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FAQ - Credit Reports

Question - What is a credit report?

Answer - In a simple sentence credit reports are listings of what you have done with your credit now and in the past. Credit grantors give credit bureaus information relating to your use of credit and the credit bureaus are the official record keepers of this data which is compiled into a credit report. Return to FAQ

Question - What sort of information can appear on my credit report?

Answer - Credit Inquiries: when a credit grantor looks at your file they are inquiring about your credit status and this is recorded on your credit report. Collection Accounts: any credit account that has been moved to a collection department or a collection agency is in collections and is recorded on your credit report. Court Records: public records such as bankruptcy, judgements, liens, and divorces are all listed on your credit report. Merchant Trade Lines: a trade line is any credit that has been granted to you including credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans. All of the above items are included in your credit reports. However, your credit reports will be different, because some credit grantors don't report credit activity to all of the credit bureaus.

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Question - Is it possible to remove bankruptcies and foreclosures from credit reports?

Answer - Yes it is possible to remove any negative listing from a credit report. Certain negative listings are more difficult to remove such as bankruptcy and child support listings, but these listings are not impossible to remove it takes persistance following our program in order to achieve these results. Return to FAQ

Question - What is a "100-word" or "consumer statement" on my credit report?

Answer - You have the right to have a statement attached to your permanent credit record. This permanent statement is called a 100 word or a consumer statement. People who decide to create a consumer statement need to be very careful about the words they choose. First, of all if you try to explain why your credit is bad you are confirming that you have bad credit. Second, of all if you use more than 100 words the credit bureaus have been known to change your wording. Sometimes a consumer statement is a good thing if you are a victim of identity theft, because you are making it clear that items on your credit report are not yours and this might help a credit grantor feel compassionate for your situation. However, don't count on a credit grantor to give you leniency by using a consumer statement, because many credit grantors don't even read the credit report they just check your credit scores. Return to FAQ

Question - How do I get a copy of my credit report to start the process?

Answer - You can pay for your report from each bureau and the cost is generally around $9 per credit report. You are also entitled to a free credit report under the FCRA if you certify in writing that you are unemployed and intent to apply for employment within 60 days, you are receiving public welfare assistance, you have reason to believe your consumer file contains inaccurate information due to fraud, or you have been denied credit, insurance or employment within the past 60 days.

In order to expedite the process I suggest you go to the following website and sign up for a free trial membership. You will be allowed to download all of your credit reports and scores using this service, but in order to avoid being charged a monthly fee you need to cancel prior to the expiration of your trial period. Return to FAQ

Question - Does the law say negative information has to stay on my credit report for seven years?

Answer - No, the law requires that certain information must be removed from your credit after five, seven, or ten years depending on the state you live and the specific listing. The law does not require that certain items have to stay on your credit report. Return to FAQ

Question - Is it illegal to have negative, accurate listings deleted from my credit report?

Answer - No it is not illegal to dispute anyting and everything on your credit reports. The onus of proof lies on the credit bureaus to investigate each item you dispute on your credit report. If the listing is investigated and confirmed by the credit bureau then the listing will remain on your credit report. If the listing is not investigated or is investigated, but unverifiable it is not legal for the listing to remain on your credit report. Return to FAQ

Question - How long does the negative information stay on my credit report?

Answer - That all depends on a few factors including the type of listing and the state in which you live. Generally, most listings on your report are required to be eliminated from your report 7 years from the date of last activity, except a bankruptcy listing which remains on your report for 10 years. Credit inquiries can remain on your account for up to 2 years. Certain states only allow certain listing types to be on your credit report for 5 years. All of these are guidelines your creditors and the credit bureaus are not required to keep these items on your report they can remove items from your credit report if they choose too. Return to FAQ

Question - What should I do when the credit bureau sends me an updated credit report during your program?

Answer - After we begin work on your behalf disputing items on your credit reports a few things will happen. The first dispute will usually generate a "nasty gram" from the credit bureaus telling you a lie about using credit repair companies and how bad it is to dispute items on your credit reports. After they investigate the items listed in the letter you will receive an updated copy of your credit report and sometimes some additional attachments. It is so IMPORTANT that you immediately make a copy of the report and any other documentation received for your records and then mail the original copies to our mailing address listed on our contact page. The faster we receive this information the faster we can continue to work our program. Don't wait to receive more information prior to sending us the updated credit bureau correspondence. We need to get this information back to us as soon as possible. The longer you wait the better the chances are that we will not be successful in our dispute process. Return to FAQ

Question - How many negative items can be on my credit report before I have trouble?

Answer - One late payment can be the cause of denial of a credit application. In today's hypersensite banking climate I had a friend who had credit scores in excess of 740 get turned down for a $3 late fee on his credit statement. After paying the small amount the bank decided it was OK to lend to him. The bank is subjective and they can decide to do whatever they want too. In the past a few negative items were not a major issue, but in today's climate any negative item no matter how small can be a huge problem. Return to FAQ

Question - Who looks at my credit report?

Answer - Your credit will generally reviewed by any person extending you credit. However, in the last decade your credit report is being used more often for things not relating to extending credit including getting a job, renting a home or apartment, and being approved for an insurance policy. As this trend continues to grow there is no telling who will want to look at your credit in the future. Return to FAQ

Question - If an item you've deleted comes back on my credit report, then what?

Answer - This does happen although infrequently. The reason that it does not happen very often is the the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureau to inform you before they are able to re-list a negative item. Just like we have discussed before the credit bureaus don't care about accuracy of your reports they care about making money by selling the information. The more time they have involved with disputes the more money it costs them. If by chance they do re-list a negative item on your credit report we will continue to challenge the listing until the item is permanently removed. Return to FAQ

Question - What is a charge off?

Answer - When a debt becomes very delinquent, the creditor may choose to "charge it off". This means that they have written the debt off as a loss for accounting purposes. They believe the likelihood of collecting the debt is low so they take this to clean up there accounting records. Do not misconstrue this action as the company has stopped collection on the debt. The creditor is now likely to either sell the debt to a professional debt collection company or they will send it to collections for continued pursuit. A charge off is a very negative listing on your credit report and can cause a significant impact on your credit scores. Return to FAQ