Credit Assistance Network is one of the smaller credit repair agencies in the business, a status that comes with pros and cons. While the company is more likely to give you individualized attention than a major competitor might be, you’ll also have to deal with fewer resources and outdated technologies.
What gets our attention most about Credit Assistance Network, though, is its fee structure which, unlike most competitors, operates on a per-deletion basis instead of a monthly basis. For anyone with a long list of credit reporting errors to fix, this could lead to exorbitant fees you can’t afford to pay, leaving you in an even worse position than where you began.
- Free consultation: Your initial credit review with Credit Assistance Network is free of charge.
- Personalized service: Since Credit Assistance Network is a small company, you’ll get more one-on-one attention than you might with a larger firm.
- Money-back guarantee: If Credit Assistance Network is unable to remove any incorrect items from your credit report within 90 days, they’ll refund your initial fee.
- Offers educational materials: The company’s blog is filled with guides related to credit and financial health.
- High service fees: After a one-time $179 setup fee, you’ll be charged $50 per deletion per bureau. That adds up to $150 for every item that appears on all three of your credit reports.
- No monitoring: Credit Assistance Network doesn’t offer or include monitoring in its service fees.
- Outdated website: The Credit Assistance Network website provides a poor user experience and makes it difficult to locate information. Most of the information hasn’t been updated since 2013.
- Makes questionable claims: We found several examples of questionable and contradictory information across the Credit Assistance Network website. For example, the company claims to hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but it’s actually a C+.
- Few customer reviews: Credit Assistance Network has few to no verified customer testimonials on any of the major review websites.
Types of Services
Credit Assistance Network offers a single credit repair service with no clearly defined plans or packages. Since the company is smaller than most competitors, it has the advantage of being able to tailor services to the individual. This means the services you receive may vary depending on your personal credit history. However, Credit Assistance Network highlights two core services that it offers by default to all credit repair customers.
Most people seek out a credit repair company for assistance disputing items on their credit report. Credit Assistance Network handles these disputes on your behalf, first combing through your credit reports to identify potential errors and then drafting and sending letters directly to the credit bureaus. The company will then follow up on any disputes that are rejected to pursue alternative courses of action.
A more unique service to Credit Assistance Network is its inclusion of creditor interventions. This encompasses a range of actions that require interacting directly with creditors. The company may send requests for debt validation, which forces the creditor to come up with proof that you legally owe the debt they are reporting. If your credit is in otherwise good shape and you’ve been making all your recent payments on time, you may benefit more from a goodwill letter, which simply asks the creditor to remove the derogatory mark out of good nature.
If Credit Assistance Network or any credit repair company suggests sending debt validation letters on your behalf, proceed with caution. Most collections agencies view this as a sign that you intend to avoid the debt and it may trigger a more aggressive effort to collect payment.
Depending on what Credit Assistance Network finds on your credit reports, they may suggest additional services to help further improve your credit. There’s no official pricing structure for these additional services, so it’s up to the company to decide how many they’ll include in your base fees before imposing a surcharge. Make sure to ask about additional fees before agreeing to services not included in your initial contract.
Settlement Offer Assistance
Credit repair can’t be used to erase valid debts that you actually owe. If a delinquent account is bringing down your credit score, the best course of action is to pay off the balance as quickly as possible. Since it’s in the creditor’s best interest to collect as much of their money as possible, some will accept an offer for less than the outstanding balance if you agree to pay a lump sum. Credit Assistance Network can help draft settlement offer letters to creditors if you choose to pursue this option.
Identity Theft Resolution
Victims of identity theft face a long road to repair their credit by eliminating traces of accounts opened by criminals in their name. Credit Assistance Network can tailor its services to help anyone struggling to restore their credit to its prior status after their identity has been stolen.
While you can easily hire a professional service to help restore your credit from identity theft, it’s entirely possible to do it on your own without paying lofty fees. Check out the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity theft guide for a clear, step-by-step plan to report identity theft and clean up your credit.
Security Clearance Assistance
If your job requires you to have a security clearance, your credit is one of the many items looked at on your application. While bad credit won’t necessarily bar you from getting clearance, it can certainly hurt your case. Credit Assistance Network offers a specific service to those hoping to polish their credit before applying for a security clearance.
Credit Assistance Network primarily interacts with customers by phone and email. Representatives are available to answer phones from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST every weekday. This is a selling point for working professionals with a nine-to-five job; many competitors shut down phone lines right at 5:00 p.m. every day, which creates a major headache anytime you need to get in touch with your case manager.
Sadly, the Credit Assistance Network website doesn’t live up to the same standard. Much of the site’s information hasn’t been updated since 2013 or earlier, and the design appears at least as old. We frequently struggled to locate key information such as pricing, and some details were entirely incorrect. For example, while Credit Assistance Network advertises an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, its actual rating is a much less respectable C+.
We frequently use third-party rating sites as a source of customer review data when analyzing credit repair companies. Unfortunately, Credit Assistance Network doesn’t have much of an online footprint, likely due to its small customer base. The company has no complaints registered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Better Business Bureau, although it does receive a less-than-optimal rating of C+ from the latter. Due to a lack of data on popular review platforms such as Google, we were unable to locate reliable customer testimonials.
Unlike the vast majority of credit repair companies, Credit Assistance Network doesn’t charge fees on a monthly basis. With no contracts to speak of, it’s easy to cancel services anytime. However, since Credit Assistance Network bills customers based on the number of successful disputes, you may still be responsible for fees related to any items that are removed after you cancel.
Note that Credit Assistance Network does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee. If no items are successfully removed from your report in the first three months, the company will refund any fees paid up to that point.
If you have a complaint about the services of a credit repair company, you can file a complaint with the FTC or call 877-FTC-HELP.
Credit Assistance Network charges two types of fees. The first is a one-time setup fee paid when you sign up for services. This fee is $179 for individuals and $279 for couples, which is extremely high for the industry. The second fee is charged based on the number of items the company has deleted from your credit reports. The rate is $50 per deletion per bureau; public record deletions are $75 each.
Credit Assistance Network charges customers $50 for every successful deletion. Even if the same error appears across all three of your credit reports, you’ll end up paying $150 in total to have that one item removed. If you have multiple errors on your report, these fees could add up very quickly.
The Competition: Credit Assistance Network vs. Credit Saint
To see how much you’d pay for credit repair with Credit Assistance Network versus a company that charges monthly fees, we ran a comparison against Credit Saint. The competitor’s mid-tier Credit Remodel package costs $99 per month and includes up to 10 disputes for every billing cycle, placing the cost per dispute as low as $9.90. You’d pay $500 for the same number of disputes with Credit Assistance Network (assuming they were all successful).
On top of this, Credit Assistance Network’s $179 first work fee is nearly twice the $99 you’d pay with Credit Saint. Taking these costs into consideration, Credit Saint is easily the better value out of the two.
|Credit Assistance Network||Credit Saint|
|Services Offered||Credit repair||Credit repair, monitoring|
|Customer Service Touchpoints||Phone, email, client portal||Phone, email, client portal|
|Upfront Fee||$179.00||$99.00 to $195.00|
|Monthly Fee||Varies by number of disputes||$79.99 to $119.99|
Unless you only have one or two errors to address on your credit report, Credit Assistance Network may be more expensive than they’re worth. The company’s per-deletion fee structure makes it hard to know exactly how much you’ll end up paying for services until the final bill arrives. We prefer the transparency of a monthly membership that includes a set number of disputes per billing cycle.
How We Review Credit Repair Companies
We take many different data points into consideration when reviewing credit repair companies. Based on industry averages and best practices, we grade each company on their service options, pricing, and policies. We also read carefully through customer testimonials to identify common themes and potential pitfalls. Finally, we check with government agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look for complaints and legal action that could indicate poor business practices.
Learn more: Read out full Credit Repair Review Methodology here.
Pros And Cons Of Using A Personal Loan To Pay Off Credit Card Debt – Forbes Advisor
Editorial Note: Forbes may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
People use personal loans for so many different reasons—from buying an RV to paying off medical bills—but consolidating your credit card debt may be one of the most popular uses. By taking the proceeds of a personal loan to pay off credit card debt, you can eliminate multiple monthly highinterest card payments and consolidate the debt into one monthly personal loan payment—often at a reduced cost.
There are benefits to using a personal loan to pay off a credit card, but it’s not always the best option for everyone. Before you choose a personal loan to pay off your credit card, make sure you know the pros and cons.
4 Benefits to Using a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
If your goal is to get out of debt faster than you’d be able to by simply making the monthly minimum credit card payments, applying for a personal loan could be helpful. But a personal loan offers other benefits, as well.
1. You May Earn a Lower Interest Rate
You could pay 20% APR or more if you carry a credit card balance, although borrowers with excellent credit could pay roughly 12% to 17%, depending on the type of card they own.
Personal loans, on the other hand, charge an average interest rate of less than 10%. The best personal loans are even cheaper than that if you have a high credit score. That means you could cut your total interest payment in half and even pay off your debt sooner since you’ll be paying less in interest.
2. Consolidation Streamlines Payments
If you make many different credit card payments every month, it could be difficult to keep track of all the due dates and minimum amounts owed. If you miss a payment or don’t pay at least the amount due, you could face late payment fees and your credit score could drop.
By taking out a personal loan to consolidate your credit card payments, you’ll make one monthly payment to your loan rather than many payments. Reducing the number of payments can free up time and space for other responsibilities.
3. You Could Boost Your Credit Score
Taking out a personal loan increases your credit mix, which makes up 10% of your score. It shows creditors and lenders that you’re responsible with money by carrying many different types of credit and debt.
You’ll also lower your credit utilization by paying down your debt. Your credit utilization is the ratio of how much credit you’re using vs. how much credit is available to you. If you pay off your credit cards, your utilization will go down to 0%. Under 30%—and ideally under 10%—is considered great credit utilization and can help you improve your score.
4. You May Pay Off Debt Sooner
If you’re only making minimum credit card payments every month, it could take you years or even decades to pay off your balances, depending on how much you owe.
With a personal loan, you can pay off your credit card debt right away and set up a payment plan to repay your one personal loan. Terms vary based on how much you borrow and your lender. If you were on track to pay off your credit cards in 10 years, you could take out a personal loan and pay it off in less than five years. Just be sure you don’t restart the cycle by rebuilding credit card debt.
3 Drawbacks to Using a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
There are some potentially negative consequences to consolidating credit card debt by taking out a personal loan, including the cost. Consider these drawbacks, as well, before making a decision.
1. Taking Out a Personal Loan Could Lead to More Debt
A personal loan means you’re borrowing more money. If you take out a personal loan to pay off your credit cards and start to carry a balance on those credit cards again, you’re racking up more debt than you had before.
A personal loan for credit card consolidation isn’t a debt eliminator; use it only if you’ve gone through other options, like increasing credit card payments every month or opening a balance transfer credit card.
2. You’re Not Guaranteed a Lower Interest Rate
Personal loans tend to offer lower interest rates compared to credit cards, but that might not be the case for everyone. If you don’t have stellar credit, you might not qualify for a personal loan. If you qualify for a personal loan with bad credit, your interest rate may not be any lower—and could be higher—than what you’re paying now.
3. Personal Loans Have Fees, Too
Some lenders charge many different fees, like a late payment fee, origination fee and insufficient funds fee, for example. Be mindful of this as you’re comparing personal loan lenders.
How to Choose the Best Personal Loan
There are many different personal loan lenders that charge different interest rates and fees and offer various repayment terms. There’s no one set of standards that personal loans follow, which means you could see a wide range of offers based on what you qualify for. When exploring personal loan options, consider:
- Interest rates. The best personal loans will offer the lowest interest rates to those with the highest credit scores. The higher your credit score, the lower your monthly payment will be and the less interest you’ll owe over the life of your loan.
- Terms. Your repayment terms also vary greatly depending on the lender. Some offer repayment terms as short as six months while some are upwards of five to seven years. If you want to pay off your loan sooner, find a lender that offers shorter repayment terms. If you need to keep your monthly payments lower, see if you can find a lender with longer repayment terms.
- Fees. The better your credit score, the more loans you can qualify for that don’t charge origination fees or other charges. If you don’t have great credit, evaluate each lender’s fees and see which ones you’re comfortable with in case you have to pay them. For instance, if you miss a payment, is the late fee $15 or $30?
- Loan amount. Some people don’t need to borrow a lot to pay off their debt, while others need to take out a substantial amount. Each lender offers different minimum and maximum amounts. Along with that, your credit score could impact how much you’re allowed to borrow. The higher your credit score, the more trustworthy you look to lenders, allowing you to borrow more.
Alternatives to a Personal Loan
While a personal loan is a great option for debt consolidation, it’s not your only one. Review all your options to see which one is the best fit for your finances.
Credit Card Balance Transfer
You may be able to apply for a new credit card that allows you to transfer balances from existing credit cards, perhaps as a lower interest cost to you. The benefits of a credit card balance transfer include:
- Interest-free payments. If you qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer, you won’t pay any extra interest charges for the promotional period, which would allow you to pay down your balance more cheaply.
- No balance transfer fee. Most credit cards charge a fee when you transfer a balance, but you can find a few that waive the balance transfer fee.
- New perks. If you have decent credit, you might qualify for a new card that offers cash back, travel perks or other types of deals for cardholders.
The drawbacks of a credit card balance transfer include:
- Eventual interest charges. If you don’t pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period, you could face interest charges on the remaining balance.
- Loss of promotional offer. Even though interest isn’t accruing, you’re still responsible for making minimum payments every month. If you don’t, you could lose your promotional offer and interest will start to add up on your entire balance.
- Missing out on qualification requirements. If you don’t have decent credit, you may not qualify for a new credit card line.
- Not having a high enough credit limit. Even if you do qualify, your entire balance might not transfer over because the card issuer offers you a lower credit limit than you need. This means you’re on the hook for the balance on your new card and any old cards that carry the remaining balances.
Debt Snowball Or Avalanche
You may also decide the best way for you to tackle your credit card debt is by focusing extra payments on one of your cards. There are two primary ways people go about this: either the debt snowball or debt avalanche method.
The benefits of using one of these methods include:
- Avoiding new credit lines. If you don’t have great credit or don’t want to take on additional debt, these methods let you focus on paying down your debt with what you have, not adding to your burden.
- Focusing on high interest. With the debt avalanche method, you pay off your debt with the highest interest rate first. This could save you more in the long run.
- Focusing on little wins. The debt snowball method focuses on paying off the debt with the lowest balance first. If you need a quick win, this might be your best bet.
Of course, these payoff methods also have their drawbacks. You may find:
- It’s a slow process. Increasing your payments with only the cash you have on hand right now means you may pay off your debt slower compared to a personal loan.
- Your budget doesn’t work with it. If your budget is already stretched thin as it is, you may not have any extra money to put toward higher credit card payments.
What Is a Bad Credit Score?
It can be depressing when you’re on the bottom rung of the credit ladder, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
You can increase your bad credit score if you use the right techniques and you’re persistent. And I promise it won’t take the rest of your life to build a solid credit score, either. So let’s get started.
Here’s what you’ll learn just ahead:
What Is Bad Credit?
Here’s a broad definition: A consumer who has bad credit, also referred to as poor credit, has a FICO score of 579 or less. With a bad credit score, you might only be approved for credit cards, mortgages or personal loans that come with high interest rates.
In fact, if your score is way less than 579, there’s a chance you can’t get approved for credit at all. But consider this a temporary problem. Once you start working on your score, your ability to get credit will improve.
Understanding how credit scores work can help you make better credit decisions. There are two credit scores that are used most often by lenders: FICO scores and VantageScores. FICO also has score versions for different industries.
About 90% of lenders use a version of the FICO score to help determine an applicant’s creditworthiness. FICO Score 8 seems to be the version used most often, but there’s also a new version called FICO Score 9. It takes lenders a long time to use a new score, so that’s why FICO Score 8 is still so popular.
What You Need to Know About FICO Scores
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. According to myFICO.com, these are the values for each credit score range:
- Exceptional: 800 and higher.
- Very good: 740 to 799.
- Good: 670 to 739.
- Fair: 580 to 669.
- Poor: 579 and lower.
The average FICO score as of October 2020 is 711, which qualifies as good credit. It might seem impossible right now, but possessing good credit will be within reach after you spend time rebuilding your credit.
Let’s take a look at the factors that make up the FICO score:
- Payment history: 35%.
- Amounts owed: 30%.
- Length of credit history: 15%.
- New credit: 10%.
- Credit mix: 10%.
If you have a poor credit score, it means that lenders think you have a high risk of delinquency. In fact, about 61% of consumers with credit scores below 580 are likely to become delinquent on a credit-related account, FICO says. So this is why it’s difficult to get approved for credit without having to pay high interest rates.
What You Need to Know About VantageScores
VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850, just like the FICO score does. But since VantageScore weighs the options a little differently, a 700 FICO score can’t be directly compared with a 700 VantageScore. Plus, FICO scores have different ranges for each credit rating.
Here are the VantageScore ranges:
- Excellent: 750 to 850.
- Good: 700 to 749.
- Fair: 650 to 699.
- Poor: 550 to 649.
- Very poor: 300 to 549.
As you can see, there are two categories that could be considered a bad score. With VantageScore, poor credit is from 550 to 649. And very poor credit is less than 550. You’ll need a score of 650 to climb into the fair credit range.
Rather than using percentages like FICO does, VantageScore focuses on how influential each factor is in the algorithm. Factors that make up the VantageScore include:
- Available credit, balances and credit utilization: extremely influential.
- Credit mix and experience: highly influential.
- Payment history: moderately influential.
- Age of credit history and new accounts: less influential.
How to Improve Bad Credit
Now that you know more about how credit scores work, you’re ready to start improving your credit score. Your short-term goal is to move up into fair credit, which for FICO is 580.
Your long-term goal? To get the lowest interest rates, you’ll need a FICO score of at least 760, which puts you in the very good FICO score range. This won’t happen right away, of course, but it’s a possibility if you use the right strategies.
Here are four strategies for improving a bad credit score:
If you don’t have a budget, you need to set one up today. Once you remedy that situation, you also need to track your spending, which is easy to do with an app or online money management tools.
It’s difficult to stay on budget if you don’t know how much you spent and where you spent it. Getting into debt or increasing the debt you already have could make your credit score even worse. So think of this as your financial foundation. A strong foundation helps you build good credit.
With a bad credit score, you’ll have a hard time getting approved for a decent credit card. Before you decide to get an unsecured credit card with a high annual percentage rate and monthly maintenance fees, take a look at secured credit cards.
You will have to put down a deposit to secure the credit card. But you’ll get a regular-looking credit card to use for purchases. These cards are listed on your credit report as a revolving credit account, and as long as your issuer reports your payment history to the credit bureaus, you’ll build a better credit score. That is, as long as you use the card responsibly.
Many people aren’t aware that this option exists. You can check with your local bank or a credit union to see if credit-builder loans are offered. Every institution has its own set of rules and rates for credit-builder loans, but in general, you’ll deposit a small amount, such as $1,000, in the bank or credit union.
You then pay the “loan” back in monthly payments. This type of loan is identified as an installment loan by the FICO score algorithm, so that also gives you a small boost in the “mix of credit” category.
You have a credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit used compared with the amount of credit available. If you are carrying balances on your credit cards from month to month, your ratio could be high.
A ratio that exceeds 30% can drag down your credit score. As you pay down debt, your credit score will start to rise. As already noted, available credit is 30% of your credit score. To get the biggest positive impact on your score, keep your balances less than 10%.
Make it a priority in your life to improve your credit, and over time, you’ll see the results of your hard work.
Mortgage platform matches rejected borrowers to specialist broker
Borrowers who are struggling to get a mortgage because they are self-employed, have a complex income or are burdened with bad credit can now access specialist deals through a new platform.
Haysto matches customers, based on their profile and financial situation, to a mortgage broker with expert knowledge of securing loans for borrowers in their particular situation.
Traditional lenders and some automated online mortgage platforms may reject some borrowers if they have a less-than-traditional income stream or have a history bad credit.
There are lenders who offer deals to these customers – but they are usually only available through brokers.
Therefore the Haysto platform provides an introduction to these brokers for anyone who has been rejected for a mainstream product or who is worried they may not be approved by going direct to a lender.
Paul Coss, co-founder of Haysto, explained: “Self-employment and poor credit histories are on the rise in the UK, so a growing number of people applying for mortgages simply don’t fit the traditional financial mould.
“Many are being rejected by traditional lenders and online mortgage brokers that can’t see past their situation, while others will be put off from applying at all.”
Coss explained Haysto didn’t simply rely on the ‘computer says no’ approach. Instead the platform provided a personalised mortgage experience by matching customers to specialist mortgage brokers based on their unique situation.
“We want to help everyone access their dream home,” he said.
“Even if they have been rejected before, there are specialist lenders and brokers specifically for self-employed and bad credit mortgages who can help.”
Research carried out by Haysto as part of its launch has found 22% of people turned down for a mortgage blamed their bad credit history and 17% thought it was because they ran their own business.
Coss, who was a specialist broker himself, co-founded Haysto earlier this year after seeing a clear gap in the market for an online platform for customers with complex incomes or credit histories who had been turned down elsewhere.
Udara Bandera, 52, is just one of the customers he helped. Indeed Bandera turned to Haysto after finding himself £25,000 in debt and with a poor credit rating due to a sustained period of unemployment.
He had been turned down by his bank for a mortgage despite eventually securing a permanent job that allowed him to start paying off his debts, but is now getting ready to move his family into their new home.
He said: “I spoke to six or seven mortgage advisers but they were all telling me different things and it was so confusing. They didn’t seem to understand my situation and I didn’t know who I could trust.”
“I had a lot of support from my specialist Haysto broker and I didn’t feel judged like I had previously. My broker took me through all my options, gave me honest advice and completely put my mind at ease for the first time in ages.
“Thanks to this mortgage and the support I have received from Haysto, I have been able to start my life again. I need to keep slowly building up my credit, and the marks on my credit file won’t go away – even once the debt is paid back – but I am in a much better position compared to any other time over the last five or six years.”
Bad Credit9 months ago
All you Need To Know about Bad Credit Scores in 2020
Bad Credit8 months ago
How to Get an SBA Coronavirus Disaster Loan
Credit Repair Companies10 months ago
How to improve your credit score
Bad Credit8 months ago
Bad Credit Payday Loans Online
Bad Credit9 months ago
Bad Credit? Best Bad Credit Mortgage Refinance Companies • Benzinga
Bad Credit7 months ago
Have Bad Credit? Here’s How You Can Still Get A Loan
News10 months ago
Global Credit Repair Services Market Demand and Status, Forecast 2025 | • CreditRepair.com • MyCreditGroup • The Credit People • Veracity Credit Consultants • TransUnion • MSI Credit Solutions • Lexington Law • USA Credit Repair
Credit Repair Companies11 months ago
11 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score