Credit repair is the process of cleaning up your credit report and optimizing your scores. Credit repair has never been so important. Your credit score will determine the outcome of any loan application you make. This was not always the case. You might be surprised to hear that credit scores were not marketed to lenders until 1989. And from 1989 until 1995 credit scores were used almost exclusively by a handful of credit card issuers. It wasn’t until 1995, when mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they were to going to begin using FICO scores as an underwriting criterion that this all-important three digit number came into widespread usage.
Your Critical FICO Score
Credit scores began to grow in importance after 1995, but in 2007 there was a major shift in the credit markets that would make credit repair infinitely more vital than ever before. The pivotal moment occurred in June of 2007 when two Bear Sterns hedge funds collapsed and caused a mass exodus of secondary sub-prime lenders from the mortgage market. From that moment until now the credit markets have continued to tighten. And, although one would expect a cyclical loosening at some point, there is no sign of that in the immediate future. And for now, the issue is so critical that if your FICO score is low you may find that you cannot get approved for anything. And just as important, if you are approved you will find that the interest rate you receive will be based on your score. Credit repair, when done right, will optimize your scores and help you meet future lender requirements.
Credit Score Optimization
It is critical to understand that the FICO scoring model has evolved to the point that there is considerably more involved than paying your bills on time. In fact, it is quite possible to have a perfect payment history for years on end, and still have dismal credit scores. Credit score optimization, as an essential aspect of credit repair, requires an understanding of all of the factors that can influence your scores. Some of the important issues include account types, number of each account type, account balances, and age of accounts. And this is just the score optimization aspect of credit repair; when it comes to cleaning up the content of your reports you have a number of legal rights that can give you significant leverage with creditors and the credit bureaus.
Credit Repair, the Credit Bureaus and the FCRA
The majority of legal rights that you will utilize in your credit repair effort are embodied in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Your credit repair effort should always focus on areas in which you have legal leverage. There is little point in pursuing an avenue of redress if the offending party has no obligation whatsoever to respond. The FCRA puts a burden of accuracy and fairness on the credit bureaus. The responsibilities of the credit bureaus include providing consumers with copies of their credit files, researching the accuracy of information when requested, limiting the reporting period of derogatory information, and providing identity theft relief measures. Taken together, these responsibilities provide consumers with all of the legal rights necessary to dispute and correct inaccuracies on their credit reports.
Credit Repair, Collectors, and the FDCPA
Together with the FCRA, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides the foundation for consumer credit rights in the United States. The FDCPA can play an important role in any credit repair effort as it gives consumers limited, but powerful, rights in dealing with collectors. These rights provide the leverage necessary to stop abusive collection practices, gain an advantage in payment negotiation, and when dovetailed with specific state statutes of limitation even give you the ability to make bothersome collectors vanish from your life forever. A professional credit repair service will have an intimate working knowledge of the FDCPA and will insure that all of your rights are exercised. And if you are managing your own credit repair effort, make sure to study up on this crucial legislation.
Putting it All Together
Your credit score has a major influence on your financial well being and hence, on the quality of your life. Credit repair is the process of cleaning up your credit report and optimizing your credit scores. In today’s economic environment credit repair is more important than ever. You can no longer afford to ignore your credit scores. Even small differences in your scores can translate into hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the amount of interest you will pay each year. And when it comes to credit repair every detail matters. If you are going to attempt the process on your own take the time to educate yourself. If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn everything necessary to do a thorough job yourself, hire a professional credit repair service. It’s your credit, and now is the time!
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