Frequently Asked Questions
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Some Common Questions

  • Are items such as bankruptcies and foreclosures impossible to remove?

    There is not one type of negative listing that cannot be removed from a credit report. While negative items such as bankruptcy or unpaid debts are certainly more difficult to remove from the credit report, this has more to do with the operational systems of the credit bureaus than with the severity of the bad credit item. For example, judgments and tax liens are severely negative listings yet are considerably easier to remove.

  • Can I see my credit reports?

    Most credit grantors are not allowed by the credit bureaus to show you your own credit report. But you can purchase your credit report from the credit bureau for a fee. Once you receive your credit report, you may find that you cannot read it because the information is listed in an unfamiliar code. Trans Union and Equifax credit reports are very difficult to interpret and understand. Experian credit reports, however, are relatively easy for most people to read.

  • Does bankruptcy wipe the slate clean for a second chance?

    Disputing the credit report is easy. Getting results from the credit bureaus is amazingly difficult, complex, and infuriating. It is not a coincidence that the Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints against credit bureaus than any other type of business. Remember, the credit bureaus are primarily interested in protecting their profits. Investigating your challenge consumes these profits. Short of sparking a mass number of lawsuits, the credit bureaus seem to do everything in their power to discourage consumers from making progress in their restoration efforts.

    Restoring your own credit is like repairing your own transmission or representing yourself in court; it is possible, but you must decide if your are willing to take the time and assume the risks of doing it yourself.

  • How long do negative items stay listed on my credit report?

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that most negative credit items be deleted from your credit bureau file in no more than seven years, except for bankruptcy, which can be reported for up to ten years. These are the time limits for reporting negative credit. The creditor or the credit bureau can choose to have the negative credit information deleted whenever they please. Inquiries may remain on the credit report for up to two years.

  • How much bad credit does it take to be denied credit?

    As you may have already experienced, even one small late pay listing may result in credit denials. It is a myth that a large amount of positive credit can outweigh some negative credit. Any negative credit what so ever can become a substantial credit obstacle.

  • Should a consumer try on their own?

    Disputing the credit report is easy. Getting results from the credit bureaus is amazingly difficult, complex, and infuriating. It is not a coincidence that the Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints against credit bureaus than any other type of business. Remember, the credit bureaus are primarily interested in protecting their profits. Investigating your challenge consumes these profits. Short of sparking a mass number of lawsuits, the credit bureaus seem to do everything in their power to discourage consumers from making progress in their restoration efforts.

    Restoring your own credit is like repairing your own transmission or representing yourself in court; it is possible, but you must decide if your are willing to take the time and assume the risks of doing it yourself.

  • What is a credit report?

    Whenever you apply for any type of credit or financing, a credit report is pulled from at least one of the three major credit bureaus. While there are hundreds of smaller credit bureaus around the country, virtually every credit bureau is affiliated with either Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax.

    These credit bureaus collect and maintain information on the vast majority of Americans, but they are not affiliated with the government in any way. The credit bureaus are for-profit corporations and they sell your personal information for money.

    The credit bureaus receive your personal information through the same lenders who grant you credit. They have agreements with each of these credit grantors that require the credit grantor to inform the credit bureaus of everything that occurs in your relationship with the credit grantor. If you make a payment late, the negative credit listing is quickly reported to at least one of the three major credit bureaus and is added to your credit history. Credit reports are not just a record of how you are currently managing your credit accounts. Credit reports are histories of everything you are doing with your credit now, and everything you have done in the past.

    The credit bureaus collect this information, list it on your credit report, then sell it to other credit grantors who wish to see your credit history before they decide to lend you money. The credit grantors who review your credit are especially interested in any negative credit. If you have shown any tendency to pay late, or to disregard your financial commitments in the past, then the creditors’ computers will immediately reject your application.

    Just like when you were in high school, your credit report is your financial report card to the world.

  • What kind of information appears on my report?

    Merchant Trade Lines

    These include all regular credit lines such as department store cards, auto loans, , and credit cards. If there is any history of late payment, or if the trade line was included in bankruptcy, charged off, or put into repossession, the listing will be considered negative by all credit grantors.

    Collection Accounts

    When an account is referred to collections because of delinquency or because of a bad check, this appears on the credit report as a collection account. Collection accounts can appear as paid or unpaid accounts. Any type of collection account, whether paid or not, is considered very negative by all credit grantors.

    Court Records

    Court records include bankruptcies, judgments, liens, divorce, satisfied judgments, and satisfied liens. All court records, including satisfactions, are considered negative by all credit grantors.

    Inquiries

    Every time a potential credit grantor looks at your credit file, a credit inquiry appears on at least one of your credit bureau reports. If the numbers of inquiries are few over the last two years, then there may be no negative effect on your credit worthiness. However, if there are many recent inquiries showing on your credit report, credit grantors may become nervous and deny you credit.

  • Who looks at my credit?

    With the passing of each year, your credit report is used more and more often as a yard stick to measure your character. Prospective creditors will always review at least one of your credit reports before granting you credit. Today it is increasingly common for insurance companies to review your credit before extending auto or health insurance. Many employers now check credit before they consider you for a position. If you rent, you may have already been through a credit check to determine your worthiness as a renter.

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