The disputed listing was investigated as to the correctness of the information within the listing (such as late pay notations) and the listing was found to be inaccurate or unverifiable. Remember, if the creditor doesn't respond to the bureau at all, this serves the same purpose as the listing being unverifiable. In this case, the negative listing will now show up as a positive listing, or it will be deleted from your report all together. This is the best possible outcome.
Limit credit card spending. Building good credit means using your credit cards and other loans regularly and responsibly. Make it a point to only use your cards for must-have expenses like groceries and gas and only when you have the cash to pay off the balance. Making those monthly payments will help dilute any bad remarks remaining on your report.
• Extended fraud alert: If you have a police report or a Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Report showing you’re a victim of identity theft, you may place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. An extended fraud alert remains on your credit report for seven years unless you choose to remove it sooner. Click here for the extended fraud alert form.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) assists active-duty military with financial burdens. Under this act, you may qualify for a reduced interest rate on mortgages and credit card debts. It can offer protection from eviction. It can also delay civil court including bankruptcy, foreclosure, or divorce proceedings. To find out if you qualify, contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office.
The drawback is that while you are not paying those bills, the interest is continuing to pile on, meanwhile, your credit score is tanking. The added interest plus the attorney’s fees could negate any cost savings from the settlement. This option could work if your debt is already in collections and you have savings or access to money that would cover a large chunk of your debt. If you can’t settle the debt right away, another option will probably work better for you.
It’s important to remember you’re not alone. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, an estimated 45 million Americans may not have credit scores. That’s a huge number, and it includes a variety of individual cases. Some people simply have no credit history, while others may have a credit history that’s gone stale or isn’t yet sufficient to produce a score under most scoring models.
If you have a poor credit history or a lack of credit history, a secured credit card may help you repair your credit and raise your credit scores. These require a deposit that generally serves as your credit limit. If you don’t pay your bills, the card issuer can withdraw the deposit. If you open one of these cards, it’s important to make on-time payments and keep an eye on your credit utilization.
Debt settlement companies can’t collect a fee until they’ve reached a settlement agreement, you’ve agreed to the settlement, and you’ve made at least one payment to the creditor or debt collector as a result of the agreement. But you could still end up paying a portion of the debt settlement company’s full fees on the rest of your unsettled debts, says Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations and communications at the National Federation for Credit Counseling.
Susan has written about everything from home inspection horror stories, to millennials and money, to the ins and outs of health insurance exchanges for Bankrate.com. She has worked at newspapers in the Southeast, including eight years as an editor and bureau chief at the Tampa (Florida) Tribune. Susan left the Sunshine State and headed to Central Europe, working for an English-language newspaper in Hungary, covering real estate and development in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She then moved to Austria, where she worked as an editor for The Associated Press and began freelancing, dealing with subjects such as the Bosnian war and the Kosovo crisis. She returned to the States in 2001 and now focuses on personal finance and workplace topics. Her articles for International Educator magazine have been honored with the Apex Award for Publishing Excellence and the Association Media & Publishing Excel Award. Susan lives in a neighborhood of 1920s bungalows in Tampa.
Debt settlement requires that you be behind on your payments to qualify. There’s also no guarantee your creditors and debt collectors will accept the settlement offer. You may or may not receive a refund if the settlement isn’t successful. Keep in mind, also, that the average settlement percentage is 78%, according to the American Fair Credit Council. When you consider that you might have to pay taxes on the forgiven debt, this might not equate to much savings.