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How To Improve Your Credit Score All By Yourself

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When thoughts of home-ownership become meaningful to you, everybody will tell you that you need to get your pre-approved mortgage financing set up before you go out shopping for your dream house.

But before you do that, if you think you might have some credit misdeeds lurking in your past, spend the time, make the effort and navigate the frustration that it may take to get your credit overhauled and polished up.

Getting your credit score/history/report sorted out before you get pre-approved for mortgage financing will help determine the kind of mortgage you qualify for and the cost or interest rate.

There is no shortage of companies offering to help fix your credit and increase your credit score; some are legitimate with real results, some maybe not so much. But there are some absolutely-for-real-do-it-yourself credit repair strategies that you can do yourself today, right now, that will have an immediate positive impact on your credit profile.

Related: How To Improve Your Credit Score

This is not about credit repair, this is about credit correct, and there are simple and effective fixes you can do yourself that will make a big difference in your credit score.

As a consumer, you are entitled to a free credit report every twelve (12) months. All you have to do is go to Annual Credit Report .com, follow the directions and presto, you have a free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus; Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. You may be given the opportunity to pay a fee to get your credit scores and you can of course choose to do so, but you don’t have to.

Once you have your credit report in hand, study it and get comfortable with how it is structured and what the keys and abbreviations mean. This will make it easier to read all of the individual accounts and determine the status and health of each one.

In the body of your credit report, down where the accounts are listed, there are letters all the way to the left for each account under the ECOA heading. These letters are key codes for how a particular account is classified or held and by whom.

Knowing how to read your credit report and what you should look for, can help you determine if there are any accounts where you are an Authorized User or a Joint account holder, and whether these accounts are helping or hurting your credit score.

Look for the letters J and A, as these denote that you are a Joint account holder or an Authorized User on the account listed.

If you are a Joint account holder or if you are an Authorized User on someone else’s credit account, it can help or hurt your credit score. In either case, these accounts belong to someone else and being a Joint holder or an Authorized User transfers access to the performance history for that account to you.

For example; if you are an Authorized User or a Joint account holder on a seasoned account that is not over-utilized and has a good payment history, you may just want to leave that account alone. Old age is a good thing when the subject is credit; established accounts opened long ago will have a positive impact on your credit score.

But if you have established credit (and are no longer actively using these accounts -usually credit cards), you may want to have the primary account holder remove your Authorized User or Joint status. This is an especially good idea if the account has late payments or is at or close to its credit limit. Here, the primary holder of the account may be putting a dent in your credit score simply because you are an Authorized User or Joint holder. Call it guilt by association.

This is a fairly easy fix that can have a big impact on your credit score. Call up mom or dad, your ex-spouse, your old business partner or whoever it is, and ask them to make a call and have you removed from the account. Maybe tell them you are thinking about buying a house and you are trying to get your credit in order. Just in case, follow-up in a couple of days to make sure they took care of it.

On the other hand, if you do not have a lot of credit history or if you are new to the credit universe, being added to a credit account that belongs to someone else as an Authorized User may increase your credit score. This can be a great strategy for a newly minted workforce participant that has not had an opportunity to establish much of a credit history. Mom or dad or a trusting relative can add you as an Authorized User and all of the good that is attached to their credit account is automatically transferred to you. The age of when the account was opened, the timely payments and the prudent use of credit will all be added to your credit profile to help establish your newbie credit score.

Harnessing the power of being or becoming an Authorized User or a Joint account holder may be just the boost you need to launch your credit profile. On the other hand, it may also be a negative that is dragging down your credit score. Having the primary account holder surgically remove you can have an immediate impact to the good. This is a good place to start because this can be an easy fix that can deliver a lot of mileage.

If you have outstanding balances due on credit cards that are more than half of the approved credit line and you have the money to pay down those balances, do it. Credit cards with balances that are greater than 50% of the approved credit line are considered over-utilized and the credit scoring algorithms don’t like that. High balances on credit cards will hurt your credit score.

If your credit report is showing an old collection or charge-off account as unpaid and you can provide evidence that you had in fact paid it off, contact the credit reporting agencies, send them your proof and ask them to change the status to paid. A paid charge-off or collection account is better than an unpaid one.

You are in charge of your own credit health and some fixes may be harder and may take longer than others. But getting and being credit correct, is a good starting point for any proper credit profile.

Once you have your credit squared away, go ahead and get mortgage pre-approved, find a Realtor, buy a house, start a family, build a career, and all that other stuff!

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California’s vague new financial regulation law

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California Capitol. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

In summary

California has a new financial regulation law but its reach is vague and awaits more definition.

Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

Although the new state law is said to mirror the Dodd-Frank law, it contains at least one significant difference. When federal regulators levy fines for what they consider to be bad conduct, the money goes into the federal treasury. When state regulators impose their fines of up to $1 million a day, the money will be retained by the new agency to finance more activity.

Will that give the new agency a financial incentive to skip over minor consumer issues and go after big companies? It’s a question that only time will answer.

Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1864 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.

From its inception a decade ago, Dodd-Frank has attracted criticism from business executives for regulatory overkill. Will California’s new version be less controversial? We won’t know until the new agency puts some definitional meat on its bones.



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California’s vague new financial regulation law – Whittier Daily News

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Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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397 people register to vote on deadline day at Duval Supervisor of Elections – 104.5 WOKV

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Oct. 5 at midnight, is the deadline to register to vote in Duval County.

But the Supervisor of Elections helped hundreds of people get registered today.

Robert Phillips, the chief elections officer of the Duval Supervisor of Elections, told Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole that 397 people came down to the Supervisor of Elections in downtown Jacksonville to get registered.

Supervisor of Elections staff assembled tents outside to allow people to register to vote without having to go through the COVID-19 prescreening necessary to enter the building.

“Again, 2020 has thrown us some challenges,” Phillips said.

There was even a little rain thrown into the mix today, but it didn’t stop folks from coming out.

“Out here, we have a lot of activity. We’ve been going since first thing this morning,” Phillips told Action News Jax.

There were people of all ages from all walks of life — some even registered for the very first time like Lemark Jamison.

Monday, Oct. 5, is a day he will always remember.

“It feels awesome, you know? It feels awesome,” Jamison told Cole.

Today, Jamison had the opportunity to register to vote for the first time in Florida.

“I’ve worked for voter registration companies. I’ve done advocating for Amendment 4, but I was never able to vote because of my prior background. But now I can,” Jamison said.

Jamison, the owner of a tax and credit repair business, told Cole his prior felony conviction held him back in the past.

In November 2018, more than 60% of Floridians voted to restore voting rights to more than 1 million people who completed their sentences.

But several months later, legislation was passed that required them to pay all financial penalties, which means thousands lost the right as quickly as they gained it.

“I’ve been contributing to society. I’ve been able to have several businesses. And I pay taxes. But I haven’t been able to, when it comes to voting, whether in a local level or any type of legislature — I haven’t been able to vote,” Jamison said.

The 35-year-old told Cole even though his wife helped him fill out his voter registration form — to which he exclaimed, “Thank God for wives, right?” — he told Cole it was pretty easy.

Now, he has this advice to share with other people who may be in his shoes:

“Get out and vote. Take advantage of this opportunity, regardless of who you plan on voting for.”

Here’s a breakdown from the Supervisor of Elections of how the 397 people registered today:

-56% registered as Democrats.

-21% registered as Republicans.

-22% registered as nonparty affiliates.



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