A Sad Credit Reporting Change is Coming

Scared family faces credit issues related to human trafficking.

Why this credit reporting change is SAD?

When I first learned of this recently passed Act, I felt nothing but sadness that this act is needed.  I have been in the credit and lending business for more than 30 years and I never once considered how credit damage would impact a survivor of human trafficking.  I applaud congress for creating this Act to help these survivors.

Sad woman needing credit repair help.

I expect these survivors already face many issues with getting their lives back on track. It is nice to see that negative, derogatory credit reporting would not be a hurdle for them too.  By having their negative credit reporting removed, a human trafficking survivor will have a much better chance to build a solid credit history, one that they alone are responsible for, and have greater financial opportunities.  Better credit allows for more financial security and opportunities including employment opportunities, rental housing and future lending.

Proposed Credit Reporting Change

The CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is in the process of finalizing a proposed a rule change that will have a major credit reporting impact for a certain group of consumers.

The proposed rule change will apply to survivors of human trafficking.  The rule change will require the Consumer Reporting Agencies, also known as Credit Reporting Agencies, not to report any negative information on a survivor’s credit reports during the period they were trafficked.  The CFPB is proposing this rule change to implement the requirements set by Congress based on the recently enacted Debt Bondage Repair Act.  Changes to the credit reporting system like the this proposed one are very rare.

How can survivors of Human Trafficking repair their credit?

At this time, the CFPB just concluded accepting public comments on this proposed rule.  They are now working out the details for what documentation survivors will need to submit to the Credit Reporting Agencies.  The Credit Reporting Agencies will be required to mask, or block, any negative reporting that occurred during the period the survivor was trafficked.

What Credit Reporting Agencies will this apply to?

This Rule will apply to all the Consumer Reporting Agencies.  Most consumers think of the “Big 3”, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, as the only Credit Reporting Agencies.  This is not the case as there are many Consumer Reporting Agencies that house and sell consumers’ data.  It is important that survivors work with all the Consumer Reporting Agencies to ensure their consumer files are cleared of any negative data during the time they were trafficked.

My Takeaway After Writing this!

As a father, husband, and friend to many, I have been blessed to not have this heinous crime impact me or my loved ones.  I can only imagine that anyone who is evil enough to enslave another human would also abuse their finances in every way possible.  My thoughts go out to anyone who is or has been part of any human trafficking and I hope they can find the freedom, safety, security and happiness they deserve.

Hope for a better life and better credit.

Credit Repair Help Is Available

If your credit needs help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

 

Bad Credit is NO Joke

April fools joke slipping on a wet floor.

Bad Credit is NO Joke

After working with, and helping, thousands of consumers overcome credit issues, I can tell you that bad credit is nothing to joke about.

Credit Rules Are the Same for Everyone

Sadly, good people often find themselves in a credit situation which is hard to get out of. For many, maintaining a high credit score already has it challenges. But for those who had any type of a credit issue, regaining control of their credit score can be overwhelming.

Credit Repair advice.

Think Before Joking or Judging Others

In my line of business, I often hear people make unkind remarks about people that have less than stellar credit. I hope these remarks are made in a joking fashion rather than in a judging way. I help good people daily who have had some sort of life changing event or other mishap that led to credit issues.  Often, people needlessly feel embarrassed when they have credit issues.  These people do not need to be judged or joked about, they need solid credit advice and credit repair help to get them back on track to a better credit score. Credit reporting/scoring is a big system, and it does not take much to incur credit damage. Each one of us is one event or mishap away from having our own credit issues.

Aprils Fool Day Tip

If you have never had credit issues, count your blessings. If you ever hear of someone who has/had credit issues, understand that there is often a lot more to the story so be kind and do not judge.

Credit Repair help is available. We give a helping hand.

Credit Repair Help Is Available

If your credit needs help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

Is Credit Repair Worth It? MAYBE!

Woman confused if credit repair is worth it.

Credit Repair can be a great investment and it can also be a complete waste of money.

It is important to understand that every credit repair company sets their own pricing.  In fact, one of the reasons Cure My Score was started in 2008 was due to pricing issues within the industry.  Over my many years in this industry I have seen pricing all over the board.  I have seen quite affordable programs, like our $89 monthly unlimited credit repair, and very expensive programs.  Interestingly enough, I have not seen where a consumer would benefit more from an expensive program.  One thing is for certain, if you are looking into hiring a credit repair company, understand 100% on how their pricing works before engaging their services.

Who WILL benefit from Credit Repair?

Happy people that did credit repair.

Answering this question based on the services offered at www.curemyscore.com and our 14 years of experience, our clients who are most successful and receive the most value:
1. Follow their Custom Game Plan and advice from our team.  Credit education is a key part of why our clients succeed.
2. Collaborate closely with our team who is dedicated to helping all our clients.  Credit is unique for everyone, so we encourage our customers to be active with our team.
3. Take responsibility for their credit.  We provide every tool we can to help our clients but at the end of the day, our clients’ actions will determine how successful they are with their credit repair efforts.

Who WILL NOT benefit from Credit Repair?

Sad man that did not benefit from Credit Repair since he did not follow their advice.

Answering this question based on the services offered at www.curemyscore.com and our 14 years of experience, the consumers who get very little help or value from any credit repair service:
1. Have a pattern of missing future payments and/or experience new derogatory credit events.
2. Do not want to listen and learn how to improve their credit.  Credit scoring is complicated, and we do our best to educate each client what steps they need to improve their score.  A consumer typically will not benefit if they do not follow the advice and education they are given.
3. Blame everything and everyone else for their credit issues.  Some consumers want to blame the credit system for not being fair.

Credit Repair Advice

Credit Repair advice.

Like it or not, if you want to borrow money now or in the future, there is an exceptionally good chance your credit will be used in that transaction.  For those who feel that the credit system is unfair, they would still greatly benefit in taking the actions they need to improve their credit rating and score.  If you choose to work with a professional credit repair company, understand their program, billing, and fees to get your money’s worth. Follow the credit advice you get and be sure to stay current on all your future financial obligations.

CREDIT REPAIR HELP IS AVAILABLE.

Credit Repair help is available.

If your credit needs help, take action.  There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit.  You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help.  By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.  Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

3 Credit Score Killers To Avoid Over The Holidays

Unhappy man at Christmas who now needs credit repair.

 

3 Credit Score Killers To Avoid Over The Holidays

As they say, tis the season! But for many, the season comes with some major credit score declines.  Lower credit scores lead to higher interest rates and denials.  Credit scoring is complicated and many consumers cause credit damage to their credit score without even knowing it. It is important to understand some basics to ensure you don’t end up hurting your score.

1.  Will that be cash or charge?

Paying for your purchases with a major credit card has some advantages over cash. Many credit card companies provide extra protection or extended warranties on items you purchase using their card as well as reward points and cash back.  Using credit allows you not to carry large sums of cash which will prevent you from losing it or becoming a victim of theft. The downside to using credit cards is it causes an increase in your credit utilization rate which leads to a lower credit score. Another downside is that it is harder to stick to your budget leading you to big bills come January. We all know how fast those charges add up.Photo of money we would all save by protecting our credit score.

2.  Would you like to open a new credit card and take 5% off?

Let’s face it; all retailers want you to use their cards allowing them to make more money. Opening new credit cards, for most, is not healthy to their credit score. New credit cards come with credit inquiries and lower your average age of credit both of which lower your credit score in the short run.

3.  How did I forget to pay my car payment?

We all live busy lives but this time of year seems to be the busiest. A simple mistake of forgetting to pay a bill can lead to a 30-day late payment which will cause havoc to your credit score. Keep your bills organized and avoid this mistake at all cost.

Follow these tips and stick to a budget this holiday season to avoid worrying about a lower credit score or excessive debts in the near future.

CREDIT REPAIR HELP IS AVAILABLE.

If your credit needs some help like this client, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

How a Covid-19 Test May Cost Someone $75,600

Angry man due to how a covid test messed up his credit and cost him a ton of money.

I cannot make this stuff up if I tried.

Working with so many credit repair consumers, I often hear crazy stories like this one where a man’s covid test could cost him a whopping $75,600.  One thing for sure, he felt like he should have a higher credit score.

Why the Covid-19 test could cost so much?

Imagine the excitement of buying a new home for your family then all that excitement turns to frustration.  I recently spoke to a client that is currently going through this.  He found out that his previously excellent credit score dropped significantly due to a $55 paid medical collection that was recently added to his credit report due to a Covid-19 test he took.  His lower credit score caused his interest rate to be approximately .75% higher on a $500,000 mortgage.  This higher interest rate caused his payment to increase by $210.00 per month.  Paying $210.00 more per month for 30 years, he will have to pay a whopping $75,600 more in interest.  That is one expensive Covid-19 test.  I did not ask him, but I hope his test was at least negative.Photo of money which he would save if he had a higher credit score.

Why did his credit score drop so much?

Based on my 30+ years of experience working with consumers credit, I can say the major drop in his credit score was caused by this new collection.  A collection like this is considered a major derogatory in the credit scoring world.  This client found it hard to believe that such a small medical bill, that he felt he was not responsible for, could cause such havoc in his life.  In speaking with seasoned Loan Officer Dana DiVecchio, from Holland Mortgage Advisors, his reaction was “this is crazy, never in my 30 years’ experience with credit reporting and lending have I seen such a thing”.   Crazy or not, this is reality, and this consumer will be faced with a large amount of financial credit damage.How to avoid credit damage and the need for credit repair.

Why did the collection even exist?

After speaking to the client, it sounds like the bill was in error.  He had very good insurance and was under the impression that that the Covid-19 test would cost him nothing.  Sadly, many consumers find out the hard way that errors often occur between medical providers and their insurance providers.  Often, these errors result in third party debt collections being added to a consumer’s credit report(s).

Credit repair help is available.

If your credit needs some help like this client, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

 

Top 2 Covid-19 Credit Reporting HOT SPOTS

Review your credit reports for credit damage from Covid-19 related payment plans.

Covid-19, first your health and now many consumers have to worry about their credit.

You are doing your part by social distancing, keeping good hygiene and wearing your mask in public but you would be wise to add one more task to your new normal; review your credit report for errors.  Every consumer should be aware of some credit reporting hot spot issues that are happening as a result of Covid-19.  Many consumers are finding credit issues that are leading to lower credit scores and/or other denials of credit.  Consumers can obtain their credit reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.  Typically, these are only available once per year but now, due to Covid-19, they are available WEEKLY through April 2021.

So what exactly should you be looking for?

  1. If you have continued to fully pay all your obligations on time, your credit report should not report any recent late payments or past dues. You would be wise to also be on the lookout for any comments on your credit reports that may give a lender the impression you are not paying your obligations as normal.  I recently spoke to a young business professional who never missed a payment to anyone nor did she make special payment arrangements with any of her creditors.  After applying for a mortgage, she was shocked to find out that her auto lender reported a comment of “Affected by natural or declared disaster”.  She had no idea how or why this wording was reporting.  She explained that not only did she pay her auto on-time, she was actually paid a month in advance.  Sadly, she was advised that this comment would lead to a denial with underwriting as the wording indicates she was not paying the account as agreed.
  2. Many consumers have not been able to fully pay their obligations on-time and have made special payment arrangements with their creditors. Often, these special payment arrangements include either a forbearance or a deferment.  It is very important to get any special payment arrangements in writing so you have proof should you need it later.  The credit system has specific coding for your creditors to use to indicate these types of special payment arrangements.  This coding only works if your creditor reports it correctly.  If you are in such an arrangement, you want to make sure your creditor is not reporting any late or past due payments on your credit report during the time you are in a special payment arrangement.  Reporting of any recent late payments will be detrimental to your credit score and credit profile.

What do I do if I see such an error on my credit report?

You have the right to dispute any information that you feel is not accurate on your credit report.  It is my experience that it’s best to file disputes in writing and if you choose, you can include any supportive documentation.  The credit report you obtain from www.annualcreditreport.com will contain additional information on how you can file a dispute.

How to raise credit score.

If your credit needs some help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit.  You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help.  By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

 

COVID-19 and Forbearance – How to PROTECT your credit

How to avoid credit damage and the need for credit repair.

COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, is causing many consumers to have disruptions in their income.

Many of these consumers are facing financial hardship and may have options available to help them alleviate financial stress during these uncertain times. Creditors may offer debtors who are facing a financial hardship a forbearance option to help out.  It is important for those with debts to understand what a forbearance is, how can it help them, and how it will it impact their credit.

What is forbearance?

A forbearance is when your lender approves to temporarily postpone, suspend or pause all or part your payment obligation(s).  Keep in mind that it is common for your interest to continue to accrue during any forbearance period and your loan balance may increase.  Due to the current heath pandemic we are facing, some lenders are offering exceptions and are eliminating interest charges during any forbearance periods.  It is vital to call your lenders to see what help is available.  It would be wise to document, in writing, any forbearance and/or interest exceptions you get.  Keep all correspondence, including emails and texts, and written notes in a safe place in case you need them at a later date.

How can forbearance help you?

In times of a financial hardship, the ability to forbear an obligation may help you maintain other vital living expenses.  As an example, by forbearing a mortgage, automobile or student loan payment during a financial hardship, you can use those funds for basic necessities like rent, groceries or utilities.

Will a forbearance impact your credit score?

If you are required to make reduced payments during any forbearance period, you must make these payments timely or you should expect your credit score to suffer.  The credit reporting system has special coding for lenders to identify an account that is in forbearance.  The presence of such coding is not derogatory to your credit score.

Calculating the benefits of a loan forbearance.If you are facing a financial hardship, speak to your lenders and ask them what options they have available to help you.  If you qualify for forbearance, you should be able to avoid any credit damage.  It is very important to get any forbearance agreements in writing, and keep them,  in case your lender does not report your account accurately to the credit reporting agencies.  Should errors occur, any written correspondence will help with repairing your credit.

Cure My Score is a full service credit restoration company that has been helping consumers with successful and affordable credit repair since 2008.  If your credit needs some help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new automobile while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

 

New credit scores are coming; will they help or hurt you?

change to credit score

The credit scoring giant FICO recently announced that they are planning on releasing their newest score models, FICO10 and 10T Suite, later this year.

The FICO 10 score model will continue to have the same score ranges and use the same 5 major factors in determining a credit score as previous models.  It is reported that consumers with recent late payments, high credit utilization (the amount owed on revolving debts compared to the limits) and possibly personal (unsecured) loans will likely see a negative impact to their credit scores.  Conversely, consumers with no late payments, low credit usage and no personal loans likely will see an increase to their credit scores.

The difference between the FICO 10 and 10T models is that 10T will take into consideration trending data.  Trending data takes into consideration your actual payments vs. the minimum required payments as well as balances.   Up to this point, FICO has never used trending data in their scoring models.  So, is your unsecured debt level trending up or down (don’t factor in student loan, mortgage or auto debt)?  Do you pay off your credit cards each month or do you only pay the minimum or a partial balance payment?  Is your total unsecured debt growing or is it in good shape?  Consumers that pay off their unsecured debts in full each month and refrain from opening new unsecured loans should expect trending data to help their score.  Conversely, consumers with high credit utilization and/or the presence of new unsecured loans should expect trending data to hurt their scores.

If you have a lot of unsecured debt, you would be best served to work out a budget and a plan to work on reducing your unsecured debt level.  Paying this type of debt down, or off, should help you with your FICO 10 and 10T as well as save you money on interest charges.  Keep in mind the word “trend”.  Even if you can only pay your unsecured debt down slowly, you will still be trending lower, which is good.

In summary, pay your bills on time on time and keep your unsecured debts to a minimum and you should do just fine with your credit score.

Consumers need to understand that many scoring models are commercially available to lenders.  Lenders choose which model works best to measure their risk in lending.  It is VERY common for consumers to have different scores with each scoring model.

If your credit needs some help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

 

What is a SPOOKY Credit Score?

Don't have a scary credit score!

Happy Halloween all.  We recently had a new credit repair client who said their current credit score was spooky and they no longer wanted to have a spooky credit score.

So what the heck is a spooky credit score?  In reality, this client was just joking that their credit score was poor and they wanted better.

If I had to define a spooky credit score, I would call it a credit score that would produce less than the best credit approval and terms.  Many consumers fail to understand that poor credit scores may lead to approvals but often these approvals come with higher interest rates and/or fees.  In my business, this is often referred to as risk based pricing.  Poor credit scores are considered riskier to lenders, landlords, insurance companies and others so credit providers typically charge more to offset the risk.

So, what to do if your credit score is spooky?  The short answer is work on it.  Pay all your bills timely going forward and try to keep your debt to a minimum.

If your credit needs some help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional company like CureMyScore.com for affordable credit repair help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or click here to schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.

Equifax Settlement Options – I am choosing #5, the one no one is talking about.

Understand how to have the best credit scores.

The way I see it, impacted consumers from the 2017 Equifax data breach will do 1 of 5 things.  Which one is best for you?

  1. Do nothing. Sadly, many consumers will do nothing and they will get limited benefits from the settlement and will lose their right to take action in the future against Equifax should they later be impacted from this data breach. If you do nothing, you still can get assistance with free identity restoration services.
  2. File a claim for the $125 cash payment. Sadly, right after Equifax announced their proposed settlement, millions of consumers quickly filed claims to receive their $125 cash payment. It was quickly learned that the $125 offered cash payment may end up being mere pennies.   Consumers can also seek reimbursement of up to $25 per hour for time spent dealing with the data breach.  I expect the time spent dealing with this breach may be hard to prove and this fund is also expected to pay only a small amount due to the expected number of reimbursement submissions.
  3. File a claim for free credit monitoring for up to 10 years. To me, this is certainly a better option than the $125 cash payment that will actually be much less. Free credit monitoring has been offered by a number of marketing companies for some time so this option may not provide much value to many consumers.
  4. File a claim for cash payments up to $20,000. You can seek cash payments to recover money you paid as a result of the breach.  This includes losses from unauthorized charges, the cost of (un)freezing your credit report, the cost of credit monitoring and other expenses paid to other business professionals.  While $20,000 sounds like a great deal of money, in many cases, the cost and damages of recovering from ID Theft far exceeds this amount.
  5. Opt Out. Any consumer who was part of the breach has the option to Opt Out of the settlement. The deadline to Opt Out is November 19, 2019.  As I see it, the biggest benefit of Opting Out is you do not lose your right to sue Equifax related to this data breach.  In a perfect world, this data breach will not cause you, me or anyone to be a victim of ID Theft or other related woes.  Who knows what the future holds since cyber criminals are always getting craftier on how to use stolen personal data for their gain.  If you choose to Opt Out, you can do so by mailing a statement containing:
    • The name of the proceeding “Equifax Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 1:17-md-2800-TWT”
    • Your full name and current address
    • At the top of the document, the words “Request for Exclusion” or a statement that you do not wish to participate in the settlement.
    • Your signature.
    • Mail, postmarked no later than 11/19/19 to:

Equifax Data Breach Class Action Settlement Administrator

Attn: Exclusion

c/o JND Legal Administration

P.O. Box 91318

Seattle, WA  98111-9418

I suggest that each impacted consumer should either file a claim or Opt Out.  For me personally, I choose to Opt Out.  The benefits I would get today from filing a claim is not worth me losing my right to take future action against Equifax should the need arise.  You can get more information related to filing a claim or how to Opt Out from the FTC or Equifax Settlement websites.

If your credit needs some help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.

Call us at 412-564-5370 with any questions / comments or schedule a free program review.  Like us on Facebook to receive future consumer credit tips.