Posts Tagged: ‘Credit Report’

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

August 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get a fresh start financially and erase past debts, but a legitimate concern consumers have is the effects it will have on their credit score and their ability to take out credit again.

One of the biggest misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy is that it will ruin your credit score and your financial future.  To the contrary, after filing for bankruptcy you can begin restoring your credit right away.

Here are some steps you can take to begin rebuilding your credit after filing for bankruptcy:

Create a budget.  This will help you stay on top of your finances and is something you should have gone over in the “pre-discharge” credit counseling.

Build an emergency fund.  Research shows that having as little as $250 saved up for an unexpected expense can protect families from having to resort to pay day loans and credit cards.

Plan your post-bankruptcy credit strategy.  Assess your situation by first checking your credit score.  Dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report and have this corrected immediately.  Remember, a Chapter 7 filing will wipe out your debts, but it does not wipe your credit reports clean.  Make sure and double check all three reports.

Here are some ways to access to new credit while rebuilding your score.

Secured loans are typically offered by credit unions or community banks.  One type of secured loan involves borrowing against money you already have on deposit.   The other type can be made without upfront cash.  Instead, this money is loaned to you and is placed in a savings account and released to you only after you have made the necessary payments.  In return, the financial institution agrees to send a report to the credit bureaus.

A secured credit card is backed by the deposit you make and the credit limit is typically the amount you have on deposit.  This can help repair your credit while you wait to become eligible for an unsecured card.

A co-signed credit card can improve your score, but it is definitely a big ask. Essentially, this individual (the co-signer) is risking his or her own credit history for you and will be on the hook if the full amount is not paid on the card.

If asking to co-sign is too much, an authorized user status will work.  Basically, you are an authorized user on that person’s credit card.  Just make sure the credit card will report the payment activity by authorized users to the credit bureaus, otherwise it will have no effect on your score.

A lighter debt burden automatically makes you more desirable to lenders, so be vigilant about paying on time.  Keep your credit card balances relatively low compared to the card’s limit.  For example, less than 30% is typically advised while using just 10% of the available credit is even better.

Still not convinced?  A testimonial from one of our clients in regards to their credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

My credit score said on all three reports 775, I couldn’t believe that I had such a great score before 10 years. Tim for me was the best move I have made for my situation. I have no regrets, I am glad the past is the past. – Bill T.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/rebuild-credit-after-bankruptcy/

One Wrong Move Can Bring your ‘Zombie’ Debt Back to Life

October 31, 2016 Posted by kingcade

In the spirit of Halloween, we want to warn you about zombie debt.  As the name suggests, zombie debt is a debt that you thought was dead but has come back to life.  This could be a debt you already paid off, a debt you settled with a creditor, a debt where the statute of limitations has expired, a debt that was wiped out in bankruptcy, or a debt that was never yours to begin with.

Zombie debts are old debts.  That in itself is what makes them so dangerous to consumers, especially when debt collectors apply high-pressure tactics to have you pay up.

Another downside, these debts are oftentimes hard to verify. As debts are sold and resold, information can vanish, leading collectors to seek payment on erroneous debt.  Making even a single payment on an old debt can reset the statute of limitations, leaving you vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Debt collection is the largest source of consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with more than 85,000 complaints filed in 2015.  The leading complaint: Consumers being harassed for debts they did not owe.

Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim and put zombie debt to rest for good:

  • Request a validation letter.  This will outline details, including the original creditor, the amount of the debt and how you can challenge it. This will help you verify that it is your debt and has not already been paid.
  • If you already paid the debt: Write a letter to the collections agency demanding that it cease contact. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act requires them to do so. Remember: You cannot legally be sued for a debt that is past the statute of limitations, even though collectors may still try.
  • Pull your credit report to determine whether it is being reported to the credit bureau.  You can do so for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Know your rights. Do not let a debt collector bully you.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you against abusive collection tactics.
  • If the debt is not yours, it is otherwise invalid: Write a letter challenging the debt within 30 days of the initial contact.
  • If you do owe the debt and can pay, resolving an unpaid account can end the collection calls and improve your credit score. Get any payment agreement in writing before sending money.
  • If you do owe the debt and cannot pay: Tell the creditor you cannot afford to pay. Never give your credit card information or bank account information to a creditor.  Instead, pursue debt relief through credit counseling or bankruptcy.

No matter what, be proactive. Do not ignore anything you receive in the mail from a debt collector and make sure and keep all of your correspondence in writing.

At the law firm of Kingcade & Garcia we want you to have a safe and Happy Halloween this year!   If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/10/31/debt-collectors-zombie-debt-payment/92666504/

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2016/10/31/dont-get-bit-by-zombie-debt-this-halloween/

 

Miami Ranked As One of the Worst Major U.S. Cities for Managing Money

July 28, 2016 Posted by kingcade

CreditCards.com recently ranked the nation’s cities in terms of money management by comparing credit scores and an index of U.S. Census Bureau data including: average income, education level, unemployment rate and the population ages of the 25 largest cities. According to the report, Miami ranked as one of the worst major cities in the country for managing their money. In fact, Miami came in 22nd. Tampa ranked 23rd on the list with Washington, D.C. at 24th and Baltimore at 25th. Los Angeles was ranked as the best city in the nation at money management, followed by Minneapolis as second and New York as third.

In order to rank the cities, the report focused on which city residents were paying their bills on time, keeping low credit card balances and not “over-applying” for credit, according to CreditCards.com senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. The original theory was that the older, richer and more educated residents would have higher credit scores, however, the data proved that factors such as cost of living, divorce rate and mobility level greatly impacted scores.

For example, although the Washington D.C. residents brought home a larger annual income than most cities, they also carried significantly higher credit card balances than other cities.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How to Get a Loan After Bankruptcy

February 23, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Many Americans believe their credit will never be the same after filing for bankruptcy. However, if you take the right steps, it’s possible to build a good credit score while you wait for bankruptcy to fall off your credit report.

If you developed bad financial habits that led to your credit problems, improving your credit score may be difficult. It is important to remember that it is possible to get your credit score to 700 within three years after filing for bankruptcy. If you are able to improve your credit score after bankruptcy, your odds of getting approved for a new loan are much higher.

Below are some tips to help you get a loan after bankruptcy:

Check your Credit Reports.

Although bankruptcy damages your credit score, having debts discharged will likely improve your chances of getting approved for new credit because your credit-to-debt ratio will be lower. However, you still want to check your credit history to make sure your bankruptcy was reported correctly to the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

You should also make sure that all of the accounts involved in your bankruptcy have a zero balance and are labeled as discharged. This will tell all of your prospective lenders that your income is now yours to spend.

Build a Positive Payment History.

Make sure to pay all of your bills on time after filing for bankruptcy. You want to prove to lenders that you are moving forward in a positive way. One of the best ways to build a positive payment history is to keep one account open with a zero balance. This does not mean that you should not use the account; it means you should make small purchases and pay the balance in full each month.

 Shop for (Re-) Starter Credit.

If you do not have any credit accounts open after filing for bankruptcy, apply for a secured credit card or credit-builder loan at your local bank. These types of credit are designed specifically to help people fix their credit scores.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

What’s Not on Your Credit Report May Hurt You

April 4, 2013 Posted by kingcade

Everyone worries about their credit score and what’s on their credit report, particularly when they are about to make a big purchase such as a car or a home. However, the things that are not on your credit report can be just as harmful as what is. There are several ways that good credit references, such as secured cards and bank loans paid on time, can help your credit:

Accentuate the positive. Positive payment history can be the best thing for your credit score. However, many people do not realize that one of the things credit scores take into account is the proportion of positive and negative items. For example, even if you have negative information on your report, having more positive information can offset the negative.

Length of credit history. Your credit score considers the age of all of your accounts. Even older accounts such as a paid-off mortgage can help your credit score for years to come.

Credit mix. Credit scores also take into account the different types of credit you have. It is best to have both installment and revolving accounts listed on your report.

Missing the good stuff. Not all lenders report their customers’ payment histories to credit-reporting agencies. This can be harmful to your credit score, because many report only negative information. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to force a lender to report your account, you just have to continue good bill-paying habits until they begin showing up on your credit report.

Click here to read more about the missing information on your credit report and how it may hurt your credit score.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.