FICO score

Your FICO score is a credit rating produced by Fair, Isaac and Co. It's used by most lenders to help them decide whether you're a good credit risk. Fair, Isaac crunches the numbers from your credit report and spits out a score somewhere between 300 and 850. A low score says you're a bad credit risk, a score of 750 or higher puts you in the catbird seat. Here are the factors considered when calculating your FICO score and an estimate of how heavily each factor might be weighted. Past payment history (35 percent): bankruptcies, late payments, past due accounts and wage attachments Amount of credit owing (30 percent): amount owed on accounts, proportion of balances to total credit limits Length of time credit established (15 percent): time since accounts opened, time since account activity Search for and acquisition of new credit (10 percent): number of recent credit inquiries, number of recently opened accounts Types of credit established (10 percent): number of various types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, mortgage)

If the account is with a collection agency should I negotiate with them?

Negotiating with the collection agency is probably better since the torch has been passed to it. If the collectors have stopped calling you, it means they're not optimistic about getting paid, and you're in a better position to negotiate a win-win deal. Here are some negotiating hints: Talk to the person who can make the settlement decision. Be polite and accommodating, but don't offer any information on where you work or bank. Know what you can afford to pay, and don't agree to more. Offer whatever you can, 40 cents or 50 cents on the dollar. When the collector turns it down, ask what it's going to take. Be prepared to hand deliver -- or send by overnight mail -- a money order or a cashier's check as soon as the settlement is reached Get everything you've agreed upon in writing before you pay. If you're doing this via phone, have a fax number ready, so they can send you a statement of what you've agreed upon before you deliver the cashier's check or money order.

Can bad credit be removed from my credit report?

Absolutely, and for many reasons. The obvious one being that a creditor has erroneously submitted it to a credit bureau. Many consumers' credit reports are incomplete and inaccurate. By law, Credit bureaus are obligated to remove erroneous account information in an expedient manner. Credit bureaus and even government officials employed by the federal trade commission want you to believe that it is not possible to delete bad credit from your credit report. We will do it legally and efficiently, in a manner in accordance with all the rules and regulations inherent upon our company.

Are items such as bankruptcies and foreclosures removable?

Absolutely. We do remove items of public record such as Bankruptcies and have done so for many of our past clients. This includes Tax liens whether Federal or State as well as Civil Judgments. These are all considered items of public record.

Does paying off past due accounts help to improve my credit ratings?

To a very limited extent. The best way to improve a person's credit rating is to remove the negative item from their credit profile.

What are Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union's Phone Number?

Experian's Phone Numbers Phone: 888-397-3742
Equifax's Phone Numbers: Phone: 800-846-5279 or 866-322-3162
Trans Union's Phone Numbers: Phone: 800-916-8800 

Will I be notified before a debt is reported?

In most states, a creditor does not have to inform you before they report a negative listing on your credit report.

Do joint credit cards help build good credit?

When another person adds you to a credit card as an authorized user, the credit card company places the account on your credit report as well. Often, the account will carry a note indicating that you are an authorized user rather than the primary cardholder. Even so, this serves to substantially improve your credit history. Note that if the account goes delinquent, it may negatively affect your credit report and the credit card company may even attempt to recover payment from the authorized user.

Should I get a written confirmation when settling debts?

Most definitely. Whenever you settle or pay off a disputed debt, always get a written agreement from the creditor or collection agency before you send payment. It is not unusual for collection agents to lie about settlement terms in order to get their money, then demand the remainder of the debt once the payment has been collected.

Am I responsible for my (ex)spouse's debts?

That varies from state to state. Some states are "community property" states where any debt held by one spouse is considered a debt of the other spouse or ex-spouse. The latter only applies if the debt was incurred while still legally married.

What if a creditor refuses to delete an item?

A creditor or collection agency can delete any item that they originally reported to the credit bureaus. While some have agreements with the credit bureaus not to settle on the condition of deletion, they will come around if you persist. Keep negotiating. Always operate on the premise that somewhere in the organization there is at least one person able and willing to settle. If deletion is a must for you, hold out until you get what you want.