Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Credit Repair and the Recession

An Urgent Need for Credit Repair

Credit repair has become a necessity. Prior to the recession you could afford to have blemishes on your credit report; lenders didn’t really care. If your credit score was a little low you would simply pay a modestly higher interest rate. Not the end of the world. But along with the recession came the most dramatic credit crunch ever. It started with mortgage lenders as they scrambled to mitigate risk in their real estate portfolios. Over the following year every other creditor followed in step. One thing leads to another and now millions of people are finding that without some form of remedial credit repair effort they are unable to purchase anything on credit.

The Credit Crunch

The severity of the credit crunch has taken many by surprise. In mid-2006 money was flowing freely. The economic froth was beyond anything the world had seen since the roaring twenties. Even then credit repair paid dividends, it’s true, but there was no desperate need. You could purchase a home with credit scores in the low 500s. You might even get an interest rate as low as one percent, albeit an adjustable rate mortgage. But, oh, how times change. Now, for millions of people, the lack of an intelligent credit repair effort can mean no loan at all. And the non-availability of credit can mean real hardship. Just think of something as simple as automobile financing. Can you do without a car? Urban dwellers might get by with public transportation, but that is not the case for most of us.

Is Credit Repair for You?

Credit repair can change everything, and quicker than you may think. Credit repair can be done by you, but for most people it is worth considering employing the services of a professional credit repair service. A professional service will offer comprehensive clean up and restoration with a focus on credit score optimization. If you are shopping for the right credit repair company, make sure they offer more than just credit bureau disputes. Your goal is to improve your score and make your credit as lender-ready as possible. The right company will produce the right results. How about you, are you a candidate for credit repair? If you have examined your credit reports and imagine that there is little benefit to be had, I would like to share a little information that might inspire you to take a step towards credit repair today.

A Lot of Mistakes

Almost three-quarters of all credit reports contain errors. Not all of these errors are significant enough to cause major financial disruption, but a lot of them are. How many? According to a series of studies conducted by public interest research groups over the last decade about half of all credit reports include errors serious enough to cause consumers to pay premium interest rates or to be denied outright for loans. To put these statistics into perspective it helps to know that the three major credit bureaus each report on just over two hundred million Americans. Half of the total is one hundred million. That’s a lot of mistakes. Where do you stand? Here are some things for you to consider.

Your Credit Repair Opportunity

Credit reporting errors are not always easy to spot. You may have multiple errors which could use credit repair attention, and not even know that they are present on your credit reports. One of the most insidious forms of reporting errors is caused by the redundancy of illicit collection accounts. The cause is simple. Collectors buy and sell debt on a regular basis. By law, a collector is supposed to withdraw their reporting of a collection account immediately upon the sale of the debt to another collector. And yet this rarely happens for the simple reason that there is no punishment for compliance failure. Other common errors needing credit repair attention include duplicate accounts, accounts reported as open with balances that are closed and paid, underreported credit limits on revolving accounts, and file merger errors causing other peoples accounts to report on your credit.

Reach Out Today

It’s time to reach out for credit repair help. Shop the internet; call three or four credit repair services before making up your mind. Most legitimate companies offer a free consultation. I suggest that you take advantage of this. You should make a list of questions that you want to ask. Be organized. Think about the issues that are of concern to you. Make notes. It is important to feel comfortable with the company you hire. Take your time and do it right. Your credit repair project is bound to succeed. Good luck!

How Prepaid Cards Make You Money

Many credit card companies have started using the cardholders as a part of their marketing plan by offering them the opportunity to earn cash back or referring a friend. There are several credit card companies that offer you a referral fee when you have someone sign up and start using the credit card. You should check out the different opportunities offered by these credit card companies. Many of the companies offer you a lifetime commission and tiered commissions. You are interested in earning money from your prepaid credit card check out where you are getting your card and the company that is offering you this card. You can contact them and find out if they have the marketing plan in place where they pay you to refer customers to the company. You should also find out what percentage they are offering as this can differ from company to company.

Many companies offer you rewards or cash back even if they do not offer you referral fees. You can earn cash rewards towards other purchases or point rewards to be used for the purchase of products that they designate in their catalog. These point rewards are valuable and can help you to get many things that you want without having to pay out cash money. The rewards programs can be used with airline miles and gas miles. You need to check out how your company handles their rewards and cash back programs. The opportunity to make money is just another way the credit card companies have to gain new customers but it can be your means of earning cash.

When you’re in the market to find the perfect prepaid card, there are a lot of things that you need to look out for to ensure you that you’re getting the card that works great for your wallet. Since prepaid cards may differ than regular cards, a credit card company may want to look into tagging on fees elsewhere so that they can make money off you.

This is why you need to look out for particular fees when you’re applying. Every application that you look at online will show you exactly what they are going to charge when it comes to fees. If there’s an annual fee, monthly fee or activation fee, I would recommend that you look elsewhere because there are so many cards on the market that are great that have next to no fees. You have to think about it this way and that if a card has a fee; you’re going to be paying money to hold a card in your wallet. Does this sound like it’s worth it? Absolutely not.

When it’s time to apply for a card, make sure you do your homework. There are so many resources online that enable you to find the card that you need. Look at the fees, look for the major logo and make sure that the card fits your needs when you want to put money on it. If you find yourself with a complicated card, you may be regretting it in the long haul.

Credit Repair and Identity Theft

The Problem of Unrecognized Accounts

Discovering the presence of accounts on your credit report that clearly do not belong to you can be unnerving. If you are the target of identity theft you will need to employ a very specific credit repair solution. But you must explore the nature of the issue before utilizing this powerful credit repair tool. Literally millions of people discover accounts on their credit report each year that do not belong to them. Only a very small percentage of these incidents are the result of identity theft. The vast majority of these events are the result of what are called file merger errors.

File Merger Errors

File merger errors occur when the credit bureaus confuse your credit file with the file of another person and accidently merge their accounts with yours. This can prove to be inconvenient but it is not the result of illegal of malicious activity. Oddly enough, these file merger errors are an accepted side effect of a decision made by the credit bureaus in setting the accuracy requirements for sorting credit data. They have built in a certain margin of error to allow for mistakes in data entry by lenders. This allows lenders to access a consumer’s credit file in cases where some amount of identifying data is missing or in the case where there is a small typographical error.

File Merger Credit Repair Solution

Fortunately, it is easy to determine if you are a victim of a file merger error and almost as easy to resolve it with credit repair without invoking the identity theft laws. Just call the creditor and tell them that you see an account on your report and you need to know if they are really reporting it as yours. If they tell you that they have no record of an account belonging to you it is not the result of identity theft. If this is the case, you will need to submit a simple credit bureau dispute letter listing the erroneous accounts and informing them of a file merger error. On the other hand, if they tell you that it is yours and you know for a fact that you did not apply for the account it’s time for credit repair action.

Identity Theft Credit Repair Solution

The credit repair solution for identity theft is codified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 605B, and is very clear and simple; follow the instructions, and the identified information will be blocked from your credit report within four business days. All you need to do is circle the suspect item on your credit report, and bring it to your local police station. Tell the police that you are a victim of identity theft and you need an identity theft report to send to the credit bureaus. Theoretically you only need to send this report to one of the credit bureaus as, by law, upon receipt of an identity theft report each bureau is required to notify the other two, but I suggest sending to all three. You must also include identification. I suggest that you include clear copies of your driver’s license and your Social Security Card. You must also provide a written statement that the accounts in question are not yours and do not relate to any transaction entered into by you. I suggest that you have this statement notarized. Bundle all of this together and mail it to the three credit bureaus via certified mail, or if you wish, via FedEx or other overnight service. Once the credit bureaus receive your package they will block the suspect information within four business days.

A Cautionary Note

It is worth understanding what will happen after you initiate this credit repair process. Upon blocking the information from your credit report the credit bureaus will contact the creditors and an investigation will ensue. Identity theft is considered a serious crime and there is a strong possibility that when the culprit is caught they will be prosecuted. There are two major considerations; first, if you think that a family member might be involved, think carefully before using this Section 605B remedy, second don’t ever think of using this process as an expeditious means of credit repair. If you initiate this process and it is later discovered that you have committed fraud, you will face jail time.

You Are Not Alone

Credit repair assistance is available if you need it. Identity theft can be a very disturbing event and needs to be handled properly. If you do not feel up to the task you should contact a credit repair professional. A credit repair expert will help you through the process and insure that everything is done in an efficient and effective manner. Good luck!

How to File a Total Loss Car Insurance Claim

Total loss claims are filed when a vehicle has been so badly damaged that it would cost more than it`s worth to repair it. However, just what that worth is depends on how the car insurance company sets their standards, so you`ll need to know what this is ahead of time.

What You Will Need

First, you will need to have a police report. When the accident occurs, the police should be called immediately and an accident report will be drawn up. In the case of serious injury (which is quite common in total loss claims), you will need to get a copy of the police report after the fact. Nearly all car insurance companies will disallow damages that have no report, especially when it comes to a total loss claim, since an accident that big should definitely be marked down by the police.

It's important to call the insurance company as soon as possible after the accident, whether you call yourself, or have someone phone in for you. This ensures that they are aware of the problem and will be ready to proceed once the paperwork has been filed. A file for the incident will probably be opened at this point, awaiting any other information that you can gather.

After the fact, as soon as it`s possible, you will need to write down your own statement of what happened. This will help the insurance company process your claim and most won`t move forward without an accident statement, so make sure you get it out as soon as you can. Try to include anything and everything that could be relevant, since this is not a good time to make judgments. The insurance company will make the call on how important each bit of information is, just get all the details down.

Being Honest Will Help

The truth is that an insurance company is looking for holes in your story. There are a lot of people who just make up problems to try and get the insurance money, so understandably, it`s something that needs to be carefully researched.

It`s important not to lie as you go through the process of filing a claim. Even embellishing the facts can be a risky business, it will be assumed that everything you have been saying could be false, so watch it. If you are confused about things and the details of the accident, it`s a better idea to let people know where things are fuzzy, as opposed to inventing it.

What Happens to a Total Loss

If your car is completely destroyed and the insurance company can replace it for less than the repairs would be, chances are the vehicle will be declared a total loss and you`ll be given a replacement vehicle. This should be as similar as possible to your original car and in the same or better condition. However, keep in mind that you can reject the new car and the insurance company will give you the money they would have spent on a replacement, instead. This is a whole other process, but keep in mind that it is possible.

If your car is a total loss, file your auto insurance claim as you would normally and make sure that you have all the paperwork possible. Keep notes on all things pertaining to the accident and be honest, to ensure there are no problems with processing the claim. Should the car insurance company rule in your favor, you`ll be presented with a replacement vehicle or the money to replace it.