Monday, March 31, 2008

How to fix your credit score after going bankrupt

There is a myth that I’ll just file bankruptcy and start over; it seems so easy. But this is not so. At times situations arise which may cause damage to your credit as claiming bankruptcy. Unfortunately at some point you have to go for bankruptcy option then you must be aware of the many bankruptcy credit repair tips which can help you in gaining back a positive credit rating.

Tips to Bankruptcy Credit Repair
Most of the time there is a feeling that after filing bankruptcy there is no chance left for regaining positive credit. Though, it is a challenge but not an impossible task.

Any strike against you on your credit report (including the claiming of bankruptcy) remains on your credit record for a maximum of seven years. After this time, it is dropped from your record entirely. It IS possible, although you will likely have to wait for seven years, to make positive gains on your score after filing bankruptcy.

How to Get Started
The very first thing you should do is to get a copy of your credit report. In order to get started, you need to know the current position of your credit. The report can be obtained for free or for a very low charge.
Credit report not only helps you in understanding your rating but also help in checking for errors. Review your report check for the errors or negative strikes against you, work for getting them correct, and if there are any errors you will need to contact the credit bureau directly, offering verification that you do not owe what is listed on the report.

In case you owe money somewhere may be it is few dollars showing on your credit report, it is negatively affecting your credit rating. It is essential to pay off debt as it is a crucial step in bankruptcy credit repair. Pay off your highest interest debts first, and keep in mind that the lower debt you owe, the less negative your score will be.

Although there are many other steps you can take towards bankruptcy credit repair. But if you have more debt than you can manage repaying, you must consider filing a formal proposal with your creditors, or think of starting a debt management plan.
Last but not least bankruptcy is the only option for you, and then you should consider negotiating credit card debt yourself. You might get a lower interest rate, lower payments or both.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Steps to obtain free credit report

Normally you have to pay between $5 and $10 to retrieve credit report, but if you meet any of the following criteria, you may be eligible to receive a free copy of your report from any of the three credit report agencies (Equifax, Experian - formerly TRW - and Trans Union). I know it’s hard but take a quick look over these steps:

Step 1:
Determine if you meet any of the following criteria:

Step 2:
You are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days;

Step 3:
You are on welfare;

Step 4:
You believe there is an inaccuracy in your credit file due to fraud;

Step 5:
You can show that you've been denied credit, insurance, employment or rental housing based on information in your credit file;

Step 6:
You can show that you have suffered an "adverse action," such as a reduction in the credit line on a credit card or an unexpected increase in the interest rate on a credit card.

Step 7:
If you meet any one of the above criteria, you qualify for a free credit report.

Step 8:
Contact one or more of the three credit bureaus and request a free report. Each bureau has different guidelines for ordering free reports. If you think your situation is complicated or needs clarification, call the toll-free number provided by the bureau.

Step 9:
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please consult the Fair Credit Reporting Act (

I think by following above mentioned steps sequentially one could easily receive free credit report.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Credit reports: why hospitals need it?

Privacy issues are the most vital factor that comes in the mind of consumers frequently but then also number of hospitals are digging patients' personal financial information to evaluate how likely they are to pay their bills.

Few hospitals are poking into patients' credit reports, which contain information on people's lines of credit, debts and payment histories. Some hospitals are also contracting with outside services that predict a patient's income and whether he or she is likely to walk away from a medical bill. Hospitals often use these services when patients are uninsured or have big out-of-pocket costs despite having health insurance.

Hospitals say the practice helps them identify which patients to pursue actively for payment because they can afford to pay. They say it also allows them to figure out more quickly which patients are eligible for charity care or assistance programs.

Administrators also argue that these credit checks can help them minimize losses. In 2006, nearly 5,000 community hospitals provided uncompensated care costing $31.2 billion, the vast majority of it charity care or unpaid patient bills, according to the American Hospital Association.

Karen Godfrey, who runs revenue management at Baptist Health South Florida says Hospitals have "a limited amount of resources that are available to actually execute the collection process,” a Miami system of five nonprofit hospitals that is likely to adopt one of these systems soon. "You want to concentrate on the ones that have the ability to pay."

Consumer advocates say the practice creates the potential for hospitals to misuse the information by denying or cutting back on patients' care if they can't pay. Hospitals say that doesn't happen. Hospitals often ask patients for permission to access their financial records, but such authorization is sometimes buried in the fine print.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keep focusing on your credit report

You should make it a routine to review consumer credit report because it helps in updating credit score history.

This factual snapshot of your credit payment history contains every major transaction you have made, and it even serves as your voucher with businesses -- a negative report means you won't get the loan or might pay higher rates than those with a more positive report.

Your report can also be evaluated by companies considering hiring you for a job, renting you a residence and selling you insurance.

With identity-theft crimes on the rise and high credit scores needed to secure good interest rates, it's important to know what your report is telling others about your spending habits.

Cindy Tesch, the community outreach director at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the CSRA, urges consumers to check their credit reports with each of the three reporting bureaus at least once a year.

These agencies, or "collection houses," store your financial data: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Everyone is allowed one free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies every 12 months under a law signed in 2005 by President Bush.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Texas consumers have the lowest credit score

Report from a Credit research group shows that the Texas consumers have an average credit score that is 26 points lower than the national average credit score. Texas average credit score for six month period that ended in July, 2007 was 666 compared to 692 the national average.

Approximately 27 percent of people find their credit score decreasing during the study period with less than 1 percent finding their credit score down by more than 100 points. 41 percent of consumers were able to maintain their existing credit score and 33 percent of consumers were able to increase their credit score.

3 out of every 10 US customers were able to increase their credit score by 50 points in the six month period as indicated by Experian National Score Index. 33 percent of consumers improve their credit score by 50 points in the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What our credit score includes?

Our credit score is a three digit number and its range varies from 300 to 850. Our credit score is a big indicator of how we are paying our bills and whether we will have problems in getting new credit or will get it with ease and with lowest of interest rates. Credit score is calculated using the information available in our credit history.

When we apply for new credit, the creditors and lenders check our credit score to determine our credit history. By viewing your our digit credit score, the creditors just decide whether to give us new credit or not. The creditors and lenders can decide the same thing by viewing our credit report. But checking our credit score make their decision making process quite easy and less subjective.

Although there are many versions of credit score available. But the most commonly used version is Fico score developed by Fair Isaac Company. Today Fico score is used by many creditors and lenders before making decision about providing new line of credit or extending the existing credit to the customers.

There are many parts of your credit history that taken into consideration when calculating your credit score. There are some parts in the credit history that are more important than the other one’s like your payment history. Here is the list of information that is used to calculate credit score with their percentage of use:

  • Payment history 35 percent: 35 percent of your credit score is determined by your payment history. Creditors and lenders are more interested in knowing how you have paid your bills in the past. If you are paying your bills late then they look at how late they are. Your late payments, collections and bankruptcy all affects the payment history part of your credit score.

  • Your debt level decides 30 percent: How much you are currently in debt deciding the 30 percent of your credit score. The amount of debt you have taken in comparison to your credit limit is known as credit utilization. The higher the credit utilization you have, the closer you are to your credit limit and more lower your credit score will have. And if the case is reverse, you will have higher credit score. The best key will be to keep your credit card balances to 30 percent or less to that of your credit limit.

  • Length of credit history determining 15 percent: the length of your credit history determines the 15 percent of your credit score. In general, the longer credit history is in favor of the customers and will help them in increasing their credit score. When you have a long credit history, the creditors and lenders will have better idea about your spending habits and paying habits as well. Thus factor also look at the age of your credit accounts and how long you have been using your credit accounts.

  • Credit inquiries 10 percent: approximately 10 percent of your credit score is determined by how many credit accounts you have established. This factor take into consideration the number of accounts you have, their age, your requests for new credit and the length of time since credit report inquiries were made by potential lenders. Every time we apply for a credit, an inquiry is added to our credit report and remained there for the next two years. When we make too many applications for new credit, that indicates that we are in dire need of credit or are in some form of financial problems. Credit score take into consideration the inquiries made within a year.

  • Mix of credit is 10 percent: approximately 10 percent of your credit score is based on overall mix of credit cares, loans, installment loans etc. The more balanced this credit mix is, the more credit score you have. In case you have different kind of accounts that’s in your favor as that indicates that you have experience in handling mix of credits.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Credit report freezing benefits and drawbacks

A credit freeze is a tool available to people here in US where they can block their credit report so that it becomes really hard for the identity thefts to get new credit and open new accounts by your identity. When you have set the status freeze on your account, no one even you cannot open an account by your name. Even the creditors, lenders and employers will not have access to your credit files. There are some benefits as well as freezing down your credit report:

After adding the freeze status to your credit files, your identity will have higher level of protection. In fact credit freeze is a good way to protect you against identity thefts. There are many drawbacks to this security freeze but this advantage may be worth enough to go for it.

  1. Freezing of credit report is a time consuming and expensive process. You have to provide many certificates and pay $10 to each of the credit reporting bureaus.

  2. In case you need credit or open new account, you will have to request the credit reporting bureaus to lift the freeze status on your report and once you have established the credit you will again have to ask them to refreeze your report. All this process will be time consuming and also have to pay more fees.

  3. The security freeze will not stop the pre-screened credit card offers.

  4. Existing creditors still will have access to your credit files and can send you promotional offer about their products and services

  5. Freezing of credit report could also create some inaccuracies in your report when the companies' tries to update account information have problems in accessing your accounts.

  6. Credit freeze cannot stop an individual to buy items from a stolen credit card number. Some critics consider credit freeze just a problem fro the consumers where they will not be able to apply for a credit card, or a loan or refinance a mortgage without lifting the freeze on their credit report and lifting the freeze will take time and money both.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Simple tips to follow for getting free credit report via phone

In case you are not willing to get your credit report online, then getting it via phone will be the best option. When you get from credit report via phone, you will be able to escape from hundreds of fraud website on the Internet that claims to be providing you credit report for free. Here is the exact process you have to follow to get it via phone:

  1. Make a call to the number 1-877-322-8228 from your phone

  2. With this type, you will have to provide some information about you like your name, current address, social security number, birth date

  3. Once your identity verification has been completed, you have the option to choose which company credit report you want to get

  4. When you chosen the companies/company credit report you are willing to get, will get it via mail within next four to five week time