When you refinance, you replace a loan with a completely new loan, ideally a much better one. The goal is often to get a lower interest rate to reduce your lifetime interest costs and monthly payment. You can also consolidate your loans when refinancing, by paying off multiple loans with your new loan. Instead of the term "refinancing," think of this as “optimizing” your debt so you pay less.
The growth of the consumer credit has been explosive. Americans are still getting all charged-up with their plastic. Individual credit files continue to grow, many times into more than three dozen pages. This area of growing concern to consumers and business owners alike is one that is often overlooked by their well meaning financial and business advisors, until now.
‡ The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

While online debt consolidation may be helpful for some consumers, it’s not the best option for everyone. Many online debt consolidation companies are primarily concerned with profiting from your financial problems rather than helping you resolve them, and many charge top dollar for their services. For lots of consumers, online debt consolidation is merely a way to put off solving financial issues. That’s why so many people who get debt consolidation help are still just as deeply in debt a year or two later.
Earn $300 back after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months. Unfortunately, the annual fee of $95 isn’t waived the first year, and the ongoing APR is high at 15.99%-24.99% variable. A little-known feature: As part of the Mastercard World Elite program, you’ll receive a $10 credit on your next Lyft ride (max one per month) if you take 5 rides in a calendar month.
Although credit counseling is available to anyone who wants professional guidance, it's geared toward people who struggle with credit card bills and are looking for ways to handle them. For this reason, the services credit counseling agencies offer includes debt management plans, which are designed to help people get out of debt quickly and efficiently.
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Credit score takes a beating. This definitely will happen with either debt settlement or bankruptcy. Even if you eventually reach a debt settlement with a lender, there will be a note on your credit report for seven years that says you missed payments and settled for less than what was owed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on a credit report for 10 years and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is there for seven years. This will make it difficult to get a loan for a home or car at an affordable rate.
Anna Serio is a trusted loans expert who's published more than 800 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Fundera, Business.com, and ValueWalk feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

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As with most things in life, you need to know where you stand to effectively plot your course forward. When it comes to credit scores, this means taking a long, hard look at your credit reports. Pretty much everything in the consumer credit world is based on the information in your credit reports, of which you have three worth noting: one each from credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Track your credit score. Numerous websites offer access to educational credit scores that are aimed to give you an understanding of how you are doing creditwise. It is important to understand the type of score (FICO® vs Vantage) and start to learn what affects your score and then continually track how your score changes over time. Checking your score with these types of service won’t affect your score in any way.


As an ICFE Certified Credit Repair Specialist –CCRS™ you will teach clients how to obtain their credit reports from the three major CRAs. When the client has his or her credit reports in hand, you will review their credit reports, page-by-page, with the client present. The average credit report review and checking for mistakes takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Utilize the Credit File Review form on the CCRS™ Resource CD.
For many people, wood windows are the only way to go from a beauty standpoint. Restorations Windows give you the beauty that you demand while also giving you the performance characteristics that are a must. And, unlike wood windows, Restorations Windows offer so many customizations that you can rest assured that your project will reflect your unique personality.
If you decide that a debt settlement is the right move, the next step is to choose between doing it yourself or hiring a professional debt negotiator. Keep in mind that your credit card company is obligated to deal with you and that a debt professional may not be able to negotiate a better deal than you can. Furthermore, the debt settlement industry has its fair share of con artists, ripoffs, and scams, which is why many people choose to try it on their own first.

Your credit score is separate from your credit reports. And your reports don’t include your scores. But, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can get free copies of your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—once a year. You can access all of your free reports thru AnnualCreditReport.com. Or get your reports directly from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.


My husband is an authorized user on our daughter’s credit card account. We need to increase his credit score, it’s only 600, so we’re considering having him removed. The good-it’s a 16 year account with perfect payments. The bad-it’s utilizing too much of the credit line ($10,000 of a $12,000). His credit report is saying he has 5 years of credit history. Thank you!
Harnessing the power of being or becoming an Authorized User or a Joint account holder may be just the boost you need to launch your credit profile. On the other hand, it may also be a negative that is dragging down your credit score. Having the primary account holder surgically remove you can have an immediate impact to the good. This is a good place to start because this can be an easy fix that can deliver a lot of mileage.
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You can also get your free Experian credit score and a credit report card that are updated every 14 days on Credit.com. Your credit report card shows where you stand in the five key areas that make up your score—payment history, credit utilization, account mix, credit age and inquiries. Your report card also gives you tips on how to improve your standing in each area if needed. And checking your report card and score doesn’t hurt your credit in any way.
Cons: You need to meet the lender’s eligibility requirements to qualify for a personal loan. If you’ve had financial difficulties in the past, you may not be eligible, or you may only qualify for an interest rate that’s comparable to the current rate on your credit cards. In addition, some lenders charge an origination fee, which could add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your loan, which could eat into your loan funds before you even receive them.

Negotiating a reduced amount may also be a possibility for medical bills that have gone to collections. At this point, you may be negotiating with the collection agency, rather than your health care provider, but they may be willing to agree to settle for less than what’s owed on a delinquent debt. Be aware, however, that allowing unpaid medical debts to go to collections can damage your credit score.
NACSO makes sure credit repair companies are in compliance by checking their contracts, sales scripts, and paperwork. To get their certification can be a tedious process; this is because one must make sure all the company’s paperwork and sales scripts are in order. They also have monthly fees, and these fees go to pay for a Washington lobbyist (Magnolia Strategy Partners) to help the industry. Officials reference their success in fighting against legislation that hurts the industry, and they have relationships with Washington regulators. They also have plans to take on more issues.

Do you have cards with a long account history? The longer you’ve had a credit card account open, the better that account reflects on your credit history. It’s a good idea to keep older accounts open and active for your credit history, but if your card is no longer competitive with rewards or benefits, a new credit card can provide those advantages.


Fully certified. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the largest, longest serving and most well-respected credit counseling network in the country. All Clearpoint counselors must be NFCC-certified, which means they have studied counseling principles, understand consumer rights and responsibilities, and have passed examinations showing their proficiency in these and other areas.
Disputing a negative error from your credit report can also raise your credit score, especially if you talk to the creditor over the phone and have them remove the error from your credit report right away. To enforce your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have to dispute credit report errors in writing. However, some creditors are willing to remove legitimate errors with just a phone call. The update can appear on your credit report and impact your credit score in just a few days if the creditor is willing to work with you.
We’ve heard from many customer reviewers of their dissatisfaction when they didn’t see results in the first month (or two). This is a common complaint not just with Lexington Law, but many other credit repair agencies. Our advice: be patient & stay in communication with the firm you’ve hired. The first 4 months after hiring an agency should tell you enough about whether the firm’s services are working for you.
No matter which debt consolidation solution you choose, remember that if you want to avoid getting into deep debt again, you need to take a look at how you got into debt in the first place. And before you consolidate debt with a personal loan or transfer debt to a different credit card, evaluate your budget and your habits. Do you have a strategy to avoid getting into the same problem again?
Be Assertive. If you feel the credit bureaus are ignoring your credit repair letters or handling them incorrectly, you can mention that you are thinking of hiring an attorney. For instance, if your request for an investigation goes longer than 30 to 45 days, the credit bureau is in violation of the law. Educate yourself on other possible violations of the law you may encounter during the credit repair process.

With debt consolidation, good or bad credit can make a big difference. Trying to consolidate debt with bad credit is not a great idea. If your credit rating is low, it’s hard to get a low-interest loan to consolidate debts, and while it might feel nice to have only one loan payment, debt consolidation with a high-interest loan can make your financial situation worse instead of better.
Debt consolidation is when you take out a loan to pay off two or more debts. Most people use a debt consolidation loan to pay down their credit cards. The loan funds pay off the credit cards, leaving you with one single loan payment for the debt consolidation loan. The loan is usually far cheaper than the credit card interest rates you’re paying on your month-to-month balances.
Since your credit score is heavily influenced by both your total debt and the proportion of your available credit you’re using, a simple (though perhaps not easy) way to improve your credit score is to pay down your existing debt. This is particularly effective if you currently have credit cards with high utilization rates, which is the ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit.

Your payment history is the most important factor in your FICO credit score and accounts for 35% of most scores. VantageScore doesn’t provide percentages, but the percentages used are likely similar to FICO’s. And even just one late payment can drop your scores significantly. Having a good payment history is critical to maintaining healthy credit accounts.

Should you decide to marry, bad credit will affect your chances of getting a low interest mortgage, among other potential complications. Marriage counselors note that in a solid relationship, each person serves as a kind of "emergency bank" for the other, but if one person has poor credit, this may make it difficult for them to come to the aid of his or her spouse. Also, studies have shown that financial disagreements are the leading cause of divorce.
If you have good credit and earn at least $100,000 a year, it’s worth adding Best Egg to your list of debt consolidation lenders to compare. Best Egg will perform a soft credit check when you apply for a loan so you know how much you qualify for — and at what interest rate — risk-free. Soft pulls to your credit file don’t affect your credit scores and give you the chance to get prequalified so you can make an informed final decision before you commit.
Of course, $800 a month in credit-card bills is a lot to handle, which is where debt management comes in. One of the companies I profile further down, InCharge, can help reduce interest rates by an average of 6% to 9%. Assuming the best scenario (a 9% interest rate drop) and a four-year plan, your monthly payment could shrink to $576 (this includes a monthly fee of $49, which could be lower or dropped completely, depending on your situation) and your total interest paid would shrink to $5,276.
You can challenge any negative credit listing that is deemed inaccurate, misleading, incomplete, or questionable. You can also have something removed if it is unverifiable or untimely. Specifically, you can target late payments, credit inquiries, collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, repossessions, judgments or any personal information.
The credit reporting agencies must resolve consumers' disputes within 30 days, with two exceptions. If you used the services of AnnualCreditReport.com, then the bureaus can take up to 45 days. They can also take up to 45 days if you send supporting documentation separate from your intitial dispute (but before the 30 days is up). Here is more information on this topic.

People who come to our website in search of good credit repair companies are not being “hotswapped.” However, the allegations of duplicitous marketing practices may trouble many consumers who haven’t been directly affected by them—and may reasonably lead some consumers to doubt the integrity of other parts of Lexington Law’s and CreditRepair.com’s operations.
Remember, consolidating your debt into a single loan probably won’t improve your financial health if you continue to rack up additional debt. Before taking out a loan, it’s a good idea to look at how your expenses stack up against your income. You may discover you need to make some changes to your spending habits so that you can keep your finances on track.
Each of the following templates is independent of one another, with the exception of Template #4, which is a general follow-up to any of the first three letters. The first three letters are simply variations of the same basic idea, with slight differences in verbiage and tactic. You might decide to choose one complete template to follow, or create your own combination of the three depending on how you would like to approach your letter.
In other words, credit repair can remove mistakes, fraudulent information, and unsubstantiated accounts, but that’s about it. Credit repair won’t eliminate legitimate negative marks and accounts, such as substantiated debts and authorized credit inquiries — only time can do that. Hard inquiries will fall off of your report within two years, while other negative accounts can last seven to 10 years.
Debt Settlement is not the Favored option of Creditors.There are a lot of debt relief options and sometimes, creditors will prefer them. This decision will be based on your financial capabilities – which will be in discussion and intense scrutiny while the debt settlement negotiation is going on. If they think that you are capable of paying off your debts entirely, they may agree to lower the interest rate but still maintain the outstanding balance. They can also offer to extend your payment period to lower the monthly amount that you have to pay.
Essentially, collection agencies fall under considerable scrutiny and legal requirements when it comes to the activity of debt collection. Employing your rights under this law is described comprehensively in the “What is Debt Validation” section of our Credit Library. Included in this section are the steps to follow that require CAs to validate a debt upon request, along with the steps and court case precedence to pursue legal action if necessary to force compliance.
Credit scoring models usually take into account how much you owe compared to how much credit you have available, called your credit utilization rate or your balance-to-limit ratio. Basically it's the sum of all of your revolving debt (such as your credit card balances) divided by the total credit that is available to you (or the total of all your credit limits).
If the account is in good standing or can be brought back into good standing by catching up on the past due balance, leaving the account open can actually help you repair your credit. You'll need open, active accounts with a positive payment history to improve your credit score. Opening new accounts with a bad credit score can be difficult so rehabilitating the accounts you already have open can be much easier.
For people suffering under a large amount of debt, National Debt Relief is a fantastic option. Their knowledgeable, friendly approach has a proven track record of success, while their strong BBB rating and satisfaction guarantee confirms their focus on the customer. If you want to get out from under the debt load you're facing, National Debt Relief (1-888-919-1355) is a great place to start. They earn our highest rating.
Since your credit score is heavily influenced by both your total debt and the proportion of your available credit you’re using, a simple (though perhaps not easy) way to improve your credit score is to pay down your existing debt. This is particularly effective if you currently have credit cards with high utilization rates, which is the ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit.

This is especially true if you’ve begun to use credit cards to pay for all of your living expenses. Or if you’re doing things like using payday loans for financial emergencies. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to take a step back and look at all of the available options. Otherwise, you’ll fall victim to an endless cycle of bills, fees, and burdensome debt.
Florida credit repair businesses must be knowledgeable about the statute of limitation governing debt in Florida because this will guide your business decisions and enable you to best help your clients. The statue of limitations essentially limits the time that a creditor can legally sue a consumer for payments for a debt. Statutes of Limitation (SOL) do vary by state and debt type. In general, it is usually between 3 to 6 years, but sometimes longer.
Once you have your credit reports, read through them completely. If you have a long credit history, your credit reports might be several pages long. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the information you're reading. It's a lot to digest, especially if you're checking your credit report for the first time. Take your time and review your credit report over several days if you need to.
Online Debt Consolidation Lenders. These businesses will pay off your debts, consolidating what you owe into a single payment which you repay, usually on a monthly basis. Like banks, online debt consolidation lenders typically use a risk model to decide whether to accept you as a customer and how much interest to charge. Usually, they’ll offer several options for consolidating with a bad credit history. The loan amounts vary from $1,000 to as much as $50,000 with repayment terms of 3-5 years. The interest rates typically are very high – 25%-35% -- for people with bad credit.
Interest rates for debt consolidation loans are primarily determined by two factors: your credit score and the collateral you can offer for the loan. Your credit score represents the statistical likelihood that you’ll be able to repay a debt as set out in your initial signed agreement with a lender (if you eventually fully repay a debt, but you were late on a bunch of payments, then you technically didn’t repay it as agreed and this will impact your credit score). The better your score, the more confident a lender can be that you’ll repay a new debt without any problems.
It’s suggested that you request a credit line increase about once every 6-12 months. Why? It helps with your credit utilization ratio, which helps your credit score. Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of debt you have divided by the total amount of credit you’ve been extended. Sign in to your credit card account online to see if a credit limit request is waiting for you, or call the number on the back of your card to learn more about your options. The suggested utilization ratio is 30% or less on each individual account and all accounts combined.

A bad credit score can feel like a dark cloud you just can’t shake. Whether you want to buy a home, get a student loan, apply for a credit card or even apply for a new job, bad credit may get in the way of achieving your goals. The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to improve your credit score and dispel that dark cloud. Follow these steps to get your credit back on track:
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that you must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.
Your payment history has the largest impact on your credit score. Late payments will hurt your credit score more than anything else as payment history is 35 percent of your FICO score. Get current on any accounts that are delinquent. If you have accounts that are 30 or 60 days late, make those payments to keep them from taking a toll on your credit. Once accounts pass 90 days late, they're considered to be extremely delinquent and could go to collections.
For all that credit can be a powerful tool, it can also be the means by which we get ourselves into a whole heap of trouble. And knowing the quickest ways to fix your credit score will be invaluable if you ever find that you’ve gotten in over your head in credit card debt. For example, consider Karen, a marketing professional from Washington, DC, who casually swiped her way into $25,000 of credit card debt while trying to reinvigorate her flagging business.
When you take out a personal loan, the cash is usually delivered directly to your checking account for you to use to pay your creditors. Then, you pay the loan company back in monthly installments, typically at a fixed interest rate. Personal loan lenders may charge a sign-up, or origination, fee, but most don't charge any fees other than interest.
The goal is to focus your financial attention on quickly paying down one debt as quickly as possible. Now, if your debt is accumulated in credit cards, as you make monthly payments, do not use those cards. The credit bureau will see your financial habits, and this will reflect in your credit report and ultimately your credit score. Now, calculating your credit utilization is not hard and is something that everyone can do. Take the time to figure out where you stand and what loans or credit lines you can begin minimizing to reach that sweet spot. This is one of the best ways for fast credit repair.
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