Why You Should Not Check Your Credit Score on Multiple Sites

 

 

It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on your credit score. After all, this three-digit number holds a lot of power when it comes to your financial and borrowing potential. And while it’s never a bad thing to have an account with one of the various reputable credit scoring sites, you might be surprised to learn that you’re likely going to get a different credit score on each scoring website that you use. It’s why we always recommend that you stick with one credit scoring website – and that credit scoring website only.

Why the Difference in Scores?

Basically it all amounts to the formula that a particular website uses. All of them use a different formula, and while some are able to calculate a credit score closer to your actual FICO score than others, know that no one website you use will provide you with 100 percent accuracy. Try to think of checking your credit score online as a means of just getting a general idea of where you stand. It’s not going to be exact, but chances are it’ll be pretty close to what your actual FICO score is.

The Best Credit Scoring Websites

Generally speaking, the best websites to check your credit score are the ones that charge you a small fee to do so. It’s typically these websites that use the best formulas and have developed a formula that’s close to how the FICO score is tabulated. Just make sure that the site you use is reputable, like Scoresense.com, CreditCheckTotal.com and PrivacyGuard.com. With these sites, you’ll be paying for the accuracy of your credit score via a monthly fee after your discounted trial period expires.

You’ve likely heard of CreditKarma.com, as it’s one of the most popular free sites for checking your credit score. While this is certainly an option when it comes to monitoring your credit score, it doesn’t use as accurate of a scoring formula as the pay sites we mentioned above. Noting this, your CreditKarma score might be up to 20 points off from your actual FICO score. The aforementioned pay sites usually come in much closer to what your actual FICO score is.

Get Your Free Credit Report

If you log on to AnnualCreditReport.com, you’re entitled to one free credit report per year. While this credit report won’t tell you your FICO score, you can usually get a pretty good idea of where your credit stands just by looking at your record. We always recommend that all consumers take advantage of receiving this free credit report, as viewing it makes it easy to analyze ways to improve and can also sound an alarm if there are any discrepancies with it that need to be addressed.

Bottom line: It’s important to monitor your credit score, and the Internet makes it easier than ever to do so. Just make sure you do it with one website, and stick with that one website.

Your credit score is unquestionably the lifeblood of your borrowing power, so it’s only natural for you to want to put yourself in a position to have the highest score possible. After all, the higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for financing, and the more likely that you’ll be approved for said financing with a low interest rate.

Despite the importance of your credit score – not to mention the importance of occasionally checking your credit report to ensure that there aren’t any irregularities – there are a lot of misconceptions out there about credit, credit reports and credit scores in general. Here’s a look at five myths that are often taken for fact to help settle the debate once and for all:

5 Credit Report Myths to Know

  1. I don’t need to check my credit: Many people think that if they’re good consumers and pay all of their bills on time, have good credit history, etc., that they won’t need to check their credit scores. Don’t get caught thinking like that. If you don’t have an ideal credit history, it’s important to check your report often to see if any credit repair tactics are paying off. And even if you’re an ideal consumer, it’s estimated that one out of every five Americans has an error on their credit report. Hence, checking it is really the only way to know and begin the process of disputing any errors.
  2. Checking my own score will dock it: This isn’t true, as when you check your own score it’s what’s known as a “soft inquiry.” This permits you to see the score and a limited amount of data to give you an idea of why it’s in the shape that it is and what you might need to work on to improve it. Conversely, “hard inquiries,” which are those pulled by lenders to assess your financial behavior, can hurt your score if many are done within a certain timeframe.
  3. Paying off debt will remove it from my report: While paying off a debt is likely to help your score, it won’t be removed from your report immediately. In fact, some entries can take anywhere from seven to 10 years to be removed.
  4. Reports only display one entry per debt: This is true in most cases, but in a situation where your debt is past due and has been sold off to a collection agency, both the original lender and the collection agency may appear on your report, essentially showing two negative entries.
  5. Canceling an old credit card will hurt me: This is generally false, as canceling a card will have little to no effect on your credit standing. There is one exception, however, and that’s the cancelation of a credit card with a big credit limit. This may impact your credit utilization ratio, which is essentially your debt-to-total-credit allotment percentage. Generally, your score will be better if your debt is 30 percent or less of your total limit. Bottom line – canceling an old credit card likely won’t hurt you, but it’s best to close out those with smaller limits.

Now that you can separate some credit report facts from the fiction that often accompanies them, you can be more sure of situations that either potentially help or hurt your score.

Credit Repair Process – The 3 Ups

The process of getting credit repair can be intimidating. The reports can be confusing. The process of addressing each entry can be hard for people to grasp. And, in some cases, there may be a few entries that someone might find embarrassing. But, it can all be put into perspective by dividing the process into a few simple, discrete steps. We like to call them The Three Ups:

Clean Up

During this phase, negative entries are removed. Each of the three credit bureaus has a dispute process in place. Entries that don’t belong on your credit report can show up in error; research shows that two-thirds of credit reports include some sort of mistake. Errors can include showing debts that were already paid, showing duplicate debts, listing debts that are past the age limitations and listing ones that were never yours to begin with. A creditor must verify a debt within 30 days of the dispute. If they can’t, it’s taken off.

Build Up

A lack of negative entries on your credit report is not enough. You also need to show a history of using credit wisely. Your credit repair company can walk you through this process. You build up new credit by opening new credit cards (using secured cards if necessary) and opening installment loans like car loans. It’s good to show a mix of types of credit when you are building up your score. Be careful about opening too many accounts at once. Each hard inquiry temporarily lowers your score. And, if creditors see too many inquiries at once, they can think you are in financial trouble and trying to get money fast. By picking out the types of new credit accounts that will best suit your needs, you can use them to start building up your credit within weeks.

Pay Up

Nobody likes this part, but, the unpaid debts on your credit report that are deemed valid must be paid. This comes after the clean up process because you’ll know what debts are not going away any other way than paying or letting them age enough to fall off your report. The good news is, you will probably not have to pay the full amount on many, if not most, of the unpaid debts on your account. Collection agencies buy old debts for pennies on the dollar. If they manage to collect half the original debt, they are still making a phenomenal profit. Many experts recommend starting with an offer that is as low as one-quarter the original amount. Also, the offer made should be for “pay for deletion.” If that condition is granted, the collection will disappear from your credit report completely.

Repairing your credit takes time. Sometimes the process can seem tedious. But, the effort that goes into it can pay off in the ability to buy a home and enjoy your part of the American dream.

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Credit Repair Process – The 3 %22Ups%22″ background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Credit Repair Process – The 3 “Ups”

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_code admin_label=”Code”]<iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/–8pH0U7oD4″ width=”496″ height=”279″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_text admin_label=”The process of getting credit repair” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

The process of getting credit repair can be intimidating. The reports can be confusing. The process of addressing each entry can be hard for people to grasp. And, in some cases, there may be a few entries that someone might find embarrassing. But, it can all be put into perspective by dividing the process into a few simple, discrete steps. We like to call them The Three Ups:

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://www.keycreditrepair.com/wp-content/uploads/CreditRepairProcess.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” alt=”credit repair” title_text=”credit repair”] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”During this phase” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Clean Up

During this phase, negative entries are removed. Each of the three credit bureaus has a dispute process in place. Entries that don’t belong on your credit report can show up in error; research shows that two-thirds of credit reports include some sort of mistake. Errors can include showing debts that were already paid, showing duplicate debts, listing debts that are past the age limitations and listing ones that were never yours to begin with. A creditor must verify a debt within 30 days of the dispute. If they can’t, it’s taken off.

Build Up

A lack of negative entries on your credit report is not enough. You also need to show a history of using credit wisely. Your credit repair company can walk you through this process. You build up new credit by opening new credit cards (using secured cards if necessary) and opening installment loans like car loans. It’s good to show a mix of types of credit when you are building up your score. Be careful about opening too many accounts at once. Each hard inquiry temporarily lowers your score. And, if creditors see too many inquiries at once, they can think you are in financial trouble and trying to get money fast. By picking out the types of new credit accounts that will best suit your needs, you can use them to start building up your credit within weeks.

Pay Up

Nobody likes this part, but, the unpaid debts on your credit report that are deemed valid must be paid. This comes after the clean up process because you’ll know what debts are not going away any other way than paying or letting them age enough to fall off your report. The good news is, you will probably not have to pay the full amount on many, if not most, of the unpaid debts on your account. Collection agencies buy old debts for pennies on the dollar. If they manage to collect half the original debt, they are still making a phenomenal profit. Many experts recommend starting with an offer that is as low as one-quarter the original amount. Also, the offer made should be for “pay for deletion.” If that condition is granted, the collection will disappear from your credit report completely.

Repairing your credit takes time. Sometimes the process can seem tedious. But, the effort that goes into it can pay off in the ability to buy a home and enjoy your part of the American dream.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Credit Tips That Aren't As Useful As You ThoughtIt seems like everyone has advice for how to improve your credit score. But it should go without saying that not all of this advice is good advice. In fact, some of the suggestions that people have are more likely to hurt than help your credit score. Needless to say, there’s a lot of misconception out there about the best ways to up your score. Here’s a look at some of those tips that you should stay away from:

Credit Tips that Aren’t as Useful as you Thought

Lower credit limits: Some people think that simply asking for a lower credit limit can help reduce debt. While that’s true, you must also keep in mind that part of your FICO score is based on how much you owe compared to your credit allotment. For a good credit score, you need to keep debt at or below 30 percent of your total allotment. But if you lower your credit limit to $3,000 and max it out, it won’t do your score any good.

  • Pay off installment loans: Don’t focus too much on paying off installment loans early – it can actually drop your debt load – and possibly your available credit. Instead, focus on paying off credit cards.
  • Open lots of credit cards: To get more of a credit allotment and increase utilization ratio, many people think that opening up several new credit cards at once is the answer. It’s not – it can actually hurt your credit score due to the multitude of inquiries for new cards.
  • Settling debt: It’s always a good move to settle any outstanding debt with lenders, preferably for less than you owe. However, many people make the mistake of doing so and not ensuring that a written report is filed that states the debt was “paid in full.” Make sure all debts – even if they’re paid – aren’t listed as “settled.” It can hurt your score.
  • Pre-paid debit cards can help build credit: They can’t – they have nothing to do with helping you build your credit score. A secured credit card, however, can. This works similar to a debit card.
  • Never use your credit cards: Never using your credit cards can’t hurt your credit score, right? Wrong – part of your credit score is dependent upon credit history and knowing you’re making on-time payments, so you’ve got to use them. It’s better to charge small amounts and pay it off each month than to never use your credit cards.
  • Credit repair firms are helpful: While this is true for some firms, it’s not true for others. That’s because while there are a lot of qualified and credible credit repair firms out there, there are arguably just as many unethical ones that may attempt to repair your credit via identity theft or some other illegal manner. Beware!
improve your score before retirement

When you are getting ready to retire, your credit score is probably low on your list of concerns. After all, your days of borrowing are behind you. But, there are still many reasons that maintaining a high Credit Score Before Retirement can be beneficial in your retirement years.

High Credit Scores Save You Money

In retirement, you want to make every dollar go as far as it can to keep you comfortable. Having a high credit score means paying less for many services. Better mobile phone plan rates are often possible with good credit. Insurers will charge you less to insure your car or home. You can also often avoid or reduce costly deposits for utilities if you can show a proven history of paying your bills in full and on time.

Your Current Creditors May Check Your Scores

Credit card companies occasionally check their clients’ credit scores to make sure that they are still in good financial shape. If your credit card company sees that your score is slipping, it can result in a reduction in your available credit, an increase in your APR or even them declining to renew a card that you currently have. On the other hand, if creditors see your scores go up, you may be eligible for higher credit card limits or a lower rate.

You Will Have More Attractive Chances to Refinance

If you still owe money on your mortgage or an automobile loan, refinancing can save you thousands of dollars. This allows you to dedicate less of your retirement income to paying off loans and more of it to enjoyable retirement activities such as hobbies, travel and restaurant meals.

You’ll Have Better Options if You Want Credit in the Future

People are living longer than ever and staying more active in retirement. If you see a good deal on a rewards credit card, good credit will allow you to take advantage. For instance, many airline miles cards periodically offer large sign-on bonuses. Even if you have the money in the bank to pay out of pocket for airline tickets, scooping up the deal can mean saving several hundred dollars on a well-deserved vacation. Just make sure you pay all bills in full and on time to avoid costly interest charges.

How to Increase Your Credit Score

If you already have a high credit score, you won’t have to do anything different to improve your score. As the average age of your oldest accounts increases, your score will naturally go up, as well. If your credit is less than sterling, there are a few ways to improve it before retiring:

  • Pay off any installment loans. If you owe money on a car, furniture, or any other item subject to monthly payments, work to eliminate that debt. The fewer loans you have, the better your score.
  • Keep your credit card balances low. Creditors like to see a low level of utilization compared to your available revolving credit.
  • Check your credit reports regularly. Many reports contain errors that can reduce your score.
  • Don’t close old cards. The length of your credit history is a factor in your credit score.

Good credit habits can pay off for a lifetime. Need a little help getting on track? Contact Key Credit Repair for advice that can help you have a prosperous retirement. Feel free to contact our office, at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

Choosing your next credit card

When you are first rebuilding your credit, it can be tempting to jump at any card that will have you. But, after you’ve developed some positive credit history, you can afford to be choosier when it comes to credit card offers. Before you apply for that new piece of plastic, give some thought to all of the following regarding Choosing a new credit card.

1. The APR

The annual percentage rate is how much it will cost you in interest to carry a balance on the card. In many cases, it is a certain set percentage plus prime, which is variable. Try to get the lowest APR you can qualify for, even if you don’t plan to carry a balance on the account. If you are not approved for a low rate at first, you can also call back periodically and ask for a lower rate.

2. The credit limit

With a card that only has a limit of a thousand or so dollars, it’s easy to hit a high utilization rate quickly. This can drag down your credit score. Be careful about limits and try to keep your balance under 30% of what is available. If you feel you can safely manage more credit, ask your credit card company for a higher limit. They’ll have to run your credit again, but, they may extend a higher rate if you have a good history of payment.

3. Annual fees

This is where many cards, especially reward cards, get you. Some cards have fees as high as $100 per year. When possible, look for cards that carry no annual fees. If you are looking at a rewards card that has a sizable fee, do the math to figure out whether the incentives are enough to balance the annual cost. You should also know what fees are charged if you forget to make a payment or if you go over your limit.

4. Rewards and incentives

It’s fun to get paid to spend your own money. Look for cards that offer cash back or bonuses. Ideally, these cards should offer bonuses in categories that you use often and come with no fees. If your card is one that offers different cash back bonuses at different times of year, time your spending to make the most out of your new card. When looking at incentives, you should also assess the requirements. To get some bonuses, you have to put a certain amount of charges on the card within a set period of time.

5. Your spending habits

Look at past credit card bills and your monthly bank records to honestly assess how you spend money. Do you tend to overspend when you have access to new credit? And, do you have a good reason for applying for a new card? If you do not have a lot of financial discipline, it may be best to think twice about getting a new card if there’s not much benefit.

Credit can be a temptation, but, it can also be a handy tool. Access to credit cards can mean more control over when you and how you spend and can give you bonuses like cash back and airline miles. Need some help learning to manage credit wisely? Get in touch with us. At Key Credit Repair, we offer counseling and advice to help you make the most of your financial life.

Credit card balances.

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Should You Carry Credit Card Balances? – Credit Tip #1″ background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Should You Carry Credit Card Balances? – Credit Tip #1

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_code admin_label=”Code”]<iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/YQsdbUqHeQQ?list=UUZcRYk9iB7wXpWQZURllDUw” width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Should You Carry Credit Card Balances” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Should You Carry Credit Card Balances? When does your credit card carrying balance begin to affect you adversely? If you are interested in improving your credit score, consider slimming down your balance on each of your credit cards. You do not want to max out your cards, as this will cause your credit to plummet. After all, a quarter of your credit score comes from your credit card utilization. The best practice is to keep the balance on your card lower than your amount of credit. Dropping your balance is one of the easiest and quickest ways to perform credit repair on your personal credit score.

For additional information feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Who Can You Trust for Credit Advice? – Credit Tip #3:” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Who Can You Trust for Credit Advice? – Credit Tip #3:

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Who Can You Trust for Credit Advice” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Who Can You Trust for Credit Advice? Let’s start by noting those agencies who are not credible for giving you advice on your credit score. Bankers, credit card agents and those with financial gains to be made at your expense should be out of the picture when it comes to getting legitimate credit repair advice. After all, these organizations have something to gain from your credit limit. While they may give you advice on using your credit, they are less likely to give you advice that will help you keep your credit in good condition. Avoid dropping your credit score by getting credit advice from a credit repair agency.

For additional information feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Secured Credit Cards

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”What’s a Secured Credit Card? – Credit Tip #12:” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

What’s a Secured Credit Card? – Credit Tip #12:

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_code admin_label=”Code”]<iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/GfJUdGWwnHY?list=UUZcRYk9iB7wXpWQZURllDUw” width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”What’s a Secured Credit Card” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Credit card companies have come to recognize that some financial disasters happen through no fault of the consumer. Job loss often results from economic changes. Rather than punitively, punish credit card companies chose credit repair. If your credit score has fallen or a rough patch in life has dinked your normally good money practices, then you are eligible for a credit card. A secured credit card requires a deposit as collateral. This negates your credit score and allows you to build good credit once again making money management possible.

For additional information feel free to contact our office at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]