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The Best Credit Repair Companies and Services of 2021

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Poor credit can make it difficult for you to buy a home, purchase a car, or obtain a loan. Your bad credit may not be your fault, but fixing the problem yourself is difficult. This is why credit repair companies are in business. 

Credit repair companies work on your behalf to take negative items off of your credit report. These can include late payments, debt collections, and more. There are hundreds of credit repair companies out there, but we’ve created a list of the best credit repair companies for 2021. 

Read our reviews for the best credit repair companies below!

Best 6 Best Credit Repair Companies for 2021

#1: Credit Saint: Best Overall Credit Repair Company – Our Top Pick

When compared to all the other credit repair companies on our list, we have chosen Credit Saint as our #1 best overall credit repair company. Credit Saint has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website. They’ve been in business since 2004, so they’re definitely one of the best credit repair companies out there.

Services and Pricing

Credit Saint has three main services that offer varying degrees of credit repair: Credit Polish, Credit Remodel, and Clean Slate. 

Credit Polish ($79.99 per month and $99 first-work fee) is a “medium” level of aggressiveness when it comes to credit repair. With this tier, Credit Saint offers challenges to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). In Credit Polish, they also offer:

  • Score Analysis
  • Creditor Interventions
  • Score Tracker
  • Challenge 5 inaccurately reported items per dispute cycle.

Credit Remodel ($99.99 per month and $99 first-work fee)is a “high” level of aggressiveness for credit repair. Credit Saint offers everything that the Credit Polish package has, with the addition of inquiry targeting and Experian monitoring. With this package, they can also challenge 10 inaccurately reported items per dispute cycle.

Clean Slate ($119.99 per month and $195 first-work fee), the highest tier of credit repair offered by Credit Saint, is the most aggressive of the three tiers. It’s also their most popular package. It offers unlimited challenges to the three major credit bureaus and cease & desist letters, as well as everything else offered in the other two tiers. 

Money-Back Guarantee

One of the best parts of Credit Saint is their 90-day money-back guarantee for all services. Credit Saint boasts on its website that you’ll see the first signs of better credit as soon as 45 days from the time you start using their service. However, if you haven’t seen any improvements within 90 days, the company will return your money, no questions asked.

It’s unlikely, but to take advantage of this 90-day money-back guarantee, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have active participation in the Credit Saint program for at least 90 days
  • Have no new trade lines to your credit report after your participation begins
  • Have no debts to Credit Saint in the 90 days (late payments void the guarantee)

All in all, there’s a reason Credit Saint is at the top of our list. They have a level of customer service that pales in comparison to other credit repair companies. They also have a great money-back guarantee, as well as reasonable pricing. If you’re looking for a credit repair company but you’re not sure where to start, a great place is Credit Saint.

Click Here To Visit The Official Credit Saint Website Now

#2: Sky Blue Credit Repair: Best Value

Our next credit repair company on the list is Sky Blue Credit Repair. We choose this service for the “Best Value” category because they only have one plan with a set monthly price. For that price, you can get excellent credit repair services, amazing customer service, and of course, a clean credit report. Let’s dive into this review, starting with an overview of what they have to offer.

Services

Sky Blue Credit Repair cannot remove debts from your credit report. However, they can remove several things that can negatively affect your credit score. These include:

  • Bankruptcies
  • Charge-offs
  • Late payments
  • Hard inquiries
  • Judgments
  • Repossessions
  • And more.

Sky Blue Credit Services offers the same features as any other company, but the pricing schedule is much simpler. 

Pricing

As said before, the pricing for Sky Blue Credit Repair’s services is a simple monthly cost. It’s only $79 a month, you get no charge for 6 days, and (similar to Credit Saint) you get a 90-day money-back guarantee. 

The initial setup fee is $79, then you pay $79 per month with the promise of no extra service charges. The first consultation is free, and you get a money-back guarantee during your first 3 months of membership. Simply put: If you’re not happy with their credit repair service, you can get your money back.

Sky Blue Credit is a great value for the money. For one low monthly price, you can get so many features (with no extra or piggy-back charging!). 

Click Here To Visit The Official Sky Blue Credit Repair Website Now

#3: The Credit Pros: Best Guarantee

There’s a reason why Credit Pros has an excellent rating on the Better Business Bureau’s website (A+). Founded in 2009, they have developed a model that lets them have the best money-back guarantee in the business. First, the consultation is free and the process begins within less than a week. Then, they have a 90-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Let’s go more in-depth about their services and their money-back guarantee.

Services and Pricing

The Credit Pros (TCP) offers different services with each pricing tier. Their top tier, which covers all of their services, is called the Success Package and includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Full credit monitoring with all three bureaus
  • One-on-one consultations with FICO professionals
  • Unlimited dispute letters
  • And more.

Their pricing schedule is a bit complicated, but you can find more information about it on their website. Next, let’s look at their money-back guarantee.

Money-Back Guarantee

Their guarantee is so great that they have an entire webpage dedicated to it. They guarantee first and foremost that they’ll value, listen, and respond to their clients with understanding. They’re committed to providing 5-star client support, so they’ve implemented a great guarantee policy:

  • You can cancel the service at any time
  • Nobody will over-promise specific outcomes
  • Your information is safe
  • You’ll be treated with kindness and respect
  • All your requests will be responded to promptly

The Credit Pros is a great service to go to if you’re looking for the best guarantee above all else.

Click Here To Visit The Official Credit Pros Website Now

#4: Pyramid Credit Repair: Best Customer Service

Customer service is important for any company. Credit repair services are unique in that most of the time, you’re working directly with a representative to get your credit back on par. Pyramid Credit Repair is a relatively new company, but they’ve established themselves as the company to beat when it comes to customer service.

Services and Pricing

Pyramid Credit Repair has two tiers of service: A Singles Plan ($99/month) and a Couples Plan ($198/month). Each one includes personalized service for either one or two people, a personalized game plan, 24/7 phone support, and no contracts (meaning you can cancel anytime). 

You can also add on the “24/7 Protection Plan” in which you can monitor three scores and get reports for them, as well as get dark web monitoring and $25k in identity theft insurance. This option is $29.99 per month. 

In terms of discounts, veterans and active duty can receive up to 20% off each month. Teachers can take advantage of 15% off each month as well.

Customer Service

Pyramid Credit Repair also has an in-house team of licensed attorneys ready to answer any questions you may have about the process. They also offer 24/7 phone support so anytime you need to ask a question (even if you’re not a customer) you can call. 

Lots of reviews online state that they’ve got the best customer service in the business. This is why we recommend them if you’re looking for a personal touch for your credit repair services. 

Click Here To Visit The Official Pyramid Credit Repair Website

#5: Lexington Law: Best Legal Expertise

Lexington Law is a credit repair company that knows the ins and outs of credit repair. Composed primarily of real lawyers, they’re qualified to keep up with evolving laws in the credit industry. They also have an amazing dedication to keeping up with the federal standards. Let’s start this review by going over their services. 

Services and Pricing

Lexington Law offers three tiers of service: Concord Standard ($89.95 per month), Concord Premier ($109.95 per month), and PremierPlus ($129.95 per month). In their highest tier, they offer bureau challenges, creditor interventions, score analysis, report watch, a FICO score tracker, identity protection, and personal finance tools. In their lower tiers, the features aren’t as comprehensive. 

The first consultation with Lexington Law is free of charge and you have five days to cancel without penalty. 

Lawyers

The fact that Lexington Law uses real lawyers is a BIG plus because you know you’re getting the best and most up-to-date knowledge in the business. During the first consultation, a representative will walk you through the services and features for each tier. Then, you’ll learn more about what you’ll need so you can decide on one plan.

Lexington Law is the best credit repair company to go with if you’re concerned about keeping up with the latest laws regarding credit repair. 

Click Here To Visit The Official Lexington Law Website Now

#6: Ovation Credit Services: Best Cancellation Policy

Hopefully, once you’ve established yourself with a credit repair company, you won’t need to cancel your subscription. However, stuff happens and if you need to cancel, you don’t want to have to jump through hoops to make it happen. Ovation Credit Services by Lending Tree offers a no-risk refund policy that keeps you covered in case you need to cancel.

Services and Pricing

As with most credit repair companies, the first consultation is free. In terms of services, Ovation has two tiers: The Essentials and The Essentials Plus. The Essentials plan costs $79 per month ($89 first work fee) and includes everything you need for most standard credit restoration issues. 

The Essentials Plus plan ($109 per month, $89 first work fee) includes everything from The Essentials with the addition of more cutting-edge components. This plan is better for those with more extreme or negative items on their credit report.

Refund Policy

As said before, Ovation has an incredible refund and cancellation policy. They’re committed to building relationships of trust so you can cancel services at any time with no hassle or hoops to jump through.

Also, if they fail to provide the agreed-upon services to you, they won’t charge you. This makes cancellations so much easier since if they don’t complete what they promise, you won’t have to go through the process of requesting that money back.

We recommend Ovation to those who are skeptical of the credit repair process and want a simple way out, just in case the process doesn’t work. However, we believe that you won’t need to cancel your subscription because their service is amazing. 

Click Here To Visit The Official Ovation Credit Services Website Now

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may have questions regarding credit repair. Here are some frequently asked questions that people often ask when inquiring about credit repair.

What is the best credit repair company? 

As stated in our list, the best credit repair company overall is Credit Saint. They offer amazingly comprehensive services for a reasonable price, have stellar customer service and expertise in the area, and a great cancellation policy. Credit Saint is also the top recommend company by credit expert Steven Millstein of CreditRepairExpert

Does credit repair really work? 

Credit repair is not some magical way to raise your credit score, but it does work! First, credit repair companies work to find inaccurate information or mistakes on your report. Then, they contact the credit bureaus to report these errors for resolution. Once the inaccuracies are removed, it corrects your credit score and raises it.

How can I avoid credit repair scams? 

Credit repair scams from sketchy credit repair agencies are becoming increasingly common. Here are some ways to avoid being deceived and find the best credit repair companies:

  • Question the credit repair company thoroughly before giving them information. Make sure the representative you speak to can explain the specifics of the services and what they cost.
  • Make sure they inform you of your rights, such as your right to get a written contract outlining what the arrangement is. Remember that you don’t have to ask credit repair agencies to dispute credit history errors; if they say you need them to make disputes on your behalf, you may want to consider a different company.
  • If they ask you to misrepresent information, run. Some companies will suggest inventing a new credit identity for a new credit report; this is illegal.

How much does credit repair cost? 

First and foremost, the cost of credit repair services varies based on whether you get a company to do it for you. Credit repair doesn’t cost you anything if you do it yourself. However, if you choose to get a company to do it for you, you can expect to pay between $20-200 per month. This cost changes based on the level of service and the company you choose.

How long does it take to repair your credit?

The time it takes to repair your credit varies based on how many errors are on the report. If it’s just a few errors, it can take around two to three months. If there’s more than just a few errors or the errors aren’t small enough to be resolved quickly, it can take between six and nine months. 

Are credit repair companies worth it? 

Credit repair agencies are worth it if you don’t have the time, energy, or resources to fix your credit yourself. You can dispute credit history errors yourself without a company. If you’re too busy or the process is too difficult to do without the help of professionals, however, it’s worth it to get one of the hundreds of credit repair agencies to do it for you.

Final Thoughts

Bad credit can be scary. It can affect your ability to buy a home or car, take out a loan, or even get a job. However, bad credit can be fixed. Disputing inaccuracies on your credit report yourself is possible, but it’s worth it to hire a company to act on your behalf. This way, the company is the one hounding the credit bureaus to fix their mistakes while you can sit back and watch your score get corrected.

These are just a few of the top credit repair agencies out there, but they’re among the best and you can’t really go wrong with Credit Saint or Sky Blue. We’re certain that with our guidance and comprehensive list, you’ll be able to make the best, most educated decision possible for which company to select for your needs. 



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Bad Credit

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders

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Illustration by Sarah Maxwell, Folio Art

When Bridget Davis got started in the family’s payday lending business in 1996, there was just one Check ’n Go store in Cincinnati. She says she did it all: customer service, banking duties, even painting walls.

The company had been established two years earlier by her husband, Jared Davis, and was growing rapidly. There were 100 Check ’n Go locations by 1997, when Jared and Bridget (née Byrne) married and traveled the country together looking for more locations to open storefront outlets. They launched another 400 stores in 1998, mostly in strip malls and abandoned gas stations in low-income minority neighborhoods where the payday lending target market abounds. Bridget drove the supply truck and helped select locations and design the store layouts.

But Jared soon fired his wife for committing what may be the ultimate sin in the payday lending business: She forgave a customer’s debt. “A young woman came to pay her $20 interest payment,” Bridget wrote in court documents last year during divorce proceedings from Jared. “I pulled her file, calculated that she had already paid $320 to date on a principle [sic] loan of $100. I told her she was paid in full. [Jared] fired me, stating, ‘We are here to make money, not help customers manage theirs. If you can’t do that, you can’t work here.’ ”

Photograph by Brittany Dexter

It’s a business philosophy that pays well, especially if you’re charging fees and interest rates of 400 percent that can more than triple the amount of the loan in just five months—the typical time most payday borrowers need to repay their debt, says the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization focused on public policy. Cincinnati-based Check ’n Go now operates more than 1,100 locations in 25 states as well as an internet lending service with 24/7 access from the comfort of your own home, according to its website. Since its founding, the company has conducted more than 50 million transactions.

What the website doesn’t say is that many, if not most, of those transactions were for small loans of $50 to $500 to working people trying to scrape by and pay their bills. In most states—including Ohio, until it reformed its payday lending laws in 2019—borrowers typically fork over more than one-third of their paycheck to meet the deadline for repayment, usually in two weeks. To help guarantee repayment, borrowers turn over access to their checking account or deposit a check with the lender. In states that don’t offer protection, customers go back again and again to borrow more money from the same payday lender, typically up to 10 times, driving themselves into a debt trap that can lead to bankruptcy.

Jared and Bridget Davis are embroiled in a nasty court battle related to his 2019 divorce filing in Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court. Thousands of pages of filings and 433 docket entries by April 26 offer the public a rare glimpse into the business operations of Check ’n Go, one of Cincinnati’s largest privately-owned companies, as well as personal lifestyles funded by payday lending.

The company cleared $77 million in profit in 2018, a figure that dipped the following year to $55 million, according to an audit by Deloitte. That drop in revenue may have something to do with the payday lending reform laws and interest rate caps passed recently in Ohio as well as a growing number of other states.


The day-to-day business transactions that provide such profit are a depressing window into how those who live on the edge of financial security are often stuck with few options for improving their situations. If a borrower doesn’t repay or refinance his or her original loan, a lender like Check ’n Go deposits the guarantee check and lets it bounce, causing the borrower to incur charges for the bounced check and eventually lose his or her checking account, says Nick DiNardo, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. After two missed payments, payday lenders usually turn over the debt to a collection agency. If the collection agency fails to collect the full amount of the original loan as well as all fees and interest, it goes to court to garnish the borrower’s wages.

That devastating experience is all too familiar to Anthony Smith, a 60-year-old Wyoming resident who says he was laid off from several management positions over a 20-year period. He turned to payday lenders as his credit rating dropped and soon found himself caught in a debt trap that took him years to escape.

Two things happened in 2019, Smith says, that turned around his financial fortunes. First, he found a stable manufacturing job with the Formica Company locally, and then he took his mother’s advice and opened a credit union account. GE Credit Union not only gave him a reasonable loan to pay off his $2,500 debt but also issued him his first credit card in a decade. “I had been a member [of the credit union] for just two months, and I had a credit rating of 520. Can you imagine?” he says. Smith says he is now debt-free for the first time in 10 years.

Consumer advocates say Check ’n Go is one of the biggest payday lending operations in the nation. But knowing its exact ranking is difficult because most payday lending companies, including Check ’n Go and its parent company CNG Holdings, are privately held and reluctant to disclose their finances.

Brothers Jared and David Davis own the majority of the company’s privately held stock. David bought into the company in 1995, but CNG got its game-changing infusion of capital from the brothers’ father, Allen Davis, who retired as CEO of then-Provident Bank in 1998. Allen sold off $37 million in stock options and essentially became CNG’s bank and consultant.

By 2005, however, the sons were part of a public court battle against their father. Allen accused Jared and David of treating his millions in CNG stock as compensation instead of a transfer from his ex-wife (and the brothers’ mother), sticking him with a $13 million tax bill. In turn, the brothers accused Allen of putting his mistress and his yacht captain on the company payroll, taking $1.2 million in fees without board approval, and leading the company into ventures that lost Check ’n Go a lot of money. Several years of legal fighting later, the IRS was still demanding its $13 million. CNG officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Jared and David split $22 million in profit from CNG in 2018 and, according to the Deloitte audit, CNG’s balance sheet showed another $42 million that could be split between the two brothers in 2019. Jared, however, elected not to receive his $21 million distribution “in order to create this artificial financial crisis and shelter millions of dollars from an equitable split between us,” according to Bridget’s divorce filing.

Worse, she claims, Jared said they would be responsible for paying taxes out of their personal accounts rather than from CNG’s company earnings, making her personally responsible for half of the $5.5 million in taxes for 2019. She believes it wasn’t happenstance that $5.5 million was wired to Jared’s private bank account in December of that same year. Bridget has refused to sign the joint tax return, and Jared filed a complaint with the court saying a late tax filing would cost them $1 million in penalties and missed tax opportunities.

“For the duration of our marriage and to the present, Jared has full and complete control of all money paid to us from various investments we have made in addition to our main source of income, CNG,” Bridget wrote in her motion. She suspects that Jared, without her knowledge or consent, plowed the money for their taxes and from other sources of income into Black Diamond Group, the fund that invests in the Agave & Rye restaurant chain. Beyond the original restaurant opened in Covington in 2018, “they have opened four other locations in one year,” she wrote, including Louisville and Lexington. (The ninth location opened in Hamilton this spring.) Agave & Rye’s website touts its Mexican fare as “a chef-inspired take on the standard taco, elevating this simple food into something epic!”

In his response, Jared wrote, “We have very limited regular sources of income.” He says he isn’t receiving any additional distributions from CNG, the couple’s primary source of income, “and this is not within my control. The company has declared that we would not make any further distributions in 2020 given economic circumstances. This decision is based on a formula and is not discretionary.” Agave & Rye helped produce $645,000 in income for Black Diamond in 2020 but has paid out $890,000 in loans, he says. Through August 31, 2020, he wrote, the couple’s “expenses have exceeded income from all sources.”


The divorce case filings start slinging mud when the couple accuses each other of breaking up their 22-year marriage and finding new partners. Jared claims Bridget began an affair during their marriage with Brian Duncan, a contractor she employed through her house flipping business. Bridget, he says, paid Duncan’s company $75,000 in 2018 as well as giving him a personal gift of $70,000 that same year. Jared says she also bought Duncan at least one car and purchased a house for him near hers on Shawnee Run Road for $289,000, then loaned money to Duncan. Jared says Duncan has been late in repaying the note.

While Bridget says Duncan has been drug-free for several years, he has a rap sheet with Hamilton County courts from 2000 to 2017 that runs five pages long. It lists a half-dozen counts of drug abuse and drug possession, including heroin and possession of illegal drug paraphernalia; assaulting a police officer; stealing a Taser from a police officer; criminal damaging while being treated at UC Health; more than a dozen speeding and traffic violations; a half-dozen counts of driving with a suspended license; receiving stolen property; twice fleeing and resisting arrest; three counts of theft; two counts of forgery; and one count for passing bad checks.

Bridget has fired back that Jared not only is hiding his money from her but spending it lavishly on vacations, resorts, and high-end restaurants with his new girlfriend, Susanne Warner. Bridget says Jared gifted Warner with $40,000 without Bridget’s knowledge, then declared it on their joint tax return as a “contribution.” Bridget’s court filings include photocopies of social media posts of Jared and Warner globetrotting from summer 2019 to summer 2020: vacation at Beaver Creek Village in Avon, Colorado; cocktails at High Cotton in Charleston, South Carolina, and dinner at Melvyn’s Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs, California; getaways at resorts in Nashville and at a lakefront rental on Norris Lake ($600 per night); in the Bahamas at a Musha Cay private residence ($57,000 per night), at South Beach in Miami, and at a private beach at Fisher Island; in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas; in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Magen’s Bay and on a private yacht ($4,500 per night); in California at Desert Hot Springs, the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, and Montage at Laguna Beach; and in the Bahamas at South Cottage ($2,175 per night).

For her part, Bridget has gone through some of the top lawyers in town faster than President Trump during an impeachment—six in all, two of whom she’s sued for malpractice. She sent four binders of evidence to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking for the recusal of Hamilton County Judge Amy Searcy and claiming Searcy was biased because of campaign donations from Jared and his companies. Rather than deal with the list of questions sent to her by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Searcy stepped down. Two other judges have since stepped into the fray, and in March Bridget filed for a change of venue outside of Hamilton County, arguing she can’t get a fair trial in her hometown. At press time, a trial date had been set for June 28 in Hamilton County.

The poor-mouthing in the divorce case has reached heights of comic absurdity. Jared claims he’s “illiquid” because he didn’t get his distribution from CNG in 2019. Bridget has received debt collection notices for the nearly $21,000 owed on her American Express card and a $735 bill from Jewish Hospital. There’s no sign yet that anyone is coming to repossess her Porsche, which according to her filings has a $5,000 monthly payment. Each party has received $25,000 a month in living expenses, an amount later reduced to $15,000 under a temporary legal agreement while the divorce case is being sorted out. Court filings show that Jared’s net worth is almost $206 million and Bridget’s is $22.5 million.


In the early 1990s, Allen Davis was raising eyebrows at Provident Bank (later bought by National City), and not only because of his very unbanker-like look of beard, ponytail, and casual golf wear. He was leading the company into questionable subprime home loans for people with bad credit and a frequent-shopper program for merchants, though the bank’s charter barred him from getting involved in full-blown predatory lending practices. With guidance and funding from his father, Jared, at age 26, launched Check ’n Go in 1994 and became a pioneer in the payday lending industry. Jared and his family saw there were millions of Americans who didn’t have checking or savings accounts (“unbanked”) or an adequate credit rating (“underbanked”) but still needed loans to meet their everyday expenses. What those potential customers did have was a steady paycheck.

Conventional banks share a big part of the blame for the nation’s army of unbanked borrowers by imposing checking account fees and onerous penalties for bounced checks. In 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated there were 7.1 million U.S. households without a checking or savings account.

The Davises launched Check ’n Go on the pretext that it would “fill the gap” for people who occasionally needed to borrow money in a hurry—a service for those who couldn’t get a loan any other way. But consumer advocates say the real business model for payday lending isn’t a service at all. The majority of the industry’s revenue comes from repeat business by customers trapped in debt, not from borrowers looking for a quick, one-time fix for their financial troubles.

Ohio’s payday lending lobbyists got a strong hold on the state legislature in the late 1990s, and by 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray could rightfully claim in a campaign ad that “Ohio’s [payday lending] laws are now the worst in the nation. Things have gotten so bad that it is legal to charge 594 percent interest on loans.” His statement was based on a 2014 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The frustration for consumer advocates was that Ohioans had been trying to reform those laws since 2008, when voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative placing a 28 percent cap on the interest of payday loans. But—surprise!—lenders simply registered as mortgage brokers, which enabled them to charge unlimited fees.

The Davis family and five other payday lending companies controlled 90 percent of the market back then, an express gravy train ripping through the poorest communities in Ohio. The predatory feeding frenzy, especially in Ohio’s hard-hit Rust Belt communities, prompted a 2017 column at The Daily Beast titled, “America’s Worst Subprime Lender: Jared Davis vs. Allan Jones?” (Jones is founder and CEO of Tennessee-based Check Into Cash.) In 2016 and 2017, consumer advocates mustered their forces again, and this time they weren’t allowing for loopholes. The Pew Charitable Trusts joined efforts with bipartisan lawmakers and Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a statewide coalition of faith, business, local government, and nonprofit organizations. Consumer advocates found a legislative champion in State Rep. Kyle Koehler, a Republican from Springfield.

It no doubt helped reform efforts that former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger resigned in spring 2018 amid an FBI investigation into his cozy relationship with payday lenders. Rosenberger had taken frequent overseas trips—to destinations including France, Italy, Israel, and China—in the company of payday lending lobbyists. In April 2019, Ohio’s new lending law took effect and, since then, has been called a national model for payday lending reform that balances protections for borrowers, profits for lenders, and access to credit for the poor, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. New prices in Ohio are three to four times lower for payday loans than before the law. Borrowers now have up to three months to repay their loans with no more than 6 percent of their paycheck. Pew estimates that the cost of borrowing $400 for three months dropped from $450 to $109, saving Ohioans at least $75 million a year. And despite claims that the reforms would eliminate access to credit, lenders currently operate in communities across the state and online. “The bipartisan success shows that if you set fair rules and enforce them, lenders play by them and there’s widespread access to credit,” says Gabe Kravitz, a consumer finance officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Other states like Virginia, Kansas, and Michigan are following Ohio’s lead, Kravitz says. Some states, such as Nebraska, have even capped annual interest on payday loans. As a result, Pew researchers have seen a reduction in the number of storefront lending op­erations across the country. Even better, Kravitz says, there’s no evidence that borrowers are turning instead to online payday lending operations.

Cincinnati is one of five cities chosen for a grant to replicate the success of Boston Builds Credit, an ambitious effort that city launched in 2017 to provide credit counseling in poor and minority communities by training specialists at existing social service agencies. The program also encourages consumer partnerships with credit unions, banks, and insurance companies to offer small, manageable loans that can help the unbanked and underbanked improve their credit ratings. “Right now, local organizations are all kind of working in silos on the problem in Cincinnati,” says Todd Moore of the nonprofit credit counseling agency Trinity Debt Relief. Moore, who applied for the Boston grant, says he’s looking for an agency like United Way or Strive Cincinnati to lead the effort here.

Anthony Smith is thankful that he’s escaped the downward spiral of his payday loans, especially during the pandemic’s economic turmoil. “I’m blessed for every day I can get paid and have a job during these difficult times, just to be able to pay my bills and meet my responsibilities,” he says. “I’ve always kept a job, but until now I’ve had crappy credit. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy.”

Can others worth millions of dollars say the same?

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders Source link Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders



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What’s Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?

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Questionable’s definition means that something’s quality is up for debate. If a lender says that your credit score is questionable, it’s likely that they mean it’s poor, or at the very least, they’re hesitant to approve you for vehicle financing. Here’s what most lenders consider questionable credit, and what auto loan options you may have.

Questionable Credit and Auto Lenders

Many auto lenders may consider questionable credit as a borrower with a credit score below 660. The credit score tiers as sorted by Experian the national credit bureau, are:

  • Super prime: 850 to 781
  • Prime: 780 to 661
  • Nonprime: 660 to 601
  • Subprime: 600 to 501
  • Deep subprime: 500 to 300

The nonprime credit tiers and below is when you start to get into bad credit territory and may struggle to meet the credit score requirements of traditional auto lenders.

This is because lenders are looking at your creditworthiness – your perceived ability to repay loans based on the information in your credit reports. Besides your actual credit score, there may be situations where the items in your credit reports are what’s making a lender question whether you’re a good candidate for an auto loan. These can include:

  • A past or active bankruptcy
  • A past or recent vehicle repossession
  • Recent missed/late payments
  • High credit card balances
  • No credit history

There are ways to get into an auto loan with questionable credit. Your options can change depending on what’s making your credit history questionable, though.

Questionable Credit Auto Loans

If your credit score is less than stellar, it may be time to look at these two lending options:

  • What Is Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?Subprime financing – Done through special finance dealerships by third-party subprime lenders. These lenders can often assist with many unique credit situations, provided you can meet their requirements. A great option for new borrowers with thin files, situational bad credit, or consumers with older negative marks.
  • In-house financing – May not require a credit check, and is done through buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers. Typically, your income and down payment amount are the most important parts of eligibility. Auto loans without a credit check may not allow for credit repair and may come with a higher-than-average interest rate.

Both of these car loan options are typically available to borrowers with credit challenges. However, if you have more recent, serious delinquencies on your credit reports, a BHPH dealer may be for you. Most traditional and subprime lenders typically don’t approve financing for borrowers with a dismissed bankruptcy, a repossession less than a year old, or borrowers with multiple, recent missed/late payments.

Requirements of Bad Credit Car Loans

In many cases, your income and down payment size are the biggest factors in your overall eligibility for bad credit auto loans. Expect to need:

  • 30 days of recent computer-generated check stubs to prove you have around $1,500 to $2,500 of monthly gross income. Borrowers without W-2 income may need two to three years of professionally prepared tax returns.
  • A down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price. BHPH dealers may require up to 20% of the car’s selling price.
  • Proof of residency in the form of a recent utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone (no prepaid phones), proven with a recent phone bill in your name.
  • A list of five to eight personal references with name, phone number, and address.
  • Valid driver’s license with the correct address, can’t be revoked, expired, or suspended.

Depending on your individual situation, you may need fewer or more items to apply for a bad credit auto loan. However, preparing these documents before you head to a dealership can speed up the process!

Ready to Get on the Road?

With questionable credit, finding a dealership that’s able to assist you with an auto loan is easier said than done. Here at Auto Credit Express, we want to get that done for you with our coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships.

Complete our free auto loan request form and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealer in your local area that can assist with many tough credit situations.

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Bad Credit

Entrepreneur Tae Lee Finds Her Fortune

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By Jasmine Shaw
For The Birmingham Times

Birmingham native Tae Lee had plans last year to visit the continent of Africa, the South American country of Columbia, and the U.S. state of Texas.

“I was going to stay in each place for like four to six weeks, and then COVID-19 happened,” she said. “So, I just was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go to Mexico and stay for six months.’”

Once home from Playa Del Carmen, located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the 33-year-old entrepreneur put the final touches on “Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt,” a financial literacy card game for ages 10 and up.

“We created ‘Game of Fortune’ because we realized there was a gap in learning the fundamentals of money,” said Lee. “We go through life not knowing anything about money and then—‘Bam!’—real life hits. Credit, debt, and bills come at us quick!”

Lee believes the game “gives players a glimpse of real life” by using everyday scenarios to teach them how to make wiser financial decisions without having to waste their own money.

“I feel like [financial literacy] can be learned in ways other than somebody standing up and preaching it to you over and over again,” she said. “You can learn it in ways that are considered fun, as well.”

Which is why “we want the schools to buy it, so we can give students a fun way to learn about financial literacy,” she added.

Lee, also called the “Money Maximizer,” is an international best-selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer who is known for her financial literacy books, including “Never Go Broke (NGB): An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Money and Freedom” and the “NGB Money Success Planner High School Edition.” The Birmingham-based financial guru focuses on creating diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industries.

For Lee, it’s about building generational wealth, not debt.

Indispensable Lessons

Lee got her first glance at entrepreneurial life as a child watching her mother, Valeria Robinson, run her commercial cleaning company, V’s Cleaning. Robinson retired in 2019.

“My grandmother had a cleaning service, too,” said Lee. “So, even though I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur, watching my mom and grandma do it taught me a lot.”

Lee grew up in Birmingham and attended Riley Elementary School, Midfield Middle School, and Huffman High School. She then went on to Jacksonville State University, in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she earned bachelor’s degree in physical education. She struggled to find a career in her field and became overwhelmed by student loans.

“My credit and stuff didn’t get bad until after college,” she said. “I was going through school and taking money, but nobody told me, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have to pay all of this back.’”

Before embarking on her extensive career in money management, Lee had not learned the indispensable lessons that she now shares with clients.

“‘Don’t have bad credit.’ That’s all I learned,” she remembers. “Financial literacy just wasn’t taught much. I learned the majority of my lessons as I aged.”

In an effort to ward off collection calls and raise her credit score, Lee researched tactics to strategically eliminate her debt.

“I knew I had to pay bills on time, and I couldn’t be late with payments,” she said.

Lee eventually began helping friends revamp their finances and opened NGB Inc. in 2017 to share fun, educational methods to help her clients build solid financial foundations.

“People were always coming to me like, ‘How do I invest in this?’ and ‘How do I do that?’ So, I said to myself, ‘You know what, people should be paying to pick your brain.’”

Legacy Building

While Lee enjoyed watching her clients reach milestones, like buying a new car with cash or making their first stock market investment, she was also designing “Game of Fortune” to teach the value of legacy building.

“The game gives players the knowledge to build generational wealth, not generational debt,” she said. “It gives you a glimpse of life, money, and what can truly happen if you mismanage your coins.”

Using index cards to create her first “Game of Fortune” sample deck, Lee filled each card with pertinent terms related to debt elimination and credit and wealth building. She then called on a few friends to help her work through the kinks.

Three of her good friends—Barbara Bratton, Daña Brown, and Sha Cannon—were just a few of the people that gave feedback on the sample deck.

“From there I met with Brandon Brooks, [owner of the Birmingham-based Brooks Realty Investments LLC], and four other financial advisors to fine-tune the definitions and game logistics,” Lee said.

Though Lee was unable to land a job in physical education after graduating from college, she now sees her career with NGB Inc. as life’s unexpected opportunity to teach on her own terms.

“Bartending and waitressing taught me that working for someone else was not for me,” she replied. “In order to get the life I always wanted, I had to create my own business.”

In her entrepreneurial pursuits, Lee strives to be an open-minded leader who embraces the need for flexibility.

“COVID-19 has shown me that in entrepreneurship you have to maneuver,” she said. “When life changes, sometimes your business will, too. You may have to change the path, but your ending goal can be the same.”

“Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt” is available and sold only on the “Game of Fortune” website: gameoffortune.money. To learn more about Tae Lee and Never Go Broke Inc., visit taelee.money and nevergobroke.money or email [email protected]; you also can follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nevergobrokeinc) and Instagram (@nevergobrokeinc).

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