Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5 Benefits of a Credit Counseling Agency

Do you feel that your finances are going out of control? Are you debt amount burdensome enough? Does it seem that you can never break free of your debt? Well, if you are facing all these problems, you need not worry. Just consult a credit counselor who will help you free yourself of all financial burdens. Credit counseling is a process which offers education to consumers about how to avoid accumulated debts and how to repay your debts. Credit counseling establishes a planned method of debt relief, often with the help of a debt management plan.

Benefits of credit counseling

1. Implement a budget: It is the sole responsibility of a credit counselor to implement an effective budget for you so that you can get a grip on you finances. They provide you advice on money management to help you prevent future debt problems.

2. Attempt to lower interest rate: Usually a credit counseling agency attempts to lower your rate of interest in order to make it possible for you to pay off your debts easily. The creditors may often turn down this offer but this depends on the relationship that your credit counseling agency shares with your creditor. Generally reputable credit counseling agencies maintain a good relationship with the major creditors.

3. Advises to enter a debt management plan: The credit counseling agencies will advice you to enter into a debt management plan (DMP). Under a debt management plan, your counselors negotiate with your creditors to waive off late fees, penalties and even extend the term of the loan.

4. Single monthly payment through DMP: Credit counseling even gives you the benefit of a single monthly payment through debt management plan. You just pay monthly to the debt management company and they will later disburse the money to your creditors.

5. An alternative to bankruptcy: Credit counseling can be seen as an alternative to bankruptcy, offering individuals a chance to let a third party handle your finances and come up with a course of action other than bankruptcy. Credit counseling is an immediate requirement for a person who is about to file bankruptcy.

Once you join a credit counseling service, you will be able to get rid of creditor calls. The credit counseling agency will thereon negotiate with each of your creditors explaining them your situation.

So, enjoy the benefits of a credit counseling agency and free yourself of debt.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Searching for a Good Credit Repair Business

There is too much argument related to the credit repair business to just ignore it. The fact is, the reason that people who could benefit from the services of a credit repair professional but do not do so, is the shady reputation this industry has gathered in the recent past.

Nevertheless it's not true that all credit repair companies are scammers. There are lots of reputable companies out there prepared to make their best effort to repair your credit score and credit report. But that leaves one with the problem of how to identify the reputable companies and how to stay safe from the traps the fraudulent credit repair business agents lay for you.

In spite of commonly held belief, recognizing a less-than-reputable credit repair business is simple. The first warning sign is when any such company purports to fix your credit score overnight

Because your credit history was formed over the span of many years, it's unrealistic to expect to fix your credit in a matter of a few weeks. If you hear a credit repair business tells you they can perform what you know is not possible, you need to back off, as they are definitely not a trustworthy company!

There are other simple telltale signs that will point out a fraudulent company in no time. The dishonest agency, in most cases, will require full payment upfront.

It is illegal for a credit repair company to charge the fees before rendering any services. No matter how desperate you are to have your credit fixed, do not pay their fees in full upfront.

A scam credit repair business will not hesitate to go outside the law to fix someone's credit. They will even counsel you to use illegal methods and tell you it's all right to do so, as they know an "insider" who works for the credit bureaus who can cover up for them and you.

Never fall prey to lies of this nature! Don't ever accept any type of intervention to improve you credit score unless it's 100 percent legal. Regardless of how desperate your problems are, they will be made even worse if you're caught using illegal means to relieve them.

You are primarily responsible when your credit report is repaired through illegal means; thus you could end up being prosecuted if caught using illegal means. In the end, it's just not worth the trouble!

An additional way to discover whether or not the credit repair business you chose is "for real", is to ask that they guide you in learning about repairing credit. A reputable agency will gladly give you guidance and advice (and possibly some "hand holding") in your endeavor to become more knowledgeable in regard to how to fix credit.

A trustworthy business will take the role of a facilitator, while a dishonest agency will be resentful and wary about sharing information in regard to repairing your credit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Credit Repair Software - Knowing How to Use It

Have you ever wanted to use credit repair software to improve your credit score? In most cases using software to automate a task is a no-brainer. But is this true in every case? Let's examine the matter in regard to improving one's credit score.

If bad credit is a problem you can choose to either -
(1) fix your own credit, or
(2) seek the services of a credit company.

1. Take the self-help approach - when you make this choice, you must become knowledgeable regarding issues related to credit repair. Even though there's a wealth of information on the Internet as far as repairing your own credit, it is not a simple task. Many of those who attempt it find it overwhelming and come to the conclusion that the affordable fees that the average credit repair professional charges for their services is worth the cost. Nevertheless for those who choose the go-it-alone approach there's a tool to streamline the process - credit repair software. The software can automate many issues, such as credit score simulation (as a learning tool), generation of dispute letters, tracking, debt settlement negotiation etc..

2. Hire a credit repair company - when and if you feel that you do not have the time to learn all that it takes to do it yourself, you can get help from a credit repair agency. These, at reasonable cost, will take over the work of fixing your bad credit. These kinds of companies have and use credit repair software in order to enhance their efficiency.

Is there a difference in the usage of the credit repair software in the above two instances? When a person uses the software, he or she will depend heavily on the automation process minus a valid understanding of what the process is. For this reason a lack of knowledge and understanding renders the credit repair software less useful than it might be in the hands of a professional.

But when an agency uses the credit repair software they are knowledgeable in regard to why it's designed the way it is and what needs to be customized for best results. This is the reason why credit repair software in the hands of an experienced company works better than with non-professionals. The professionals utilize it to boost their efficiency - more as a tool; while the average person uses it without a clear understanding of the process.

Therefore, one might reasonably conclude that a better question would be not "is using credit repair software a good choice"; the better question is how best to use the software. Whether at the individual or agency level, maximum benefits when using this software are only achievable if you have a firm knowledge of credit repair. If you have a firm grasp of the credit repair process and use this software as a tool to improve your efficiency, the software gives you an awesome advantage; otherwise its usefulness is very limited.

The credit repair industry is a business where customization is very central - and therefore, without knowing the basics of credit repair in applying the software, the results may be less than optimum.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Credit Repair Services - 5 Suggestions When Choosing One

When you look for credit repair services, what is the primary thing you search for? The most likely answer would be, "the quickest way to get my credit score higher." However, this is a bad answer - one which will actually lead you to choose the wrong credit repair service and more often than not, one that will use tactics of questionable legality to improve your credit.

Are you wondering why this is? Well, let me explain.

If you're number one issue is getting your credit fixed as quickly as possible, you are inviting scam credit repair services that use this "fast credit repair" idea to lure unsuspecting victims. Heed these important tips so you can select best credit repair services, and steer clear of scam credit repair services.

Tip No 1 - trustworthy repair agencies never advocate quick-fix methods to help your credit report or score. The fact is, a trustworthy credit repair company will make you fully aware of what credit repair services you should expect from them.

These services will be spelled out in a contract. Always insist on a contract; and if a contract is not forthcoming, it's a dead giveaway that the agency and the credit repair services they offer are fraudulent.

Tip No 2 - All legitimate credit repair companies will make you aware of your rights and help guide you in respect to the credit repair services that you can (and should) do for free. Things such as how to get your free annual credit reports, finding the mistakes in your report, how to dispute those mistakes, sound financial management and the like, are those things you can take care of for yourself.

The company will teach you what you can do yourself with little effort, and what requires the expertise of professionals. The worth of the services they offer you can be judged based on this first interaction.

Tip No 3 - No aboveboard credit repair company will ever hint at using illegal means. There a lot of companies that advertise a "second or new" identity, complete and guaranteed removal of bad entries, increase of a poor credit score overnight and so on.

Don't even consider believing such promises until you have visited the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website and read what it says about repairing your credit score and report. You will be made aware that the credit repair services promised by these types of companies are fraudulent are even worse, illegal.

Tip No 4 - All reputable credit repair businesses offer, among their services, free and quality counseling. As discussed earlier, a legitimate credit repair service is always prepared to help you become financially self-sufficient.

They will be ready to offer you the best of credit repair services and simultaneously teach you what you are able to do yourself. If you find that the agency discourages you from learning about credit repair, contacting a credit bureau, and/or discourage you from taking any action on your own, then they are clearly fraudulent.

Tip no 5 - I am leaving the best tip for last, because this is what will remain in your mind long after you finish reading. Check out whatever membership organizations to which the company belongs.

For instance, many trustworthy credit repair companies are members of the ECRA (Ethical Credit Repair Alliance), which ensures that you - the customer - get the best possible credit repair services. Make certain your company of choice is a member of a reputable regulatory agency.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Credit Repair Companies - Ten Things to Look For

The first issue you need to watch for when you're looking for reputable credit repair services is the affiliations of the business you chose for this purpose. Every reputable company will be happy to provide you with their references on request. These are some important issues that you should keep in mind in order to steer clear of dishonest credit repair companies.

1. Check to see that the company is a member of the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance (ECRA) or another reputable regulatory body. You You are often advised to hire companies that are subscribed to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) when you are looking for any type of service. However, in the case of credit repair companies, those companies that are members of the ECRA are some of the best.

This organization requires that its members agree to a stringent code of professional ethics and any business that gets their approval will do their work in the client's best interest. All credit repair companies who are members of this organization must maintain high standards of ethics in their business practices. This means protection for you, the consumer, from any type of unethical and sub-standard practices.

2. Learn a bit about what credit repair is before looking for assistance. Most people who are cheated out of their hard earned money when hiring help with their credit, do not know anything about what repair of credit involves. You should be knowledgeable about what what credit repair services can do for you and what they can't do.

Only if you know the difference, can you identify which organizations are reputable. For instance, no one can remove negative remarks entered on your credit report if these can be verified. There are those credit repair companies claiming they can completely clean your credit report in as little as a month. Think this over carefully for a moment; is this even possible to do legally? If you answer "No" are you sure you want to engage in methods that are illegal?

3. Avoid unsolicited offers you receive through email. At a time when you find yourself in financial desperation, don't think for a moment that it's good fortune that sent you such an e-mail. These e-mails are sent by scammers who use shady methods to get your e-mail address, and send out e-mails by the millions trying to fool some needy soul whom they can "take for a ride"!

Don't be taken in by such tricks. These are usually always these are unscrupulous thieves hoping to prey on the unwary. Reputable credit repair professionals will make their offers by e-mail or US mail only after you have asked to receive them.

4. Creating a "new identity" is illegal. This fallacy is believed by many people, mainly because it would seem to solve all their problems. This idea is so widely accepted due to a general ignorance regarding credit repair. This is called"File segregation." Avoid it like the plague - it's illegal! A credit score is an aggregate of the history of your financial behavior from the day you became an adult until the present. So acquiring a "new" history is an impossibility? And if you do so, does it seem to you like this would be legal? So it's glaringly obvious that the credit repair companies that offer you such a way out of your problems are fraudulent.

5. If an agency wants full payment prior to rendering any services, look out! Under Federal Law the company provide you a written contract upfront and that they cannot charge you a fee prior to completion of the services offered. In addition you have three days to cancel the contract if you so choose.

A credit repair business can ask for an upfront charge for initial services, such as a credit report analysis, and then charge a fee every month as follow-up with the credit bureaus is continued on an ongoing basis. But if a company demands their entire fee be paid in advance, they are likely doing so because they realize no payment will be forthcoming when you realize that their claims have been overstated. These kind of businesses are ripoffs and you must not deal with them!

6. Repairing your credit score and credit report takes time. As stated previously, no honest agency can solve your credit problems in the blink of an eye or change your credit history entered on the credit report if it can be verified.

In a best case scenario, less serious issues can be fixed within two or three months, by disputing information that is incorrect, and by improvement in your financial habits. More serious issues such as foreclosures and repossessions will remain on your report for seven years, even given exemplary management of your finances. Bankruptcies cannot be removed for ten years. Any company that guarantees quick removal of such items is not to be trusted.

7. No contract? Forget it! Many people will be saved from the pain of being defrauded if they insisted on a written contract; this is your legal right.

Scammers are leery of presenting a contract, and if a contreact is given, important information will be missing in regard to the services, what the fees are, and the like. You will better understand these organizations by the contract they offer you. If they do not offer a contract for any reason whatsoever, go find someone else.

8. If anything is guaranteed, beware! Not even the best and most experienced agencies can guarantee the results of their services. They may reasonably promise that all legal procedures will be used to improve your credit. However, in the credit repair business there can never be any hard core guarantees in regard to results.

However, the unfortunate reality is, most people are more inclined to believe - and to hire - an agency that tells them what they prefer to hear, instead of hiring an agency that is truthful. Avoid falling prey to this trap! Even though promises of results are more appealing, credit repair companies that offer guaranteed results are fraudulent.

9. See if there are counseling services. Many good credit repair companies offer counseling services at no charge.

If the agency you are looking at does not, look a bit further. It may be a less than trustworthy company. Reputable companies will educate their clients about repairing credit. The company performs those services that are for those matters that require professional expertise to improve one's credit.

10. Bad advice? Beware! Some organizations will dispute all negative trade lines on your credit report claiming "this is not my account.." Even though in the short term the credit score may improve, the creditors whose trade lines were disputed may later counter it, and it will later be verified by the credit bureaus.

Given the shabby record keeping on the part of the credit bureaus, it's extremely likely that there are inaccuracies on your credit report. But credit repair companies that advise you to claim "this is not my account" if it in fact is yours, cannot be trusted.

As you can see, there is no shortage of red flags to warn against possible fraud. Before anything else, before you hire credit repair companies is to be informed in regard to credit repair, and terms like "credit score" and "credit report". You also need to know the minimum applicable laws before you go for any type of credit repair help. For starters visit the web sites of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Credit Repair Services - Five Must-Have Benefits

If you are in the market for credit repair services, it will behoove you to know beforehand what to expect. The average person is not aware of what should be expected from a credit repair company, and this is why they cannot judge which will be the best choice of credit repair services they can get. Any good and trusted company will be able to provide a wealth of good services, but you should watch for the following:

1. The charges - dishonest agencies will demand their fees prior to delivering any services. And why is this? Because they know they can't do what they claim they can do they know they won't get paid when you find out. A reputable credit repair company will charge the fees in a way that charges for initial services and additional payments each month as they continue to work on your credit.

The charges must be proportionate to the services. Do some "homework" regarding what fees are common to give you an idea of what is customary.

2. Getting your credit report corrected - competent credit repair services will contact the three major credit bureaus, until everything on your credit report is correct. In order to bring this about it will repeatedly follow-up with the credit bureaus until the task is completed.

3. Provide financial education - you will only be hiring the company temporarily. This is a good reason to learn all you can about being self sufficient financially. Good credit repair services will help you to become financially savvy.

The company will help you along until such time as you can, on your own, regularly obtain and analyze your credit report, how to go about correcting erroneous accounts, and most importantly provide you counseling so you will learn how to best manage your finances so you can remain credit worthy.

4. Individual customization - a lot of agencies will utilize credit repair software in providing your services. But more is needed. Everyone's situation is unique, and the "cookie-cutter" approach of a computerized service alone will not do the job. The best credit repair services will demand that the service be tailor-made to your needs, in spite of the usefulness of modern state-of-the-art software.

5. Always stay within the law - the trustworthy credit repair company will invariably stay within the law. If you suspect that a credit repair agency is doing otherwise, run the other way!

Although you're very eager to have your credit improve, or get your credit history modified to leave out things like debt collections and bankruptcy - it's important to know this cannot always be accomplished in every case. Credit repair firms that make too-good-to-the-true claims, might be using less than reputable tactics, and if you go along with them, you become an accomplice. You definitely don't want to go this route.

The best credit repair services will likely provide additional services as well as those we've enumerated, but be sure to look for these at minimum. In choosing a reputable agency never discount the value of personal recommendation.

Another good option is to ask the company for references. In addition, check with the "watchdog" of credit repair companies, the Ethical Credit Repair Alliance. Do not be afraid to ask for clarifications until you are satisfied that you are getting the best!