DIY Credit Restoration Mistakes


With 1.3 Billion credit files being managed by the three top credit bureaus, there are bound to be errors. According to Forbes Magazine, there are 82% of consumers who have errors on their credit reports and the credit bureaus receive more than 8 Million dispute letters per year. Many of the dispute letters lack the verbiage and authenticity to receive favorable responses. Financial COMFORT Consulting has compiled a list of the most common mistakes made when consumers make an attempt at their own credit restoration.

1. Carrying more than 25% on revolving debt.
Your credit score is made up of five components – Payment History is 35%, Capacity is 30%, Credit Mix is 15%, Length of Credit is 10% and New Credit is 10%. Capacity is a percentage of the amount of revolving credit limits you have access to and the amount you actually use. It is important to keep your capacity low. The general rule of thumb is below 25%. Once you hit 31% of your capacity you become a risk factor for lenders and there is an algorithm in the credit scoring system that “dings” you monthly when your capacity is too high. That same algorithm rewards you when your capacity is low.

 2. Using a generic dispute letter.
It is very important to site the specific law {i.e. 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b)} from the Fair Debt collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that derogatory items are violating in order to get favorable results. When you don’t site the violation, the credit agency will simply request the creditor “validate” the debt in lieu of “verifying” the debt. Verifying the debt requires a thorough investigation into its legitimacy by proving it actually belongs to you. Results of items being deleted due to the creditor’s inability to provide proof in a timely manner are much greater.

3. Disputing every  derogatory item.
During the first two years of delinquency, a collection item carries the most weight on your scoring algorithm. The first 120 days are the most critical period impacting your score. After two years an item may appear derogatory on your report, but it is no longer negatively effecting your score. So, if there are items that are older than two years on your credit report and the creditor is no longer reporting, it would serve you well to ignore it until it has reaches the statute of limitation according to the FCRA. Disputing those items can have an adverse effect in that the creditor verifies it with the credit agencies and updates it with negative history making it current and thus bringing your score down further.

4. Agreeing to terms without a promise to delete.
Paying off a collection item does not delete it from your credit file. So, often time’s consumers will pay off a debt in hopes that it will no longer appear derogatory and they are sadly mistaken. A collection item with a zero balance can still appear derogatory on your report. And once you’ve paid it, you have no leverage. We suggest you negotiate the terms of payment and agree to settle the account IF they remove the item from your credit file. That payment gives you leverage and most creditors want it and are willing to do just about anything to get it, including deleting it from your credit file. But, once you’ve paid the collection item you’ve lost your leverage and likelihood of having the item removed from your credit file at a later date. It is best to negotiate the terms of your settlement to include deletion from your credit file prior to paying.

5. Establishing additional trade lines with debt.
The old way of acquiring a secured card to increase your credit score and capacity is antiquated. Often times, consumers misuse those cards and end up deeper in debt. A best practice is to establish trade lines that have an investment property attached to them or allow you to report trade lines you are already paying monthly. For example, there is a product called Rental Kharma that allows you to report your monthly rent payments to the credit agencies. This product is heavily weighted like a mortgage and gives you a great boost in your score without increasing your debt because you are already paying the rent. Rental Kharma can give you a positive trade line and can report monthly for a nominal fee. 

To get the best price on Rental Kharma, customized dispute letters that cite the infractions of the Fair Debt collection Practices Act (FDCPA), credit analysis and even responses to creditors, please contact Financial COMFORT Consulting today. 

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