Frequently Asked Questions

A credit bureau is a company that collects information from various sources and provides consumer credit information on individual consumers for a variety of uses. It is an organization providing information on individuals' borrowing and bill-paying habits. This helps lenders assess credit worthiness, the ability to pay back a loan, and can affect the interest rate and other terms of a loan. Interest rates are not the same for everyone, but instead can be based on risk-based pricing, a form of price discrimination based on the different expected risks of different borrowers, as set out in their credit rating Consumers with poor credit repayment histories or court adjudicated debt obligations like tax liens or bankruptcies will pay a higher annual interest rate than consumers who don't have these factors. Additionally, decision-makers in areas unrelated to consumer credit, includ­ing employment screening and underwriting of prop­erty and casualty insurance, increasingly depend on credit records, as studies have shown that such records have predictive value.

A report containing detailed information on a person's credit history including identifying information, credit accounts and loans, bankrupties and late payments, and recent inquiries. It can be obtained by prospective lenders with the borrower's permission, to determine his or her creditworthiness.

A credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person's credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information typically sourced from creditbureaus.

Lenders, such as banks and credit card companies, use credit scores to evaluate the potential risk posed by lending money to consumers and to mitigate losses due to bad dept. Lenders use credit scores to determine who qualifies for a loan, at what interest rate, and what credit limits. Lenders also use credit scores to determine which customers are likely to bring in the most revenue. The use of credit or identity scoring prior to authorizing access or granting credit is an implementation of a trusted system.

Credit scoring is not limited to banks. Other organizations, such as mobile phone companies, insurance companies, landlords, and government departments employ the same techniques.

You may be under the impression that you have a good credit record. After all, you have few outstanding loans and you always pay your bills. But late payments alone can damage your credit standing.

Loan officers study an individual's payment history to determine whether to make loans and what kind of interest rate to set on automobile loans, home mortgages, and personal loans.

You may not be aware you have a credit problem or that your credit rating is low. Check the following list to determine if you have a credit problem. You may have a credit problem if you:

  • Worry about how much money you owe
  • Miss payments or pay your bills late each month
  • Spend more than 20 percent of your paycheck to pay off secured debt
  • Pay for groceries with credit instead of cash
  • Are refused credit by people or stores
  • Make only the minimum payments on your credit cards
  • Filed for bankruptcy within the past 10 years

Another indication that you may have credit problems includes nearing the limit on your lines of credit. You also may have a credit problem if you would face immediate financial trouble if you or your spouse lost a job.

What Are Your Options?

Everyone's financial situation is unique. With that in mind, here are six different options for making your homeownership dreams a reality.

1. Get a Cosigner
If your income isn't high enough to qualify for the loan you need and if you can find a cosigner with enough disposable income, part of that person's income can be considered toward your loan amount regardless of whether the person will actually be living with you or helping you pay the bill.

2. Wait 
Sometimes conditions in the economy, the housing market or the lending business make lenders less generous with loans. If you're in a climate where everyone is panicking, then it may be best to wait things out. When conditions improve, lenders may become more accommodating. 

3. Set Your Sights on a Less-Expensive Property
If you can't qualify for the amount of mortgage you want and you aren't willing to wait, switching to a condo or townhouse instead of a house, accepting fewer bedrooms or bathrooms, or moving to a less attractive or more distant neighborhood may give you more options. As a more drastic option, you could even move to a different part of the country where the cost of home ownership is lower. When your financial situation improves down the road, you might be able to trade up to the property, neighborhood or city where you hope to end up.

 4.Ask the Lender for an Exception 
Believe it or not, it is possible to ask the lender to send your file to someone else within the company for a second opinion on a rejected loan application. In asking for an exception, you'll need to have a very good reason, and you'll need to write a carefully worded letter defending your case. Your letter should avoid excuses and sob stories and focus only on the facts. Explain how the incident that is preventing your loan from being approved, such as a charged-off account, was a one-time event that will never occur again. This one-time event should have been caused by a catastrophe such as a large and unexpected medical expense, natural disaster, divorce or death in the family. The blemish on your record will actually need to have been a one-time event, and you'll need to be able to back your story up with an otherwise flawless credit history

5. Try a Different Lender 
Sometimes one lender will say no while another will say yes. If the first lender you approach rejects you, there's no reason not to try out a few other options. If every lender rejects you for the same reason, though, you'll know that it's not the lender that's the problem, it's your financial situation. Your only choice at this point is to fix the problem. 

6. Team Up With Someone Else 
Two incomes are better than one, so if you can't qualify on your own, perhaps you have a family member or friend that you trust enough and like enough to make a major purchase with and live with. It won't be enough to just put them on the loan, of course - they'll need to actually help with the mortgage payments to make it work, and chances are they won't want to pay half the mortgage unless they're living in the new home with you.

To repair your credit score, everything starts with awareness.

  • — Secure a copy of your credit score report
  • Thoroughly inspect it
  • Check all of your accounts for any late payments that may have been posted incorrectly 
  • Be vigilant
  • —Don't hesitate to report errors

During the dispute process with the credit bureaus, your score may change periodically. When disputing 'negative' information on your credit report, the credit bureaus will remove the item(s) in question until it is verified, modified, or deleted. Since we are disputing primarily 'negative' items on your report, your score may increase during the process because the negative item is removed until the investigation is over. This temporary score is not necessarily an indicator of your final credit score. (Disputing personal information such as an incorrect address or date of birth will not typically affect your credit score.) Upon completion of the dispute process, your credit report will then show the new score. Keep in mind that each credit bureau has different criteria for determining your score, which is why your score varies from bureau to bureau.

If you are denied credit, federal law requires that the creditor give you a notice that tells you the specific reasons your application was rejected or the fact that you have the right to learn the reasons if you ask within 60 days. Indefinite and vague reasons for denial are illegal, so ask the creditor to be specific. Acceptable reasons include: "Your income was low" or "You haven't been employed long enough." Unacceptable reasons include: "You didn't meet our minimum standards" or "You didn't receive enough points on our credit scoring system."

If a creditor says you were denied because you are too near your limits on your credit cards or you have too many charge card accounts, you may want to reapply after paying down your balances or closing some accounts. Credit scoring systems consider updated information and change over time.
Sometimes you can be denied because of information from a credit report. If so, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the creditor to give you the name, address and phone number of the credit reporting agency that supplied the information. You should contact that agency to find out what your report said. This information is free if you request it within 60 days of being turned down. The reporting agency can tell you what's in your report, but only the creditor can tell you why your application was denied.
If you've been denied, or didn't get the rate or terms you want, ask the creditor if a credit scoring system was used. If so, ask what characteristics or factors were used in that system, and the best ways to improve your application. If you are approved, ask the creditor whether you are getting the best rate and terms available and, if not, why. If you are not offered the best rate available because of inaccuracies in your report, be sure to dispute the inaccurate information in your credit report.
If you have been denied credit entirely (often because of the Catch-22 situation where lenders don't want to offer credit to anyone without a credit history--but how do you get a credit history without credit?), you can apply for secured credit cards, which essentially allows you to deposit a sum of money (say, $500) and then "charge" purchases, up to $500. By using this card responsibly (such as by not going over the limit--even better, creditors like it if you use no more than 30% of your available credit, as it shows you aren't likely to incur debts you can't pay--and by paying your bill on time--never late, even by a minute), you build a credit history. This record of good credit usage will help you get other kinds of credit--a car loan, a mortgage, etc.

In a matter of minutes, you could be on your way to credit report and score freedom. You can simply sign up right through our website here if you choose. You will receive a follow-up call and confirmation email and our credit professional will call you to get the necessary information to start your credit improvement program today.

Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation's credit reporting companies.

Some financial advisors and consumer advocates suggest that you review your credit report periodically. Why?

Because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan and how much you will have to pay to borrow money.

To make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.

To help guard against identity theft. That's when someone uses your personal information  like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don't pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.