What is the Fourth Credit Bureau?

It is important for you to be familiar with your credit score because many financial entities view this as a reflection of your financial stewardship. For example, if you are applying for a mortgage, the bank (or lender) is going to conduct a credit check to make sure to figure out what risk you might be when it comes to defaulting on your loan. If you have a high credit score, the bank could reward you with a lower interest rate. If your credit score is low, then the bank might deny you a loan altogether.

You can request your credit score for free once per year from credit reporting bureaus. Most people are familiar with the “big three” nationwide credit bureaus which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Even though most lenders use one (or all three) of these bureaus when they are checking your credit history and credit score, there are other credit sporting agencies as well. You can request a free credit report once per year from all of these credit reporting bureaus, so it is important to know about the “fourth credit bureau.”

Innovis

While there isn’t a single “fourth credit bureau,” many people have given this nickname to Innovis because it collects a lot of the same information that the three major credit bureaus collect. Furthermore, Innovis also provides an ID verification step to help with fraud detection and prevention. Innovis also collects utility bills, rent payments, and magazine subscriptions. You can request a free annual credit report from Innovis either in-person, online, by mail, or by phone.

ChexSystems

ChexSystems is a credit bureau that mainly focuses on checking accounts. When you apply for a checking account, the bank will probably check with ChexSystems to see if there is any risk of you opening an account with them. If you have closed an account recently, this will probably be picked up by ChexSystems. It is a good idea to check your report with ChexSystems to make sure there is no inaccurate information on the report.

Certegy Check Services

Certegy Check Services keeps track of everyone’s check-writing history to make it easier for businesses to predict if a check is likely to bounce. The goal of using Certegy’s services is to help businesses reduce check fraud. If you write checks, then you should your annual free report from Certegy Check Services to make sure there aren’t any bounced checks listed.

Contact Us Today to Learn More About Credit Repair Services!

It is important for you to check your credit report regularly to make sure there is no inaccurate information listed. You can request a free report once per year from any of these credit bureaus. This will improve your chances of getting a loan. Whether you are applying for a mortgage loan, vehicle loan, or credit cards its good to have a clear picture of what the lenders can see. Call us today for a free consultation! At Key Credit Repair, we would be happy to help you!

 

Why is Managing your Credit Score a laborious task?

You might think that mindfully tending your credit file is no big deal. But then one day, you’ll want to buy a new car, rent a killer apartment, or get a good deal on a mortgage. And that’s when the realization hits that you should have paid more attention to your credit score. Yikes!

However, this isn’t really stuff that most of us learn in school. Which is why our team has put together this quick guide on how to manage your credit score and what you should do if you need to give yours a little tender loving care.

Credit Score Definition and Basics You Need to Know

When it comes to understanding your credit report and score, there are a few key concepts you need to know.

1. You Have Multiple Scores

Your credit score is a mix of information from the three bureaus–Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. There are different models for scoring what they find on your reports, usually referred to as FICO Score or VantageScore. The model being used counts, which can make a difference in your overall score. Most of the best free credit score programs out there can give you a great general idea of what banks and lenders see, too.

2. Checking Your Own Score is Good

You won’t ever get penalized for checking your own score. By knowing what you have or where you approximately stand, you can always be ready for the experience when you decide to make a big move, such as purchasing a home or getting an auto loan.

3. Avoid Hard Pulls When You Can

A hard credit pull is when a lender uses your social security number to check your credit record. Too many of these can signal a sudden desperate need for credit, so it isn’t a good idea to keep having companies check your score in a short period of time. Instead, be choosy about how often this is done.

What to Do When Your Credit Score is Low

If you notice your credit score looks a little low, there are a few things you can do to try to get it raised. First, start by looking for any inaccurate data or information you can dispute with the credit bureaus. If they can’t prove that it is correct, the law states that it has to be removed.

Next, look at what you actually owe and determine where you need help and what you can pay down. For example, if you have a credit card with a substantial balance but have a little extra income coming in, consider paying it down as soon as possible. If you have numerous bad debts or collections, you might also want to try working with a credit repair and counseling team for additional help.

Why It Isn’t Always Best to Try to Repair Your Credit Alone

You would go to a doctor or hospital for a broken arm, right? When it comes to your credit, this is a similar case. While it is possible to jump on the journey alone, it isn’t always the best idea. Instead, you can hire a firm that offers credit repair services to help you along the way.

Why does this work? Well, for starters, these guys and gals do credit repair every day. Leveraging their expertise to help improve your own file is a wise way to get more done in a shorter period of time. Attempting to fix your score alone can take months or years, while a professional could get the same result in a fraction of the time.

That’s where Key Credit Repair can help. We’ll walk through the entire credit repair process with you, working step by step to improve your score and put you on the path to better financial wellness. Please get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

 

You need to Check Your credit Score

You Need to Check Your Credit Score Regularly. Here’s Why: 

One of the biggest influencers of your financial potential isn’t so much how much you earn, but what a certain little three-digit number says about your financial behavior. That’s right, we’re talking about your credit score. The higher it is, the better your overall financial situation is likely to be. It likely means you’ve managed your debt well and you’ll be rewarded with low interest rates on any future loans you apply for. But if your score is low, it means that you’ve likely got some work to do to get into a better position.

A simple basic credit score definition is that it’s a number that tells lenders how financially reliable of a consumer you are. And because of this, it’s important to check your credit score regularly – just make sure you find the best free credit score service that works for you. Here’s a look at why you should be keeping tabs on your credit score often:

4 Reasons Why You Need to Check Your Credit Score Regularly

1. You Know Exactly Where You Stand

Thinking about applying for a mortgage loan, a personal loan, opening up a new credit card, or refinancing an auto loan? If so, you want to know what interest rates you can expect, which will help you dictate if it makes sense to move forward. Checking your credit score will give you a ballpark number so that you can move forward accordingly. If your FICO score needs some work and you likely won’t be able to qualify for low interest rates, maybe you wait until you can enact some credit repair strategies. But if your score is in good shape, it’ll give you peace of mind moving forward.

2. It’s Easier to Dispute Errors

Nobody is perfect, and this includes the three major credit reporting bureaus. In fact, it’s estimated that about 20 percent of all consumers have an error on their credit report. It’s why it’s good to check your score often, as identifying a reporting error can help you dispute the item and have it removed from your credit history faster. The credit reporting bureaus will generally take about 30 days to investigate the matter and then remove inaccuracies after a dispute is filed.

3. You Can Monitor Improvements

If you set a goal of improving your credit score, you likely won’t have to wait too long to see any credit repair strategies pay off. In fact, if you stick to the plan, you could see significant improvement as quickly as a month. It can be fun – and rewarding – to track your credit score month to month to see your efforts paying off.

4. You Can Catch Odd Activity Faster

Finally, another reason why you want to check your credit score often is because there’s always the chance that you could be the victim of fraudulent activity. It goes without saying that the faster you catch and report any issues, the better your likely long-term outcome.

Top 5 Reasons 0 Balance

Top 5 Reasons to Keep Your Credit Cards at Zero Balance

Keeping your credit card balances at zero isn’t always the easiest thing to do—especially now in the age of COVID. With social distancing and lockdown measures in place, people have been purchasing more online. Indeed, record spending using electronic payments—namely credit cards—has been seen in light of the pandemic.

However, maintaining zero-balance cards can prove to be beneficial to you by helping you to increase your credit score. The following five reasons will show you why zero balances are crucial to your credit.

  1. Paying Off Your Debt While Building Credit History

Keeping your credit card balances at zero is a good idea—but maintaining that zero balance forever isn’t the best way to go about improving your credit, either. That sounds confusing, so to simplify, it works like this: If you don’t use your credit cards, credit card companies can notice that you aren’t doing anything with your cards and stop sending account updates to the credit bureaus. Potential creditors and lenders will be more wary of you, even if you’re a responsible borrower, because they cannot easily acquire information on your recent credit history.

The best way to remedy this? Make small purchases every now and then, and quickly pay them off in order to keep your account active and your credit history constantly updated. This way, you keep your cards at a zero balance most of the time while also establishing credit history.

  1. Credit Utilization Ratio

Your credit utilization ratio is one of the major factors that lenders look at when determining your eligibility for loans or additional credit cards. Keeping your credit cards at a zero balance keeps your credit utilization ratio at zero, which improves your credit score.

What’s more, zero balances prevent wild fluctuations in your credit utilization. For example, if one of your credit cards has a credit limit of $4,000, but is at zero balance, and another card is using $2,000 of the allotted limit of $6000, you’re at a 20% credit utilization ratio. If for some reason you should close that zero balance card? Then you’ll have $6,000 remaining in total credit limits, $2,000 of which is tied up in debt, which shoots you up from a 20% ratio to 33% credit utilization.

  1. Emergency Funds

Emergency funds are all the more important with the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, we are seeing record-high numbers of unemployment claims, which means that there are far fewer job openings than workers. If you are fired or lose your job, the zero-balance card can act as an additional safety net for you.

  1. Remaining Debt-Free Opens Doors

Keeping yourself debtless is a great way to position yourself well when being considered for things like cars, work and housing—and in some cases, it helps you outcompete the competition. Many people struggle with paying off their debts or keeping a clean credit history. Therefore, displaying the ability to keep a zero-balance card can push you up in places where credit is considered. Being debtless also improves your physical and mental stress. It’s better to live life without the burden of unpaid bills.

  1. Interest Rate Expiration

Some cards carry lowered interest rates for a certain amount of time as a promotional tactic. One thing to watch out for is the grace period when it expires, which can lead to devastating consequences if you aren’t aware of the expiry date. But keeping a zero-balance card can leads to less worrying about when promotional periods will expire—and hit you with large deferred interest fees.

It is challenging to keep those balances at zero. However, the five reasons above make it worthwhile. Pay down debts if you have them to improve your credit-worthiness!

Covid - 19 Credit

Is COVID-19 Affecting Your Credit?

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all of us is, at this point, likely a bit of an understatement. But for millions of Americans, one of the biggest ways they’ve been impacted is also probably the one they least expected: their credit score.

With so many people experiencing financial hardship, late and even missed payments have become a “new normal” across the country. It’s also the type of downside that has the potential to stay around long after the Coronavirus has finally left us behind. But thankfully, there are certain steps you can take to help prevent these types of long-term consequences from occurring. You just need to keep a few key things in mind while you do it.

Protecting Your Credit Score During COVID-19: What You Need to Know

By far, one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your credit score during COVID-19 involves taking to all lenders and creditors to see if any assistance options are available. Yes, it’s true that this avenue would have been limited under normal circumstances – but these are absolutely not normal times we’re living in. Most banks and other financial institutions understand that this has all been incredibly hard on people – especially those in certain industries like food service who may have been out of work for months.

At the very least, you should check to see if you can pause or even make reduced payments for the foreseeable future to avoid missing them altogether.

Along the same lines, even if financial assistance isn’t available, you should still try to pay what you can on all of your outstanding debt. If you can only make the minimum payment on your credit card, that’s okay – it’ll still prevent those late payments from showing up on your credit report, which will help preserve your score for as much as possible.

Finally, consider adding a consumer statement to your credit report that briefly explains your current situation and what you’ll be doing to remedy things moving forward. Equifax, for example, allows you to add a 100 word statement to your credit report that will allow you to verify that the missed payments or other issues that are showing up are COVID-19 related. Potential new creditors will be able to see this before making any type of decision in the future, improving the chances that even a decrease in your score won’t do as much damage as you had feared.

You can add a statement to Experian and TransUnion credit reports, too – you just have to contact them directly in order to do so. 

Finally, be sure you’re staying current with all credit-related activities by requesting a copy of your full credit report whenever you’re able to do so. Especially during COVID-19, you’ll want to quickly dispute any incorrect information that you can to mitigate risk from the ongoing financial uncertainty as much as possible. You can always get a free copy of your credit report once a year by going to annualcreditreport.com. 

Credit Secrets

Credit Secrets – Download our free e-book and learn the secrets to amazing credit!

Click here to download the e-book
100% Free of Charge.

Greetings!

For the last 15 years I’ve made it my life’s mission to educate and guide anyone that wants to listen how to repair their credit. There are thousands of self-help blog tips and generic websites out there but I wanted to give something far better and more applicable. You know…”real life” 🙂

I’ve worked one-on-one with over forty thousand people and have seen and experienced every “credit” scenario possible. Great credit doesn’t have to be reserved for the rich and affluent any more.

With that said I created this e-book for you. It’s called “Opening Doors”. And yes, that’s what it will do for you. if you follow it step by step you will have access to better credit and doors will begin to open for you! Oh yea, this is not a short-cut. This is hard work for hard working people. But, it WILL work and I stand behind my system with every particle of my being. Follow “Opening Doors” and you WILL SUCCEED.

The book has more than a few motivational nuggets in there. I know how hard this process is. I was my first client more than a decade ago and I know how demoralizing it can feel constantly being told “No” by banks and lenders and then not offered any real guidance on how to fix things. I know how hard it was when I was repairing my own credit dealing with the non-responses from the credit agencies and seeing my score plateau some months. It was very, very hard. I know how hard it is to deal with debt collectors and the ga-zillion sites out there all offering different credit scores. I know…I was you.

So, click below, download OPENING DOORS…and for GOD’s sake….share, share, share with friends and family. We’re on a mission here!

P.S. Don’t want to go it alone? Click here to request a free consultation ($200 value) from our team.

 

Best regards,

Nikitas Tsoukalis, CEO and Client #1 at Key Credit Repair
NTsoukalis@keycreditrepair.com

Federal Reserve

Fed Survey Finds Credit Card Standards Tightened in Third Quarter

If you want to get an idea on how lenders are predicting the economic future, look no further than the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve. Specifically, the survey noted that banks and credit card companies got stingy when it came to consumers opening new lines of credit in the third quarter of this year, something that typically happens during times of economic uneasiness. In fact, according to the survey, the underwriting standards for credit card approval have increased to a point that hasn’t been seen since 2009, and we shouldn’t need to remind you of the fragile state of the economy a decade ago, at the cusp of this generation’s great economic recession.

So what does this Fed survey indicate, exactly? In layman’s terms, it means that if you want to open a new line of credit, your credit score had better be in really good standing. In fact, the Fed survey specifically indicated that it’s gotten a lot harder for consumers with credit scores under 620 to get approved for new lines of credit compared to what it was at the beginning of the year when there was much more confidence about the economic outlook. The bottom line is that if your credit isn’t in good standing, banks are going to worry about your ability to pay back any loans or lines of credit that you’ve opened now in uncertain times than they would in prosperous economic times. As a result, they’re going to be more stingy about what they approve. And while we always recommend taking the appropriate steps to make sure your credit is in good standing, it’s going to be arguably more important than ever in the near-term if banks continue to tighten the strings on the money they hand out. The good news is that if your credit score is in good shape or you work to ensure that it’s in good shape, you’re likely to benefit from reduced interest rates.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Even if your credit score isn’t below the 620 mark that we indicated above, it always behooves you as a consumer to take the necessary steps to improve it. Here’s a look at how you can get improvement fast so that you’re not on the outside looking in if you need to take out a loan or line of credit down the road:

  • Keep balances low on existing credit cards: Keeping balances low on any revolving credit that you have (i.e., credit cards) can help improve your score. Generally, expect your score to be highest if you’re at or below about 30 percent of your credit utilization rate. For instance, if your credit card has a limit of $1,000, you want to carry a balance of no more than $300 for the best possible credit score.
  • Ask for an increase in your credit limit: To piggyback off the above point, if you’re eligible for a credit limit increase that can help out your credit utilization ratio and thereby improve your score, consider taking it.
  • Check your credit report: This gives you an idea of where you stand and what needs improvement so you can come up with a plan of attack. It can also help you identify and dispute any inaccuracies that may be present on your report.
  • Negotiate away: Have outstanding balances or debt that’s gone to collections? That can really hurt a credit score. Try negotiating with the lender to settle any debts so that they appear more favorable on your credit report.
How Social Media Could Affect Your Credit

How Social Media Could Affect Your Credit

How Social Media Could Affect Your Credit

If you’re a fan of the show Black Mirror, then surely you’ve seen the episode titled “Nosedive.” It stars Bryce Dallas Howard in a world where a social media rating dictates everything — what type of car you can drive, what type of home you can live in, your status in society, etc. In case you haven’t seen the episode, Howard’s character starts out with a strong social media rating that gradually decreases over the course of the 60-minute episode. As her rating plummets, so does her societal status.

We know what you’re thinking. It’s Black Mirror, it’s not real life. And while the episode surely takes social media use and its societal effect to the extreme, you may not realize that social media is believed to already play a role to a certain extent in one key aspect of your life: your credit score.

Yes, when lenders are weighing whether or not to give you a loan, they’re typically looking at your three-digit FICO score to help dictate how trustworthy of a consumer you are. The higher your credit score, the more trustworthy of a consumer you’re likely to be — and vice versa. But now credit bureaus and other firms are collecting more information than just your financial history to determine how good of a consumer you are. They’re turning to algorithms and artificial intelligence to help weigh your worthiness, and one of the things that they’re increasingly believed to be taking a look at is your social media profiles — and it could be hurting your credit score without you even knowing it. There’s a ton of debate over whether doing so is ethical or not, and that’s something that will likely be debated extensively moving forward, but the bottom line is that things like this are believed to already be happening — and you can never be too careful on social media. This is especially true if you’re applying for that big mortgage loan or auto loan and want to get the best possible interest rate. If your social media profiles make it seem like you’re not trustworthy, you could end up paying more in the long run.

Social Media Tips

Like we said, AI, algorithms and social media are believed to already be used by lenders to weigh consumer trustworthiness in some way. So if you’re worried that what you post might come back to bite you, here’s a look at some tips that you should follow:

  • Don’t bellyache about money: We get how the likes of Facebook and Twitter can serve as a sounding off platform for some people, but we’d strongly advise you from complaining about money. Don’t bemoan how you can’t make rent, how you’re in credit card debt or how you’re too broke to go out with your friends. That’s not going to look good.
  • Connect with the right people: You’re likely to be weighed more favorably if you’re connected with better people than you are if you’re connected with people that aren’t perceived to be the “right type.” Like we said, this system of weighing consumers is very controversial. In reality, it shouldn’t matter one bit who you’re connected with. But it could.
  • Professional conversation: If you’re posting derogatory language, curse words or about other controversial topics, you could be punished when it comes to your credit score. Fair or not, this type of behavior on social media could come back to bite you.

How would you check out on social media if a lender were to peek in on your accounts? Do you think your score would go up, go down or stay the same?

Need help improving your credit?  click here.