There are a total of 3 credit bureaus you need to concern yourself with: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. There may be a other smaller credit bureaus that collect your data, but you will likely never need to communicate with them.
However, even with a high level of customer satisfaction, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to fix every item on your credit report---and you should be wary of any company that says they can. A great credit repair company is like a great attorney: they cannot guarantee you a win, but they have a high win rate that speaks for itself.
Nevertheless, our guarantee is that we will do our best to fix all items we agreed to fix. If we are unable to successfully dispute any items, you will not be charged for them.
You will receive a phone call about once a month from one of our representatives, who will go over the current status of your file. Additionally, if you have provided us with an email address, you will receive a status report each time there is an update on your file.
You are also welcome to contact our office or your assigned consultant at any time to inquire about your status.Click here to view a sample of an emailed status report.
- Advance-Fee Loan
A loan calculated so that all the finance charges and other creditor expenses are deducted before the consumer receives the principal.
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The cost of credit at a yearly rate. Knowing the APR allows you to effectively compare loans, even when they are structured differently.
- Balloon Payment
A final payment at the end of a loan term that is considerably larger than the regular periodic payments.
A Bankruptcy is an official legal declaration that one is unable to pay their debts, and under the law is seeking legal protection from creditors. There are different types of Bankruptcy protection agreements, the most common of which are called Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 is a bankruptcy is one in which the debtor declares total financial insolvency and all their assets are liquidated, paying off creditors whatever is collected from the sales. Any remaining debts are then dissolved. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will typically stay on the debtor’s credit report for 10 years.
Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy in which the debtor will negotiate with his creditors new repayment terms for debts owed, allowing him to keep all his existing assets. A Chapter 14 bankruptcy will typically stay on the debtor’s credit report for 7 years.
- Car Title Loan
A short-term loan in which the borrower’s car title is used as collateral. The borrower must be the lien holder (i.e. own the car outright). Loans are usually for less than 30 days. If the loan is not repaid, the lender can take ownership of the car and sell it to recoup the loan amount.
These loans are also known as “auto title loans” or just “title loans”.
- Cash Advance Loan
A type of short-term borrowing where an individual borrows a small amount at a very high rate of interest.
A debt that is so delinquent that the lender considers it a total loss. To recoup what they can, creditors will normally sell these accounts to collection companies for pennies on the dollar. The collection company is then entitled to the entire balance owed on these accounts and will aggressively try to collect on the debt. It is important to note that the borrower is still legally obligated to pay the debt even if the creditor has considered the account a total loss.
- Closed Account
A closed account is one that is no longer active or in use. Accounts may be closed for many reasons, some of which are:
– It was closed by the creditor, due to inactivity.
– You requested that it be closed.
– It was transferred to a new account. This can happen if you refinance the loan. In doing so, the old account is closed and the balance transferred to the new account.
– You paid it off. This would apply to loans, such as a car loan.
– Your creditor closed it because you had not been making payments on it. In these cases, unless you contact the creditor to make payment arrangements, it may go to collections.
- Collection Account
A collection account is an account that is seriously past due and that a creditor has turned over to a collection department or even a collection agency for more aggressive action.
After a collection account is sold or transferred to a third-party collection agency, the debtor must typically deal with the collection agency representatives rather than the original creditor. A severely delinquent debt may end up being reported twice on a credit report, once by the original creditor and once by the collection agency.
Paying off a collection account will end the constant phone calls from the collector, but it will not necessarily improve one’s credit score. While having paid-off a collection account is preferable to still owing the debt, potential lenders generally do not distinguish between the two; they are both very derogatory items.
- Consolidation Loan
The replacement of multiple loans with a single loan, often with a lower monthly payment and a longer repayment period. Also called ‘debt consolidation loan’.
- Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)
The Consumer Credit Protection Act was created in 1968 to help guarantee American consumers fair and honest credit practices. This federal legislation standardized practices to ensure that lenders throughout the country followed the same sets of regulations.
As banking and credit reporting evolved, additional laws were developed and put into place under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Although each has a special niche among the financial guidelines, they share a common trait. They were put in place to protect consumers.
Now the CCPA is an overarching law that contains several acts with more precise scopes. Among these specific laws are the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
A regulatory agency charged with overseeing financial products and services that are offered to consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is divided into several units, including: research, community affairs, consumer complaints, the Office of Fair Lending and the Office of Financial Opportunity. These units work together to protect and educate consumers about the various types of financial products and services that are available.
- Credit Bureau
An agency that researches and collects individual credit information and sells it for a fee to creditors so they can make a decision on granting loans. Typical clients include banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies and other financing companies. Also commonly referred to as consumer reporting agency or credit reporting agency. Currently, there are 3 major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
- Credit Card
Any card that may be used repeatedly to borrow money or buy products and services on credit. Issued by banks, savings and loans, retail stores, and other businesses.
- Credit Counseling
Non-profit service provided to consumers that need assistance either reducing or eliminating debt and improving their credit scores. Consumers work with an accredited professional to evaluate all aspects of their credit to devise a plan to achieve financial freedom. Individuals may also seek using consumer credit counseling services to negotiate a debt settlement with creditors.
- Credit History
A record of a consumer’s ability to repay debts and demonstrated responsibility in repaying debts. A consumer’s credit history consists of information such as: number and types of credit accounts, how long each account has been open, amounts owed, amount of available credit used, whether bills are paid on time, and number of recent credit inquiries. It also contains information regarding whether the consumer has any bankruptcies, liens, judgments or collections. This information is all contained on a consumer’s credit report.
- Credit Limit
The maximum amount of credit that a bank or other lender will extend to a customer, or the maximum that a credit card company will allow a card holder to borrow on a single card.
- Credit Report
A report containing detailed information on a person’s credit history, including identifying information, credit accounts and loans, bankruptcies and late payments, and recent inquiries. It can be obtained by prospective lenders with the borrower’s permission, to determine his or her creditworthiness.
- Credit Score
A number between 300 – 850 that represents the creditworthiness of an applicant. The higher the score, the more creditworthy the applicant and the more likely the borrower will pay back a loan on time. Credit scores are derived from various factors, the most significant being a person’s credit history.
- Deferred Payment
A debt which has been incurred and will be paid back at some point in the future. This is very common with student loans, where a borrower graduates, but is unable to find employment. In most cases where a deferment is granted, interest on the loan is still calculated and added to the balance each month.
Failure to make a payment on time. On a credit report, a delinquent is usually expressed as 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or 120 days past due.
- Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
The Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act is an amendment to the FCRA that allows for consumers to obtain a free credit report from each of the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. The act also contains provisions to help reduce identity theft, such as the ability for individuals to place alerts on their credit histories if identity theft is suspected, or if deploying overseas in the military, thereby making fraudulent applications for credit more difficult. Further, it requires secure disposal of consumer information.
- Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA)
The Fair Credit Billing Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 as an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Its purpose is to protect consumers from unfair billing practices and to provide a mechanism for addressing billing errors in “open end” credit accounts, such as credit card or charge card accounts.
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a United States federal law that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information. Along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it forms the base of consumer credit rights in the United States.
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The law’s purpose is to: eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy. It is often used in conjunction with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- FHA Loan
A mortgage issued by federally qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans are designed for low to moderate income borrowers who are unable to make a large down payment. FHA loans allow the borrower to borrow up to 97% of the value of the home. The 3% down payment requirement can come from a gift or a grant, which makes FHA loans popular with first-time buyers.
- Finance Charge
A fee charged for the use of credit or the extension of existing credit. May be a flat fee or a percentage of borrowings, with percentage-based finance charges being the most common.
A finance charge is often an aggregated cost, including the cost of the carrying the debt itself along with any related transaction fees, account maintenance fees or late fees charged by the lender.
With credit cards, this is the interest you end up paying on any remaining balance if you don’t pay your credit card bill in full each month.
When a borrower defaults on a home mortgage loan and the lender initiates proceedings to take possession of the house and sell it to recover the debt. In an involuntary foreclosure, the borrower typically remains liable for the full amount of the debt. If the house sells for less than the amount the borrower owed on the mortgage, the borrower may still be required to pay the remaining balance.
A legal process whereby payments towards a debt owed by an individual can be paid by a third party – which holds money or property that is due to the individual – directly to the creditor. The third party in such a case is generally the individual’s employer and is known as the garnishee. Garnishments are typically used for debts such as unpaid taxes, monetary fines and child support payments.
For example, if John Smith owes $10,000 in unpaid taxes that have been overdue, the IRS can resort to garnishment of his wages. The IRS would then direct Smith’s employer to remit a portion of his salary for a certain amount of time, until Smith has paid off his taxes in full. Garnishments can have a negative impact on one’s credit rating.
- Grace Period
A provision in most loan contracts which allows payment to be received for a certain period of time after the actual due date. During this period no late fees will be charged, and the late payment will not result in default or cancellation of the loan. A typical grace period is 15 days. Payments made within the grace period will not result in a 30 day late indicator on the borrower’s credit history.
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
A method of borrowing in which a homeowner may borrow against their home’s equity as needed using a checkbook or credit card. It differs from a standard loan in that the borrowing may be done over a period of time, as needed, preventing excess borrowing and limiting interest costs.
- Home Equity Loan
A consumer loan secured by a second mortgage, allowing home owners to borrow against their equity in the home. Consequently, the home is used as collateral in securing the loan.
- Identity Theft
Identity theft is the crime of using another person’s information to impersonate them. There are many things that identity thieves will do with this information. A few are:
– Opening new credit cards as the other person.
– Obtaining a job as the other person.
– Committing crimes as the other person.
The list goes on. The issue this creates for the victim is that they have to put in many hours of work to “clean up” their identity once they discovered it has been compromised.
An inquiry is something that appears on your credit report each time it is viewed by a person or a company. There are two types of inquiries: hard inquiries and soft inquiries.
Hard inquiries occur when somebody views your credit report for the purpose of deciding whether they should approve your application for a loan. These types of inquiries will often lower your credit score for a temporary amount of time.
Soft inquiries occur when somebody views your credit report for reasons other than extending your credit, such as a potential employer doing a background check on you.
Whether an inquiry will be a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry will not always be apparent. If in doubt, you should ask the party that is going to view your credit report what type of inquiry will be made.
A judgment on your credit report is an indication that a court had determined that you are legally liable for a debt. This will typically occur if you owe another party money, they take you to court, and you lose the case.
Judgments usually only occur if the creditor feels you owe enough to make it worth their time taking you to court. For small debts, the creditor will typically charge them off (write off as a loss) and sell it to a collection company.
Types of judgments can include: back child support, money still owed on a repossessed car, medical bills.
- Late Payments
A late payment is exactly what it sounds like. You paid your bill late and the creditor that added to your credit report. Creditors will typically give you some sort of grace period before adding a late payment indicator to your credit report. If you pay your bills late by a few days, it probably will not appear on your credit report. If you are a few weeks late on your payment, it will likely be reported. A late payment will lower your credit score.
A repossession occurs when a creditor takes back an item, usually tangible, that you still owe money on and have not been making payments on. More often than not, this happens with vehicles. As you may have guessed: this lowers your credit score.
- Settled Account
A debt that is considered settled in return for a negotiated payment amount less than the actual balance of the debt. In these scenarios, the borrower is already very delinquent on the account. Lenders will generally try to negotiate a settlement amount prior to considering the debt a total loss and selling it to a collection company.
An account that is settled is technically less derogatory than one that was a charge-off. However, both items are seen as negative in the eyes of a potential lender.
- Short Sale
Just as it sounds, short sale is selling real estate property short of the loan balance. Short sale is an alternative to foreclosure. Once a foreclosure judgement has been made, the homeowner no longer has options. But if he falls on hard times and contacts the lender before the foreclosure is complete, he and the lender can agree to sell the property short of the loan amount owed and part company.
- Tax Lien
A tax lien appears on your credit report when you owe taxes to a government entity.
- VA Loan
A mortgage loan program established by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans and their families obtain home financing. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not directly originate VA loans; instead, they establish the rules for those who may qualify, dictate the terms of the mortgages offered and insure VA loans against default.
- Wage Garnishments
Wage garnishments occur when you owe a creditor a debt and they take you to court and the court rules in their favor. The creditor does not actually add the wage garnishment to your credit report–the court does via a public record entry. Wage garnishments are a serious matter and should be taken care of as soon as possible. They also can have a very big impact on your credit score.