Credit Restoration FAQ’s
What are the advantages of using Advanced Credit Solutions?
While there are many companies who brand themselves as credit repair/restoration/service organizations, most of them lack the breadth of experience and expertise necessary to adequately represent your dispute efforts. Some of the specific advantages of using Advanced Credit Solutions are:
- We can dispute claims directly with creditors.
- We enforce your rights under the various federal and state credit laws.
- We provide you with your own Client Advocate who will not only be your contact throughout the program, but will also be the one handling all aspects of your program for you.
- Your Client Advocate will provide you with educational materials to arm you with the credit and debt industry knowledge.
- Your Client Advocate will coach you on the what, why, and where of obtaining new positive credit rebuilding accounts.
- We research and keep current our knowledge of consumer laws and their changes, interpretations, and applicability of those laws.
- We govern ourselves according to the rules and principles of professional conduct as well as state and federal laws.
- You are able to securely view and manage your program status online at your convenience 24/7.
- Your confidentiality and information is protected.
- Unlike many of our competitors we are licensed as a Credit Service Organization and bonded.
- We have an excellent standing with the Better Business Bureau – 0 complaints
How long have you been doing credit score improvement?
Advanced Credit Solutions has a staff with years of experience improving people’s credit scores. Our company has been licensed and in business for over 14 years. Using credit industry specialists, Advanced Credit Solutions demystifies the process of credit report clean up and score improvement. We employ innovative solutions and adhere to the laws and regulations that govern the credit reporting industry.
Do you guarantee results?
By law, no company can guarantee that they can have items removed from your credit reports. However, we stand behind our services. If you feel you do not see results, we will evaluate your account. You will receive a portion of your money back if appropriate progress with your case has not been made. Please speak with any one of our consultants for more details.
What is a credit report?
If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, loan, insurance, or a job, there’s a credit file about you. This file contains information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Companies that gather and sell this information are called Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). The information CRAs sell about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a credit report.
What is a credit reporting agency?
A company that gathers and sells financial history information — information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy — is called a credit reporting agency (consumer reporting agency, or CRA). The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau.
The information that a credit reporting agency sells about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a consumer report (or a credit report).
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a numerical ranking system that lenders use to determine how much of a credit risk you are. A credit score is a numeric indication of how likely you are to repay debts such as loans or lines of credit. Lenders use this number to determine how much of a credit risk you are.
Credit scores also are designed to indicate your creditworthiness in comparison with other consumers.
Credit scores are based on the data in your credit report and are generated by computers using artificial intelligence. Usually a credit score is between the numbers 300 to 900. The higher your score, the more “creditworthy” you are to lenders.
What is my credit score based on?
Credit scoring is based on many factors that may include:
- Payment History
- Age of Derogatory information or accounts
- Balance to Limit ratios (Revolving Accts)
- Length of Credit History
- Inquiries (applications) for new credit
- Types of credit
- Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, credit scoring may not use gender, martial status, national origin, race, or religion as factors.
How long does information stay in your credit report?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act information can be included in your credit reports for seven years. But there are exceptions to this rule:
- Information about criminal convictions may be reported without any time limitation.
- Bankruptcy information may be reported for 10 years.
- Information reported in response to an application for a job with a salary of more than $75,000 has no time limit.
- Information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limit.
- Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.
What information about you is in a credit report?
Identity: Includes your name, address, marital status, your date of birth, number of dependents, previous address, and Social Security number.
Employment: Includes your present position, length of employment, income and previous job.
Credit History: Consists of your credit experiences with specific credit grantors, collection agencies.
Public Record: Includes civil suits and judgments, bankruptcy records, or other legal proceedings recorded by a court.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumer reporting agencies may keep correct and verifiable information in your file for seven years, and ten years in the case of bankruptcy. There are a few exceptions:
- if you apply for a job which pays more than $75,000 per year, the reporting agency may provide all the information it has, including items over seven years old.
- information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limitation;
- information concerning lawsuits or judgments against you can be retained in your file for seven years or until the statute of limitations expires, whichever is longer.
Can anyone get a copy of your credit report?
No. Only people with a legitimate business need can access your credit report, as recognized by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For example, a company is allowed to get your report if you apply for a credit card, loan, insurance, employment, or to rent an apartment.
Moreover, creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses cannot get a report about you that contains medical information without your approval.
Do you have a right to know what’s in your credit report?
Yes. Anyone who takes action against you in response to a credit report supplied by a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) — such as denying your application for a credit card, loan, insurance, or employment — must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the CRA that provided the credit report.
The CRA must tell you everything in your credit report, including medical information, and in most cases, the sources of the information. The CRA also must give you a list of everyone who has requested your report within the past year — two years for employment-related requests.
How do you correct my damaged credit?
Once we’ve received your credit reports, we will analyze your credit history to identify items that are responsible for bringing your credit score down. Then we will draft letters to dispute these negative items on your behalf. It is important to note that, according to federal law, the credit bureaus can ignore your dispute under a variety of conditions. In our experience, a large part of dispute letters sent directly from consumers are rejected for one reason or another. Advanced Credit Solutions’ letters are expertly designed such that credit bureaus will accept the dispute, conduct an investigation, and generate a result or response.
A disputed credit listing must be verified as accurate for it to remain on the credit report. If the credit listings contain an error, the credit bureau may simply correct the item, but very often, disputed credit report items cannot be verified because either the creditor either no longer possesses necessary information or does not to go to the effort of verifying it. Furthermore, the investigation must be completed within 30 days or the listing must be removed. For these reasons, properly disputed credit listings are removed from your credit report with remarkable frequency.
At the conclusion of the credit bureau’s investigation, a new copy of the credit report is sent to you along with any deletions or improvements. You then provide us with a copy of the new credit report and the cycle repeats itself at strategic intervals. During your program, we also conduct a similar process with your actual creditors, many companies do not.
How long does it take?
Everyone wants you to see results immediately. Although everyone’s credit history is different, most people will see progress within the first 45 days of their program. The majority of time is spent waiting for the credit bureaus to respond to requests. We take great effort in getting our disputes to the bureaus as fast as possible. As a reference, anyone who enrolls into our program should see a significant increase in their credit score within 6 months, as long as they abstain from credit hindering activities such as late or missed payments or running up credit card balances etc.
You will also be advised how to improve your current positive credit accounts and this action on your part is crucial to optimizing your credit scores.
During your enrollment, you will receive strategic credit and debt education material to build your knowledge so that you become a smart credit consumer.
What if removed items reappear?
This happens occasionally either by accident or a creditor has eventually verified a particular item. This is what is known as a ‘soft delete’. The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Agency) has made it much more difficult for a creditor to replace an item once it has been removed. Advanced Credit Solutions will re-challenge the item with the full force of the prior removal in our favor.
What happens to items on your credit report after seven years?
Most derogatory items, such as late payments, collection accounts and charge offs, fall off seven years from their DATE OF LAST ACTIVITY. There are certain items, such as bankruptcy filings, which can be legally shown for ten years from the date of discharge.
Some items, such as unpaid tax liens, student loans and child support obligations have no statute of limitations and can legally be shown on your credit report forever. They will show for 7 to 10 years from the date they are paid, or the date of their legal disposition.
Positive credit history can also be shown on your credit report for more than 7 years. Since it is simply good credit history, there is no need to worry about something old and positive that shows.
Does canceling inactive credit cards help your credit score?
Actually closing your cards will hurt your score. The way your score is calculated is by how much available credit you have in comparison to how much debt you are currently carrying. If you have the cards with zero balance and available credit on them, that raises your available credit to total debt ratio, thus increasing your score.
Do bounced checks affect your credit rating?
A bounced check does not report to your credit report, so long as you make good on the check with the company you made it out to in a timely manner. If you do not, then the company may turn over your unpaid debt to a collection agency, which WILL show up on your credit report. Most utilities and stores will do this, including grocery stores and large chain stores (such as CVS and Blockbuster). Expect them to do this as soon as 90 days after non-payment of your bounced check.
Do beware however that a bounced check MAY be reported to other consumer information agencies like Teletrack, which provides information to companies like Payday Advance Providers, Auto Finance Companies & Auto Dealers, Cable, Telecom, Utility & Wireless Companies, Insurance Companies, and many more. Chronic bounced checks will damage your credibility, so if you move quite often (and thus need to re-connect utilities and cable often), you may want to be careful who you bounce!
If an item is removed from credit report, do I still have to pay the amount that is owed?
When we delete a negative credit report listing, the actual debt remains. You still owe the same amount of money that you owed to begin with. The creditor still may pursue you to collect the debt obligation. If the creditor/collection agent corrects the credit reporting inaccuracy, they may “re-insert” this once removed credit file back into your credit report. Removal of this negative item will increase your credit rating.
Does paying off collection accounts help your credit score?
Sometimes, it depends. No we are not trying to avoid your question. Your question is a good one because it is a common misconception that by paying off all collections, your credit scores will increase. In reality, this is only half-true.
The reason for this is because, among other factors used to determine a credit score, the “date last active” will change on these collection accounts once they have been paid. It simply means the date the account (regardless of type) had any activity on it, whether it be a credit, debit, transfer, etc. Pretty straight-forward.
So to explain: Let’s say you have a collection from a long-forgotten medical bill (probably the most common collection), with a last active date 5 years ago, with a $300 balance. Because this is such an old, inactive collection, it’s effect on your credit score has been greatly diluted by more recent active credit (such as your current mortgage, car loan, active credit cards, etc.), and is likely only lowering your score slightly. If you were to pay that collection off in an attempt to gain points, your efforts will have an opposite effect in the short-term. By paying off the collection, you will be bringing the last active date of the collection to the current month, and although it will now reflect a $0 balance, the fact that you have a recently active collection on your credit report is more derogatory then an old collection with a balance.
Isn’t this absurd? Absolutely. Can you do anything about it? Most companies will tell you no. You need to be smart in your negotiations. First, get any verbal agreements in writing prior to paying them any money. Further, never pay with personal checks or provide a collection company your banking account information. Always pay them with a cashiers check where you can get a copy of the front and back of the check when it clears your bank – for proof they were paid if they ever come back again.
It is important when you are negotiating with a collection agent or creditor on an old account, that you do everything possible to get in writing from them specific language which states how they will report this account on your future credit reports. Contact us for specific instructions on this matter.
Also, if you are applying for a mortgage or other large loan, do NOT pay off collections before hand! Usually, lenders will require these debts to be paid at CLOSING, and this is highly recommended.
Now, after about 6 months, your scores will have recovered (depending on the number of collections you had to pay off), and in the long term, will be much higher than had you left the unpaid collections on your credit report. It’s just the initial hit that hurts.
What are your rights in dealing with a collection agency?
It’s called the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.” They have an official website that lists your rights.
According to the act, a collection agency must submit to you, in writing, who the original creditor was, the original creditors contact information (if the account was sold, who owns the account now), and the amount owed. After you request this information, they must send the information to you by letter. You also have rights that state the collection agency must not threaten you in any way. If they do, you can prosecute.
Can a creditor/collection agent call you at work?
A creditor can call you at home, at work, on your cell, anywhere and anytime (the “anytime” must be within reason, such as NOT after 9pm, etc.). They can also call anyone you’ve listed as a reference or contact in order to locate you (although they are not allowed to divulge specifics of the debt they are calling regarding in order to malign you). However, the first time they call you at work, you merely need to tell them ONCE never to contact you at work again and then legally they cannot do so – if they do, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Keep notes of dates, times, and names.
If you really want them to leave you alone entirely, you must send them a letter (send it certified) directing them to cease all forms of contact with you (phone, mail, etc.). After that, they can only mail you one more notice stating that they have received your request and are complying. Keep in mind that this does NOT negate the money you owe the creditor or remove it from your credit report – the debt does not magically go away. You still owe the debt. And if it is a secured debt (with collateral such as an auto loan), they may still repossess whatever was used to secure the debt. But they can’t call you at work once you tell them not to.
How does settling debts for less than the full amount affect your credit?
If they are already in collections and are really behind it is not going to hurt. That information stays on there for 7 years anyway. Better to have paid something rather than “0”, and you can get them to put “Settled but Satisfied” as long as you request it in writing when you get the settlement.
Should you let charge-offs stay on your credit report?
Paying the charged off debt will not increase your credit score if more than 24 months old, the damage is already done. However if you are looking to purchase a home or some other major purchase, it would be best to have the accounts show a zero balance. You can usually settle charged off accounts for 50% or less of the total debt, and most lenders will usually allow you to pay these charge offs at closing. Otherwise you can just wait the seven years until they are removed. That’s only if the account doesn’t change hands and move to current or if it doesn’t become a judgment.
How often should you re-apply for credit?
Inquiries remain on your credit history for 2 years, and will affect your scores and ability to attain credit. Mortgage and Car loan inquires are a little different: the bureaus allow for “shopping time” so that multiple inquiries of this type of credit only count as one as long as they are within the same 30 day period. Usually when you are declined credit, they give you specific reasons for the decline. Fix the reasons before re-applying; otherwise, you will just be shooting yourself in the foot with added inquiries.
How do you stop random credit card inquiries, like the ones who send credit card applications in the mail saying ‘you’ve been pre-approved based on your credit rating?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act also entitles you to contact each or all of the major credit bureaus and request them to stop sending you card solicitations and related offers. For more information, call 888-5OPTOUT (567-8688).
Do utility and other home bills affect your credit rating?
Only if you go delinquent and they send you to collection will it be reported to your credit report. Unfortunately, if you pay your utilities on time, for the duration of your life, the GOOD credit will never be reported, but if they send you to collections, you bet it will land on your credit report. Gas, Electric, and Cable – all three may send you to collections if you fall more than 90 days past due.
What happens if you marry a person with bad credit?
Each person with a Social Security number can establish credit in his or her name. State law governs whether one spouse can be held accountable for debts the other spouse incurred while married. (Community property / community debt states). Debts before the marriage are not factored in. Your bad credit doesn’t affect your spouse at all–unless you co-sign on loans or co-apply.
Which is more detrimental to your credit score, high credit card debt, or a high car loan?
Credit cards more so. It is easier to get things if creditors see your paying on one “big” thing. Where as it looks like you do not have control over your spending with high credit card debt.