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The Truth About Credit Repair

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Credit repair may seem like a complex concept at first blush. But that’s often because several misconceptions cloud the reality of the process and the potential for results.

The truth about credit repair is that it isn’t as complicated as you might have been led to believe. And if you’ve read negative reviews about credit repair it’s important to note that the quality of your experience is often equal to the quality of the service provider you work with. 

These myths can be damaging if they end up preventing someone from repairing their bad credit and improving their personal financial situation—especially if that person is you!

To help, let’s explore the real truth about credit repair and what some of the most common misconceptions are.

Truth: Credit repair is about your credit report, not score

This is a fundamental fact to credit repair: The process is concentrated on your credit report, not your credit score. Believe it or not, your report and your score are two separate things. Whatever happens with your score is an outcome of actions taken to repair your report.

The main thing to know here is that credit repair is focused on making sure your report is:

  • 100% accurate.
  • Fair.
  • Entirely substantiated.

That means the credit repair process is more about going through your report with a fine-tooth comb to find inaccurate information and attempt to resolve the situation.

Myth: Your credit score will jump immediately

Credit repair is not a magic pill for your credit score. While it is a proven strategy for addressing bad credit, it won’t improve your credit right away. Typically, those who may be dissatisfied with the results or timeline of credit repair are looking at their scores every day and expecting it to increase.

A little patience is needed with credit repair; as with many other good things, results come in time. 

When a mistake or error is found on your credit report, the next step is to dispute the inaccurate negative item with a credit reporting agency. Once a dispute is lodged with a credit bureau, the reporting agency has 30 days, and in some cases 45 days to respond. It may correct or remove the negative item at the end of that time, but the impact to your credit score will still take some time to show.

A general rule of thumb with credit repair is that you can expect results to appear in around six months. Sometimes it may be longer, especially if you are disputing several aspects of your credit report.

Additionally, there may be other elements to a poor credit score that may be holding you back, and which credit repair alone cannot fix. For awareness, the five factors of a credit score are:

  1. Payment history.
  2. Utilization.
  3. Account mix.
  4. Hard inquiries.
  5. Age of accounts.

Truth: You can try to repair your credit yourself 

DIY credit repair is possible without the help of an outside credit repair company. The process includes a few steps, which consumers can complete on their own if they choose:

  • Auditing the credit report for mistakes.
  • Disputing errors with a credit bureau.
  • Taking next steps to further analyze or build credit.

While you can do this all yourself, the effort and time required are immense. The actual mechanics of credit repair—like writing a dispute letter—can be time-consuming and call for expertise. Some may have the time and resources to get the job done on their own, but others may not benefit from such advantages. Or, they may not have the experience in disputing major credit report errors.

Myth: Credit repair companies are a scam

This is a particularly damaging myth, as the services of a reputable credit repair company are invaluable to the process. The key word in that phrase is of course “reputable.” And there’s a simple way for sussing out the credit repair scams from the rest of the market, which largely consists of effective and trustworthy credit repair companies.

It’s essential that you do some research on the credit repair companies you’re considering working with and ensure it follows the guidelines of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). This consumer protection regulation “prohibits untrue or misleading representations and requires certain affirmative disclosures in the offering or sale of credit repair services.”

There are a couple key consumer protections the CROA enshrines:

  • You can’t be asked for upfront payment before the company provides a service.
  • You are entitled to receive all contracts in writing.
  • You have certain cancellation rights the company must notify you of.

While the CROA regulates what credit repair services can and can’t do, you still have a role to play in researching which firm is the best option. 

Consider asking these questions:

  • Does the company care about personal aspects of my story?
  • Are they transparent about the process?
  • Will they update me on progress and ask me to collaborate?

These answers will help shape your final decision. Before you get there, however, start with our reviews of reputable, results-driven services like Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com.

Get a Free Credit Consultation Today!

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Finally, be wary of any company that offers you a guarantee of results. This is a major credit repair red flag to be on the lookout for, as well as an unlawful practice.

Truth: Credit report mistakes are common

The reason why credit repair can be so intensive is that credit report mistakes are quite common. One study from the Federal Trade Commission found 5% of Americans had a credit report mistake that could negatively affect their score. 

Most consumers want to trust that their credit report is fair and accurate, and sometimes assume so. But credit reporting agencies aren’t perfect and errors can slip through. Some mistakes are attributable to the creditor.

On a deeper level, inaccurate information from your credit report can be more difficult to see from a consumer’s perspective. For example, duplicate accounts, incorrect inquiries and inaccurate accounts can all be present on a credit report. Without addressing these errors, or even knowing they exist, consumers may be unable to build their credit regardless of what they do on their own.

The experience of a reputable credit repair company can help bring these inconsistencies to light, as they know what to look for. CreditRepair.com reported that in 2018, the average customer they worked with challenged 28 credit report items.

Myth: Credit repair can remove correct negative items

All that said, no amount of credit repair can lead to the removal of a correct negative item on your credit report. After all, the point of credit repair is to identify and dispute incorrect or inaccurate information from your credit report. 

If a certain item is substantiated and verified by the responsible credit bureau, then credit repair is not the solution. Some may come into the credit repair process with this expectation that it can be a cure-all, even for negative items. If negative information is correct and affecting your score, supplementary strategies like debt validation may be needed. 

Truth: You can do more to build credit

Credit repair is best leveraged when you take action on your own part to build credit. Remember those five factors that comprise a credit score? Each of those is partly within your control as a consumer, and it may take some new lifestyle choices or spending habits to make poor credit history. For example:

  • Always make timely payments. If you need to, set alarms on your personal devices, circle dates on a kitchen calendar or just enroll in autopay. Many organizations grant a small discount for automatic bill pay, additionally.
  • Don’t open too many new accounts at once or in a short span of time. This could act in a doubly negative way. Each account you open will come with a hard inquiry while also reducing the average age of your accounts. 
  • Keep your credit utilization around 30%. This refers to the amount of your credit balance that you use or owe on. Accessing too much of your credit can be damaging to your score and make it harder to pay off debts.

Looking for even more ideas? Check out some of our free, easy-to-use tips and tools.

Visit Credit.com today for more information about credit repair

The most important truths to remember about credit repair are that it’s not a scam, it can improve your credit score in time and there are many services available to help you take control of your credit situation. In addition, these companies may be able to provide further credit analysis, next steps and credit monitoring to help you improve your situation.

Interested in learning more about the nuances of credit repair and which are the most reputable companies to work with? Visit our resource page for all things credit repair for more information about the process and how to get in touch with effective and trustworthy services.


[Disclosure: Credit.com and CreditRepair.com are both owned by the same company, Progrexion Holdings Inc. John C. Heath, Attorney at Law, PC, d/b/a Lexington Law Firm is an independent law firm that uses Progrexion as a provider of business and administrative services.]

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Cleaning up your credit safely

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TUCSON, Az. (KGUN) — Americans who are dealing with financial hardship because of job loss and aftermath caused by the pandemic could be struggling to make ends meat and in some cases they might be racking up credit card debt or they’re simply late on paying bills.

KGUN 9 caught up with Sean Herdrick with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona who says there are ways to get your credit fixed but you have to be careful about who’s handling your situation because they can take your money and leave you with bad credit.

“To see how many 1-star ratings there are for credit companies is frightening. They promise you they will do all of this stuff for your credit, get things taken off. Negotiate with your creditors. They’ll ask for a fee up front, you send them the fee and they never come back to you,” Herdrick said.

According to the BBB you can check their website to find out details about how a company operates. And while there are three common ways to fix your credit. It’s also a good idea to get schooled on extra fees.

“We vet the companies we accredit and if you find an accredited credit business chances are they’re doing a good job and they’re going to help you out. Credit counseling and that’s probably the best way. There’s also debt relief or settlement companies where they offer to settle your debts for you or come up with a plan to do that and a debt consolidation company they will offer a loan at a lower interest rate to help pay off all of your debts at once,” Herdrick said.

The U.S Department of Commerce released data that says Americans are spending their stimulus checks on clothing and sporting goods while others are using it for bills to fend off financial ruin and get their credit back on track.

“Do your research make sure the company you hire can give you what you need,” Herdrick said.

BBB Tip links:

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Taking A Joint Home Loan Can Benefit You. Here’s Why – Forbes Advisor INDIA

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In India, buying a home is mostly the single largest investment made by an individual during their lifetime. As our families expand, we plan for the future and plan to invest in bigger homes that can comfortably accommodate and protect a growing family. However, such dream houses come at a significant cost, warrant access to huge funds, and hence, require key financial planning.

In most cases, individuals need to opt for home loans to fulfil the cost obligation associated with buying a house. Considering the amount and type of loan taken, there are certain eligibility criteria that one needs to be aware of before initiating applications. 

At the time of taking a home loan, your lender or you may wish to add another applicant, also called co-applicant, to your home loans for various reasons and the structure of having a co-applicant is referred to as a joint home loan. 

Let’s understand when and why should you take a joint home loan. 

Role of a Co-applicant in a Joint Home Loan

A lender while considering applications simply wants to check if the borrower can repay the home loan along with their household expenses and existing loans. Therefore, while calculating your eligibility they generally keep aside a certain fixed portion of your income that covers your existing expenses. An individual’s eligibility is decided on the basis of the discretionary amount left post calculating their interest repayments and monthly instalments. 

In a joint home loan, you can add another co-applicant or applicants who becomes liable to pay the home loan along with the primary applicant. Liability of the loan is a collective responsibility on both or all the co-applicants as well. Generally, immediate family members, including father, mother, spouse, children, and brother, are most eligible to become co-applicants in joint home loans. 

With such arrangements the question that mostly arises is whether the co-applicant is also the co-owner of the home being considered. Co-applicant or co-applicants may or may not be the co-owner of the property, however they have a liability to pay back the loan. The co-owner of the property is a joint owner along with other owners. 

As a safeguard and prudent underwriting practice, lenders ask all co-owners to also become co-applicants in home loans, however, the reverse need not be true. This is a decision the pros and cons of which should be carefully considered by the primary applicant while choosing joint home loans.

Why Choose a Joint Home Loan Over Any Other Loan 

There are a number of additional advantages in considering taking a joint home loan as compared to an individual home loan. These include higher loan amount eligibility, lower interest rates and other income tax benefits. 

Higher Loan Amount Eligibility: When you add an income-earning co-applicant to a loan, the lender considers the income level of all the applicants and calculates an eligibility amount higher than that of only one individual applying for a home loan. This allows applicants or families to take a larger home loan amount or purchase a more aspirational home since the room for increasing an applicant budget is possible. 

Lower Interest Rates: In order to avail lower interest rates individuals can add their spouses or mother as co-applicants for a joint home loan and as a joint property owner. This is useful as most lenders in India offer a lower rate of interest to women borrowers. It is up to 10 to 25 basis points lower than the interest rate for male borrowers. 

Tax Benefits: Tax benefits can be enjoyed by all the co-applicants separately. For this to happen, co-applicants should be property owners as well and should contribute to the payment of monthly instalments towards the repayment of the home loan. 

Income Tax benefits that are available to the all co-applicants include: 

  • Benefit under Section 80 C of the Income-Tax Act for the loan’s principal payment up to a maximum limit of INR 1.50 lakh per year. 
  • Benefits under Section 24 of the Income-Tax Act for interest paid on a home loan up to INR 2 lakh per year. 
  • In a joint home loan, both the applicants can claim the above amounts individually and use this as an effective tax planning tool

Co-applicants and first-time loan applicants can utilise the joint home loan as a great tool to improve their credit score, thereby easing the process for future loan applications as and when required for various other purposes. 

Necessary Documents Needed for a Joint Home Loan

Documentation is the most cumbersome and tiring part of taking any loan. However, it is a critical part of any lender’s operations as they would want to make sure that their borrower meets income eligibility and supporting documents are provided. 

There are a number of regulatory guidelines for the know your customer (KYC) and property-related documents, where it is imperative that all accurate documentation is shared to avoid unnecessary rejections and thereby delaying the availability of funds. 

For any home loan, typically an applicant needs to provide the following: –

  • KYC documents which include:
    • Identity Proof
    • Address Proof 
  • Income proof documents including but not limited to:
    • Salary slips, Form 16 issued by your employer or
    • Income tax returns (especially for self-employed) of the last three years
  • Property related documents such as: 
    • Agreement to sell, a sale deed or a registry 
    • Previous sale deed for the property (typically all transactions done on that property in the last 13 years) 
    • Few property or location-specific documents like a no-objection certificate (NOC) from relevant authorities or from your bank if the project is funded by any financer in case you are buying new property from a builder.

All applicants need to provide their KYC documents regardless of whether they earn an income or not or whether they even co-own the property. 

If you are applying for a joint home loan mainly for higher eligibility wherein the income of other applicants also needs to be considered, then income documents of all the applicants will be required to be shared with the lender in addition to KYC documents.  

If your purpose is to save on stamp duty charges by adding a female member of the house as a co-owner of the property, then you must make sure that the draft agreements and final sale deed or the registry documents have relevant members stated clearly as co-owners. 

If you are a nonresident Indian (NRI), you can issue a registered power of attorney (POA) in favour of a trusted family member for them to execute the necessary documentation on your behalf. However, you must ensure that the exact purpose of the required transactions are mentioned in the POA, thereby easing the process for compliance and reducing chances of rejection.

Factors to Consider Before Applying for a Loan

Before even applying for a joint loan, it is important to fully understand the lenders’ conditions, which differ depending on the provider you’re considering to approach. 

Lending Conditions

  • If the property has co-owners, in such a case, the lender, in all likelihood, insists all co-owners to become co-applicants as well. 
  • The lender may also insist any or one of your family members become co-applicants in the case of an NRI loan. 
  • If you have given the power of attorney to any of your family members, the lender is likely to insist one of the family members is available in the country as co-applicant for follow-ups and communication purposes to minimize repayment risks.

Credit Score Reports

It is always better to check your and the other co-applicant’s credit score and bureau report prior to applying. This will help to ensure that you are aware of all your past and current loans along with their performance over time. 

In some cases, if it is observed that you may have an old credit card with some minor payment overdue or incorrect reporting by any financial institution, it may lead to the possibility of hampering your overall credit score, reducing the chances of approval.

In India, there are primarily four credit bureaus via which you can check your credit report. Any bureau after paying relevant fees, which is about INR 500, will process your credit report. These credit bureaus include CIBIL, Equifax, CRIF Highmark and Experian.  

When to Avoid Taking a Joint Home Loan?

When a co-applicant already has significant loan obligations and is not left with sufficient income to be eligible for a higher home loan amount, it is generally advisable to reconsider taking a joint home loan and instead consider an individual home loan.

Healthy credit history is very important for lenders while considering applications and a co-applicant who has a bad credit history or poor track of repaying past loans is a major factor while assessing the eligibility of a new loan. 

If your income is sufficient to cover costs with no additional benefits available in terms of tax write-offs, it is suitable for you to avoid a joint home loan and keep the responsibility of your liability limited.

Joint home loans are also best avoided if there is a plan for taking on a larger liability or loan in the near future as the joint loan may impact the eligibility criteria of future loans due to existing liabilities.

Bottom Line

A joint home loan is a beneficial financial tool with the potential of helping the borrower secure higher loan amounts. 

It can aid individuals significantly improve their spending power and investing threshold while buying a larger and more comfortable home and at the same time keeping the primary applicant’s liabilities manageable by sharing the repayment burden with other co-applicants. 

If utilized correctly, it can help you enjoy higher tax benefits, while simultaneously reducing overall tax outgo on a yearly-basis. 

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Fixed-rate student loan refinancing rates inch up, but still hover near record low

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Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

The latest trends in interest rates for student loan refinancing from the Credible marketplace, updated weekly.  (iStock)

Rates for well-qualified borrowers using the Credible marketplace to refinance student loans into 10-year fixed-rate loans hit another low during the week of April 12, 2021.

For borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher who used the Credible marketplace to select a lender, during the week of April 12:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.78%, up from 3.73% the week before and down from 4.81% a year ago. The record low for 10-year fixed rate loans was 3.71%, during the week of Feb. 15, 2021.
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 3.26%, up slightly from 3.13% the week before and down from 3.28% a year ago. Variable-rate loans recorded a record low of 2.63% during the week of June 29, 2020.

Student loan refinancing weekly rate trends

If you’re curious about what kind of student loan refinance rates you may qualify for, you can use an online tool like Credible to compare options from different private lenders. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

Current student loan refinancing rates by FICO score

To provide relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest and payments on federal student loans have been suspended through at least Sept. 30, 2021. As long as that relief is in place, there’s little incentive to refinance federal student loans. But many borrowers with private student loans are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to refinance their education debt at lower rates.

If you qualify to refinance your student loans, the interest rate you may be offered can depend on factors like your FICO score, the type of loan you’re seeking (fixed or variable rate), and the loan repayment term. 

The chart above shows that good credit can help you get a lower rate, and that rates tend to be higher on loans with fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms. Because each lender has its own method of evaluating borrowers, it’s a good idea to request rates from multiple lenders so you can compare your options. A student loan refinancing calculator can help you estimate how much you might save. 

If you want to refinance with bad credit, you may need to apply with a cosigner. Or, you can work on improving your credit before applying. Many lenders will allow children to refinance parent PLUS loans in their own name after graduation.

You can use Credible to compare rates from multiple private lenders at once without affecting your credit score.

How rates for student loan refinancing are determined

The rates private lenders charge to refinance student loans depend in part on the economy and interest rate environment, but also the loan term, the type of loan (fixed- or variable-rate), the borrower’s credit worthiness, and the lender’s operating costs and profit margin. 

About Credible

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover financial products that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Credible’s integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 4,300 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 4.7/5.

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