Here’s what you need to know about cleaning your credit report as quickly as possible
The current pandemic has caused many Americans to lose income. We’ve suddenly gone from a healthy economy to worry about paying bills. Now more than ever, people need good credit. But three out of five Americans have an inaccuracy on their credit report that could make it harder to qualify for a loan or even a credit card. “Most people don’t know they have a federal right to clean inaccuracies from their credit reports,” says credit score guru Alex Miller, founder of Alex Miller Credit Repair, a leading credit score improvement company.
He adds that consumers should also call their credit card issuers rather than just skipping payments. “Some credit card companies may be willing to extend payment deadlines, waive late fees or lower the annual percentage rate. But you have to ask!” he stresses.
Start cleaning your credit report now
Expunging inaccurate negative accounts on your credit report can improve credit scores. But if you’ve tried credit repair in the past, you may know that most companies only dispute 2 to 3 accounts per month. That pace can be discouraging, especially during these challenging times. “We prefer a more aggressive three-round burst strategy because we don’t believe in dragging out the process,” says Miller. In three to six months, Alex Miller Credit Repair’s results-driven approach does what takes other companies several years to accomplish.
“We send all the inaccurate negative accounts to the credit bureaus along with our legal documents. We do this three times, with each round lasting 40 days. With this method, clients will often see 50% of their inaccurate negative accounts deleted in the first round and raise their credit scores by as much as 100 points. Once we get 90% of the inaccurate negative accounts deleted, we start using credit-building products, which can increase scores another 50 to 100 points.”
The company’s pricing reflects its faster strategy. “Our fee structure has three levels, ranging from $750 to $1500, depending on the number and types of inaccurate negative accounts. Other companies may charge less but they drag out the process for years. And our clients can easily make up the difference by qualifying for lower interest rates.”
Miller cautions that removing inaccurate negative accounts from your credit report is not a form of debt consolidation. “Credit repair frees up your credit so you can get approved for things you want. Unless it wasn’t your account, you still owe the debts.”
What is a good credit score?
The lowest credit score you can have is 350; the highest is 850. “If your credit score starts with a 3, 4, 5 or 6, you have negative credit. Credit doesn’t begin to get positive until you hit 680,” explains Miller. “To have great credit, you need to be in the 700s. No one needs an 800 or better. That’s more for bragging rights.”
What affects your credit score?
Debt collections, repossessions, foreclosures, judgments, tax liens and bankruptcies can all cause your credit score to decline. But most people are shocked to learn that late payments should be feared the most. “Late payments can’t be fixed and can drop anyone’s credit by as much as 125 points. That’s more than a bankruptcy! You’ve got to make 24 months in a row of on-time payments for a late payment to correct itself,” says Miller, stressing again the importance of calling your credit card company if you will have trouble making payments on time right now.
Credit scores increase according to how many positive accounts you have, after the inaccurate negative accounts are deleted. “Ideally, you want at least 5 positive primary accounts in your name,” says Miller. “You get points for paying on time and having a healthy mix of credit. In the credit world, history is also a huge part of your score. You’re more apt to get approved for a larger loan amount when financial institutions can see a track record of borrowing money and paying it back on time,” Miller explains.
How to spot the credit repair scammers
The credit repair industry is on fire. That has opened the floodgates for scammers who take the money and run. “It’s illegal to ask for all the money up front before they do the work, so insist on affordable monthly installments,” cautions Miller. To find a reputable company, Miller advises people to look at the provider’s education and industry experience. “There are a lot of people doing credit repair without a professional background,” says Miller, who routinely advises others in the industry about best practices. “Also, check the reviews and confirm that they are registered with the Better Business Bureau.” The company also offers ongoing continuing education so clients can learn how to manage their credit scores moving forward.
What other tips and strategies can improve your credit score?
In addition to getting inaccuracies removed from your credit report, Miller says everyone should have their own credit, separate from their spouse. “You never know which person in a relationship the lending institution will use to get approval,” he advises. Also, don’t max out your credit cards. “Keep your balance below 30% of the approved amount.” And have a healthy mix of credit. “That may include a revolving line such as a credit card, and an installment loan.”
Miller concludes, “We all need credit to survive. I want to teach people how to make the credit system work for them instead of allowing it to work against them. There’s no one we can’t help.”
For a free credit analysis, email www.alexmillercreditrepair.com