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Everyone should have good credit

Author: Tracy

Roundup of Credit Monitoring Services

Keeping an eye on your credit is more important than ever. Not only do you need to understand your credit so that you can improve it and hopefully qualify for a better interest rate and terms in the future, but the threat of identity theft is very real. While you can contact the credit bureaus yourself, this is time-consuming and can become quite expensive. Luckily, there are several credit monitoring services available that keep a watch on your credit score for you. While there is normally a fee attached, it is a small price to pay when compared to the stress and cost of dealing with a stolen identity. There are dozens of credit monitoring services out there, so you may have to do some searching to find the right one to meet all your needs. Listed below are some of the top services available.

 

CreditCheck TotalThis credit monitoring service is $29.95 a month; however, your first 7-days are only $1.00. It monitors all three major credit bureaus and presents the information using the PLUS score format, to make it easier to understand. You can pull your reports up to three times per month and cancellation is by telephone, at any time.

FreeCreditReport.comThis service offers your Experian credit report which you can check once per day. It is also set up to provide alerts when anything changes. The service is $16.95 per month with a 7-day trial available for $1.00. Results are provided in the PLUS score format and cancellation is done through a toll-free phone number.

Experian CreditTrackerThis is a PLUS score credit monitoring service that allows you to pull unlimited Experian reports as well as offering some monitoring of TransUnion and Equifax. The monthly rate for this product is $14.95 and you can cancel at any time by calling a customer service representative.

Truecredit.com  – For $16.95 each month, TrueCredit offers a Vantage Score look at your credit. It allows you to request 3 in 1 reports monthly and provides updates to the TransUnion credit score on a daily basis. Cancellation is by phone.

Zendough.com  - This is another $16.95 per month Vantage Score program. This is has a slightly different layout than most credit reports, and offers TransUnion information only. However, it does provide regular account alerts and automatically updates every 30 days. You can cancel the Zendough program by calling a customer support representative.

Credit Watch This $12.95 per month credit monitoring program allows you to view an unlimited number of Equifax reports and monitors all 3 major agencies for changes. However, there is no credit score given with this report. Cancellation is through the customer support service via telephone.

Equifax Complete – The premier plan by Equifax provides access to your Equifax credit score, monitoring for all 3 reporting agencies and once per year access to a credit score for all agencies. Customers wanting to cancel can do so through Equifax.

ScoreWatch  -This $14.95 per month program monitors your Equifax report and the FICO score for changes. The fee also entitles you to pull 2 reports on your own each year. There is a 10 day free trial and you can cancel the ScoreWatch service at any time online through the customer service link.

5 Common Myths About Personal Credit

Credit scores—what do they mean anyway? Everyone knows that a higher credit score is desirable, It makes buying a car, purchasing a home or qualifying for a credit card much easier. Other than understanding that higher is better, what do you really know about credit scores? Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Learn more about these top five credit score myths, and find out the truth behind the number.

Myth #1: If you’ve paid off a debt, close the line of credit.

It may seem like this would be the best way to raise your credit score—pay off that pesky debt and get the credit off your record. However, there is a major flaw. The credit monitoring companies see closing an account as a red flag. In most cases, closing that account will make your credit score go down, not up. If you pay off a card, make an effort not to spend on the card, and in fact cut it up or put it in your safe deposit box, but don’t simply cancel the account.

Myth #2: Your employment impacts your credit standing.

While having a proven source of income can help you qualify for a loan, your employment history has absolutely no bearing on your credit score. If you are unemployed, self-employed or on disability but take pains to keep your credit in shape, you’ll find it’s no more difficult to obtain a high credit rating than someone who works a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Myth #3: Financing a home, car or other large purchase will make your score go down.

This is also false. Your score won’t go down just from a large purchase. In fact, these types of debts are often a good thing for your credit score. The type of debt you have impacts your score as much as the amount of debt. The fact that you qualified for this type of account shows that you are more creditworthy.

Myth #4: The older you are, the higher your score.

While having accounts open and in good standing for a long time will make your score go up, your actual age has no impact. An older person who has a spotty credit record is likely going to have a lower credit score than a young person who has been meticulous about paying bills on time and maintaining a good credit ratio.

Myth #5: Checking my score will lower my score.

There are two different types of credit inquiries on your record, and they impact the score in different ways. A soft check is what happens when you check your score, or when a company looks into your record to see if they want to extend a pre-approved offer your way. A hard check is when you actually apply for credit. Only these hard checks negatively impact your credit score. It is actually vital that you check your credit score regularly, to make certain you do not become the victim of an identity theft or error on your report.

Debunking these credit score myths is the first step in helping you understand your number. A lower-than-average credit score is certainly not something you want, but it is something you can repair. Patience and an effort towards repaying your debts will go a long way towards helping you get the score you need to obtain that home loan or low interest rate that you need.

3 Deadbeat Databases You Never Want To Be Listed In

There aren’t many feelings worse than trying to write a check or open an account and being turned down. However, this happens to people on a daily basis. Most of the time when this happens, one of the so-called “deadbeat databases” has added the individual to its list. While there are several of these databases in existence, there are three that are best known and used by more banks and other organizations to decide who they will allow to open an account or whether they will conduct business with the consumer. It is vital that every consumer knows about these databases and understands how to stay off of the list and out of trouble.

CHEX Systems

CHEX Systems is both a check verification service and also acts as a credit reporting agency. Unlike Experian or Equifax, this agency reports data about how a particular consumer has interacted with his or her bank accounts. This can include information like overdrafts, abandoned accounts, negative balances and other information. CHEX systems is controversial because unlike the normal credit reporting agencies, this company only reports negative aspects on an account, not positive.

When a consumer is added to this database, it can make it hard to get large checks cashed or open new banking accounts. Because of this, consumers work hard to stay out of the system. This is done by making certain accounts have sufficient funds at all times, and by making certain that old accounts that are no longer in use get closed. Leaving an old account open can open it up to having fees levied that could send it into overdraft as well as providing more potential for identity theft, which is often reported negatively on these databases.

While information reported by CHEX Systems stays in place for many years, many banks ignore information that is over two or three years old, and overdrafts that consumers repay. Thus careful money management and patience is the best way to get back in good graces with this database.

CAIVRS

Credit Alert Verification Reporting System is a database that was developed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development  (HUD) in the 1980’s. It is a listing of individuals that are in default on federal loans or other debts. Since the federal government is responsible for lending to many individuals, it is important that they keep track of those who are not credit-worthy and avoid having more loans go in default in the future.

It is relatively simple to stay off this database, simply by avoiding defaulting on a federal loan. Once a person has been listed on the CAIVRS system, it is very hard to come off completely. A notation will be made once the loan is paid in full, though it may still be hard to qualify for federal lending in the future.

National Tenant Rating Bureau

 This deadbeat database is focused on those who rent homes or apartments. It allows landlords to report information about former tenants.  If negative information is reported on this database, it may make it hard for individuals to rent a home or apartment in the future.

Before signing a lease, you can discuss with your landlord this database and what he or she notates. Some landlords will only report those tenants who have very negative histories, while others will report if a tenant is simply moderately late with a payment. It’s important to understand that this database is a bit more subjective than others, so having a good understanding with the landlord is the best way to avoid getting in over your head.

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