If you thought credit repair was a service you always have to pay for, think again. CreditNerds has provided free credit repair to more than 25,000 customers since 2007, helping those with errors on their credit reports navigate the process of disputing them with the credit bureaus. But the company also offers a number of paid services that can be of value to those who want to improve their credit health or secure funding. We’ve broken down the various free and paid services offered by CreditNerds to help you decide which option is the best choice.
- Free credit repair service: The basic credit repair service offered by CreditNerds is entirely free.
- Option for paid credit auditing: Those who want a more in-depth professional analysis of their credit can purchase a credit audit.
- Offers funding services: Whether you need funding for personal or business expenses, education, or purchasing a property, CreditNerds will help match you with the right lender.
- Interactive educational tools: Free resources include videos, financial calculators, and even fun games for kids.
- Business services available: Small business owners can get help with financing and pay for an audit of their company’s online presence.
- Doesn’t offer credit monitoring: If you want to track your credit repair progress with ongoing monitoring, you’ll have to get it from another company.
- Funding services require paid monitoring from a third party: Those who want to participate in the CreditNerds funding service must sign up for credit monitoring with their partner, CheckMy3Scores.
- No mobile app: Some of CreditNerds’ interactive tools aren’t supported on mobile devices.
Types of Services
Although CreditNerds primarily calls itself a credit repair company, it also offers many different services related to funding and small business management. In fact, it’s partially thanks to these various paid services that CreditNerds can provide its basic credit repair package completely free of charge. While there’s no obligation to purchase anything in order to take advantage of free credit repair, some individuals may find that they can benefit from additional services once the dispute process is complete.
Free Credit Repair
CreditNerds’ main claim to fame is its free credit repair service. Through this service, the company examines your credit report and identifies reporting errors or other discrepancies that can be disputed with the credit bureaus. From there, CreditNerds may recommend additional action such as applying for certain loans or consolidating debt.
CreditNerds explains that instead of collecting payment from customers, they make money through affiliate partnerships with other companies. This means that they may have a financial interest in referring you to third-party services. Keep this in mind when receiving recommendations from CreditNerds representatives; it’s always wise to do your own research before purchasing another service based on a referral.
Personal and Business Funding
Whether you’re looking for funding options for your education or your small business, CreditNerds can help. The company has relationships with over 200 banks and uses an algorithm to determine which lenders are most likely to give you a loan. Note that CreditNerds doesn’t originate or service any loans directly, but simply acts as a matchmaking service.
Enrolling in the CreditNerds funding program does not include access to your credit report. The company requires that you create an account with their partner, CheckMy3Scores, and provide your login information to CreditNerds for analysis.
Real Estate Funding
No matter what type of real estate financing you need, CreditNerds will help you choose the right option. The company’s experts can guide you through traditional financing, bank alternatives, property flipping, real estate investments, and more. They generally ask for a minimum FICO score of 650, so you may need to go through the credit repair process or discuss other ways to improve your score before beginning this program.
In addition to its credit repair and funding services, CreditNerds also presents two optional add-ons, one for individuals and the other tailored toward business owners. They’re designed to be used in tandem with a credit repair or funding service, although it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase either as a standalone service instead.
CreditNerds’ free credit repair service covers disputes and removal of incorrect details from your credit report, but it doesn’t include much hands-on guidance regarding other ways to improve your score. Adding a credit audit provides a complete breakdown of your credit report with a step-by-step expert analysis detailing how to reach your optimal credit score.
If you own a small business, your online reputation can make or break your success. The CreditNerds business snapshot is an in-depth report that gathers and analyzes all the public information on the internet related to your company. It looks at online review sites, social media presence, website functionality, paid advertisement performance, and more, pointing out potential issues and areas for improvement.
CreditNerds provides the majority of its services online through its web portal. Customers can log in to see updates on their credit repair case, check the status of funding, and get referrals to additional services.
In addition to a customer portal, CreditNerds also offers a robust set of resources that anyone can access for free. The company’s website is filled with videos, how-to guides, free online courses, and even games for kids. Unfortunately, there’s no smartphone app version of these materials and some (such as the online games) aren’t supported on mobile devices.
Website aside, CreditNerds is also available by phone and email to those who have a question or need assistance. Phone lines are operated from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. CST.
Despite offering credit services since 2007, CreditNerds doesn’t have much of an online footprint. The business is not accredited or rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has no customer reviews to speak of on the BBB website or Google. The good news is that no complaints are on file for CreditNerds with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
If you have a complaint about the services of a credit repair company, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call 877-FTC-HELP.
Contracts aren’t something you need to worry about with any of CreditNerds’ services. Since credit repair is free, you’re welcome to walk away at any time if you no longer wish to receive assistance. All of CreditNerds’ paid services are priced on a one-time fee basis, so the company doesn’t even offer any monthly memberships that would require a cancellation policy.
CreditNerds may not offer any contract-based services directly, but the company may refer you to third parties that do. Make sure to ask about contract durations and cancellation fees before enrolling in third-party services.
As mentioned, CreditNerds’ main credit repair service is free. If you choose to add a credit audit to your credit repair plan, you’ll be asked to pay a one-time price of $97. Business owners who decide to purchase a business snapshot will also be subject to a single $97 fee.
There are no monthly memberships.
CreditNerds’ funding services may incur a charge depending on the type of loan you need. Personal and business financing is subject to a 9.99% success fee, which is quite high. However, CreditNerds does not take any fees for real estate funding.
The Competition: CreditNerds vs. Lexington Law
It’s hard to compare CreditNerds’ free service to competitors, as no one offers an equivalent without asking for some sort of fee. However, Lexington Law is one of a few companies that charge $0 for initial setup and only bills customers for ongoing monthly services.
Lexington Law’s plans start at $89.95 per month and go up to $129.95 per month for differing levels of service. CreditNerds’ free credit repair service is nearly identical to the entry-level plan that Lexington Law sells at $89.95 monthly. Between the two, it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t go for the free equivalent from CreditNerds.
|Services Offered||Credit repair, funding||Credit repair|
|Customer Service Touchpoints||Phone, email||Phone, email, mobile app|
|Monthly Fee||$0||$89.95 to $129.95|
CreditNerds might not offer the most advanced credit repair service, but it’s hard to argue with free. Unless you have a particularly complicated situation or need help with additional issues like debt settlement or consolidation, CreditNerds should provide all the tools you need to remove legitimate inaccuracies from your credit report. Their $97 credit audit is a great add-on to consider, providing valuable insight for a mere fraction of what competitors charge.
How We Review Credit Repair Companies
We hold credit repair companies to the highest standard in our reviews, taking many different aspects into account to ensure that we only recommend the most respectable services. We analyze each company’s service packages and pricing, looking at contract terms, cancellation policies, and hidden fees. We also look at the types of services provided and compare them to similar companies to gauge value. Finally, we gather third-party data from customers, the BBB, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to check our results against the company’s reputation.
Learn more: Read our full Credit Repair Review Methodology here.
BLM hosts job fair in Lakeland to address economic inequality
| The Ledger
LAKELAND — Black Lives Matter will take a step this week toward addressing Lakeland’s racial issues that won’t involve a protest or a march.
Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk will be holding a job fair on Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Dream Center, located at 635 W. 5th St. in Lakeland.
Jarvis Washington, president of BLM Restoration Polk, said the event will launch the organization’s long-term effort to address the city’s issue of economic inequality.
“We know that the lack of jobs and lack of economic development has a direct correlation to crime and poverty,” he said. “We are inspired to create economic opportunity for our community.”
Washington said BLM hopes to help 300-500 unemployed individuals, including those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, within the next year. While Polk County’s unemployment rate currently stands at roughly 7.3%, down from 7.9% in September, it is still more than double the rate from a year ago.
BLM is partnering with Civitas Recruiting, founded by Lakeland resident Susan Freebern, to build connections between those disenfranchised looking for work and local businesses.
“I like to think of it as a community-wealth building strategy,” Freebern said.
Freebern said she focuses on using the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which offers financial incentives for companies to hire people in specific targeted groups who typically face barriers to employment. This includes individuals receiving food stamps or government assistance, veterans, and those unemployed for an extended period of time.
On Wednesday, BLM will help screen candidates that meet these criteria who Civitas Recruiting will then help place into jobs. Freebern said many of the positions she has available include manual labor but she expects others to open up after the holidays. The jobs offered will pay at least $15 an hour, according to Freebern.
If an individual referred by BLM to Civitas for a job is hired, the nonprofit organization will receive a small donation to help fund its future efforts.
Washington said BLM will be there to support individuals by linking them to fiscal educational resources and credit repair agencies to help them get back on a road to fiscal stability.
“We can’t allow them to continue down the same path, it’s not creating success,” he said. “We need to provide the tools and resources to help and model them into better people — it’s always been part of our mission statement.”
This week’s job fair is the first of a series of events that BLM hopes to plan with Civitas Recruiting to help those unemployed and lift them out of living paycheck-to-paycheck, or worse, out of poverty.
“This is our answer to what comes next,” Washington said. “What comes next is creating opportunities.”
Those unable to attend Wednesday’s job fair can visit BLM’s new website at www.blmrpolk.org for more information and to signup for future events. Washington said he hopes to hold recruitment and job fairs approximately every two months.
Sara-Megan Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-802-7545. Follow on Twitter @SaraWalshFL.
China to take steps to improve bad faith deterrent mechanism
China will adopt policy steps to optimize the mechanism for deterring acts of bad faith and refine the social credit system to underpin the development of the socialist market economy, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
“In recent years, China’s social credit system has continued to develop. A market economy relies on credit, and a credit-based economy must follow the rule of law. Work in this regard shall be effectively carried out pursuant to laws and regulations,” Li said.
Those at the Wednesday meeting decided on measures to refine the bad-faith deterrent mechanism to promote the orderly and healthy development of the social credit system. The principles include adhering to laws and regulations, protecting rights and interests, taking a prudent and appropriate approach and implementing list-based management.
The scope and procedures of credit information shall be formulated in a science-based way. Including certain behaviors in public credit information will require strictly following laws and regulations and a catalog management approach. Such information will be made accessible to the public.
Administrative departments must determine acts of bad faith on the basis of legally binding documents. The scope and procedures for sharing credit information shall be standardized. The principle of legality and necessity shall be observed when deciding whether and to what extent credit information is shared and disclosed. Such decisions shall be made clear when compiling the credit information catalog.
The meeting underlined the need to strengthen information security and privacy protection. Access to and procedures for credit information inquiries shall be strictly enforced. Leaking, tampering, damaging or stealing credit information or utilizing credit information for personal gains will be seriously investigated and dealt with. Illegal collection and transaction of credit information will be strictly cracked down on.
“In the development of the social credit system, it is important to pay attention to protecting personal privacy and trade secrets. Credit reference shall be conducted in accordance with law, with science-based scope and definition and appropriate penalties. Information must be used in a safe and secure manner,” Li said.
Identification of list of entities with serious acts of bad faith will be better regulated. The list shall be limited to those who put public health and safety in grave jeopardy, seriously sabotage the fair market competition order or disrupt normal social order. The list shall not be willfully expanded without authorization.
Punishment against bad-faith acts shall be enforced in accordance with laws and regulations, to make sure that penalties are meted out commensurate with dishonest behaviors. Disciplinary measures taken against entities with serious dishonest behaviors that reduce their rights or increase their duties shall be based on facts of bad faith and on laws and regulations. Punishments should be appropriate and not be added or increased at will. Financial institutions, credit service agencies, industry associations, chambers of commerce and news media should not be forced to punish entities with serious acts of bad faith.
A credit repair mechanism, which is conducive to self-correction, will be established. Entities will be allowed to fix negative credit records, unless otherwise stipulated by laws and regulations, should they correct dishonest behaviors and eliminate adverse impact. Relevant departments shall remove entities, who meet credit repair eligibility, from the list in a timely manner.
All localities and relevant departments shall promptly overhaul measures that have been rolled out for the determination, recording, disclosure and punishment of bad-faith acts, and those that do not meet the requirements shall be regulated in a timely manner.
The meeting also decided on measures to advance high-quality development of the credit reference sector. Cross-sectoral and cross-regional connectivity of credit information involving finance, government affairs, and public services will be promoted as provided by law. Disclosure and orderly utilization of data in government departments will be promoted in faster pace.
Market access of individual credit reference agencies will be promoted in an active yet prudent manner, and openness of the credit reference sector will be scaled up. Matching regulations and supporting institutions for the credit reference sector shall be improved and accountability mechanism strengthened. Fraudulent credit rating shall be strictly punished according to law.
Developers plan 13 new homes in Muskegon Heights to help ‘people of color bring their community back’
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Two pastors from Indiana have a plan to build 13 new homes in the city of Muskegon Heights as part of an initiative to help “people of color bring their community back.”
The Rev. Rodney Lynch and the Rev. Willie Thompson, both of West Lafayette, Indiana, recently purchased 13 vacant lots from the city on which they plan to build single-family homes.
Thompson grew up in Muskegon Heights.
“He remembers when it was a thriving community — in the years he grew up there — and he sees it now,” Lynch told MLive. “We were talking one day, and he said this city is under new leadership, and because there’s new leadership, there’s new hope.”
Troy Bell became the city’s new manager at the beginning of this year. One of his early initiatives was a plan to formalize and add development requirements to the city’s tradition of selling city-owned vacant lots for $100 each.
Lynch and Thompson purchased 13 lots on Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, McIlwraith, Elwood and Superior streets.
Calling themselves Muskegon Heights Investors LLC, Lynch and Thompson will look for builders to construct “high quality” homes with sale prices of about $100,000 to $130,000, Lynch said.
Home buyers will be provided “wrap around services,” such as help preparing their credit for home purchase and education on how to properly maintain their properties, Lynch said.
“I’m more interested in the humanitarian part of this — helping quote, unquote minorities rebuild their own community (and) be a part of bringing their community back,” he said.
Under the city’s lot sale policy, lots are sold for $100 each and purchasers are required to pay for document and other fees, estimated at about $150 per lot. They also must pay three years’ worth of taxes, estimated at about $270 per lot.
Construction on the lots is to begin within two years of purchase, and owners must maintain the property, or it will revert to the city through a quick claim deed.
Requirements include planting grass and shrubs, removing dead trees and weeds and keeping structures in good repair.
The objectives of the lot-sales program are raising revenue, reducing crime and blight and encouraging development in the city.
Lynch said he visited Muskegon Heights twice and was dismayed by some of what he saw, but also encouraged by the “great opportunity for people of color to bring their community back.”
“When I first came up there, I was like ‘Wow, the city needs help.’ It’s depleted. The roads are bad, a lot of boarded-up houses,” Lynch said. “But I said, ‘Yeah, this is a great opportunity right here.’”
Bell said he has worked for several months with the Indiana developers as the city refined its process for approving lot sales.
“I appreciate their commitment to the community,” Bell said. ”I appreciate them trying to be part of the renaissance of this community.”
The “key to spurring economic development” in Muskegon Heights is improving the city’s housing stock which has an average age of 100 years, Bell said. New homes have not built in the city since 2014, and that was just three new homes, he said.
The city owns 350 vacant lots and the Muskegon County Land Bank owns another 450, Bell said.
While Muskegon Heights has been selling vacant lots for $100, the process was informal and didn’t require development of the lots, he said. That resulted in many of the lots being used to park vehicles, and often owners didn’t pay the property taxes and the land reverted to the city, Bell said.
“That’s why the city is barely making it by now — because it has no tax base,” Bell said.
He said he has encouraged builders to shoot for “high quality” homes and to include credit repair, first-time home buyer and homeowner education programs like the ones Lynch said his group is planning.
The next “phase” of the city’s plan to improve housing involves tackling renovations of boarded-up and vacant homes and better enforcement of building codes, Bell said.
The city of Muskegon recently embarked on an ambitious effort to improve its housing stock by encouraging developers to build single family homes. The $49.5 million plan to build 240 homes in the city over the next three years involves the use of Brownfield tax credits to help make the homes affordable.
Among those are 13 homes under construction on Webster Avenue between Eighth and Ninth streets near the city’s downtown.
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