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Archive for the 'Fair Debt Colleciton Practices Act' Category

Nov 30 2010

Profile Image of Victoria Finch

Credit Karma takes the mystery out of credit scoring

As a Credit Expert, I regularly give seminars on credit scoring. My goal is to provide resources and knowledge that empowers my clients financially through credit education.

One of those resources that I recommend is Credit Karma. It is common knowledge that having amount of credit helps to optimize your credit score. But, it is a mystery to most consumers on the right mix. Credit Karma helps to relieve that mystery.

Credit Karma is powered by Trans Union. The site provides consumers with their Trans Union credit score at no cost. Really! No Cost – No Gimmicks! In addition, Credit Karma provides score simulators in which consumers can put in different values to determine the affects of paying off or down their credit cards. The simulator will also allow consumers to see how opening new credit will affect their Trans Union credit score.

All is all I believe Credit Karma is a good resource for consumers. Just keep in mind it is just a resource. It does not address Equifax or Experian scores. If you would like more detailed assistance, contact us via email at info@intcredit.net or via phone at 317-527-1440.

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Mar 05 2010

Profile Image of Victoria Finch

Warning!- Paying old collections could lower your credit score!

I know you are wondering how in the heck can paying off an account lower my credit score. Yes, I know it sounds backwards that by trying to do the right thing you get penalized. Here is he scoop. I have long taught that 35% of your credit score is past delinquencies. Obviously, paying your accounts in full and on time has the greatest positive impact on your score. So why would paying a collection potentially lower your score?

Here’s why, the last 24 months of activity has the greatest impact on your score. The newer the item the more impact it has. The credit scoring model uses the date of last activity to determine when the 24 month countdown starts. (Note: accounts older than 24 months still have an impact on your credit score). If you have an older collection that has not had any activity on it and you make a payment, you have restarted the clock because you have moved the date of last activity.

Many times collection agencies will try to contact you in order to have you make a payment so that they can keep the account on your credit bureau longer. Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, collections can stay on your report up to 7 years plus 180 days from the date of last activity. Do not fall for it!

I am not suggesting that you not pay your debts. I am letting you know that there is a strategic way to handle past collections. Here are 3 simple steps:

  1. Begin with accounts reporting in the last 12 months.
  2. Before you pay anything, write to the credit bureaus and request validation of the debt. Validation is not verification. Federal law specifies what is considered validation. See Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for more information.
  3. If debt comes back verified, contact the collection company and negotiate for a lower payment. We suggest that you ask for a pay for delete. A pay for delete is a request that the collection company deletes the entry from your credit report when payment is received. Pay for deletes are becoming increasingly more difficult to get. But, a paid collection is better than an unpaid one.

If you are applying or going to apply for  a home, we suggest you wait until you are instructed by your lender to pay off ANY collections. If your lender tells you pay off a particular account, then they have prepared for the impact it may have on your credit score.

There is nothing anyone can do for you that you can not do for yourself when it comes to your credit. However, if you want guidance and education about credit please contact us at info@intcredit.net.

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Nov 09 2009

Profile Image of Victoria Finch

What debt collectors won’t tell you.

It’s 8:00am on Saturday morning and you are looking forward to sleeping in. Suddenly you are awakened by the telephone ringing. You answer the phone only to be greeted by, “Is this….”  it is a debt collector. As you wipe your eyes, the debt collector begins to telling you “This is a an attempt to collect a debt, any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

Most debt collectors are very good at informing consumers that they are attempting to collect a debt, how much the alleged debt is, and telling you to pay up. But there are things you need to know that a debt collector won’t tell you. Knowledge is power. A debt collector won’t tell you:

  1. You do not have to disclose personal information such as place of employment, banking information, and  sources of income.
  2. You can prevent debt collectors from calling you by notifying them in writing to stop calling you. Once the debt collector recieves written notice they can only contact you to tell you they won’t call you anymore or to notify you what actions they may take such as filing a lawsuit.
  3. You may be “judgment proof” or “execution proof”. If you are unable to meet your current living expenses or you recieve certain types of income they cannot collect from you.
  4. They are attempting to collect on a debt that is past the statute of limitations. If you make a payment, you renew the debt.
  5. They may not report to the credit bureaus. Not all collection companies report the credit bureaus.
  6. Debt collectors cannot call you before 8:00am or after 9:00pm,. This time is based upon your local time not theirs.
  7. Debt collectors cannot use profane or abusive language.
  8. You can report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov),
  9. It is imparative that you familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law protects consumers against unfair debt collection practices.
  10. That you may be able to settle with the debt for pennies on the dollar.
  11. That medical collections should not appear on your credit report due to current privacy laws. Your medical information is protected under the Health  Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Knowing your rights is the first step to dealing with any debt collector. Familiarize yourself with the FDCPA and other consumer protection laws by visiting www.ftc.gov,

This article is also posted on http://www.examiner.com

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