Free Credit Report Your Lifelong Report Card

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Free Credit Reports Your Lifelong Report Card


Whether you’re a real estate investor, business owner, or just a consumer who

has paid bills, you’ve got a credit report. And that report is probably more

important to your financial life than any report card you ever received in school.

In fact, it plays a key role in what kind of credit you get and how much you pay.

Even if you don’t ever borrow or use a credit card, it likely affects how much

you pay for your auto and homeowner insurance. So you have to know what’s in

your credit report, as well as how credit reports work.

Credit reporting agencies (more commonly called “credit bureaus”) are in the

business of compiling information about people’s bill-paying habits and selling

that information to other companies that may want to extend credit, insurance, or

even a job offer, to them.

check your credit report
check your credit report

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There are three major, national credit reporting agencies in the United States:

Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW), and TransUnion. Plus there are hundreds of

smaller credit bureaus that are affiliated with one or more of these “Big Three.”

These specialized agencies get information from one or more of the three major

bureaus and may supply additional credit information as well. (See the end of

this post for more information on other consumer reporting agencies.)

There are also business credit bureaus; Cortera, D&B, Equifax, and Experian

are the main ones that compile reports solely on businesses around the world.

For more information on business credit reports, see the Resources section. Our

focus here is on the personal credit, though it can be valuable if your goal is to build

business credit as well.

Credit reporting is big business, and the major credit reporting agencies are

businesses in competition with each other. They are all trying to make their

reports “better” than the others and they will not share information unless they

are required to do so by law. That’s one reason why, when you see your credit

report, you’ll see that it looks somewhat different depending on which agency

supplied it. While most of the accounts will likely show similar information,

they won’t all be exactly the same. Credit reporting agencies are regulated under the Federal Fair Credit

Reporting Act (FCRA), which was updated in 1999 and again at the end of

December 2003. You’ll learn more about your rights under that law shortly.

Read More for more information: The Psychology of Debt: What Are The Psychology of Debt

Starting Out

credit report
credit report

Margery and Sharon were college roommates. They attended a large,

Midwestern university – but that was where the similarities ended. Margery was

prudent, studious, and focused. Sharon was a party girl, living for the moment

and enjoying every one of them.

While Margery thought nothing of studying on a Saturday night if her

courses were so required, Sharon was out all Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

There was friction when Sharon brought friends over to their small house off-

campus to finish off the night. Margery needed her sleep and let Sharon know

about it.

Not surprisingly, Margery and Sharon were also different in their spending

habits. Margery had saved to attend college and was fortunate enough to get a

partial scholarship to help defray the costs. She did not want to burden her

parents and was proud that she had not asked them for money. Margery did not

want to incur a great deal of debt and avoided obtaining a credit card, being

instead cautious and prudent in her spending.

Sharon, on the other hand, was anything but prudent. She lived off student

loans, her parent’s money, and in the last year, three high-interest credit cards.

Since they were recently maxed out, she told Margery that she would have to

get another one to help with next month’s rent. Margery asked how she could

handle all of the high-interest payments. Sharon explained that working at “The

Rat,” the local rathskeller and college hangout, on the prime party nights of

Thursday and Friday provided enough tip money to make the monthly payments.

The principal payments, like her student loans, she’d worry about later.

Margery privately worried that Sharon was headed for trouble. She was

again thankful for her resolve to avoid credit cards and credit problems.

Soon graduation arrived and both of them found decent starting jobs in

Chicago. They agreed not to be roommates, both acknowledging that their

lifestyles were a bit too different, but did agree to keep in touch.

Margery soon ran into difficulty finding an apartment. When the

management companies did a check on her credit, she didn’t turn up. While there

wasn’t any negative information, there also wasn’t any positive information

either on which to base a decision. She had no credit history, which, as Margerysoon learned, was negative.

Sharon called and invited Margery over to, of course, a party at her new

apartment. Margery was pleased to be included with her old group of friends

and, even more so, was curious about how Sharon, with her negative credit, had

found an apartment so quickly. Arriving, she found that Sharon had moved into a

spacious one-bedroom apartment with a large balcony and an excellent view.

Greeting Sharon, Margery couldn’t help but ask how she lined up such a great

apartment. Sharon replied that the manager said she had credit because she made

all of her credit card payments on time.

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Margery woke up the next morning realizing she had to get a credit card. If

four cards worked for Sharon, at least one card would work for her. She called a

bank to begin the process. The bank checked her credit and politely declined her.

Margery was getting frustrated and wanted to know why she was declined,

especially since she had been sent hundreds of credit card solicitations during

college. The representative explained that college students were of a different

credit class. She was out of college, with no prior credit history, and thus,

according to their standards, not entitled to a credit card.

Margery was at her wit’s end. Was there anything she could do, she asked the

representative. Yes, came the reply. A credit card, secured by a $2,500 deposit,

could be obtained. It worked just like a credit card, the representative brightly

noted.

Margery was close to tears. She needed all of her extra cash for a security

deposit on an apartment. She couldn’t waste it on a credit card, no matter how

much she needed to build credit. Margery hung up and, swallowing her pride,

called home.

Margery’s father flew to Chicago the next weekend. Together they found a

nice, affordable apartment, which he – with his established credit – cosigned.

Calling around, they found a secured credit card with only a $500 deposit

requirement. If a good payment history was established over a one-year period,

the deposit would be returned and it would be unsecured. Margery’s father

encouraged her to charge her groceries on the card and pay the resulting monthly

bill promptly, thus establishing a payment history for some computer somewhere

to latch onto.

Margery thanked her father and promised not to burden him. He said he was

genuinely pleased that she called for his help.

Margery set about getting her apartment ready. When she called the power

company to establish an account, they did a credit check. Now a credit warrior, Margery knew the response before it was given. Sure enough, due to a lack of

credit history, a $300 deposit was required.

Margery now had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. She called Sharon to tell

her about the new apartment. Amid the conversation, Margery asked if Sharon

had to pay a deposit to the power company. No, replied Sharon, a deposit was

waived for good credit.

As the case of Margery illustrates, you first build a credit report when you

fill out a credit application and the company orders a credit report on you. If

there is no information in their databases, they will store your basic identifying

information – name, address, and social security number. Once you do get a loan

that is reported, that information will then be sent to one or more of the major

reporting agencies to start your credit file.

Read More for more information: Great Credit: What is the Meaning of Great Credit?

How to Get Your free credit reports | how can I check my credit score without affecting it | find out credit score free


The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (which updated the

Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act), requires every major national credit bureau

to give each consumer a free credit report per year. In addition, you can order a

free copy of your report from bureaus that compile reports on:

(1) Medical records or payments;

(2) Residential or tenant history;

(3) Check writing history (such as Chexsystems or Telecheck);

(4) Employment history; or

(5) Insurance claims (such as CLUE).

You can get your free reports from each of the three major credit reporting

agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. In addition, you can get another free copy

of your report when:

  • You have been denied credit or other benefits, or have received notice of a

change of your credit status in the last 60 days.

  • You are unemployed, receiving welfare, or have been denied employment.
  • You believe you are a victim of fraud. (Fraud victims get two free reports a

year).

  • You are notified that you did not qualify for the lender’s best rate or terms

based on information in your credit report.

If you are going to buy a home or car, invest in real estate, or make another

major purchase, get your credit report immediately. It can sometimes take 60days to clear up mistakes. If you are a real estate investor, it can pay to subscribe

to a service that monitors your credit report each month.

Read More for more information: How To Beat The Lenders At Their own Game

Who Gets Your free credit report? | find out credit score free

who gets your credit report
who gets your credit report

 

With all the sensitive information in credit reports, you’d think companies would

need your permission, maybe even written permission, to get your credit report.

Not so.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows companies to obtain a credit report for:

  • Employment purposes (by a prospective or current employer). Here they do

need your written permission first;

  • Insurance underwriting purposes (including when your policy is up for

renewal);

  • Considering your application for credit, or to review or collect an existing

credit account (this could include applying for cell phone service, for

example);

  • A legitimate business purpose in connection with a business transaction

initiated by the consumer; and

  • Per court order or in conjunction with certain requests involving child

support.

While there are lots of sources for ordering your own credit report, it’s harder

to get credit reports from other people. If you want to purchase consumer credit

reports, for example, on prospective renters for your properties, you can go

through an agency that supplies credit reports for that purpose. It is illegal to get

a report on say, your fiancé or your ex, without their permission, but it might not

be terribly difficult to do either. (Don’t do it, though. The penalties can be

severe. I just want to point out that the system isn’t fail-proof.)

Read More for more information: How CREDIT System Works in Banking | Finance?

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What’s In Your free credit report? | company credit report

What’s In Your Report
What’s In Your Report

 

There are four kinds of information in your credit report: personal information,

account information, public record information, and inquiries.

Personal information. This includes your:

  • Full name including Jr., Sr., or I, II, III
  • The address used when requesting your credit report
  • Previous addresses• Social security number
  • Year and date of birth
  • Current and former employer information
  • Variations of your personal information on file, such as nicknames former

names, different social security numbers, different addresses, etc.

While it helps to make sure all your information here is correct, some carries

more weight than others. CRAs aren’t known for keeping accurate employment

information, for example, so don’t sweat it too much if that’s not up to date.

(Although correcting it wouldn’t be a bad idea either.) On the other hand, if

there’s a social security number that doesn’t belong to you, you’ll want to get

that taken off as quickly as possible since it could indicate fraud.

Account information. This is a list of accounts (called “tradelines” in the

industry) you currently have or have had in the past including:

  • Account name and number
  • Date opened, closed
  • The monthly payment amount rounded off to the nearest dollar
  • Monthly payment history, usually covering at least 24 months
  • Current status of the account (paid as agreed, 30 days late, etc.)

The types of accounts that normally appear on your credit report are:

  • Credit cards, retail or department store cards, gas company cards
  • Bank loans,
  • Auto loans and leases
  • Mortgages and home equity loans or lines
  • Consumer finance company accounts
  • Recreational vehicle loans
  • Credit union credit cards or loans
  • Student loans

Types of accounts that do not generally appear on your standard credit

report:

  • Rent-to-own accounts
  • Checking account information• Accounts with smaller institutions
  • Rental payment history
  • Utilities or cell phone accounts, unless sent to collections
  • Medical bills, unless delinquent
  • Child support, unless delinquent

Important: No law requires that lenders report to credit reporting agencies.

Some report to only one or two bureaus, while others only report if you fall

behind. There are also specialized bureaus for checking account information,

which we’ll describe later.

Read More for more information: Debt Consolidation: Best Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad

Rating Codes

When you get your report, most of the information will likely be spelled out in

plain English. But the codes that have been around for years are still sometimes

used so it’s helpful to know what they are.

free credit report rating codes
free credit report rating codes

 

Numeric codes for current payment status:

credit report payment status

credit report payment status-
credit report payment status-

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You want as many on-time payments listed as possible.

Your payment history is the most important section of your report so you

want to look at it carefully to make sure it’s accurate. The sooner you spot

mistakes, the more time you’ll have to straighten them out (and it does take

time). We’ll explain how to do that in a later post.

Public record and collections information may include:

  • Court judgments
  • Federal, state, and county liens, including tax liens
  • Bankruptcy filings• Collection accounts

Public record information is a little different in that there is no account

number, credit limit, or payment history. There’s no rating, either, but these

listings are considered negative.

There can be a lot of room for error here. One woman, for example, moved

from California to Florida. A few years later she discovered the State of

California determined she owed an extra $100 on her state income tax. But since

they didn’t have her current address, they had gone ahead and got a judgment

against her. (By this time it was up to $400+ including penalties). She paid it off,

but two years later the judgment had never been listed as satisfied on her credit

report and created additional problems because it looked like she still owed it.

Collection accounts are another problem. Frequently, they are not listed as

paid when they have been, or they are not listed in dispute when the consumer

has legitimately disputed them.

By the way, in most states, employers can review your credit reports as long

as they get your written permission first. According to the National Consumer

Law Center, many employers fail to give current or prospective employees the

notices required when credit reports are used for employment purposes.

Inquiries – free credit report

Inquiries list the companies that have seen your credit report in the past two

years. It’s not unusual to see companies you don’t recognize in this section. First

of all, companies don’t need your written permission to access your credit file.

They just need legitimate credit, insurance, or employment purpose. Requesting

a new cell phone account could create an inquiry on your file, for example.

Also, the company actually accessing your report may have a different name.

For example, you go into your local Dave’s Flooring and apply for an account to

buy a new carpet for your home. That financing may be handled by XYZ Finance

Co., which is what’s listed on your credit report.

Warning: Inquiries from companies you don’t recognize could be an early

sign of credit fraud so don’t hesitate to ask the CRA for more information and

contact that company, if necessary, to find out why it reviewed your file.

As we discussed in the last post, only hard inquiries, or inquiries where

you actually apply for credit, hurt your credit score.

Read More for more information: Private Student Loans: How To Take Education Loan For Collage

How Long Can Information Be Reported? | company credit report

If you have damaged credit, this is probably really important to you: How

long can that bad information stays on your report?

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The Long Shadow of Credit | company credit report

Roberto had made some mistakes. He had taken some risks in a restaurant that

didn’t work out. The first twelve months after the business went under were

tough. Roberto had been a sole proprietor and was personally responsible for

every claim, whether he personally guaranteed them or not. Creditors hounded

him night and day.

Roberto’s attorney had told him to incorporate to limit his liability. He

thought his attorney just wanted to make an extra thousand dollars off of him.

Now Roberto realized that spending the thousand dollars would have saved him

tens of thousands of dollars in grief and lost sleep.

The restaurant supply company sued Roberto and won a judgment of

$50,000. Because the alleged fraud prevailed, Roberto couldn’t dismiss the

claim in bankruptcy. He paid $1,000 a month for five years to satisfy the

judgment. His quality of life suffered greatly for those five years.

The other vendors – the production company, the linen company, the landlord, and the like, all threatened to sue. For six months Roberto had dealt with angry

business owners. He had held them off by telling them the truth – he didn’t have

any money. Roberto was wiped out.

Then attack-dog collection agencies stepped in. The vendors had turned their

claims over to some not very pleasant people who sneered hatred over the phone.

These people, in violation of the law, called Roberto late at night and threatened

all forms of damnation if he didn’t pay off the debts.

For another six months, Roberto had weathered these calls. He told the truth.

He didn’t have any money. The collection agencies threatened to sue. Roberto

said that was their right. The collection agencies threatened to ruin Roberto’s

credit rating. Roberto said that it was already ruined.

Eventually, Roberto developed a twisted philosophical – and useful – sense

of the collection game. The collection agencies were paid to be nasty people,

doing a nasty paying job. They had issues. While Roberto had failed once, he

was still a moral person and thus superior in spirit to the venomous voices on the

other side. He developed a calm in dealing with the collection agencies. The

more they yelled and demanded, the more peaceful Roberto’s responses became.

The calmer he became, the more truly angry some of the collection agents got.

Their vile and invective voice levels became scary, even psychotic. ButRoberto remained calm.

He had learned that those who the Gods would destroy,

they first make angry. By the end of some calls, Roberto worried that the

collector would go straight home and kick the dog. But that wasn’t his problem.

After a year, the calls from business owners and their collection agencies

tapered off. Some had followed through on their threats to place a non-payment

on his credit report. The report now read like an “F” in Money 101.

The last seven years had not been easy. Roberto had gone back to being a

pastry chef. He worked hard for five years to settle the $50,000 debt from the

lawsuit. His credit was so poor he couldn’t begin to buy a house or a car, so he

lived in a modest apartment and took the bus to work.

During the last two years, with the judgment now satisfied, Roberto’s

financial situation had improved. He was saving money to buy a car with cash.

How he would pay for auto insurance he wasn’t sure of, beyond providence

taking care of him.

Then Roberto got another call. He knew from the sneering voice that it was

from a bill collector. The voice demanded the linen company be paid $10,000

immediately or litigation would ensue. The voice claimed that the linen company

would easily prevail in court, and, with interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees, a

total of $20,000 would be owed. Roberto remained calm. He asked a logical

question. How long are these debts due? The collector became very angry. He

shouted that the debts were due forever from deadbeats and that his credit report

would show it into eternity. He told Roberto that he had 24 hours to decide

between $10,000 or $20,000 and slammed down the phone.

Roberto had a sense that something wasn’t quite right. He hadn’t learned it in

school – unfortunately, the school had taught him nothing about money – but it

seemed that at some point a debt obligation ended. It seemed to Roberto that

after a certain number of years he should be free of such claims.

Roberto decided to see his attorney for advice. He’d rather spend $200 than

$10,000, if possible.

The attorney informed Roberto that there was a set period of time after

which debt obligations expired. In legal jargon, this was called a “statute of

limitations,” or a time period by which something had to occur. These time

periods, the attorney explained, have existed since the Roman Empire. Emperors

were keenly aware that when enough time had passed claims needed to be

extinguished. To allow disputes to continue for decades and generations was not

good for the stability of the Empire. And so governments have continued with

limitations to this day. While each state had a different time period for various matters, in Roberto’s state the statute of limitations for collecting on debt was

seven years.

Roberto said that seven years had already passed. The attorney

acknowledged that point and commented that the other time period of note was

the seven and one-half years those debts could appear on his credit reports. That

got Roberto’s attention. He told his attorney the collection agent had said the

debt would be reported forever.

The attorney laughed. He had dealt with liars for twenty years and no class

of liar was more brazen than bill collectors who misrepresented that debts stayed

on your credit report forever. The attorney informed Roberto that the debt fell off

a credit report after seven years and six months from the date he first fell behind

with the original creditor.

Roberto was now angry. The collection agent was trying to trick him into

paying a debt that was outside of the statute of limitations, thus legally not owed,

and was soon to be off his credit report. The lawyer nodded and commented that

it happened all the time. Collection agencies would try to collect old debts

through trickery. He pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission encouraged

Americans to report such abuses at the ftc.gov website and presented a report

about those complaints each year to Congress.

Roberto was only too happy to report them if only to vent his fury. And, in

another four months, his credit report was cleared of his restaurant venture.

Roberto felt free once again and looked forward to buying his first home.

As Roberto’s case indicates, credit reports can cast a long shadow, so it is

important to know how long information remains in your file. Here’s what the

Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act says:

  • Bankruptcy: all personal bankruptcies can remain ten years from the filing

date (not the discharge date, which is when the bankruptcy ends.) If you

filed this post, however, and paid back some of your debts over a few

years, then you can ask the CRAs to remove your bankruptcy seven years

from the date of filing. In fact, in most cases, they will do this

automatically.

  • Civil suits or civil judgments: Seven years from the date of entry (by the

court), or the current governing statute of limitations, whichever is longer.

Often credit bureaus will remove these seven years from the date of entry if

they are paid.

  • Paid tax liens: Once paid or satisfied, ask the IRS to have them removed.

Otherwise, they are reported for seven years from the date satisfied or paid.• Unpaid tax liens: Indefinitely until the lien is paid, unless you qualify to

have them removed. We’ll explain how later in this post.

  • Collection or charge-off accounts: No longer than seven years and 180 days

from the original date of delinquency.

  • Late Payments: No longer than seven years.
  • Delinquent Student Loans: If you currently have a defaulted federally

insured student loan and make twelve consecutive on-time payments, and

are not late for ANY reason, you can then request to have the previous late

payments wiped out. Otherwise, seven years.

  • Positive or neutral information may be reported indefinitely.

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Seven Years From When? – free credit report

This gets confusing. One consumer received an email from one of the largest

credit reporting agencies saying that collection accounts would be reported for

seven years from the date of the last activity. But what does the date of the last activity

mean? The last time a payment was made? The last time she used the account?

The FCRA doesn’t mention the date of the last activity, but you may hear it from time to

time. Attorneys at the Federal Trade Commission have commented that the date of

last activity does not determine how long information can remain on your report.

The FCRA spells out very specific rules for how long collection or charged-off accounts can be reported: 7 years and 180 days (roughly six months) from

the date the payment was due leading up to the charge off or collection account.

Note that it does not start when the account was placed for collection or from the

date of the last activity.

Example: Let’s say you first fell behind on your January 2012 payment on

your SkyHigh Bank credit card. You didn’t make your payments so in June

2012, the bank charged off your account. In December 2012 it was sent to Tough

Times Collection Agency. That delinquency and collection account can remain

on your report for seven years from January 2012 – the date the payment was

due.

Collection agencies are required by law to report the original date of

delinquency. If you can’t tell what it is from your report, ask the credit reporting

agency. If it’s not there, dispute it. That’s the only way they can tell how long to

report those accounts.

Also, don’t let collection agencies tell you they can report information

forever. Those accounts fall off after seven and a half years whether you pay them or not. Collection agency threats to keep reporting negative information

longer than permitted by law are illegal. If a collection agency tells you

otherwise, report them to the Federal Trade Commission at the ftc.gov site and to

the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at the consumerfinance.gov site.

How to Get Tax Liens Removed- free credit report

How to Get Tax Liens Removed
How to Get Tax Liens Removed

 

Tax liens hurt your credit scores tremendously. As I mentioned earlier, under the

FCRA, tax liens may be reported indefinitely if they are unpaid, and then once

you’ve paid (or settled them) they remain seven years from the date they were

paid. That can keep them on your credit reports for a very long time!

However, under the “Fresh Start” program announced by the IRS in 2011,

you can request to have a tax lien removed if you have paid it; or if you owe

$25,000 or less and enter into an installment agreement to pay the tax and allow

the IRS to take the monthly payments from your bank account. (There will be a

probationary period of a few months to ensure you are making payments.) If you

meet either of those qualifications, you’ll submit Form 12277 requesting that the

lien be withdrawn. It doesn’t happen automatically, and even after you submit

your request it can take a few months.

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Other Consumer Reporting Agencies – company credit report

Other Consumer Reporting Agencies
Other Consumer Reporting Agencies

 

Innovis

Innovis Data Solutions (found at innovis.com), when it’s mentioned, is often

referred to as a fourth credit bureau. It’s not well known, and in fact, it’s very

hard to find information about Innovis and what it does. Currently, it does not

provide credit reports directly to lenders. Instead, it sells lists that credit card

companies and other businesses can use for their marketing. For example, it sells

a list of people who have moved recently, as well as a list of people who have

been delinquent on their accounts (to be used as an additional screening for pre-

approved credit card offers).

You’re not going to be denied credit based on your Innovis report. But

you could be taken off lists for the most favorable offers so it’s a good idea while

you’re checking your credit report to review your Innovis file as well.

Instructions can be found at innovis.com.

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Chexsystems, Telecheck, and Certegy

Checked Out

Amber worked at a car dealership in the service department. She had worked

herself up the ladder and had accepted a job as an assistant manager at another

dealership five hundred miles away. She liked using local banks, feeling she

received more personalized service at a smaller institution. So she closed her old

bank account knowing she would open a new one at a smaller bank in her new

town.

A problem occurred between the closing of Amber’s old account and the

opening of her new one.

Amber threw her old checks away, not in a shredder, but in an open trash can

in the middle of the business office. Amber thought that with the account closed

there was no need for any special precautions. She did not worry that someone in

the payroll department had access to Amber’s social security number, signature

sample, and, now, her checks.

When Amber was settled in her new town she went into a local bank to open

up a new account. She was politely told by the new accounts representative that

they would not be able to help her. Amber was confused and then angry. She

demanded to know why they wouldn’t open an account. She had good credit and

never missed a payment. She was told she would receive a letter explaining why.

Amber left furious and went to a slightly larger bank. The response was the

same – no new account – but the representative was more forthcoming. The bank

used a consumer reporting agency, Chexsystems, that was reporting negative

information about her. The representative warned her that there were two other

agencies the bank had used in the past, Telecheck and Certegy and that if even

one company had a negative report it could make it difficult for her to open a

new checking account.

Amber questioned how a negative report could arise. She had closed the

account after the checks she had written were cleared. The banker asked her

whether she had failed to cancel any automatic payments from that account that

may have subsequently overdraft the account. “No,” she replied. Unable to

provide her with any more information, the banker gave her the telephone

numbers of the check reporting agencies. After a great deal of time and effort,

Amber discovered that her discarded checks had been used fraudulently. It took

her several months to straighten out the mess and get the negative information

removed from her checking account consumer reports. Only then could she open

a new account.

Bounced checks or overdraft checking accounts don’t usually find their

way onto a standard credit report. The one way these issues can show up is when the negative balance has been turned over to an outside collection agency. But

your one NSF issue (non-sufficient funds) and the returned check won’t affect your

FICO score.

That said, within the banking industry there are three agencies that do report

such issues to banks and merchants which, of course, want to avoid bounced and

fraudulent checks.

Telecheck maintains a database of bank and checking account information

and then uses risk-based metrics to alert merchants as to potential fraud before

accepting a check. If you’ve ever paid by check and were given an electronic

receipt of the transaction to sign you’ve seen Telecheck Electronic Check

Acceptance® of service at work.

Chexsystems collects information from member financial firms and then

shares it back with them. Their reports help banks, savings and loans, and the

like to determine whether a new account should be opened or not. This agency is

where your NSFs and bounced checks will lead to a negative rating.

Certegy Check Systems, through their database and risk analytics software,

also helps merchants decide whether to accept a check or not. If a merchant uses

Certegy to decline your check the company has a service to help you avoid such

problems in the future. It is called the Certegy Gold Application and it’s free.

Filling out the form at Askcertegy.com it can help you avoid most check declines.

All three services offer a free copy of your report every year. (Of course, if

you aren’t in their systems they won’t have a report on you.) To obtain a free

report contact:

– Chexsystems: 1-800-428-9623 or ConsumerDebit.com

– Certegy Check Systems, Inc.: 1-866-543-6315 or AskCertegy.com

– Telecheck/FirstData 1-800-366-2425 or FirstData.com

If you do have a report with one of these agencies, and there is a mistake,

you can dispute it. These agencies are consumer reporting agencies covered by

the FCRA.

If the information is accurate, and you still owe fees or charges to the

the financial institution that reported you, see if you can get the financial institution

to agree to delete your report if you pay the balance due. Negative information

will remain on file for five years and can make it difficult to open a new account

elsewhere.

Watch out! Even if you never bounce checks, you could end up with a

negative Chexsystems report. How? If you close an account and forget about

recurring fees or preauthorized withdrawals, those charges could create an overdraft on your account that could trigger a report with one of these agencies.

Got A CLUE?

There is a consumer report that may totally surprise you. It is a report not on you, but

rather on the property that you buy. Known as the Comprehensive Loss

Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, is an insurance industry database that

insurers use to deny coverage on problem properties.

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Bad Dog, Bad House

Nicolas was ready to invest in residential real estate. He had overcome some

financial hurdles and in the last year had purchased his first house. It was

currently his primary residence, but Nicolas purchased it with an eye to turning it

into a rental when he moved to a bigger house, as he knew he would.

For now, Nicolas was looking for another single-family home to buy to

generate some monthly passive income. He knew his previous financial

challenges could be finally conquered with an additional $200 a month in

passive income. So, Nicolas needed to find the right property at the right price.

After several weeks of diligent searching, Nicolas came across a suitable

candidate. It was a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom fixer-upper house, with wood floors

and a large backyard that seemed to be priced $20,000 under local market

comparables. And the absentee owner was willing to carry an interest-only loan

for two years so the new owner could get in and fix the place.

Nicolas was interested and toured the property. He noticed a sharp, pungent

odor as he entered, but after a minute or two, he grew accustomed to it. The

property checked out and he made an offer on it with a $2,000 down payment.

In doing his due diligence and acquisition work, Nicolas contacted his

insurance broker to work on covering the property. A day later the broker called

back with bad news. He couldn’t cover the property due to a negative CLUE

report. Since Nicolas didn’t have a clue what he meant, his broker explained. In

the face of record claims, the insurance industry was targeting problem

properties. If a number of burglaries, water or storm damage, or other claims had

been filed against one property, insurers were now refusing coverage. The

decision had nothing to do with the individual’s credit rating but rested solely on

the property’s prior claims history.

Nicolas asked what was wrong with the property. The broker explained that

the owner had rented to families with dogs. Every time a family would move out the owner would submit an insurance claim for damage done by the dogs’

expressions of territory. Nicolas noted the odor was pretty strong but asked why

he couldn’t get insurance if he agreed not to rent to dog owners anymore. The

broker replied that future promises and fresh starts weren’t a consideration. The

property was not only marked by the dogs but by the insurance industry as well.

They weren’t going to go there anymore.

Nicolas appreciated the information. He backed out of the deal. Someone

else would have to be clueless about the property.

It is important to note that only the current property owners can order a

CLUE report at choicetrust.com. As such, buyers will want to require sellers to

provide them with an insurable CLUE report. Otherwise, when you can’t obtain

insurance on some real estate with problems, the property’s negative profile may

end up sullying your own good credit.

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FAQ

When is the CIBIL score updated?
This way we can know that, if you have done any credit transaction today, it takes 45 days to get updated. Now we can say that the CIBIL score is updated after 45 days. Apart from this, if the bank sends its report late, it may take 45 to 60 days for the CIBIL score to be updated.

What is a good credit score?
To get a credit card, you must have a good credit score. A score of 750 or more is considered good by the bank.

How to get a loan in case of civil failure?
If your CIBIL score is bad and you are in urgent need of money then it is better not to apply for a loan from the bank so applying for a loan from NBFC would be fine. Because they also give loans to customers with low credit scores. However, the interest rates charged by NBFCs are higher than those offered by banks.

What should be the credit score to get the loan?
In this at least your score should be more than 750. If you score less than this, you can get into trouble. A score above 800 is considered good. By the way, people who have a score of 750 or more, can get a loan quickly and easily.

In how many days is the CIBIL score corrected?
CIBIL score is updated within 90 days. CIBIL gets updated if the customer pays the loan on time.

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