This isn't good news for the millions of American consumers who struggle with mounting debts and less-than-perfect credit scores. Since carrying long-term debts increases your chances of missing a payment, running up excessive balances or damaging your credit in either ways, debt consolidation lenders don't have a very big pool of potential applicants at their disposal. Unless you've been fortunate enough to maintain a stellar credit score during your debt struggles, you might have to look elsewhere for help.
Write a letter to the specific credit reporting agency that shows the falsehood, whether it is Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Explain the mistake and include a copy of the highlighted report along with your documentation. Although certain bureaus now let you submit disputes online, it’s not a bad idea to send this letter by certified mail, and keep a copy for yourself. The reporting agency has 30 days from the receipt of your letter to respond. The Federal Trade Commission provides advice on contacting the credit bureaus about discrepancies. Here are the contact numbers and web sites for the three credit bureaus:
Each time you apply for credit is listed on your credit report as a “hard inquiry” and if you have too many within two years, your credit score will suffer. In general, a consumer with good credit can apply for credit a few times each year before it begins to affect their credit score. If you’re already starting with below-average credit, however, these inquiries may have more of an impact on your score and delay your ultimate goal of watching your credit score climb.

If you are a careful money manager who fell into debt because of unusual circumstances (medical or veterinary  bill, loss of employment or some other emergency) and NOT because you spent more on your credit cards than you could afford to pay off each month, then leave the accounts open. Doing so will help your credit score, because the amount of revolving debt you have is a significant factor in your credit score. Just be sure to put the cards away. Don’t use them while you pay down your debt consolidation loan.

Credit cards with zero percent APR balance transfer introductory offers allow you to transfer existing debt at a zero percent APR for a certain period of time, usually 12 to 21 months. They typically allow credit card debt transfers, but some allow transfers of other types of debt. With a zero percent APR balance transfer offer, you will get time to pay down or pay off your debt without accumulating any new interest.

Your payment history is the most important factor in your FICO credit score and accounts for 35% of most scores. VantageScore doesn’t provide percentages, but the percentages used are likely similar to FICO’s. And even just one late payment can drop your scores significantly. Having a good payment history is critical to maintaining healthy credit accounts.
All loan applications are subject to the credit policies of Pioneer Services. Loan approval, term, amount, and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) are dependent upon each applicant's credit qualifications. Loan amounts are available between $500 and $10,000 with terms from 12 to 48 months. APRs range from 11.99% to 35.95%, with the lower rates available to those with stronger credit profiles. Pioneer Services installment loans are originated through MidCountry Bank, which offers the protections and security of a federally regulated institution, and is a member FDIC.
For 2018, National Debt Relief is offering a scholarship for college students and high school seniors. National Debt Relief is a leading debt relief company that helps consumers who need help with their unsecured debt. Many consumers think their only options for debt relief are credit counseling, debt consolidation loans or bankruptcy. But National Debt Relief wants consumers to know there is another option. This option can help consumers resolve their debt for a fraction of what they owe and help them avoid bankruptcy.

Home equity loan or line of credit – With a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, homeowners who’ve built up an ownership stake in their home may be able to take out a loan using their home as collateral. These loans typically offer lower interest rates than credit cards or personal loans. But beware: If you don’t pay it back, you could lose your home.
All children and young people should understand the importance of wellbeing and good mental health. They should develop the skills and resilience to keep well, and to understand the signs of being unwell and be confident to ask for help. They should expect that the support available in education, the community and the health and care systems meets their needs.
First of all, aside from fees, you might also want to look at penalties. Almost all lenders have penalties for missing or late payments, so it’s important to make sure the fees from your lender aren’t extortionate. Next, you’ll want to see the type of repayment options available through the lender. It’s typically much easier to work with a lender that provides electronic repayments, as you can set up automatic payments that ensure you don’t miss a deadline.
We've done the research so you don't have to. In many cases, our technology works directly with financial institutions to match you to the offers from our partners that are right for you, which means you may be more likely to qualify for the products that are Matched for You. Our list is more personalized than other sites because we review partner requirements before showing you offers. We find your best matches using your credit profile and your spending habits. Also, we don't rank the credit card offers by how much we get paid, we rank based on what's best for YOU.
If your debt is from student loans, you should consider student loan consolidation. Student loan consolidation allows you to combine multiple student loan payments into a single one. Under certain circumstances, such as extending your student loan term or reducing your interest rate, you can save money on student loan payments with student loan consolidation.
We all want to get rid of debt. Debt is costly and can prevent us from reaching financial goals (or at least prevent us from reaching them when we’d like to). Some people consider credit card debt bad and mortgage or student loan debt good. The truth is that having any debt means you are financially beholden to a creditor and you can’t put your money in your own pocket until your obligation is met.
Debt consolidation does not always require a loan. Debt consolidation loans combine various accounts with outstanding debt into one new account through the lending of a new loan - which pays off all of the other accounts. Technically, your various accounts are paid off at that point, but you now owe money on a new loan (hopefully with a better interest rate and lower monthly payment). However, certain debt consolidation plans do not involve loans and function more like debt settlement or debt relief programs. These programs seek to reduce the total amount you owe through negotiation with creditors. This option is similar to the loan option because you would only have to make one monthly payment - which would go into a secure account used to negotiate balances with creditors.
If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, be aware that bankruptcy laws require that you get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust, the website of the U.S. Trustee Program. That’s the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Be wary of credit counseling organizations that say they are government-approved, but don’t appear on the list of approved organizations.
Payment history is the most important factor in calculating your credit score—accounting for 35% of your FICO® Score—and it is important to avoid paying any loan payments past their due date. Late payments can easily occur when someone has multiple loan payments each month and is not using auto pay. Another advantage of a debt consolidation loan is lowering the amount of interest you're paying on your outstanding debt. People typically use debt consolidation loans to pay off their high-interest debt—like credit card debt, which can have interest rates that range from 18-25%. In most cases, a debt consolidation loan will have a much lower interest rate depending on your creditworthiness, saving you money on interest over the life of your loan.
Of course, if keeping accounts open and having credit available could trigger additional spending and debt, it might be more beneficial to close the accounts. Only you know all the ins and outs of your financial situation, and like thumbprints, they're different for each person. Make sure you carefully evaluate your situation; only you know what can work best for your financial outlook.

While your credit score may seem like a complicated, arbitrary number, it is actually calculated based on five core factors: your payment history, credit utilization, the age of your credit accounts, the mix of your credit accounts, and your history of applying for credit. They are not equally weighted, and this information can be slightly different among the various credit bureaus.


Over time, the debt reductions that we're able to secure could enable you to begin building up a store of savings or adding to your existing retirement account. For many past clients, our program was a turning point: Before enrolling, they lived paycheck to paycheck and could still barely afford to make ends meet. After successfully completing our debt settlement plan, they finally had the means to prepare and save for the future. It's the least we can do to help.


Bad credit is not a life sentence, which is good news for the roughly one-third of people with credit scores below 620. So if your credit is damaged, there are indeed steps that you can take to rebuild. After all, rebuilding credit is a process that takes time and requires focus on the fundamentals. And we’ll explain exactly what you need to do below.
Rather than trying to settle your debts yourself, which can be very difficult and time-consuming a better option would be to hire National Debt Relief. We have already helped more than 100,000 families and individuals achieve freedom from their debts since the company was founded in 2008. We have achieved this by helping pay off more than $1 billion in unsecured debts.
In some cases, it might be difficult to determine what to include as far as supporting documentation goes — that’s another way a credit repair company can help you. For example, if you’re a victim of identity theft and a fraudulent account is appearing on your credit report, it can be tough to prove it isn’t yours since you naturally don’t have any documents relating to the account.

In general, credit repair takes about three to six months to resolve all of the disputes that the average consumer needs to make. Of course, if you only have a few mistakes to correct or you repair your credit every year, it may not take as long; you might be done in just over one month. On the other hand, if you’ve never corrected your credit and have a large volume of things to dispute, it may take longer.
When you find yourself with damaged credit, it’s important to catch your breath and begin laying the foundation for a brighter financial future. Testing your financial literacy and educating yourself are part of that. But the centerpiece of this effort should be your emergency fund. With money saved for a rainy day, you’ll be far less likely to miss payments and damage your credit if met by hefty emergency expenses.
A third way to achieve relief from those awful credit card debts is through debt settlement. It can be better than either a debt consolidation loan or a balance transfer because when done successfully it can actually reduce the amounts you owe. The way this works is simple – at least in theory. All that’s required is for you to contact each of your creditors and offer to make a lump sum payment to settle the debt but for less than its face value.
One of the biggest pitfalls of debt consolidation is the risk of running up new debt before the consolidated debt is paid off. When you finish paying off credit cards with a consolidation loan, don’t be tempted to use the credit cards with their newly free credit limits. If you think you might, close the accounts. You may have heard that doing so could hurt your credit score, and it might. But you can recover from credit score damage much more easily and quickly than you can recover from crushing debt.

If you have errors, especially inaccurate negative information, on your credit reports, you can see changes to your credit scores fairly quickly. Credit reporting agencies have to respond to disputes within 30 days, although some can take 45 days. And if the credit reporting agency sides with you, it must remove the mistake immediately. In a 2012 Federal Trade Commission study on credit report accuracy, four out of five people who disputed an error on their credit reports had a modification made to their reports.
A secured credit card, in particular, is the ideal tool for rebuilding credit. They offer nearly guaranteed approval because you’ll need to place a security deposit that will double as your spending limit. Secured cards are also far less expensive than unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit. And you can’t tell them apart from unsecured cards on a credit report.
When you use a debt consolidation loan to pay off your credit card balances, it should also help you with credit utilization on your credit accounts. Credit utilization is the amount of credit borrowed against a particular credit account. Since credit utilization accounts for approximately 30% of your overall credit score, this is a very important factor when it comes to how good or bad your credit is.

Step 2: Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if the information is found to be inaccurate, the provider may not report it again.
Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

Satisfying such obligations won’t remove the records from your credit reports, however. They’ll stay there for seven to 10 years, no matter what. But their status will change to show that you no longer owe money. What’s more, the newest credit scores – including VantageScore 3.0, VantageScore 4.0 and FICO Score 9 – stop considering collections accounts once they’ve been paid.


You're also entitled to a free credit report if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report, if you're currently receiving government assistance, if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job soon, or if you think you've been a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft. Some states even have laws that let you get an additional free credit report each year. All these free credit reports should be ordered directly through the credit bureaus.

The lenders who partner with NerdWallet follow accepted industry standards for installment lending, with interest rates no higher than 36% (widely considered the upper limit of affordability) and consideration of your credit history and ability to repay. NerdWallet has reviewed their application processes and verified their underwriting guidelines.
The FICO® Score, which ranges between 300 and 850, is the most commonly-used credit scoring model by lenders for evaluating a borrower's creditworthiness and has several ranges. Credit scores above 670 are considered good, very good or exceptional depending on the score. A "fair" score ranges from 580 to 669 and any score that is lower than 579 is considered "poor." Knowing your credit score is important in determining your options, but even with less than perfect credit, there are still ways you can consolidate your debt.

For example, if you decide to start using your credit cards again after you’ve paid them off, your credit utilization rate may skyrocket and sink your credit rating. Similarly, if you fail to pay attention to the due date on your debt consolidation loan and miss a payment, your payment history may take a big hit as well. So, make sure you’re prepared to address all the challenges you have with credit when you take out a debt consolidation loan; otherwise, your credit rating may pay the price.

Start by getting debt help from a credit counselor. The counselor might even help you negotiate your own agreements with creditors. If you develop and follow a get-out-of-debt plan with the help of a counselor (as opposed to consolidating your debt), your credit score will rise over time faster than it will if you declare bankruptcy or ignore your debts, as you make on-time payments and reduce your overall debt load. You’ll also avoid the hit to your score that comes with the new hard inquiry we talked about earlier.

Debt consolidation loans were a good choice for more than 60 percent of respondents, who indicated their loan helped them lower monthly payments, improve their credit score, or lower or eliminate debt. However, 58 percent of respondents spent two hours or less researching debt consolidation loans and 59 percent of respondents didn’t compare preapprovals from two or more lenders.
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