Learn the Best Practices for Re-establishing Your Credit After Bankruptcy
Building a Better Credit Report
Your credit report is a file about you. It is full of information on where you live, how you pay your bills, whether you have been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy. Creditors use this information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or a lease. A credit score is a way for creditors to find out whether to give you credit and how much to charge you for it. A credit score is a total of points from different factors. The factors are your bill-paying history, the number and type of accounts you have, late payments, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts. The higher your credit score, the better the chance of you getting a loan.
To re-establish your credit, consider applying for a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires you to open and maintain a bank account or other asset account as a financial institution as security for your line of credit. Your credit line is usually a percentage of your deposit, typically from 50 to 100 percent. It is not uncommon to incur application and processing fees. Further, secured credit cards usually have higher interest rates than non-secured cards.
Improving your Credit Report
Ensure that your credit report is accurate and complete. The creditor and credit bureau are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information. To correct any erroneous information, follow the instructions at www.equifax.com, www.experian.com, or www.transunion.com. Once the erroneous information has been verified, all three consumer reporting agencies will correct the information and send you a free credit report with the correct information. This credit report does not count as your free annual credit report.
If you have any negative information on your report, which is accurate, time is the only way for it to be removed. Most accurate negative information stays on your reports for seven years and bankruptcies stay on for ten years.
Identity Theft and your credit report
Here are some indications that you may have been the victim of identity theft:
- Failing to receive mail, signaling an address change by the identity thief.
- Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply.
- Receiving calls from debt collectors about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
If you suspect that your identity has been stolen then there are two important steps to take right away.
First, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Contact any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. The initial credit bureau will contact the other insurance companies and they will also put an alert on your report.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or www.equifax.com.
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com.
Second, close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently and contact the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing and include COPIES of supporting documents.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information used by nation’s consumer reporting companies. There were recent amendments that were made to the FCRA. Those amendments expanded consumer rights and placed additional requirements on consumer reporting companies and businesses that provide information about consumers to consumer reporting companies.
Types of Information that Can be Collected
There are four basic types of information that consumer reporting companies can collect and sell:
- Identification and employment information: This includes your name, birth date, Social Security number, employer, and your spouse’s name. It also includes your employment history, home ownership, income, and a previous address.
- Payment history: This shows you how much credit has been extended and if you have paid on time. Also, it shows if a creditor has referred your account to a collection agency.
- Inquiries: The consumer reporting companies must keep a record of all the creditors who have asked for your credit history within the last year. They must also keep a record of individuals or businesses that have asked to see your credit history for employment purposes within the last two years.
- Public record information: This shows events that are a matter of public record, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, or tax liens.
If you have questions about rebuilding your credit after Chapter 7 bankruptcy then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.