Archive for the ‘free credit report’ Category

How long does Collections stay on Credit Report?

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

If you have collections on your credit report, you can count on most of them staying on there for minimum of 7 years from the original collection date. Sometimes you will have the collections sold to different collection companies. This could be a challenge trying to get the original collection date, but the creditor currently reporting the collection must report this information correctly. Typically the creditor reports the wrong original collection date, so you have to dispute it. They must comply with this request under the (FCRA) Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Here is how long items stay on your credit report from original collection date:
1. Medical collections – 7yrs
2. Charge Offs – 7yrs
3. Late payments – 7 yrs
4. Judgments – 7 yrs
5. Tax Liens – until you pay off
6. Repossessions – 7yrs
7. Chapter 7 Bankruptcies – 10 yrs
8. Chapter 13 Bankruptcies – 7yrs
9. Collections – 7 yrs
10. Inquiries – 2 yrs
11. Foreclosure – 7 yrs

I am sure you have heard you can get obligations that you owe removed from your credit report. I will tell you and so will the FTC that you cannot get obligations removed from your credit report even though you owe the debt. The only items you can get removed are items that are not correct, for instance.

  • Debt that is not yours
  • Maybe you and your father have the same name, and report is skewed
  • Duplicate items
  • Items over expiration date
  • Inaccurate reporting, like slow pays.

Maybe you don’t know what is being reported on your credit report. Its time you find out, so if there is inaccurate information you will know. Current statistics show that 1 out of 4 credit reports have incorrect information on it that would cause a denial of some type of loan.

Does Credit Inquires hurt your Credit Score?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

A credit inquiry is an item on your credit report that shows with permission a creditor requested your free credit report.

Not all credit inquiries affect your credit score:
You may notice when you pull your credit report there are inquiries on there from a business you are not familiar with. The only inquiry that affects your credit score is the one where you are applying for credit. This is considered a hard pull on your report.

Inquiries that affect your credit score:
There is only one type of inquiry that affects your credit score. This type of inquiry is applications for a mortgage, auto loan and other credit, by you authorizing these creditors to access your credit report. This type of inquiry prompted by your own actions ends up on your personal credit report and affects your score.

An inquiry that does not affect your credit score:
Checking your own personal credit report or any business that offers goods and services that requests your report. A business that you already have a account with that requests a check. A potential employer that does credit checks. Some of these types of inquiries might show up on your report but do not affect your credit score.

Checking your credit report does not affect your Credit Score:
Checking your credit report on a regular basis to ensure it is accurate and error free is recommended by Fair Isaac the inventor of the FICO Score. Maintaining a error free credit report is part of credit management which will improve your credit rating over time. Ordering your credit report at does not hurt your credit score.

How credit inquiries are factored in your Credit Score:
There are five types of information used to calculate your credit score. Each category accounts towards a percentage of your score.

Payment History – 35%
Amounts Owed – 30%
Length of Credit History – 15%
Types of Credit in use – 10%
New Credit – 10%

Don’t let inquires scare you. There is nothing wrong with shopping for a better rate, or better terms on a loan. As you can see in the about chart, payment history is the biggest factor in calculation process of your credit score. The second biggest factor is how much of your approved credit limits are charged up. But of course you don’t want to go out and start applying for every credit offer out there either. Be responsible and have a good mix of credit, but stay away from too much credit as well You really on need 3 lines of credit reporting on your credit report.
1. credit card
2. car note
3. installment loan

This type of credit mix accounts for 10% of your score.

Even Celebrities like Liz Mikel needs Identity Theft Protection

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Did you think Identity Theft Protection is unnecessary? Well you might want to think again. Dallas based actress Liz Mikel just found out the hard way that someone had stolen her identity and been having a field day. She stars in the NBC show “Friday Night Lights”, found out that identity thieves had went on-line and opened accounts in her name.
Mikel said that she went to the mail and to her surprise there was a notice from Capital One that there was a problem with an account she did not have. After a phone call to the company she had learned that someone had been opening accounts in her name since early March.

What you need to know
Identity theft affects 9 million people every year, and is currently growing in epidemic proportions according to the FTC. Identity theft starts with the theft of your social security number, your credit cards, and financial information. For Identity thieves this information is like gold.

Here is a variety of methods identity thieves may get a hold of your personal information:
1. Pretexting- The use of false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other resources with your information.
2. Phising – They pretend to be financial institutions by send you e-mail or pop ups hoping you will reveal your personal information.
3. Old-Fashion Stealing- They steal wallets, credit cards, mail credit card offers, purses, financial statements, and new checks that come in the mail. They steal personal records and bribe employees who have access to your records.
4. Changing your address – They divert your mail by putting a change of address request in to the post office.
5. Skimming – They steal credit card and debit numbers by using a special storage device when swiping your cards.
6. Dumpster Diving – They go through dumpsters looking for mail that was not shredded with your personal information.

Examples of what identity thieves do once they have your information.

Bank / Finance Fraud

• They create counterfeit checks using your name and account number
• Open bank accounts in your name and write bad check
• They may clone your credit or ATM card and electronically drain all your accounts.

Credit Card Fraud
• They may open credit cards in your name. When they will charge these cards up, and not pay the bill. As a result it appears on your credit report.
• They may change the address on your credit cards so that you no longer receive the bill, and run up charges on your credit cards. It may be sometime before you realize there is a problem.

Government Document Fraud
• They may file fraudulent tax returns in you name
• They may use your name and social security number to get government benefits
• They may get a drivers license or id picture with your name but with their picture.

Will the current mortgage crisis affect you?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

What is the current Crisis
Over the last 10 years our country went through a real estate boom. There were three categories of loans being provided. The first was Prime, the second was Alt a, and the third was Sub-Prime loans. Typically any loan less than Prime had higher rates because of the risk of the borrower. The Sub prime loan was a creative loan that was provided and is currently the reason for around 46% of foreclosures in the U.S. This is astonishing if you think about it, and is the cause for a downturn in our economy. When you have this type of debt being wrote off, someone is affected. That is why our banking industry has had a liquidity problem. There were more loans being bought back than there was cash in the bank.

Insight on reason for foreclosures
Most of the mortgages given during this real estate boom that were Sub-Prime were adjustable rate mortgages (ARM). This type of loan looked very attractive with its initial “low teaser rates”, which typically expired after 2 years. Most of these loans were set to reset between 2 to 5 years which would cause the payment to increase dramatically. The selling point on these loans over the years was, if you keep your credit rating good you can refinance your ARM loan into a 30yr fixed mortgage once the ARM reset. Unfortunately with the declining property values and the tightening up on underwriting guideline it has made it impossible to refinance these types of loans. The result is the mortgage payment will increase dramatically and a foreclosure to follow afterward s. Since all of this has taken place we are seeing global implications on foreign investors that might have put there stock in Mortgage backed securities. IN other words investors global wide are pulling there interest out of these types of loans. Since the book is still being written on this crisis we anticipate the overall economy to feel the strain of this unfortunate crisis and for ARM loans to be less common in the future.

What can I do about my current ARM loan?
Here are the steps in regards to determining whether you can refinance your current loan.

* Determine if you have the current credit to refinance into a FHA loan.
* Determine if you have the equity to refinance your current mortgage
* Call your loan officer to determine if they can help you

If you feel you are not going to be able to afford your mortgage payment, call your lender before you are late on payments. Make arrangements with them rather than not notify them at all. If you find that your lender will not work with you there are counselors that you can talk to.
Here is a list:

Hope Now
An alliance between counselors (HUD approved), servicers and investors that strives to keep homeowners in their homes by helping them renegotiate their loans.

Homeownership Preservation Foundation
A nonprofit that creates partnerships with local governments, nonprofit organizations, borrowers and lenders to help families overcome obstacles that could result in the loss of their homes.
Counseling Agencies Approved by HUD Developments
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and reverse mortgages.
NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions
Works to preserve homeownership in the face of rising foreclosure rates.

Financial Education/Assistance
My Money Management
A collaborative effort by the financial services industry to provide consumers with access to financial education to help inform their personal finance decision process.

FHASecure plan
A refinancing option that gives credit-worthy homeowners, who were making timely mortgage payments before their loans reset but are now in default, a second chance with a FHA insured loan product.

Here are some helpful tips for avoiding foreclosure from U.S. Housing and Urban Development.

What is a Credit Score?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

A credit score is a number that reflects your creditworthiness at any given time. Typically the higher your score the better your credit. Individuals with higher credit scores typically can obtain mortgages, credit cards, loans and insurance with better terms. The lower your score the worse your terms are on any offer. The Credit Score is based on the information stored with in your credit report.

Each Bureau has its own score
Each Bureau has its own name for the FICO® Score.

Equifax – Beacon
TransUnion – FICO Classic
Experian – FICO Risk Model

The general scoring ranges between 300 – 850. Fair Isaac divides the scores into five categories.

780 – 850 – Low Risk
740 – 780 – Medium – Low Risk
689 – 740 Medium Risk
620 – 690 – Medium High Risk
620 – and Below – High Risk or “sub-prime.”

A credit score can change quickly for several reasons, including late payment or big increases in credit card balances. Each credit bureau may not have identical information about you, in large part because some creditors only report to one or two bureaus instead of all 3. This results in different credit scores amongst the credit bureaus. Some insurers and creditors use there own formula to calculate score in conjunction with the FICO score model. For example one lender might emphasize more on payment history within the credit report, where another lender might focus on something totally different within your report. A credit score itself might be the determining factor of better rates and terms with other creditors. But in the insurance context, the “credit-based insurance score, “typically is on of the many factors determining whether a policy is underwritten or at what premium. Most lenders and insurance companies scan your credit report for derogatory terms like bankruptcy, judgments, foreclosures, and collections.

How is a credit score calculated?

Factor 1: Payment History (35%)
Factor 2: Amount Owed – Extent of Indebtedness (30%)
Factor 3: Length of Credit History – The Longer, The Better (15%)
Factor 4: How Much New Credit? (10%)
Factor 5: Type of Credit (10%)

Revive Credit Report after Foreclosure

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Foreclosure is a common subject these days, but there is life after having one. If you have recently had a foreclosure on your credit report, you will be able to recover from this bad experience. Fair Isaac with its new FICO 08 with due time will forgive you for a foreclosure as long as you are not a repeat offender. This new calculated risk software understands that unfortunate situations come up in ones life, but don’t make the same mistake again. Definitely don’t make it a habit of having credit problems is the point.

How long will it take before you can buy again?
Your credit report might recover quickly as long as you have other good standing credit reporting on your credit report. But that does not mean you can buy a home right a way. Most people that have foreclosures usually take time to recover from such a bad experience. HUD knows this, and that is why you cannot get a FHA loan for a minimum of three years from foreclosure date. It’s almost impossible to get a Conventional loan, because conventional loans are automated approvals. Typically with a foreclosure, collections or low scores this automated software will deny you. FHA is a different type loan all together, since it’s a government insured loan you can get what they call a manual underwrite for this type of loan. What this means is if the automated process through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae says no, you can get an underwriter to manually approve the loan. So you can expect to wait at least a minimum of 3 years after foreclosure date before you can begin to think about financing a home again.

Pay everything on-time
When a bank lends you money, it’s a big risk. Banks don’t want to lend money to someone that has total disregard for their credit. If you have had a recent foreclosure the last thing you want to do is have late payments, collections or any other negative information hit your credit report. Let’s face it, the whole reason banks, mortgage companies, car dealers, landlords, and employers pull your credit report is to see if you pay your debts. I personally would not lend to someone that did not pay their bills back, would you? With the recent tightening up in the lending arena you might want really work on increasing your credit score. Also make sure you have at least 3 lines of credit reporting on your report. If you had to let everything go, you might consider getting a secured credit card. This type of card will help you re-establish your credit.

Save Money
Saving money is very important when it comes to getting a loan. Lenders like to see you saving money because it shows stability. Let’s assume you loose your job, well if you have 6 months payments in the bank you are less likely to let your house go. If a emergency comes up you have some money in the bank to assist in some way. Saving money also shows you are responsible as well. Let’s say two people go to the bank to get a loan and they both have bad credit. The main difference between the two bad credit borrowers is one has $5000.00 in the bank. Who do you think the bank is more likely to approve? These are some key point I wanted to touch on to revive your credit after a foreclosure. There is life after so make sure you manage your credit report and credit scores so you can begin home ownership soon.

Are Credit Reports Racist?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Could your credit report be a racist report? We all know racism is a problem in the U.S., but of course no one wants to admit it. Is it possible that when calculating your credit score your result was lower because of the color of your skin, or because of your sex? Do the Credit Bureaus even know what race you are, or your sex? These are some interesting questions that need to be answered in this article. The following does not determine your credit score according to MyFICO. MyFICO is the inventor of the FICO score that 90% of banks use to determine your creditworthiness.

The following does not determine your credit:

  1. Race, Color, Religion, national origin, sex and martial status
  2. your age
  3. Your salary, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history
  4. Where you live
  5. Interest rates currently being charged on any account
  6. Any items reported as child/family support obligations or rental agreements.
  7. Whether or not you are participating in a credit counseling of any kind.
  8. Any information not found in your credit report.
  9. Any information that is not proven to be predictive of future credit performance.
  10. Certain types of inquiries (requests for your credit report).

US law prohibits credit scoring from considering these facts, as well as any receipt of public assistance, or the exercise of any consumer right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It is good to know that your credit report is calculated on other factors.

Below is a good example of how your credit score is calculated.

Now you can see how credit reports are not predjustice, they calculate your credit based on the information provided in the pie chart above.

Don’t forget to learn what creditors already know. If you are in the market to make a purchase you might consider getting your free credit score report. That way you know what they will find out.

FTC Credit Report Repair FACTS – For Consumers

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

The FTC claims that credit report Repair may be better for you if you do it yourself. You have seen advertisements on TV, local newspapers, internet. All of these credit report repair companies claim the following:
• “Credit Problem? No Problem!”
• “ We can get rid of bad credit problems – 100% guaranteed”
• “We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, bad loans and tax liens from your credit file forever

The FTC says “Don’t believe these statements. The only thing that will fix your credit is time, conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.

This article will explain how you can improve your creditworthiness and gives legitimate resources for low or no cost help.

The Scam

All over the US companies appeal to families and individuals that have bad credit problems. They promise for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, a job or even a insurance. The fact is, they cannot deliver. After you pay them hundred of dollars or even thousands of dollars in fees, these companies do absolutely nothing to improve your credit report. They typically vanish with your money says the FTC.

Warning Signs

If you feel credit repair with one of these companies is your choice, look out for the following.
• Companies that want you to pay before services are rendered
• Companies that don’t tell you your legal rights and what you cannot do yourself for free
• Companies that recommend that you don’t contact the credit reporting companies
• Companies that recommend you create a new identity by way of Identification Number.
• Companies that advise you to dispute all information in your credit report

Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed services they claim they can provide. The FTC says to get what they claim they can do in written, and once it is done then pay them.


No one can legally remove accurate information from you credit report. If you owe the debt, it will be on there for 7 years from original collection date. The law allows you the consumer to dispute inaccurate information on your report for FREE. There is no cost to you for doing this. Everything a credit repair company does for a fee, you can do it yourself for FREE. This is all in accordance to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

You are entitled to free credit report  if you are denied for the following
1. Credit Application
2. Insurance
3. Employment

You are to ask for this report within 60 days of receiving this notification. You are also entitled to the free report if you are unemployed and are about to apply for job, if you are on welfare, or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud including identity theft.

All 3 Credit Bureaus – Equifax, Trans Union and Experian are required to provide you once a year with a Free Credit Report. In order to get this report you must go to

You are allowed to dispute items that are not yours for free. Under the FCRA any company that is reporting information about you that is inaccurate, this information must be updated correctly. If you owe the debt it will not be removed.

Step One

The consumer credit reporting company that is reporting information incorrectly about you must be informed in writing what information is inaccurate. You are to include a copy of documents backing your claim. You are to clearly identify in the claim the following
1. Your full name
2. Address
3. The item in the report that you are disputing
4. The request that it should be removed or corrected
5. Enclose a copy of the report and circle the item in question.

Your credit report dispute letter may look something like this:

You’re Name
Mailing Address
City, State, Zip
Re: Disputing Inaccuracies on My Credit Report
Name of Credit Reporting Bureau
Mailing Address
City, State, Zip
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing for two (2) reasons:
1. To dispute certain information in my credit file; and
2. To have you investigate/re-investigate and remove inaccurate information from
my Credit Report and prevent its re-insertion. The item(s) I dispute are encircled
on the attached copy of the credit report and further identified by (identify the
items by name of source, such as creditor or tax court, etc. and identify type of
item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.)This item is (inaccurate or
incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am
requesting that the item be deleted (or whatever specific change you are
requesting) to correct the information.(If you are enclosing documents such as
copies of cancelled checks, payment records, court documents, send copies
only, you should always retain the originals — and use the following sentence.)
Enclosed are copies of the following documents supporting my position:
Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed
items within the time frame required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and
inform me in writing of the outcome. Thank you for your time and consideration in
this matter.
Your name

Once the investigation is complete, whether they removed the item or not, the creditor must give you something in writing. If the information was deemed incorrect, then they must remove it, and not put it back on your report.

Step Two

Advise the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies only, not your original supporting your claim. The creditors usually provide an address for disputes. If the creditor reports the items to the 3 credit bureaus, they must include the dispute during the reporting time. If you are correct, the creditor must remove the item from the Bureaus it’s reporting too.

For information on “How to Dispute Credit Report Errors, go to

The reporting of correct information

When negative information is being reported about you, and it’s accurate the only way it will go away is with time. A consumer credit reporting company can report negative information about you for 7 years and bankruptcies for 10 years. Judgments can be reported for 7 years or until the statue of limitations run out.

Credit Repair Organization Act

By law credit repair companies must give you a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law” before you sign any contract. They must also give you a written contract that specifies your rights and obligations. Read these documents carefully before you sign anything.
Example of what a credit report company cannot do:

• Charge you for anything until services have been completed
• Make false claims about there services
• Provide any services until they have your signature on a written contract and have completed a 3 day waiting period.
During this time you may cancel the contract without any fees occurred.
• Payment terms for services rendered, along with total cost
• Detailed description of services you are paying for
• How long it will take to achieve results
• Any guarantees they offer
• Company address and name

Check your Credit Report at least 4 to 5 times a year.

Even if you don’t have poor credit, you need to know what’s on your credit report. Here are some good reasons per the FTC.

• Because the information it contains may affect whether you get a loan and the payment terms for that loan
• Make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up to date before you apply for a mortgage, credit card, car, insurance or even a job.
• To help guard against identity theft

Hopefully this has shed some light on credit repair, and the importance of have a recent copy of your free credit report.


Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.