of your credit risk and how well you use credit. Credit card companies use credit scores to determine creditworthiness. Many creditors use the FICO score. If you have good (670+) or very good (740+) credit, you will qualify for credit cards with better terms. With fair (669 or lower) or poor (579 or lower) credit, you may not qualify for the most attractive card terms. However, there are cards available for those with bad credit.
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling agency offering a free credit counseling service and low-cost debt management program. As a leader among credit counseling companies, we offer access to certified and highly trained debt advisors who provide credit card counseling to help consumers create an effective get out of debt plan. Our counselors can also offer information about the pros and cons of a debt consolidation plan, provide details about debt consolidation for bad credit, and answer questions like "Is debt consolidation good or bad?"
Companies that want you to lie about credit history or create a new credit identity can get you into legal trouble. Companies that provide “new” identifying information may use stolen Social Security numbers, and if you use this number, then you are committing fraud. Likewise, using an Employee Identification Number or Credit Profile Number provided by these companies is a crime. Rather than committing fraud, take the steps below to improve credit on your own.
You’ll Keep Your Accounts: With a debt consolidation program, your loans will continue to exist where they are now—you’re not getting a new loan or moving the debt around. You’ll make one monthly payment to your service provider, and the funds will then be distributed to your various creditors. Your service provider communicates with your creditors during the setup process and as the program progresses.
Are you thinking that the best way to improve your credit score is through transferring balances multiple times? If you, this tactic will leave you in more debt and a lower credit score. There are numerous fees and rates that vary across companies, all of which are counterproductive. Your path to fast credit repair should include minimal, if any, balance transfers.
One thing to consider: If you’re eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the process can be over fairly quickly and with reasonable certainty that your unsecured debts will be forgiven. Debt management, on the other hand, is more of a question mark. The process can take years, and many people who start debt management plans ultimately drop out and may have to consider bankruptcy anyway.
If you purchased your home using a VA home loan, you are eligible to get an MDCL. It’s a loan that borrows against the equity in your home. The MDCL is a cash-out refinance mortgage that pays off your original loan and then gives you the cash difference in equity. So, if your home is worth $120,000 and you owe $80,000 on your original VA home loan, the MDCL gives you a loan for $120,000. You get the $40,000 difference back and can use the funds to pay off debt.
The key here is changing your habits. What you don’t want to do is consolidate your debt and then go right back to racking up high balances. Before making any change, you may want to consult with a financial planner to help you get your monthly spending in the black, or contact an organization such as the National Federation for Credit Counseling, a non-profit organization that provides financial education to millions of consumers every year, with services that include debt and bankruptcy counseling.
Inflation, in an economy that is growing, is caused by more money being introduced into circulation by the central bank. If the amount of tender remains constant, a currency grows or falls at the rate of the reserves that back it. The global prevalence of fractional reserve banking has caused most currencies to decline in value consistently. In a non-fractional (fully backed) reserve system, the growth of a currency is equal to the growth (or decline) of the assets backing it, fees are charged in an upfront manner, and money is worth by what it is backed.
If you choose to transfer balances, make sure you know when the low rate will expire and what the eventual, regular interest rate will be after the promotional timeframe expires. If you want to use a credit card balance transfer as a debt consolidation loan, you'll need a credit card with a large enough credit limit to hold all your credit card debt.
That said, you can still lower your monthly payments, making your debt more manageable on a monthly basis, by getting a consolidation loan with a longer loan period than your current loans. By spreading your payments over a longer period of time, you can lower your overall monthly payments. Of course, extending the amount of time you make payments means you’ll be paying more interest in the long run.
Warning: Debt settlement may well leave you deeper in debt than you were when you started. Most debt settlement companies will ask you to stop paying your debts in order to get creditors to negotiate and to collect the funds required for a settlement. This can have a negative effect on your credit score and may result in the creditor or debt collector filing a lawsuit while you are collecting settlement funds. And if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest will be added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges may apply. This can cause your original debt to increase.
It's also important to check for any errors on your credit report, including inaccurate personal information or accounts fraudulently opened in your name. Especially if it's negatively affecting your score, dispute this information with the credit bureaus. Submitting a dispute does not affect your credit itself. But if any content in your report changes, your score could change too.
Also, keep in mind that debt consolidation loans are a temporary fix. They don’t address the core problem of how you got into debt in the first place. If you opt for a debt consolidation loan, be sure to take additional steps toward financial stability, like creating a budget, curbing your overspending and looking for additional income opportunities. You should also avoid racking up new balances on accounts you just paid off.
When you accept the terms and conditions for a loan, you enter into commitment to repay the amount you owe according to the specific schedule outlined in the documents. In the event of non-payment, additional charges may be applied. Late payment penalties vary by lender, and as indylend.com is not involved in the lending process, we cannot supply any information on the fees you will incur if any default occurs. For more information, please contact the lender directly if you have any issues relating to your loan repayment.
There are no specific requirements or licensing required for credit repair specialists. This can make it hard to tell who’s legitimately qualified to work on your credit and who you should stay away from. The current law for credit repair companies is designed to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by dishonest credit repair specialists and other credit repair businesses. The law outlines what credit repair specialists can and cannot do, but not who can and cannot perform credit repair services.
Landmark Credit Repair has been assisting Americans in their credit building processes for almost two decades. Our team of credit experts and consultants work with our clients to build detailed, comprehensive credit building strategies that allow for a higher standard of living and financial security. Based in East Texas, Landmark Credit Repair serves clients Nationwide.
Outdated Warnings: There are some consumer groups stating facts about credit repair companies that are simply OUTDATED by over10 years!!! There ARE legitimate credit repairs firms and you see them advertising on TV and on social media. These consumer groups make claims about these companies using PayPal as an indicator of not being legitimate and for consumers to beware of them. Our response is that since PayPal has become the go-to merchant for major corporations, merchants and even airlines, it is extremely outdated to suggest otherwise. Therefore, if a credit repair firm is using PayPal, they are doing so because it is sound business practice to protect customer's financial information as other major companies have discovered. Why the warnings? Many are backed and financed by credit bureaus and lending institutions and it is advantageous for them to make those claims. Credit services are very much needed and you should take advantage of the opportunity to get involved and ignore negative noise.
If you take these steps and still find yourself struggling, getting help may allow you to get back on track. An approved credit counseling agency can help you create a plan to better manage your finances and pay down debt. You can find a state-by-state list of approved credit counseling agencies from the U.S. Department of Justice to make sure you're working with a legitimate agency.
Debt consolidation can be done with a balance transfer credit card or by taking out a personal loan. You still pay the full amount you owe when using a personal loan for debt consolidation, but you’re simplifying your payments and protecting your credit. A personal loan typically has a lower interest rate than credit cards, and the repayment terms can be stretched to between 36 and 60 months so you can take advantage of lower monthly payments over an extended period.
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You will never find the perfect credit repair letter to fit your situation. So, you will have to edit the text on our credit dispute letter templates so they reflect your unique credit dispute situation. Credit problems such as late payments, bankruptcies, or charge-offs are all interchangeable terms on our credit repair and debt validation letters. The reasons for credit disputes are also interchangeable so feel free to interchange these reasons in your credit dispute letters as well.
Those hard inquiries are taken into account through the new credit factor when calculating your score. While one or two hard inquiries won’t have significant credit impacts, a series of inquiries on your report can have more serious results. That’s because too many requests for credit make other potential creditors nervous, as each application represents, to them, your intention to take on more debt.
We reviewed 16 debt consolidation loans from a variety of lenders to come up with our top picks. The criteria we used to make our choices included interest rates, fee structures, loan amounts, repayment options, a prequalification option and direct payments to creditors, as well as other perks like rate-beat programs and financial education resources.
In reality, it’s actually technically impossible to combine loans and merge them together. Each loan has its own interest rate and repayment terms. Each one is essentially a contract where you borrow money and then agree to pay it back over a period of time with set payments. So to combine or consolidate debts, you actually need to get a new, larger loan and then use the money from it to pay off all the smaller loans you wish to consolidate (bring together). People use debt consolidation loans to consolidate smaller loans, credit card balances, overdraft balances, bills, and even payday loans.
It simplifies your finances. Debt consolidation loans combine multiple debts into one monthly payment. The loans have fixed rates and a set repayment term, so your monthly payments stay the same and you know when the debt will be paid off. Credit card rates are variable, so your monthly payments differ, depending on your balance, and it’s hard to know when your debts will be paid off.
Removing negative information, for example, can be done with techniques like credit report disputes, debt validation, pay for delete, and goodwill letters. Many of these are the same strategies credit repair companies use to get negative information removed from your credit report. Doing it yourself not only saves you money but also gives you power and control over your own credit history. Once you know the credit repair tactics, you can use them anytime in the future if it becomes necessary.
Weigh the pros and cons of signing up for a DMP. While credit counseling is free and does not affect your credit score, enrolling in a DMP may be expensive in the long run and negatively your credit if debts are settled for less than their original value. You will also not be able to use your credit cards for the duration of your time enrolled in the DMP. However, you also need to keep in mind that working with a credit counselor or debt management company can provide some unique benefits. There are plenty of creditors who won't work with you directly but will work with you through a DMP. Similarly, the "concessions" given to you by the creditor (lower interest rates and waived fees) might be better and help you save more money in the long-term if you opt to go through a credit counseling agency.
Note: on May 2, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against Lexington Law and related firms. The suit alleges that Lexington Law illegally requested and received payment of prohibited upfront fees for its credit repair services and that the firm made deceptive representations in its marketing. The company denies these allegations and maintains that the rules it is accused of violating are obsolete and have not been enforced against or interpreted to apply to the credit repair industry. The court has not yet ruled on the issues of fact and law presented by this case.
Tip: Before you do business with any debt settlement company, contact your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agency . They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you're considering doing business with. Some states require debt settlement companies to be licensed. You can check with your state regulator or ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is. You can also view the Federal Trade Commission's page on "Coping with Debt " for more information.
The Clean Slate is the company’s most comprehensive credit repair package, featuring everything that’s offered in its two other plans, plus access to disputing judgments. The best thing about the Clean Slate package is that there are no restrictions on the number of disputes you’re allowed to file per month, which speeds up the credit repair process.
It is important to know that you can make seven figures in the credit repair business and a great living of six figures or more. However, hyping a business, as I’m told it is called, to boost sales or one’s brand is unnecessary; especially in the credit repair business. This could bring more unwanted scrutiny from local state AG offices. Also, it can be embarrassing if a researcher gets involved and is unable to verify such claims.
One way to consolidate debt involves transferring your credit card balances to one main card. But carefully read the fine print. “Be clear about the transfer fee,” Gallegos says. “Select a card without an annual fee, and be sure to pay off the balance before the favorable, initial rate expires. Once you make the switch, stop charging purchases on your card.”
One major mistake of many consumers is assuming that if they can’t make a payment, they simply need to accept the inevitable consequences, both financial and to their credit. Fortunately, that’s not always the case, as the vast majority of creditors are perfectly willing to work with you and help you avoid delinquency — particularly if you’re proactive about the problem.
You can possibly add the costs of acquiring a new mortgage to the total amount of refinance so that you do not have to pay anything out of pocket at the time of closing. But you should know that a cash-out refinance to consolidate your debt could result in a higher rate or a longer loan term. This could mean an overall higher interest payment in the long run.
The ICFE's Certified Credit Repair Specialist (CCRS™) program is the nation's premier comprehensive training and certification specifically developed for credit industry professionals who are dedicated to educating and assisting consumers, clients, customers, businesses, and the general public in credit reporting, credit file correction a/k/a credit repair. Also included is credit scoring plus how to maintain a good report and high score. With the birth of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2012, it took over the enforcement of the FCRA/FACTA laws from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which resulted in many new rules and regulations for the credit services industry.
Of course, there are other laws enacted to protect consumers and ensure the validity and fair reporting practices of credit bureaus and agencies. Those include the aforementioned Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) but also the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).
If you have impossibly high interest on those credit cards, then do cancel them. It doesn’t help to have open credit cards if the interest rate makes it nearly impossible for you to get the balance down. In fact, banks currently have hardship programs, where they will reduce your interest rate TO ZERO if you agree that they will cancel your cards. Yes, you wll take an immediate hit on your credit score, but that will quickly improve as you pay down your credit cards, which you can now do because you don’t have those usurious interest rates to pay.
If you decide a quick fix isn't in the cards, don't despair. There are several debt relief options to check out. We've focused mainly on credit card debt, but here are a few options that help you deal with other types of debt as well. For example, you might have medical expenses you incurred from a sudden illness. Medical debt can be difficult to pay off without some type of assistance.
The answer is neither. Rather than asking “Is debt consolidation good or bad?”, a better question might be “Is debt consolidation effective?” Debt consolidation is effective for some people - if they are disciplined about making payments and not taking on new debt. But many people who consolidate debts find that they are just as deeply in debt a few years later because of poor choices or because they didn’t truly make a plan to get out of debt after consolidating.
Debtconsolidation.co works hard to ensure our information is accurate and up to date. However, the information in some of our content can differ from that which you receive from a financial institution or financial services provider. Debtconsolidation.co does not offer any kind of warranty nor claim that offers will reflect the information we have. You should always read all terms and conditions before agreeing to any financial service or product. We may receive some compensation from advertisers on the site. All content is written objectively without knowledge of these arrangements to preserve a neutral opinion.
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a leading source for personalized debt management advice and programs to consolidate your debt. If you are interested in consolidating debts, contact one of ACCC's credit advisors to learn how to consolidate bills without having to take a consolidation loan as would be suggested by some other debt relief agencies. As a Better Business Bureau accredited credit counseling agency, you can count on ACCC for fair and honest help with credit issues. We are also approved by the Department of Justice to provide pre-bankruptcy counseling and post-bankruptcy credit counseling courses.
Talk with your credit card company, even if you have been turned down before. Rather than pay a company to talk to your creditor on your behalf, remember that you can do it yourself for free. You can find the telephone number on your card or your statement. Be persistent and polite. Keep good records of your debts, so that when you reach the credit card company, you can explain your situation. Your goal is to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a level you can manage.
That takes care of your existing credit accounts. To help establish positive credit history, you might contemplate opening new credit accounts in various categories. Showing that you can handle fixed payments as well as credit cards is a plus in the long term. An installment loan for furniture, an auto or a personal loan will round out your credit profile. You might also consider a secured credit card (make sure the issuer reports to the major credit bureaus) if you do not qualify for other types of new credit. Lastly, apply for credit only if you need it and if you can afford new payments. Credit applications generate inquiries on your credit report, which could ding your score in the short term.
While participating in the National Debt Relief program, you may face an initial impact on your credit score. However, many of our clients find that by the time they graduate, their score has returned to the same rate if not higher than when they started. The important thing to focus on is that by participating in our program, you'll be actively getting rid of your debt. Furthermore, by the time you graduate, you should be able to get your credit rating to a higher level than it was before the debt settlement process, providing you don't let your debt levels creep back up, and you practice good personal finance habits.
Clearly, this can become a sticky situation. If your target co-signer is willing, then suggest a face-to-face discussion about the rules. Decide how much you'll spend on the card each month, what payment reminders you plan to set up and what happens if you default on the account. And keep in mind that not all of the major issuers allow co-signers, so do your research before the meeting.
If you’re considering a debt consolidation program, talk to a trusted financial advisor first. Your advisor may be able to point you in the direction of a reputable debt consolidation program nearby that you’ll be able to work with locally. Working locally with a credit counselor and debt consolidation team can be helpful in solving your challenges with outstanding credit card debts. Another option is to consolidate with a debt settlement company such as National Debt Relief. Instead of simply figuring out how to manage your debts and which to pay off first, a debt settlement company will actively negotiate with your creditors to lower your debts. Make sure to review your finances when deciding which program is right for you.
All this program takes is the ability to mail a certified letter to the credit reporting agencies. The ebook has step-by-step instructions on what to do, how to do it, and when to it. Everything is included in this kit. You will have the mailing addresses for the CRA’s and dispute letter templates ready to go along with an example dispute to show you how it’s done!
Choose your ideal lender. Then, fill out the application and provide the requested documentation. With many personal loan lenders, an application will result in a “soft inquiry” on your credit report, which does not hurt your credit score. If the lender preapproves you and you agree to a loan offer, the next step will be a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. A hard inquiry does have the potential to affect your credit score slightly.
Can you give me advice? I would like to buy a house the beginning of 2019. I got my chp 7 bk discharged in 2016. I only have a credit card and my car loan both have not had any late payment on. How do I boost my credit? Right now I am currently at 479, and I know I need to have at least 580 to qualify for some home loans. What can I do to achieve my goal of boosting my credit score?
This is easier to fix than credit history but you still need a lot of discipline. It is important to keep outstanding debt low otherwise it has a negative impact on your score. Don’t keep moving debt from once account to another – pay it off as quickly as possible. Don’t open too many new accounts just to increase your available credit. This looks risky and can backfire.
The next option that has become increasingly popular is the debt settlement method. This involves the help of a debt settlement agency or a debt relief company. The idea is they will negotiate on your behalf so the creditor will agree to a lower outstanding amount that you have to pay. This is usually a certain percentage of your original balance. When you have paid that off and you do so diligently, the rest of the debt will be forgiven.