Mastering Your Credit Scores

Your credit score can impact nearly every aspect of your life. It can control whether you can obtain a mortgage, auto loan, or even a job. With this said, it is vital that you understand how to improve your credit score. Federal law requires that everyone have access to one free credit report per year. … Continue reading “Mastering Your Credit Scores”

Your credit score can impact nearly every aspect of your life. It can control whether you can obtain a mortgage, auto loan, or even a job. With this said, it is vital that you understand how to improve your credit score. Federal law requires that everyone have access to one free credit report per year. The reason this law exists is to allow individuals to verify that their credit reports are accurate. If there is inaccurate information listed on your report, by law you have the right to dispute the inaccuracies; the credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and respond to the disputed items. If the creditor who put the disputed item on your credit report cannot provide proof that you are responsible for the debt, it should be removed. To obtain a copy of your free credit report you can call 877-322-8228, or mail a request to annual credit report request service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

After you have received a copy of your free report and have reviewed it for any inaccuracies; you will need to dispute them directly with all three credit bureaus. The bureaus include TransUnion, Experian, Equifax. Once you have verified the information on your credit report is accurate, you can then use the following suggestions to help you increase your scores.

• Make Your Payments On-Time – The single most important thing you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time. If you have had late payments in the past because you simply forgot to make the payment, you may want to set up automatic payment arrangements to pay your bills. This will ensure that your bills are paid on time.

• Credit Card Balances – Credit cards (revolving credit) account for 30% of your score. To maximize your score, you should always keep your revolving card balances below 30% of their available limit.

• Credit Availability – Your scores are calculated based on your unused available credit, how much credit is open, and the length of your credit history. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score. Based on this factor, it would be in your best interest to keep your revolving cards open instead of closing them, because closing old revolving cards would significantly shorten the length of your credit history. To keep a revolving card open, you should use the card at least once every six months. This will keep them from being inactivated.

• Lack of Credit – Unfortunately, if you have very little credit because you pay cash for everything; you probably also have a low credit score. Scores are only determined by the activity reported on your credit report; cash purchases have no bearing on your current score. Therefore, you want to have at least one installment loan and two revolving accounts open at all times. If you are having trouble getting credit, you could apply for a secured card from a local bank or credit union, or you could ask a relative or significant other if you could become an authorized user on one of their revolving cards. Becoming an authorized user will give you an instant payment history. Just make sure that the account you are going to become an authorized user on does not have late payments, or has a balance near the accounts limit.

• Judgments and Collections – If you have a judgment or collection that originated years ago, when you pay or satisfy the derogatory item it may temporarily lower your credit score. Keep this in mind if you plan to apply for credit. You may want to delay paying off old collections right before applying for a mortgage or auto loan.

There are many other ways to help increase a credit score; but keeping your payments on time, managing your debt properly, and having a reasonable amount of available credit are the easiest ways to ensure an acceptable score. Just remember, derogatory credit will immediately lower your scores, whereas making your payments on time and keeping your balances low may take as long as six months to recover from one negative item reported on your credit report.

Ask Yourself: Are You Relevant?

I have been thinking about this for quite a while. Have you ever asked yourself the question: Am I relevant?

What does it mean to be relevant? When I ask myself this question I think of the people I look to when I have a question. If I reach out for an answer from someone; I must believe in one way or another they have relevance to the answer I want or need.

If I have a problem with my car, in most cases, I typically will not go to my banker for an answer. I don’t go to my banker because I do not feel this individual is relevant to my question. On the other hand, I would not go to my doctor if I wanted an answer regarding a Certificate of Deposit or CD (not to be confused with a music CD). And I would not go to my auto mechanic if I had a back problem.

When we have questions we look to those who can possibly help.

Taking the scenarios above one step further; I might go to my mechanic when I have a back problem if I’m looking for a referral and I know my mechanic recently experienced back problems and the doctor had remedied the situation. My mechanic just became relevant because of recent experience and knowledge of someone who might be able to help me.

The same goes for the other scenarios above; there may be relevance but a different kind of relevance; they may not have the answer, but may have the ability to lead you to the answer.

Now we go back to the initial question. Are you relevant? Do people look to you for answers to their questions? Do they look to you when they need a referral? Do friends, family, co-workers, customers, supervisors, etc. turn to you when they are looking for answers?

For example if you work on a manufacturing line, do people come to you with questions regarding the operation of the line; if so, at least this individual believes you to be relevant. In this manufacturing role; do supervisors or managers ever come to you with questions regarding the line or seeking advice on the operations of the line; if so, you are relevant to even more people and to people who may be higher than you in the organization.

Maybe the questions presented to you are not directly related to your job or maybe they are completely unrelated; meaning you are considered a relevant or reliable source about something other than your day-to-day work. You may have relevance because of a hobby, a sport’s interest, family experience, visiting a certain city or area of the country; whatever it is something where people look to you for answers; makes you relevant.

Why is this important; you may be trying to advance your career and being recognized as relevant can go a long way toward reaching your career objective or current goal? You may be starting a business and relevance to your customers is critical to the success of your business.

The information you possess may make you relevant to other individuals or groups that are attempting to solve a problem and you are able to expedite the process because of your knowledge. These individuals may be prospective customers, suppliers, business partners, or may simply be someone who works – as Malcolm Gladwell identifies in his book, “The Tipping Point” – as a connector; one who brings others together.

Possessing knowledge or additional information makes you special and makes you someone people want to know better, you have become a person of interest.

Merchant Accounts – How to Save Money

Merchant Accounts

Your business is successful, but now your ready to take it to the next level and begin accepting credit card transactions, or you have already taken this step but your feeling that your merchant account provider has high fees and your not sure what to do, or what other providers are out there?

You can save hundred’s even thousand’s of dollars per year by switching over to a new merchant. How is this so?

Just in transaction fees alone if one provider is charging you 35 cents per transaction and another Merchant account provider charges 25 cents you are already saving 10 cents per transaction.

If you process over 1000 transactions per month thats already $100 per month savings and over one year this amounts to $1,200.

Merchant Accounts can make or break your business, whether it is online, retail, phone, mail, or wireless. Every Merchant Account provider has fees that can affect your business in different ways.

We have compared the best merchant account providers currently in the business and we have detailed their fees so you know exactly how much you will be charged.

Fixing Your Credit – The Real Story

Over the years of working in the family law field, I have observed different trends with regards to debt and bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy laws have changed drastically and I tend to steer my clients away from bankruptcy because there is a much easier route to get debt relief and most people are not aware of how easy it really is.

When I use the statement “easy” I do not mean simple. There is work to be done and patience to be had. My approach to credit repair is the same regardless of the number of debts that need to be addressed.

While I will not share trade secrets, I will share some basic information that may help with the decision on what road you should take to get some financial relief.

My approach is not to use bankruptcy as an out. The reason is obvious. With my system, your credit will get better not worse. Not only will your credit rating improve, your debts will disappear at the same time, this is a win win scenario.

With bankruptcy you will go through the hassle of appearing in court, paying an attorney to prepare the bankruptcy documents, and then the 7 to 10 year mark on your credit.

No matter what, this is the ONLY thing that cannot be removed from your credit report. By law it must remain on your report for at least 7 years.

I have had many of my clients try other credit repair companies with little success. Part of the reason we are successful is we understand the laws and we do not quit until all items are removed.

I caution people to stay away from companies that charge by the month because common sense says that there is no incentive to getting the job done in a timely manner.

Keep in mind that there is no set time that this can take. I have had clients who I was able to “get clean” in four weeks and some take four months. There is no method to the madness. The process is the process and there is really no way to take short cuts as there are laws that govern the process.

The reality is sometimes it takes guts to take on some of the debtors and collectors so someone with thin skin may not be as successful. As a former Settlement Administrator for a Public Company I have no problem going up against the best of the best. I have studied the laws regarding debt collection and reporting and am confident in my ability to remove anything.

At the end of the day you have to make the best decision for you and your situation. Getting your credit report clean is a very real thing and you can have clean credit in as little as four weeks.

Improve Your Credit Before Getting a Mortgage

One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a home loan is to improve your credit score. It is because better credit scores may give you access to better interest rates and more beneficial home loan products.

Here is a list of some quick tips to help you get the best possible credit score. While there is no guarantee that all of these options will immediately boost your credit score, they may help you establish habits that will strengthen your credit score.

Show you can pay your bills on time, every time

Lenders/credit providers will want to see that you can repay a home loan on time. So, here is a list of bills that you should pay on time, every time:

>> Your credit cards;

>> Your rent;

>> Your medical and utility bills; and

>> Any other service that may use a collection agency for the recovery of delinquent accounts.

If you miss a payment date by a few days, call the service provider immediately to make the payment, and don’t be afraid to ask the provider for a one-time forgiveness.

Check your Credit Rating

You should regularly check your credit report with a credit reporting agency (such as Veda Advantage and Dunn and Bradstreet), as it will:

>> Give you an idea if you have any defaults or negative repayments history recorded in your report;

>> Give you time to get the credit report corrected before a lender/credit adviser accesses your report; and

>> Enable you to verify your credit score with a credit reporting agency.

Note: You should be aware that due to the changes in the Privacy Act in March 2014, lenders/credit providers have the ability to access your credit reports and can see the past 24 months of your repayment history.

Maintain your Available Credit

Before applying for a home loan don’t open any other credit cards or lines of credit. It is because lenders/credit providers will see you as being a risk if you suddenly take out loans for cars, electronics, furniture, etc.

Also, refrain from closing your credit cards or other lines of credit. Instead, consider paying off your balances as a lower debt will improve your debt-to-credit ratio.

This is best illustrated by the following example:

Having a total debt of $4,000 with a $20,000 available credit will look better than having just $500 in debt with $800 available credit.

Establish a Savings History

If you are borrowing more than 80 percent of the purchase price of the property, you will be required to meet the “genuine savings” requirements of lenders/credit providers. Your savings will need to add up to around 5 percent of the purchase price of the property.

For example, on a purchase price of $700,000, you will need to have savings that add up to $35,000.

Note: Saving a larger deposit should help to reduce or avoid paying “Lenders Mortgage Insurance” (LMI) and you may even be offered a more competitive interest rate by the lender/credit provider.

Avoid applying with too many Lenders/Credit Providers

Avoid submitting your home loan applications to several different lenders/credit providers at once. It is because these loan applications will appear on your credit report. You should only submit your home loan application:

>> After you have compared lenders/credit providers; and

>> After you have decided to go with a particular lender/credit provider.

Your Employment Stability

If you have had the same job for several years, then this is a big tick. So, prior to applying for a home loan, Try to establish a stable employment history as it will enable you to make regular loan repayments.

If you have changed your job recently, do not worry. You may satisfy the requirements of lenders/credit providers, if:

>> You have been in a similar role; and

>> You have been in the same industry.

Disclose all Information

Lenders/ credit providers may think that you have other debts that have not been disclosed. So, always be upfront and disclose all information as non-disclosure of relevant information may result in your home loan application being declined.

Seek Expert and Professional Advice

All these tips should help you to improve your credit score. However, you should speak to a professionally qualified and expert finance broker who can help you to create a personalised credit improvement plan. Establishing this relationship with a finance broker will help you to determine which potential lender/credit provider best meets your needs.

All the Best!