A BRIEF HISTORY OF EXPERIAN

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Experian’s roots date back nearly 200 years, making the credit reporting bureau the longest tenured among the “big three” status that the firm shares with TransUnion and Equifax. It’s also the biggest of the three bureaus, with data on more than 235 million people worldwide, headquarters in the U.S. and Europe, and a workforce of about 17,000 employees worldwide. But Experian didn’t become this impactful overnight. Here’s a brief look at the history of Experian and how it gradually morphed into the credit reporting giant that it is today:

   Experian: A Brief History

  • 1826: Experian’s roots can be traced back to London, England, in the early 1800s, when a group known as the Manchester Guardian Society began sharing information on citizens who failed to settle their debts. This was one of the earliest accounts of modern day credit reporting on record.
  • 1897: We jump ahead and move from across the pond to Dallas, Texas, when a Dallas, Texas-based lawyer began compiling lists of local citizens based on whether or not they were at-risk consumers.
  • 1960s: We take another big jump ahead in time to the early 1960s, when two aerospace engineers with a hunch that currency would transition from cash to credit formed a credit information unit branch of TRW, Inc. TRW’s credit information branch would eventually go on to become Experian in the 1990s.
  • 1970s: TRW follows up its credit information branch with the launch of a small business database branch.
  • 1980s: The credit information and small business database branches of TRW continue to see major growth, and by the mid-80s have accrued data on more than 90 million Americans.
  • 1986: TRW began selling consumers their credit reports for an annual fee of $30 in this year. This eventually came to an end, however, as the Fair Credit Reporting Act granted consumers one free report each year.
  • 1991: This year marked one of TRW’s biggest mistakes as a credit reporting agency. The mishap involved a TRW investigator concluding that about 1,500 Vermont residents had not paid their property taxes, causing their credit scores to take a big hit. Following this, similar mistakes came to light. These blunders put TRW in a negative light, forcing the company to make major changes to its operators and customer service practices.
  • 1996: Experian is officially launched. Brian Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired TRW as Experian. Shortly after, the two firms sold Experian to England-based Great Universal Stores Limited (GUS).
  • 2006: Experian de-merges from GUS and, for the first time, is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • 2017: In March 2017, Experian agreed to pay a $3 million fine for dispersing incorrect credit information to various consumers. The fine was imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Present day: With headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, Nottingham, United Kingdom, and Costa Mesa, California, Experian reports operating revenue of about $4.5 billion (U.S.) annually. It operates in 37 countries and keeps data on some 235 million U.S. consumers and 25 million U.S. businesses.

A Brief History of TransUnion

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You likely already know TransUnion as one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies. And though it’s actually the smallest of the big three behind Experian and Equifax, the Chicago, Illinois-based company has a rich 49-year history. What’s more is that unlike Equifax, it doesn’t have the baggage hanging over its head in the wake of the massive hack from summer 2017.

TransUnion profiles just about every credit-active consumer in the United States, so it’s safe to assume that it knows a lot about you. But how much do you know about it? Here’s a brief history of TransUnion so that you can get better acquainted with the firm that already knows your consumer behavior so well:

A Brief History of TransUnion

  • 1968: This was the official year that TransUnion was born. Specifically, it was born as the parent holding company to the Union Tank Car Company, which practiced in the rail car industry.
  • 1969: A year after TransUnion was born, it acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County (CBCC). The CBCC had maintained more than 3.5 million card files, making TransUnion the first in the credit reporting field to streamline consumer file updates. But its days as a credit reporting bureau were just getting started.
  • 1981: TransUnion is sold to The Marmon Group for $688 million.
  • The 90s: In addition to growing staff and expanding its facilities, TransUnion branched out to offer business-to-business services. This offering was in addition to its existing ability to maintain and update credit information on every market-active consumer in America.
  • 2002: TransUnion acquires www.TrueCredit.com, marking its entry into the direct-to-consumer market. TrueCredit.com helps consumers better understand their credit scores and outlines strategies to help improve them.
  • 2010: Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Advent International acquire TransUnion.
  • 2013: In October 2013, TransUnion launched CreditVision, an evolution of the traditional credit score that is designed to better identify consumer trends, consumer behavior, and debt and repayment data.
  • 2014: TransUnion implements ResidentCredit, a consumer-friendly tactic that reported on rental payment data as a means of boosting credit scores. In 2014, the company also acquired TLO, which collects data on people and companies from about one hundred thousand sources of data, for $154 million.
  • 2015: In January 2015, TransUnion revamped its brand and mantra with the goal of conveying its desire to empower consumers to make smarter decisions and live better lives.
  • 2015: In June 2015, TransUnion becomes a publicly-traded company for the first time in its history. It trades under the “TRU” ticker symbol.
  • Today: Presently, TransUnion is a worldwide company with about 4,700 total employees. In 2016, it posted total revenue of about $1.7 billion. Today, TransUnion compiles and aggregates data and information on more than 1 billion consumers across more than 30 countries.

As you can see, TransUnion didn’t turn into the credit reporting giant that it is today overnight. It took nearly 50 years of strategic acquisitions, innovative product launches and diversifying. Minimally, every consumer should know that they can receive one free credit report per year from TransUnion.

Black Boxes That Are Credit Scores

The concept of a Black Boxes is actually derived from the science and engineering fields. Specifically, Black Boxes are defined as something that you can view externally, but have no understanding of how it works internally. The same concept can be applied to credit scores, as many consumers just take note of the three-digit score that they get, yet have no idea of how – and why – it is what it is.

A Google search will quickly provide you with how the FICO score is calculated, but consumer beware – there’s also a lot of misinformation about credit scores and scoring formulas on the Internet as well. You could say that the formula itself behind the credit score isn’t that big of a mystery. The mystery is how that formula is navigated and what parts of it are stressed by the consumer. This post is designed to help you better debunk the black boxes when it comes to credit scores.

Black Boxes that are Credit Scores In a Nutshell

As you likely know, your credit score is essential to getting approved for a mortgage, auto loan, student loan and more. But what you might not know is that there’s more than just one credit score. In fact, while the FICO score is the most popular, there are dozens of credit scores that lenders may choose from based on the data that is reported to the three major credit bureaus. Because of the various different credit scores, and the fact that new formulas are always coming out, this confuses people. It’s why we encourage consumers to pull their credit report at least once a year and pay more attention to the data – not necessarily the three digit number that they get. Understanding the data is what’s really important when it comes to determining whether or not you have good credit – and how you can improve your credit score.

A Credit Repair Plan

Say you want to buy a home, but your credit isn’t good enough to get approved for a mortgage. Or maybe you want to further elevate your credit score so you can lock in a lower interest rate. That’s where a credit repair plan is necessary, as you need to know what your current score is and how much you need to elevate it to meet your goal. This is the point where the “3 Ups” come into play:

  • Clean Up
  • Build Up
  • Pay Up

Before you can truly put a credit repair plan into place, you need to know why your score is what it is, and make a plan to clean it up accordingly. After this, you need to analyze ways that will allow you to build your credit back up. And then, finally, there’s likely to be debts that you have to pay off in order to get your debt-to-credit ratio to at or below 30 percent to really notice an improvement on your score.

Managing Credit

Vantage Scoring Model Updates- Everything you need to know.

Everything You Need to Know About the New Vantage Scoring ModelThe FICO credit score model has been used for decades. But there is mounting evidence that the model is outdated and does not accurately represent the credit-worthiness of Latino, African-American and young home buyers. Critics are calling for new ways to measure credit-worthiness, and the VantageScore 3.0 is a popular option.

What Is Wrong With the Old Model?

The current models lock out a lot of potential buyers who don’t have high FICO scores but who could still be relied on to pay their mortgage. People who do not have recent installment loan or credit card information suffer lower FICO credit scores. Smaller institutions like credit unions, payday lenders and subprime lenders may not properly report loan repaying information that would boost scores. By using a more up-to-date model, more people would have a chance to borrow for a home. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considering allowing use of one more modern model, VantageScore 3.0.

Things to Know About The new Vantage Scoring Model

The new VantageScore will range between 300 and 850, which is the numerical scale used by other credit scoring models. If a borrower had a score between 501 and 570 under the old VantageScore model, he or she would have a score between 300 and 508 in the new one; this is a low score that indicates a bad credit risk. Someone who had a score between 851 and 870, however, would be considered an average borrower with a score between 763 and 780.

Your VantageScore is drawn from information that includes public records, credit inquiries, collections and credit accounts. Information from the past two years are considered the most important. Different credit use behaviors have different weights of influence on your score. The most important factors are:

  • Your payment history (40% of your score)
  • Depth of credit; that is, how much information is available (21% of your score)
  • Credit utilization (20% of the score)
  • Your credit balances (11%)
  • Your recent credit use (5%)
  • Your available credit (3%)

The VantageScore 3.0 leaves out a lot of information that hurt people in older scoring models. Any account that was in collections that has been paid in full is not counted. Less credit history is needed to calculate a person’s credit score, which means that more people are able to get access to credit sooner. This is a feature that can open credit opportunities for 30 million people. People who are victims of natural disasters are protected against negative credit records that can occur after such an event. The VantageScore’s reason codes are far more transparent, letting people know what has to happen for them to improve credit scores.

While the scoring method is the same for all bureaus, you may wind up with different VantageScores from the three credit reporting agencies. This is because they each use internal data that can contrast with what the other bureaus have.

The way to achieve a good credit score is pretty straightforward and similar to the classic advice. To get the highest score and get access to the best lending opportunities:

  • Make all of your payments on time every month. This factor is weighted heavily in your VantageScore, so it has the most influence on your ability to get a loan.
  • Keep your credit card balances low. When creditors see that you have used up a lot of your extended credit, it can look like you are not able to handle money responsibly.
  • Only apply for credit when you need it. This way, new inquiries are not drawing down your credit score.
10 Reasons You Put it off

Credit Repair Procrastination – Why do we wait?

It’s not uncommon to be afraid to dig into your finances. Many people feel that they don’t properly understand their finances or that it’d be difficult to learn. Not sure what is holding you back? Read on to learn common reasons that people avoid .

Why Are You Avoiding Repairing Your Credit? Credit Repair Procrastination

Still Procrastinating?

1. You think it’s too difficult.

If you did not get a good education in personal finance, you may not know a lot about credit. Luckily, there are many resources to help you learn. Knowing what goes into your credit score can help you predict the outcome.

2. You think your credit doesn’t matter.

If you pay in cash for everything, you may think your credit score doesn’t matter. However, bad credit can affect every aspect of your life from where you can get a job to how much you pay for insurance.

3. You don’t know how much you owe.

Not sure what your debt is? You’re not alone. According to The New York Times, people tend to report in surveys only about half as much as credit card companies say is owed to them.

4. You don’t have the funds to pay off old debt.

A recent study found that, on average, people with delinquent debt owe over $5,000 in credit card debt, past medical bills and other types of debt. can feel impossible if you don’t have the money on-hand to pay back your creditors.

5. You don’t know where to start.

If you’ve never examined your credit, you may not even know how to start to repair credit scores. Look online for credit tips to find out what you owe and how to start debt management.

6. You don’t know what to do about erroneous debts.

Looked at your credit report and found that you don’t know what some of the entries are for? As many as 42 million people have errors on their credit reports.

7. You think you don’t have the time.

can be a time-consuming activity. But, with the help of quality companies, you can outsource some of the leg work while reaping the benefits of a better credit score.

8. You are embarrassed.

Many of us have had debt management issues due to youthful disregard for financial responsibilities or getting in over our heads with credit card debt. But, your bad credit won’t go away unless you confront the issue head on. Credit Repair Procrastination is common.

9. You don’t want a significant other to know.

There aren’t any hard figures on how many people are hiding debt from a husband or wife, but, the issue is common. By confronting your debt and working to repair your credit, you can build a better relationship and better possibilities for your shared future.

10. You feel alone.

Few people talk about their debt issues, so, you may feel like you are the only one who has struggled with bad credit. Caring companies can help you through your struggle and help you overcome any feelings of isolation, while giving you credit tips and the tools to build a better financial future.

For additional information on how you can start repairing your credit, feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900, or schedule a free consultation below.

Voted #1

Professional Credit Help – What you need to know.

As you know, credit scores are essential to qualifying for – and locking in low interest rates – on the likes of credit cards, home loans, car loans and more. Furthermore, your credit score is often weighed into your homeowner’s and auto insurance policy premiums. Bottom line – it behooves you to have a favorable credit score.

Unfortunately, for about 1 out of every 5 Americans, that’s not the case. However, just because you have a poor credit score doesn’t mean

that it will be poor forever. Enacting simple credit repair tips like making on-time payments, paying down debt and regularly monitoring your credit can all go a long way in a relatively short period of time to repair credit. But for many Americans, routine debt management can be insurmountable based on the number of maxed out credit lines, payments that have gone to collections, etc. Thankfully, there’s help out there –
and people stuck in these more dire financial situations may choose to work with a credit repair agency to manage debt and improve their credit score.

Credit Repair Agency: The Basics

Simply put, a credit repair agency works with consumers with poor credit – and their creditors – to reach agreements that are satisfactory to both the consumer and the lender and to remove erroneous credit information.

What Can They Do for You?

Credit repair agencies through their Professional Credit Help system can help consumers with a variety of different credit issues. Here’s a look:

  • Challenge erroneous data: A credit repair organization will challenge the in-accurate data on a credit report working with both the 3 major credit agencies and the creditors directly.
  • Negotiate with lenders: They have the experience and know-how to negotiate with lenders on outstanding debts to come up with what’s normally a reduced payment amount to appease both the consumer and lender. Lenders aren’t always willing to negotiate, but those that do can help consumers reduce debt and raise their score.
  • Monitor credit: Here’s a credit tip: It’s estimated that 1 out of every 5 Americans has a mistake on their credit report. A good credit repair agency can help remove errors from your report, as well as those errors that cannot be verified.

It’s worth noting that while a credit repair agency will likely provide you with the tools and plan to get out of debt and raise your credit score, it’s up to the consumer to execute it. The one thing to take caution on when selecting a credit repair agency is the legitimacy of the business. While there are many credible, honest companies out there to help, there is also a bevy of fly-by-night, scammers that aren’t qualified to repair credit.

For additional information on how our company can improve your credit score, feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900, or schedule a free consultation below.

 

stay away from e-oscar

Online Credit Disputes – Stay Away

Having good credit is an important part of life. Without good credit, it can be difficult to do a number of things that many take for granted, such as get a job, buy a car or house, and even sign a cellphone contract. Unfortunately, even if you pay bills on time and do everything you think is necessary to maintain a good credit score, mistakes can be made (through no fault of your own) that cause your credit score to go down. Before trying to repair credit by disputing mistakes on the part financial institutions and credit agencies, make sure to follow one of the most important credit tips in the industry: never dispute a mistake on your credit score online.

 

What makes online credit disputes so difficult

According to numerous experts, disputing your credit score online can lead to a myriad of problems that are easily avoided by simply mailing a dispute via Certified Mail. The most significant issue that arises from disputing credit issues online is the fact that the online dispute system, known as E-OSCAR, provides little to no actual proof that a dispute has been filed, which can substantially increase the amount of time you have to spend going back and forth with a credit agency.

The other major problem that arises from the use on E-OSCAR is the fact that credit agencies are not required to inform you if they choose to reopen a case. Normally, when credit disputes are filed using Certified Mail, credit bureaus are required to inform you that they are reopening a case, which in turn allows you to file a Method of Verification (MOV). A MOV ensures that a disputed record that is deleted, is deleted permanently.

Without a MOV, a credit agency can use what is known as a “soft delete”. A soft delete removes a record for 30 days while it is “under review”. After that time, it can be placed back on your account without any notification to you. By filing through traditional Certified Mail, you can avoid this altogether by verifying at the time of the initial dispute that the deletion is permanent.

 

Consumer Complaints from soft deletes

There are many cases of consumer complaints due to soft deletes. Unfortunately, soft deletes are completely legal under the current regulatory system. While you cannot prevent credit agencies from using a soft delete, you can make sure you know whether they are using a hard or soft delete during your dispute review. If they are in fact using a soft delete to further review your case, you know to follow up 30 days later to ensure that the incorrect record is removed permanently. The easiest way to avoid these problems is to simply file all disputes through Certified Mail.

For additional information on credit repair and how to dispute and permanently remove erroneous accounts on your credit report, feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

Foreclosure Vs. Short Sale

Foreclosure Vs. Short Sale – News


Foreclosure Vs. Short SaleIf you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage, if your home is currently underwater or if you don’t foresee being able to continue making payments on your home, then two options you may consider are foreclosure or a short sale. While both of these can have a negative effect on your credit score, they both act differently. Here’s a closer look at both options. Foreclosure vs. Short sale is a difficult decision.

Foreclosure

Foreclosure occurs when you’ve defaulted on your mortgage loan and the bank reclaims possession of your home.

  • The good: Foreclosure allows you to walk away from your home, which is valuable if your current mortgage is higher than the home’s value.
  • The bad: Foreclosure takes a heavy toll on your credit score and will stay on a credit report for up to 7 years. It’s estimated that a score can be docked from 100 to 150 points after a foreclosure – but that’s not the worst part about it. The worst part is that you may not be eligible to purchase another home or qualify for a loan for at least 2 to 5 years, depending on your state laws.

Short sale

A short sale is an agreement with the bank that you’ll sell your home for less than what you owe on it in the event that you can no longer make payments as-is:

  • The good: You – and not the bank – control the sale. It’s also a more responsible way of walking away from your home and being able to qualify to buy another home immediately, in some circumstances. However, if you’ve fallen behind on payments, it may be at least 3 years before you can qualify for an FHA loan.
  • The bad: Your credit score will still take a hit – from 50 up to 130 points in some cases. And although credit bureaus don’t show “short sale” on a report, it may still identify that you either settled for less or paid in full for less on a report, which can jeopardize future loan opportunities.

 

If we were to give you a credit tip, it would be to not bite off more than you can chew when it comes to buying a home in the first place, as this reduces the chance of foreclosure and short sale. And unlike other credit repair situations where debt management or financial responsibility can go a long way toward upping your score, foreclosure and short sales can be that warning sign on your credit report for several years, making it very difficult – if not impossible – to get approved for a loan, let alone good interest rates.

For additional information on how to repair your credit, please contact our office at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.

removing negatives

What’s Hurting My Credit Score? – Advice

The credit score of the average American is 661, which is considered “fair.” To have good credit, the score must clock in between 700 and 749 and an excellent credit score is considered anything about 750. Needless to say, the majority of Americans don’t have a great FICO score, which means that most are trying to enact debt management or credit repair strategies to boost their scores and thereby make them a more attractive consumer.

So since many Americans have unfavorable credit scores, just where are people going wrong? Here’s a look at some of the most common negatives that impact credit scores:

  • Late payments: Payment history accounts for 35 percent of an overall credit score. It’s the largest thing that plays into a score and it allows the lender to see whether or not you’ve paid past accounts on time. Make one late payment and it could stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and dock your score by up to 120 points. That’s a big price to pay for not getting your payment in by the due date. Here’s a credit tip – don’t be late with your payments!
    • Similarly, a delinquent account is one that you haven’t paid on within 30 days from the previous due date.
  • Collections: When a debt goes to collections, it means that you haven’t been paying on it and it has been sold to a third-party collector. And being that one measly late payment can severely impact your credit score, just imagine how much damage a debt in collections can do. Generally speaking, the higher your score, the greater damage a debt in collections can do to your score. And it can remain on your score for 7 years since you defaulted on the payment.
  • High balances: Your utilization rate makes up 30% of your FICO score. The amount of your outstanding balances on your credit cards divided by the sum of your credit cards’ limit, is your utilization rate, expressed as a percentage. Your balances should never exceed 30% of your credit card limits.
  • Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy is often a last-ditch resort for people who have severely mismanaged their finances. Filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can shave up to 220 points from your score. What’s more is that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for 7 years. That’s a long time to have to work – and wait – to effectively repair credit.
  • Foreclosure: Foreclosure is essentially when a person can no longer afford to make payments on their home any longer and it becomes the property of the bank. It can dock a good credit score up to 160 points and dock a fair credit score up to 105 points. What’s more is that this will stay on your credit report for up to 7 years, making it difficult for you to get another mortgage or qualify for any other type of loan.

As we mentioned in the open, most Americans have poor to fair credit scores. So make sure you understand what is and isn’t good behavior as it pertains to your finances so that you can work your way into the minority and qualify for the best interest rates on loans.

Should you have any additional questions on how you can remove negative items from your credit report, feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900, or schedule a free consultation below.

why focus on fixing errors

Reasons for Credit Repair – Blog

Reason for Credit RepairIf personal finance issues make you want to pull the covers over your head, it can be hard for you to know whether you’re coasting along okay or whether you need help with your credit score.

The top signs that you need credit repair:

1. You’ve been turned down for a job.

Many companies will only hire people who have good credit. They believe that good debt management skills points to a higher level of responsibility.

2. You pay more for car insurance.  

Insurance companies take your credit score into account when determining your rates.

3. You were denied a car loan.  

It is generally easier to get approved for an auto loan than other types of credit. Car loans are good to have, since keeping up with an installment loan over time significantly improves your credit score.

4. You lost a promotion.

Does your company do work with the federal government? These companies often require that employees over a certain level be able to qualify for security clearances. And, you can be denied clearance if you have excessive debt or a low credit score.

5. Debt collectors are calling and harassing you.

When you fail to make payments to your creditors, they end up selling your debt to a collection agency, which then can call you and request payments. The account will be reported by the three credit bureaus as a collection and will affect your ability to get any loans or open a new credit card, as well as damage your credit score.

6. You were turned down for a mortgage.

This is the big one. Homeownership is linked to greater financial stability, a feeling of psychological stability and even tax advantages. Having a good credit record is necessary to achieve this common goal.

7. You’ve been denied for a credit card.

Opening a new revolving account is not as easy as it used to be. If your credit card application was denied, you may need credit “clean-up”. The credit card company is required to let you know the reasons why your application was denied, so you can take the necessary actions to fix your credit.

8. You need to save more than most for a vacation.  

No credit card means that you are at the mercy of airlines and may miss airfare sales. Rental cars and hotels hold hundreds of dollars of your money for deposits. Limited or complete lack of access to credit can make every aspect of a vacation more of a hassle.

9. Your application for an apartment was turned down.

Not only can bad credit keep you from buying a house; it can prevent you from finding a place to rent.

10. You feel trapped by a lack of access to credit.

Many everyday financial interactions are made more difficult by a lack of access to credit. But, you can learn how to repair your credit and enjoy more and better opportunities. Visit Key Credit Repair to educate yourself about credit and find helpful credit tips.

For additional information on how to repair your credit, please contact our office at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.