Frequently Asked QuestionsWe offer straight talk and easy to understand answers to all of your questions. Below you'll find some of the questions we get asked the most. If you don't see an answer to your question we're only a mouse click away. Just click on the " Contact Us" button above and ask us your question. We try to answer all questions within 15 minutes during normal business hours. If that's still not fast enough, pick up the phone and give us a call. Someone will be there to take your call and get to the bottom of your question.
How Long Does The Whole Process Take ?
The answer to that question is highly dependent on several factors. The first big controlling factor is how much information in your credit file is subject to dispute or challenge. Obviously, someone challenging 5 items is most likely going to reach the end of the process faster than someone challenging 30 items. The next controlling factor is how quickly the credit reporting bureaus act. Sometimes a bureau may agree after our first letter. Sometimes it requires persistent requests to see action. A great deal depends on the originator and the accuracy of the information. If the information is accurate and is properly documented there is little to nothing that can be done to remove it. No two client cases or client credit files are the same. That is why we spend so much time with you reviewing your credit file to determine the vulnerabilities of each negative entry. The last huge factor is you. You are an active part of the process, not a spectator. The quicker you inform us of the credit bureaus responses to our challenge letters the quicker we can either move on to the next issue or prepare a follow-up letter on the existing issue. The faster you review and approve your challenge letters , the faster they get sent out. Our process is completely transparent. We work hand in hand with you so you can see every step we take along the way. We take a very aggressive approach and complete our work quickly to ensure the credit bureaus are held to task within the guidelines of the " Fair Credit Reporting Act ".
How Quickly Can I See Results ?
Once you approve your challenge letters they will be in the mail the next business day. The credit bureaus have up to 30 days to act. So sometime within the first 35 to 45 days you'll see results.
Are The Credit Bureaus Eager To Help Me ? They Say So On Their Web Sites ?
That is a most definite NO. You see the credit bureaus participate in the verification process only because the Fair Credit Reporting Act tells them they have to. It's all loss and no gain for them. They don't get paid a dime for their time and as a matter of fact, it costs them money. We have found that the credit bureaus attempt to handle dispute letters in the fastest way and with the least amount of effort on their part. That means they say NO...Go AWAY ! The dispute process is not engineered to be easy. As a matter of fact, it is by design difficult and tedious. The whole idea is to make you give up and go away. If you go away they win because they do no work and it costs them nothing. If you are persistent and force them to live up the standards as set forth in the Fair Credit Reporting Act they have to do work and it costs them money. They don't really care about you or your credit. If they did many of the errors that take place would never be there in the first place and we would not have to work so hard to fight for your rights. Contrary to what some other credit repair companies say there is really no magic to repairing your credit file. You could do it all by yourself. Just take the time to read a couple books and write several dozen letters using blind trial and error to figure out which ones work. When they tell you " NO " you'll have to write again ...and again...and again until you finally come up with the right combination that forces the error to be corrected. I liken it to rebuilding the engine in your car. You could do it yourself if you wanted to and had the time..... but I'm not sure how long it would take you and I'm not super confident you'll actually get the result you were looking for.
Does Getting My Own Credit Report Hurt My Credit Score ?
No. It is not a "third-party" request so it has no bearing on your credit profile.
How Do I Get Copies Of My Credit Reports To You?
You have a couple options to get the information to us. You can give us your login and password from the site you set up to view your report. That is the fastest way. You can print the report as a PDF and email it to us. Pick whichever option best suits your needs and you're most comfortable with.
Why A Tri Merge or 3 Bureau Report ?
The answer to that is simple. Each bureau may be reporting different things. An item may appear on your Equifax report that does not show up on Experian or maybe Transunion or Visa Versa . We see it all the time. The other issue is when 3 individual reports are used their formats tend to be different thus making it more difficult and more time consuming to find all items that may need to be challenged. The potential risk of missing an item goes up considerably.
Can Anything Be Done With Charge Off Accounts?
There is a lot that can be done with old charged off accounts. The older the account is the better it is for you. The more times the account has passed from the original credit issuer to different collection agencies the better for you. Verification is one tool that works well in this case. We frequently see that once an account has been sold off three or four times to different debt collectors a great deal of the original documentation gets "lost". It then becomes difficult to impossible for the collector to provide you with written verification of the debt. At that point, the bureau is required by law to remove it. This process can sometimes require highly customized follow-up letters.
I keep Hearing The Slang Term "Zombie Debt" ...What Is That?
Well, the term "Zombie Debt" is credit slang for an account that reports and then re reports over and over again from various different sources. Kind of like a zombie it never seems to die. Here is the basic idea....An account was charged off and sold to a collection agency. They attempted to collect the debt but had no luck. The same debt was then sold to another agency...and then another and another. Over a number of years, the same debt is being reported by several different agencies even though they are not supposed to. Our job is to limit the damage to your profile and remove the multiple reports of the same debt. If left unchecked this debt may keep re-reporting multiple times for multiple years and thus never clear off your credit report.
I Have A Private Judgement. Any Hope?
Judgements can stay on your credit forever if they are not paid. But there is good news....There is a lot that can be done with judgements. Especially older ones that may be coming close to your state's statute of limitations or have already exceeded the statute. Sometimes the holder of the judgement will be open to negotiation. After all, from their point of view, some money is better than no money. The real key is in the negotiation. It has to be handled properly and in a great many instances can achieve the best result if handled by a third party. We can assist you or you may wish to involve an outside attorney. Many times judgements can be negotiated down to pennies on the dollar and removal for payment included in the agreement.
I Filed Bankruptcy 2 Years ago. Now What do I Need To Do ?
Frankly, you are a perfect candidate for credit restoration. Post-bankruptcy credit restoration is almost always absolutely necessary. Discharged items and balances can hang around for years if you do nothing. Keeping your credit score low. Once accounts have been discharged they need to be modified or removed. This doesn't happen on its own. Proper post-bankruptcy repair can make a tremendous difference in your credit profile. The increase in your credit score can be dramatic, to say the least. If the restoration is handled property your credit profile can be quite good in a matter of 6 months or so after discharge.
Does Anyone Ever See My Personal Information ?
NO. NO. NO. And in case you're still not sure , NO ! All your personal information is kept secure. We go to great lengths to ensure that your personal information is protected. We use multiple firewalls when your data is actively being used and when it is not being used it is completely detached from our server to protect it from any hacking attempt. We share your information with no one. We sell information to no one. Your privacy is protected.
What Is FICO Anyway?
Good question. I'll give you a brief answer here. A more detailed answer can be found on our Making FICO Work For Me page. To put it simply your FICO score is a prediction of risk. The higher your score ( closer to 850 ) the better of a credit risk you are. The lower the score ( closer to 300 ) the worse of a credit risk you are. The better credit risk you are the more credit opportunities become available to you. The better credit risk you are the lower the interest rates are on your car loan, personal loans, mortgage, credit cards...etc..Your FICO score tells a potential lender if you're a good risk or a bad risk. Just that simple. That is why you need to get and maintain the highest possible FICO score you can.
So My Payment History Makes Up My Credit Score ?
Your payment history makes up part of your credit score. There are actually several factors that are looked at. Number and recency of credit inquiries. Your mix of credit, ( number of credit cards, home loans, auto loans, etc..) Length of credit, account history ( how long have you had accounts ). Older more established accounts carry more weight then recently opened accounts. Credit Usage ( what percentage of your available credit are you currently using ). Finally, payment history ( do you make your payments on time ) . All of these factor into your credit score. Not just one item. They also all carry different weights. A full discussion of how the FICO credit scoring system works can be found on our Making FICO Work For Me page.
I Have A Lot Of Credit Card Accounts. Should I Close Some ?
That is something that you have to look at very carefully. There are two potential problems with closing some of your credit card accounts and both of which deal with the way your FICO score is calculated. FICO not only looks at how you pay your bills but it also looks at the total amount of credit you have available. The more credit that you have available and the less of that total credit you are using the more points you get. Another item to consider is the length of time a credit account has been open. The longer an account has been open the more valuable it is to you. Long standing accounts carry more weight then accounts opened over the past 90 days. So the moral of the story is this: pay your balances down on your credit cards. Keep all your balances at our below 30% of the available credit on that account. So let's say you have an account with a $500 credit limit. Keep the balance on that card at $150 or less. Do that to all your cards and you'll see your credit profile take a major turn for the better. We have a more detailed discussion on our page Credit Cards - Friend And Foe. Check it out when you have some time.
I Have A Friend That Will Allow Me To Become An Authorized User On One Of His Credit Card Accounts. Is That A Good Way To Build Good Credit ?
The answer to that question is MAYBE. There can be a very positive effect on your credit. Especially if one of the issues with your credit profile is a low number of open accounts and or open accounts that are less than 24 months old .......but there are some things you need to keep in mind. Once on the account as an authorized user the activity of that account will affect your credit as if it were your own account. In other words...if the balance is kept too high or a payment is late it will negatively affect your credit just as it does the account holder. If the account is under 24 months old it will have a minimal positive effect. If it is a "store" account it will have less than the desired effect. Keep all these things in mind as you agree to ride on the "coat tails" of someone's credit profile.
Can I get Off Of My Friends Account If I Need To ?
Yes. The holder of the account can remove you the same way they added you. BUT...keep in mind that if your "friends " account runs into trouble you need to be off of there before it goes into default. Once the account is late it is very unlikely that the issuer will allow you to be removed. They now look at you as an additional means of collecting the funds due them. So be careful and choose someone who pays their bills on time and keeps their balances low.