Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to Contact Credit Reporting Agencies

Credit reporting agencies are feared almost as much as the IRS-and there are three credit reporting beasts compared to just one IRS monster. The problem, of course, is that the credit agencies can make or break your chances at approval for a loan for a car, home, education or even employment. Almost everyone at some point will need to contact the credit companies. Here are some steps to make the communication more efficient and get you the results you need.

Contact Credit Reporting Agencies to Obtain a Credit Report

Order a free annual consumer credit report online by visiting Annual Credit Report.

Point your browser to the PDF file in the Resources section to download the mail order form for a report from all 3 agencies. Complete the form and send to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Call Experian at 1-888-397-3742 to request a personal credit report.

Call Experian's Business hotline at 1-800-520-1221 for business credit services.

Call Transunion's service at 1-877-322-8228 for personal assistance.

Call 1-800-813-5604 for Transunion's corporate help.

Call 1-800-685-1111 to talk to an agent at Equifax and order a credit report from them.

Call 1-888-202-4025 for the business liaisons at Equifax.

Contact Credit Reporting Agencies to Dispute Information

Obtain your credit report. You'll need one to dispute any charge.

Visit the Experian site (see link below) to dispute a charge on your Experian account or call 1-888-397-3742.

You can write to Experian at:

P.O Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013

Contact the Transunion dispute center at 1-800-916-8800 or visit them at the ir Web site.

Write to Transunion at:

P.O Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Point your browser to the dispute page at the Equifax Web site or call 1-800-525-6285 to reach Equifax.

Send snail mail to Equifax at:

P.O Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Read the full original article here.

How to Read a Credit Report

In this age of increased identity theft, all consumers should check their credit report on an annual basis. Consumers are entitled to receive on credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRA) each year at no charge. By going to the Annual Credit Report website, consumers can receive their credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If a consumer is looking at a credit report for the first time, they may be a bit confused. Understanding how to read a credit report helps consumers interpret the information contained in their credit bureau report.

Browse over your credit report in its entirety. You may have your credit report in electronic format or a printed copy. By looking over the credit report from top to bottom, you are able to gain a basic idea of the type of data included in the report. After reading it all, you are now prepared to take a more detailed look of the report.

Verify that your contact information is listed correctly. All three of the major credit bureaus will present the information in different orders put typically your contact information is near the top of the report. In addition to your current address, previous addresses as well as employer information may also be listed here.

Review your credit summary. The credit reporting agencies will typically list a summary of your credit report following your contact information. This information may be broken down by type of debt – real estate, revolving, installment and collection accounts. The summary of accounts will include the total number of accounts that you have (both open and closed) as well as the current total of your outstanding debt.

Read the Public Records section if you have data listed there. Not all consumers will have public record information. Public records include judgments, liens, bankruptcy and sometimes delinquent child support.

Look at the information included in the Credit Inquiries section. A credit inquiry is made when you apply for credit. Some credit reporting agencies will also include information in this section from companies that have looked at your credit in order to extend you an offer. Your current creditors may also look at your credit report from time-to-time and this may also appear in this section.

Read through your entire Account History section. All (or the majority) of your credit accounts should appear in this section. The creditor name, a partial account number, the type of account, the account status, the balance information, payment status, account status and miscellaneous comments can be included in this section. The months and dates listed underneath the account summary show how the creditor has reported this account. If you have delinquencies, they will be showed in this section.

Compare the data in your account history to the legend to interpret the specific information included in your report. The legend typically appears at the bottom of the credit report.

Read the full original article here.

How to Negotiate a Better Credit Card Deal

That plastic card in your wallet isn't the only thing flexible about your credit--your card's interest rate and annual fee are, too. Credit card offers range all across the board. That's great news for you as a consumer, because with a little effort you can get a better deal.

Find out which cards have lower rates than your current card. Call your credit card company and indicate that you are thinking of canceling your account and going with another card with a much lower rate. Ask for a rate that matches the other card.

Negotiate a reduction in your annual fee. Finance charges are not the only cost of holding a credit card. The annual fee can add up to much more than your monthly finance charges. Call your credit card company and negotiate hard to reduce or even eliminate this fee. Again, threatening to close your account usually gets their attention. Don't bother trying this with cards that are co-branded with airlines or hotels to offer rewards; these cards will never drop their fee.

Go to a site such as to compare rates, but make sure you pay attention to all the details of the agreement. Note whether there is a grace period and how long it is; how long the introductory rate is in place; what the late fee is; whether the rate applies to new purchases, balance transfers, cash advances or only some transactions; and whether the introductory rate automatically increases if a payment is late.

Cite your history as a customer. If you've been with a card company for a while, play up your loyalty. Learn your FICO score ( to know whether your credit rating is top-notch or not. If it is in great shape, you'll likely be able to secure a very low rate elsewhere-- and you should tell your current credit card company that.

Arrange for a balance transfer to your new card from your old card once you line up a better rate elsewhere. Read the fine print about balance transfer interest rates: They can often be higher than the interest on purchases.

Factor in the perks. Many cards that give added benefits, like airline miles or cash rebates, often charge annual fees and have higher interest rates. If you use your card substantially, these benefits add up and may be more valuable than the amount of the fees. Do the math to see if you come out ahead on benefits.

If you pay off your balance in any one month, forget interest rate and maximize other benefits. Let's face it, if you don't carry a balance, who cares what the rate is? Go for the added benefits like miles, loyalty points, cash rebates or low or no annual fees.

Read the full original article here.

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debt

If you're in over your head with credit card debt, you may feel as if you have no control at all, but that's not true. Credit card companies are surprisingly willing to negotiate with consumers on everything from interest rates and fees to payment plans. Often, all you have to do is ask.

Negotiate Credit Card Debt

Ask for a lower interest rate. If you've been making payments on time, you should have no trouble negotiating a rate that is at least 2 percent below the national average. Even if you haven't been making payments on time, it's worth a phone call to see whether you can cut your interest rate slightly.

Request that fees, such as those for making late payments, using "free checks" and accessing money through ATMs, be waived. Some credit card companies won't budge on these fees. Others are surprisingly willing to negotiate.

Set up a payment plan. If you've been making your payments in a timely manner, most credit card companies won't negotiate much on payment plans. However, if you've been unable to pay for several months, you may find them willing to work with you to set up an affordable plan. After all, they'd rather get their money slowly than not get it at all.

Offer a lump-sum settlement of about 25 percent of the total balance.

Get all negotiated deals about your credit card debt in writing. As the old joke goes, an oral contract isn't worth the paper on which it's written.

Seek credit counseling. An experienced and reputable credit counselor may be able to work out a deal when you can't. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers a ZIP-code locator at, allowing you to find a credit counselor near you.

Read the full original article here.

How to Repair a Bad Credit History

No matter how bad your credit is, you can take steps that will make it better.

Pay all of your bills on time. Late payments (payments that are 30 days late or more) have a negative effect on your credit rating.

Reduce the number of credit cards you carry. Write to your creditors to request that they close your accounts and report this status change to all three credit-reporting agencies.

Avoid bankruptcies, tax liens (a lien for not paying state or federal income taxes or property taxes) and collections. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years. Collection accounts and paid tax liens stay on for seven years, and unpaid tax liens will haunt you forever.

Request in writing that your creditors reduce the credit limits on your accounts to lower your amount of available credit. The total amount of available credit is considered by lenders even if you owe nothing.

Ask a family member or friend to co-sign on a small loan or credit card to help you re-establish credit. Make your payments on time.

Get a secured credit card to help reestablish your credit. You will have to keep a designated amount of money in an account that will be sufficient to cover your charges. Make payments on time.

Get a yearly copy of your credit report to catch any errors (see 'eHow to Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report').

Read the original full article here.

How to Apply for a Credit Card

A credit card is a card issued by a bank, retailer or consumer store, which allows purchase of goods and services on credit for a specific limit, interest rate and time period. There are a variety of credit cards to choose from, depending on the requirements of the person. You can apply for a credit card online, through paper application or by phone. Here's how to apply for a credit card.

Find out information about credit card plans, rates and terms on the Internet, in personal finance magazines and in newspapers.

Fill out the paper application for a credit card of your choice, if you do not want to apply online. Ensure that the application is endorsed by the credit card company and is an original document, not photocopied.

Apply on phone, by calling up the toll free (800) number of the credit card company of your choice. This number can be found online, through yellow pages, newspapers or magazines. Follow the automatic instructions that you hear when you call the number.

Apply online, which is usually the easiest, fastest and most preferred method of credit card application. Go online and search for the different credit card options offered by different banks, financial institutions and stores.

Compare the different features as regards the fixed or fluctuating interest rates, APR, credit limits, interest-free days, penalties, grace periods, schemes for cash advances and balance transfers, attractive offers and other implied costs.

Choose one to suit your requirements and search for applying options online.

Check for the preconditions of applying, such as a driving license number, social security number, date of birth and address proof. Usually, there is no need to have a bank account in a specific bank, nor do you need to maintain a minimum bank balance.

Fill in the details, double check the information included, read the privacy statement and click on "Apply."

Apply for multiple credit cards if you choose. However, the authority to issue of all these cards simultaneously rests with the issuer, who will first ensure whether you have a reliable financial background.

Read the full original article here.

How to Reduce Credit Card Debt

Reducing credit card debt is usually a consumer’s first step towards financial freedom. Credit card companies entice consumers in with low introductory rates, cash advance checks and other gimmicky promotions. What consumers don’t realize is that they are at the credit card company’s mercy. That low introductory rate can quickly turn into a 30% APR. By reducing your credit card debt, you will free up your finances for retirement, college and other savings venues.

Make a list of all of your credit cards. Start with the smallest balance on the top of the list and the largest balance on the bottom. Also write down the minimum payment that is due on the credit card at this time. Credit card minimum payments go down as the balance goes down which increases the payoff time exponentially.

Stop using your credit cards. If you cannot pay cash for an item, do not purchase it. You will never get out of credit card debt if you do not stop using your credit cards today. You can cut them up, freeze them, or shred them – whatever you think will help you stop using them.

Pay the current minimum payment on your account, or more, every month. As the balance goes down, and subsequently the minimum payment is reduced, do not reduce your minimum payment. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your credit card debt.

Use unexpected income to boost your credit card payment. If you receive unexpected income, instead of considering it a ticket to splurge put the total amount of the unexpected income onto your smallest credit card balance. This will help expedite the card’s payoff thus reducing your overall credit card debt load.

Roll over the minimum payment from a credit card that has been paid off onto the next credit card in your list. If you have multiple credit card accounts, as one is paid off, apply that card’s minimum payment to the payment you are making on the next account. Your total monthly credit card payment remains the same however the payments are restructured. This will also quickly expedite your credit card payoff.

Consider liquidating certain savings account to pay off your credit card debt. Do not liquid retirement funds as the penalties are prohibitive. If, however, you have a savings account earning 1% interest, use a portion of those funds to pay down on a credit card charging a higher interest rate. Do not completely liquidate your savings as you will want access to non-credit card funds in the event of an emergency.

Track your progress in a visual manner. Put a pie chart up on your refrigerator and update it every month. As you see your progress daily, you will be more motivated to stay on track to reduce your credit card debt.

Read the original full article here.

How to Get a Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit

Having bad credit won't necessarily prevent you from getting a credit card, but it can make it-along with other, larger purchases in your life- much more difficult. Follow these steps to get a credit card despite your bad credit.

Apply for credit cards at smaller retail stores. Sometimes these companies are more willing to give you a chance. If your application is accepted, make a small purchase and pay at least the minimum payment every month and on time. (If you pay more than the minimum payment, you won't pay as much in interest charges.)

Go to your bank, savings institution or credit union. If they already have your business, they may be more willing to give you a credit card.

Apply for a secured credit card if all else fails. You will be required to open and maintain a savings account as security for your line of credit. Your credit line will be a percentage of your deposit.

Ask a friend or family member to co-sign for a credit card. Remember that their credit counts as well, so choose someone with good credit. If you can't pay back the loan, they must, and it will appear as a blemish on their credit rating.

Read the original full article here.

How to Fix Bad Credit

Living with debt or bad credit can be very stressful, but help is closer than you realize. Improving your credit rating requires that you take positive action and change your attitude toward money. Follow these steps and be on the road to debt recovery.

Request a copy of your credit report from a credit bureau. If there is an error, write to the bureau and ask it to fix the mistake. It might also help to contact the creditor who reported the error. Some creditors will contact the bureau on your behalf.

If the bad marks on your credit report result from outstanding debts, repay them as quickly as possible. Pay off those with the highest interest rates first.

If your debts are overwhelming, contact a nonprofit credit-counseling organization to work out a debt-consolidation plan. A counselor will help you consolidate your debts and will contact your debtors on your behalf to reduce or eliminate finance charges. This can reduce your monthly payments by up to 40 percent.

Steer clear of any services that offer you credit-repair or debt-consolidation loans. These companies will plunge you further into debt. Be suspicious of any company that advertises aggressively or sends unsolicited mail or e-mail.

Close your credit accounts and cut up the cards. Sell valuables or liquidate assets that will help you repay your debts. Buy the bare essentials (food and gas) and use the rest of your earnings to pay off your consolidated debts.

Work with your credit counselor to repay all of your debts. Meanwhile, live a life that will help you re-establish good credit. Pay rent and utilities or mortgages promptly, keep the same residence and job, maintain savings and checking accounts, set a budget and stick to it.

Once you have repaid your debts, apply for a new credit card to build a good credit history. It might be easier initially to get a department-store or gasoline credit card or one from an employee credit union.

Promptly pay off the balance of the credit card monthly to build good credit. Use the card responsibly.

If you don't qualify for a regular credit card, apply for a secured one. With a secured credit card, you fund an account up front and then "charge" expenses on it. This card will show up as a credit card on your credit report and, if used responsibly, can help you build a good credit history.

Read the full original article here.

How to Build a Good Credit History

Building a good credit history is essential to anyone who expects to make major purchases, rent an apartment or start a business. Building good credit is actually easy to do - if you pay attention to your expenses. Follow these steps to help build your credit history.

Step One

Know which accounts are shown on your credit report.

Step Two

Request a copy of your credit report at least once a year.

Step Three

Check that the information shown on your report is accurate.

Step Four

Pay all of your bills on time. You don't need to pay the entire balance each month, but make at least the minimum payment promptly.

Step Five

Avoid going over the credit limit on your credit card account. Some credit card companies allow you to do this as a courtesy, but it can reflect poorly on your ability to handle your account.

Step Six

Cancel credit cards you aren't using or don't anticipate using.

See original full article here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to Get A Bad Credit Credit Card

If you have bad credit, you can still get a credit card. You can even use your new credit card to build your credit back. A bad credit, credit card will help you to get back on your feet again and establish credit or repair bad credit. It is necessary to have a credit card for so many things in this world, that it is best if you have one for emergencies even if you do not use it.

RESEARCH - Search for credit card companies that offer credit cards to individuals with bad credit. As with any personal financial transaction, you should take the time to research which card will be best for you and what all of the rules and policies are regarding the credit card company. Most likely you will need to find a secure credit card. It will be secured with your own money. You will send the credit card money $500 and then you will have $500 in credit. This may seem like a waste of time at first but if you need a bad credit credit card, this is the only way to go. You will have a credit card if you need one and it will help repair your credit.

APPLY - Apply for the credit card with the best terms. Do not apply for multiple credit cards at one time, that is not good for your credit. If you know that your credit is very bad then a secure credit card is probably your only choice. If you think that your credit is not that bad, then you can try for a regular credit card at first and then apply for a secure credit card if you get declined. Be honest on your application, it does not help to lie. Never apply for credit using someones identity, always use your own information. Bad credit is not good, but it is not illegal.

SEND THE DEPOSIT - Transfer or mail in your deposit to secure your new credit card. You are taking the first step to repair your bad credit. It is helpful if you use the credit card every once in a while, but it is not necessary for you to use up all the credit you have available on the card. Once you have the card for a year, you can try to apply for a regular credit card again.

You can get a bad credit credit card quickly and easily.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Make Credit Card Payments For Visa

When your payment is due for your credit card, you need to know how to pay it, where to pay it and when to pay it. Sometimes you may even need to pay your credit card bill fast. You may need to pay it immediately or within a couple of days. Your good credit is very valuable. You should do everything to protect it, including making your credit card payments on time.

**Over the Phone**

Pay your credit card payment for you Visa card by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card. If you do not have your credit card available, you can call the number on your statement from Visa.

You will need to know your Visa card number, your social security number and other security questions.

In some cases you may have to pay a fee to make your payment instantly on the telephone.


Sign up at the website for your visa credit card if you want to have the option of paying your credit card bill online. You should set up this service ahead of time so that it is already in place when you need to make your visa card payment.

Other credit cards such as Mastercard, Discover and American Express will also allow you to pay your credit card payment online as long as you are registered with their website. Your account must be in good standing to register with the website and make payments online.


Mail your payment regular mail or overnight mail to the address on your visa credit card statement. You can mail your payment for your visa, visa gold or visa platinum.
If you need to send your payment via overnight mail, you may want to contact your credit card company first by calling them on the toll free number listed on the back of the card because the mailing address for overnight envelopes may be different than the address for regular mail.
Always mail you payment on time to avoid any late fees. Credit card companies cannot place a negative or derogatory mark on your credit unless your payment is 30 days late or more.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How to Repair Bad Credit

GET YOUR CREDIT REPORT - You are allowed one free credit report each year. Contact one of the online agencies that can help you get the free report. It is totally free. You should not have to pay anything or join a service to obtain your free report. If you have already obtained one, you will have to wait another 12 months from the date that you requested it before you can get another free credit report. You also can get your free credit report from each of the three top credit reporting agencies, so essentially you can get three reports, one from Transunion, one from Equifax and one from Experian.

DISPUTE DISCREPANCIES - If there are errors or derogatory information on your credit report that you do not agree with, you can dispute it. Dispute each error separately and dispute it with each agency that is reporting the error such as Transunion, Equifax and Experian.

FOLLOW THROUGH - Many times after you dispute an error the credit reporting agencies will ask you to send back up or proof. Make sure that you provide them will all of the information that they are requesting. Keep original documents for yourself and send them copies of what they are requesting.

Knowing how to repair bad credit can turn your credit around and save money.

WAIT - It may take some time to get errors on your credit report cleared up. Also even truthful information that is derogatory will eventually time out and fall off of your credit. For some things such as bankruptcy, it may take ten years before it is removed, for other things, such as foreclosure, you can buy a home again after three years although it will still be on your credit.
All of your bad credit will eventually go away. Take action today to repair your bad credit and keep your credit good. Take care of it just as you would a small child. Your credit needs to be babied. Get started today to rebuild your credit.

If you want more information on how to repair bad credit please look here.

How to Save Money on Christmas with Kids

Have you been wondering how to save money on Christmas this year because you have kids? It is not good to burden young children with financial crisis, although you may want to tell them when they are older and and your crisis is over. They will be happy that you made it through tough times without affecting their childhood.

Start planning now to have the best Christmas ever for your children and family.

CHRISTMAS TREE - Buy a fake tree this Christmas. Fake trees will last seven to ten years. No one will know that it is fake after you have it decorated. You will always be the first one on your block to have your tree up each year. You will save hundreds of dollars by reusing a fake tree each year. It is also good for the environment since you are not cutting down a tree.

Buy your favorite tree because you will be looking at it for many years to come. Every time you put it up, it will remind you that you made it through these tough times.

If you want more information on saving money please look here.

GIFTS - Make gifts this year instead of purchasing gifts. This is a great idea if you have children because they love craft projects. You can weave a decoration on a door mat, make a candle or make your own soap.

You will save plenty of money making gifts for others that you will be able to buy your kids the thing that they want most. Find out what they want and buy them just one "big" gift from Santa. If it is really what they want, you won't need much else. You can also fill their stockings with things from the dollar store.

Knowing how to save money on Christmas with kids will help you to get through tough times.

CAROLING - Go Christmas caroling with family and friends. It is an inexpensive way to spend the evening with your children. You will not have the big expense associated with a Christmas party, yet you will enjoy the evening with your favorite people. Children love the idea of giving to others by singing.

If no one appears to be home, move on to the next house while caroling.

Make sure you plan ahead and invite as many people as possible, the large the group, the better the caroling. Bundle up because it is bound to be cold.

If you need more information about how to save money on Christmas with kids please look here.