Service Members and Debts

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets 41% of its complaints from service members, but only 26% from others. Service members have faced problems with information being given to the commander of the unit and also with being called at work several times. It is likely a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to tell a commander about the debt.


Credit Builder Loans

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Credit builder loans can help you improve your credit score. Try get a secured loan, which means you should have collateral for the loan. Make your payments on time, every time. Make sure the lender will be reporting to the credit bureaus or else it will not help your credit. Title loans and payday loans are not credit builder loans.


Pay-for-delete Letter

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If you have a debt on your credit report that cannot be removed, try doing a pay-for-delete. You can make a deal with the collection agency where you pay some or all of the debt, and they will remove the negative item from your credit report. Make sure to get the agreement in writing. This can be a good option if you actually owe the debt. Remember that there is no guarantee they will accept your offer.


Consumers Paid for Debts They Did Not Owe

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In August of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission charged a debt collection operation with taking money from consumers for debts they did not owe. The debt collectors used names that sounded like law firms, such as Cohen, Daniels & Moss. They threatened legal action and used profanity. Many people paid just to stop the harassment. If you question whether you actually owe a debt, ask the debt collector to send you information about the debt in writing.


Credit Repair Organizations Act

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In 1996, Congress passed the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Credit repair companies try to get negative information removed from your credit report, which should increase your credit score. The Act protects consumers in the following ways:
· The credit repair companies cannot misrepresent their services
· The company has to have a written contract with the consumer
· The consumer has 3 days to cancel the contract
· They cannot charge for services until the service has been done

Here is a link to the law:

LINK:

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title15-chapter41-subchapterII-A&num=0&edition=prelim


Your Credit Score and Buying a Home

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What does your credit score need to be to buy a home? If your credit score is below 650, you may have trouble getting a loan. Your best interest rate is going to be if your credit score is 750 or higher. If your credit score is below 650 and you eventually want to buy a house, you should focus on improving your credit score. The process can take many months and even years.


Home Equity

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The equity in your house is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you still owe on the home. As you keep paying on your mortgage, your equity increases. If you sell your house in the first few years after you buy it, you may not have any equity in your house. Also, if the value of your house goes down, you will have less equity in your house.


Credit Repair Companies

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You can benefit from hiring a credit repair company to fix your credit score. Having a higher credit score can help you get a lower interest rate on mortgages and loans. This can make the cost of credit repair worth it. The credit repair company should gather your information, send out letters and do follow-up. They should also be familiar with federal laws, including:

• Fair Credit Reporting Act
• Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
• Fair Credit Billing Act


Credit Freeze

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If you have had identity theft, you may want to do a credit freeze. But be careful because if you will be applying for a loan soon, the credit freeze will create obstacles. To do a credit freeze:

1. Contact each credit bureau separately and request a credit freeze.
2. You must contact each credit bureau – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

The freeze will remain in place until you contact each credit bureau and ask for the freeze to be removed.


Student Loan Complaints

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In its 2016 report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau listed complaints it received from consumers about student loans. About 2/3 of the complaints were related to the lender or servicer: making payments, getting information about the loan, managing the account. Borrowers complained that their payments were misapplied and that there was inaccurate accounting of their payments.


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