Credit rights

Resist the quick credit fixes

Despite several years’ worth of warning and repeated advice from officials of all stripes, companies offering “credit repair” continue to abound. There are steps you can take if you are in financial trouble that can one day help you improve your profile to potential creditors. But a credit score is part of your financial picture, not the entire picture. An improved credit score should be the effect of you meeting your goal of creating a financially responsible and secure life, not the goal itself.  It’s understandable why someone would be tempted to buy into a quick-fix program. Credit scores not only affect your ability to borrow, they can have a negative impact on insurance rates and can influence utility companies to ask...

Posted on Feb 21, 2014

Protect Your Finances from the Target Data Breach

The data breach at Target stores is a nightmare of a Christmas present to up to 40 million store customers. Shoppers at the store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 might have had their account data taken, including names, credit and debit card numbers and the expiration dates. The three-digit security codes on the back of the cards might also have been taken in the breach. Those who possibly were affected should take steps to make sure there is no impact. The first and most important step anyone should take with news of the breach is to determine whether you might have shopped at Target during those times. If you did you should monitor your accounts closely, making sure you are...

Posted on Dec 20, 2013

A New Year, a New Chance to Review Your Credit

Many people change batteries in smoke alarms when the clocks move forward or back. Perhaps you might try the New Year’s holiday to spark a new tradition, checking your credit report. The process is free, simple and could be an easy way for you to accomplish an easily achievable New Year’s resolution. If you have ever had a credit card or a loan, or especially if you have ever been turned down for one, then you probably know the impact a credit report can have on your finances. Each creditor provides information about your credit standing, whether you have any late payments and how delinquent they were, and whether you have had any accounts closed by you or your creditor. There...

Posted on Dec 18, 2013

Sample Dispute Letter

Below is a sample dispute letter you can use when contacting the credit bureaus to dispute errors on your credit report. Please feel free to make adjustments to the letter as necessary.   Date Your Name Your Address, City, State, Zip Code Credit Reporting Agency Company Address City, State, Zip Code To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to dispute the following information in my credit report. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received. This item (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.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be removed (or request another specific change) to correct...

Posted on Dec 09, 2013

How Freezing Your Credit Report Protects You From Identity Thieves

According to the March 5th, 2013 release by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft was the #1 consumer complaint in 2012.  In addition, the FTC’s February report states that nearly one in four Americans have an error on their credit reports that is significant enough to prevent them from obtaining a loan or certain types of employment. The best method for combating identity theft is to check your credit report at least, once a year. It is free through www.annualcreditreport.com and you can view all three reports, every twelve months. Another option for safeguarding your identity is to place a credit freeze on your credit reports. A credit freeze prevents the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) from releasing...

Posted on Mar 18, 2013

National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers Guide to Disputing

National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers Guide to Disputing Credit Report Inaccuracies Consumers should take the lead in examining their credit report   Washington, DC – The accuracy of credit reports has been in the news lately, causing consumers to wonder how error-free their own report is.  Since credit reports are the backbone of the all-important credit score, it is indeed important to fully understand what a credit report is, what consumer protections are in place, and what actions can be taken if errors are found.   “Consumers can be their own best advocate to ensure the accuracy of their credit file, but education is key,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.  “If an error is identified, it is the consumer’s responsibility to take...

Posted on Feb 20, 2013

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now Taking Complaints on Credit Reporting

  For the First Time Consumers Will Get Federal Assistance on Complaints WASHINGTON, D.C.,  10/22/2012 From the CFPB Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began accepting consumer complaints about credit reporting, giving consumers individual-level complaint assistance for the first time at the federal level. “Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers. They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged.” Consumer reporting agencies, which include what are popularly called credit bureaus or credit reporting companies, are private businesses that track a consumer’s credit history and other consumer transactions. The credit reports they generate – and the three-digit credit scores that are based...

Posted on Oct 22, 2012

Credit Repair and the Truth About Bad Credit; American Financial Solutions Provides Tips on the Reality of Managing Negative Credit

If someone has negative credit or a few blemishes, they may be tempted to use a credit repair business to help eliminate damaging information from a credit report. However, it is a risky gamble for a consumer to take. American Financial Solutions Director Becky House offers tips and advice on using a credit repair business to clean up bad credit. Seattle, WA  April 20, 2012 Having good credit has become as much of an asset in today’s society as owning gold and property were 100 years ago. With good credit people pay less in interest on major purchases, may pay less for insurance and do not have to worry about potential credit checks by employers. Credit repair businesses offer consumers a way to...

Posted on Apr 20, 2012

A Quick Guide for Consumers on Credit, Debit, and Prepaid Cards from the FDIC

From the FDIC Below is a great guide developed by the FDIC. Use this guide to understand the difference in protections you have when using different types of credit, debit and prepaid cards.     Credit Cards Debit Cards Prepaid Cards What it is A credit card is a loan. A debit card is linked to your bank account and is issued by your bank. There are a variety of prepaid cards, including "general purpose reloadable" (GPR) cards which carry a brand of a card network (such as Visa or MasterCard) and can be used where that brand is accepted. Payroll cards and gift cards are two other types of prepaid cards. How it Works When you borrow funds using a credit card, you must pay the money back. You may...

Posted on Mar 07, 2012

How Long Can a Debt be Collected?

One of the most frustrating questions I receive from people is about how long a debt will follow them. There are so many numbers out there about time limits on credit and negative information in our credit report, so what is the real answer? There are a few. First let’s look at how long negative debt information can stay on a credit report. If it is a judgment or bankruptcy it may remain on your credit report for 10 years from the date the case was filed. Other items like credit card debt, collection accounts, repossessions, etc. can only be on the report for seven years after the account became delinquent. It does not matter if the account is sold to...

Posted on Aug 25, 2011

 
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