What is a credit score?

Credit score is a 3 digit number from 350 to 850. It is used to represent the creditworthiness of an individual. A credit score is primarily based on a credit report provided by 3 main credit reporting agencies (CRA)

What is a credit reporting agency?

A credit reporting agency, also known as credit bureau, is an

organization that collects individual credit information to compile a

report to be evaluated by lenders and creditors so that they can make

decisions about extending credit or granting loans.

Who are the Credit Reporting Agencies?

Experian, Equifax, and Transunion

How is my credit scored?

There are 2 main scoring companies, FICO & VantageScore. They grade your credit based on 3 main credit reporting agencies.

What is a FICO® score?

Your FICO® Score is a three-digit number determined by the information on your credit report. While FICO® doesn’t collect the data themselves, they grade your credit based on 3 main credit reporting agencies.

Your VantageScore® is a three-digit number determined by information on your credit report. While VantageScore® doesn’t collect the data themselves, they grade your credit based on 3 main credit reporting agencies.

What information is on my credit report?

  • Identifying information
  • Revolving and installment credit lines that you have taken out
  • Credit limits
  • Credit history
  • Public records
  • Collections
  • Late payment information
  • Possibly your credit score

What impacts my credit score?

  • Payment History
  • Credit Utilization
  • Credit Age
  • Credit Mix
  • New Credit

How do I know what my credit score is?

There are many ways to get access to your report and score, however, it

is important to know that there will be variations in your score

depending on the algorithm you are using. More important than a score,

is being able to see what is on the report. Make sure you get access to

all 3 reports. Credit Score Advocates has a discounted link that we use

for our clients. Under this subscription, you can view all three of your

credit reports and scores. If you click this link, you can get access to a $1 trial for 3 days.

Why do I have more than one credit score?

Although FICO and Vantage use the same reports to grade the scores, there are different scoring algorithms for each company. Kind of like auto manufacturers have different models of vehicles. For example, Ford has the Focus, Fusion, Taurus, and Mustang. Each scoring algorithm calculates different risk tolerances that banks, lenders, and other companies use to rank their leads, customers, and/or clients.

What is a good credit score?

Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.

What actions hurt my credit?

  • Making late payments
  • Having a high debt to credit utilization ratio
  • Applying for a lot of credit at once
  • Closing a credit card or installment account
  • Not having enough diversity in your credit types
  • Filing for bankruptcy or a foreclosure

How can I improve my credit?

There are five main contributors that Credit Score Advocates works with our clients to repair, build and maintain a positive trending credit score. Payment History, Amount of Debt Owed, Length of Credit History, Credit Mix and Inquiries. Managing your credit wisely by paying your bills on time, paying active debt down and maintaining your current accounts will improve your score.

Does it hurt my score when I check it?

That may depend on how you got access to your scores. A hard inquiry is pulled from a lender or creditor, a soft inquiry can be pulled by you as a consumer through a credit monitoring company.

What is a Hard Inquiry, What is a Soft Inquiry?

  • A hard inquiry can affect your credit score and requires potential creditors and lenders to get your written approval.
  • A soft inquiry is a credit report pulled by you, the consumer, through a credit monitoring service. It may also be pulled by prospecting lenders and creditors. This is the inquiry that Credit Score Advocates uses for our clients credit pulls through Smartcredit.

Who has access to my credit report?

  • A hard inquiry is a credit report pulled by a lender you are applying for credit with.
  • A soft inquiry may also be pulled by businesses like insurance, utilities companies, service providers, or by creditors or lenders to offer their products to you. Generally these companies will have verbal or written approval, however they may have received your information from a “shared” source.

Can employers look at my credit?

Employers are allowed by federal law to see a modified version of your credit report for purposes of hiring and promotion. Employers will not see your credit score, however, they can see the information that contributes to your score.

What score do I need to get a house?

There are many different factors that go into being approved for a mortgage, but most lending companies require at least a 620 credit score to be approved for a traditional home loan.

How can I get my free credit report?

The credit bureaus have to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months–it’s the law. You can claim this free credit report from http://www.annualcreditreport.com. You will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth to verify your identity.

Credit Repair Facts

If I pay a collection, will it come off my report? / Will paying off my collections accounts improve my credit score?

Unfortunately, no. When you pay a collection account, the derogatory item will stay on your account. The balance will be updated to $0 and there may be a comment of paid for less than the balance or settled collection. However, derogatory accounts are derogatory accounts, whether they are $5 or $5000.

How can I stop collection agencies from calling me?

Credit Score Advocates uses the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). No creditor/collection agency can continue calling you if you simply ask them not to. All you need to do is let them know that you want all future correspondence to come through mail and give them your current address.

Is Credit repair a scam?

While there are some less than reputable people out there, there are some good people and companies out there. A few things you can listen for to help deter you from being scammed. Be wary of any company that provides guarantees of results, charges you up-front for credit repair services, or asks you to create a false police report. Not only is that illegal, it is a red-flag that something suspicious may be going on. Say no to Credit Sweeps!

What is credit repair?

Credit repair refers to the process of disputing mistakes and errors on your credit reports. Each credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) maintains its own proprietary version of your credit report. The CRA’s are legally required to maintain accurate information, but errors can occur.

What is a negative/derogatory item?

Anything in your credit history that negatively impacts your credit score.

Can bad credit be corrected or deleted?

If something on your credit report is incomplete, inaccurate, or out of date, it can be corrected or deleted with the credit reporting agencies and your creditors through the dispute process. Although, submitting a dispute is never guaranteed to remove the account, there are laws to protect your rights.

Is credit repair legal?

Of course. The law entitles you to a fair, accurate and substantiated credit profile. Credit repair is simply one of the ways to help you get there.

What laws protect my credit?

There are many laws that apply to your credit, however, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are generally the two laws utilized the most.

What can be removed from my credit report?

Anything that is inaccurate, inconsistent, or unverifiable should be challenged with the credit reporting agencies/creditors.

Do negative items stay on my credit forever?

No, but it sure can feel like it! Negative items are allowed to stay on your credit report for 7 years after the first date of delinquency, the first day the account was late.

How long does credit repair take?

There are many different “credit repair” programs out there. Some companies will get you on a subscription and dispute a few items at a time, as long as you continue to pay your subscription fees. These companies will lead their clients to believe that credit improvement takes a long time. The Credit Score Advocates program typically takes about 60 to 120 days for disputing, but we also educate our clients on building credit through positive tradelines. This allows shorter windows of improvement, with much higher results.

Is credit repair expensive?

Although there are many different credit repair companies. There are a few different ways these companies charge. Some will have a subscription, others will charge based on deletion results. Credit Score Advocates offers a few different options based on what is on your credit report. We start by reviewing your credit report to get a better understanding of what is on your report. Some clients may not even need to submit disputes to improve their scores. You can start the process to schedule a free consultation by clicking here.

When should I start repairing my credit?

Depending on your credit profile, Credit Score Advocates recommends clients prepare to be in our dispute program for 3-4 months. If you have to build new credit, the process may take longer.

Can I repair my credit on my own?

Absolutely. It is your right granted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to ensure your creditors are reporting accurate information on your credit reports. If you choose to submit your own disputes, I highly recommend reading the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as studying your state collection laws, statute of limitations, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. That being said, this process can be time consuming and confusing. That’s why there are credit improvement professionals, who know how to leverage consumer rights, laws, and have experience in how the credit system works in order to get the best results as quickly as possible.

Who is a good candidate for a credit repair program?

A good candidate for Credit Score Advocates is someone who ultimately wants to improve their credit in order to buy a home, get a better interest rate on a loan, get access to discounts on insurance, lower cost of utilities or rent property.

What if I can’t afford credit repair?

Think of credit repair like an investment. A little effort today could save you thousands of dollars (and a headache) tomorrow. We offer a variety of service levels to support every budget. Give us a call today and we’ll help you find the right service for your unique circumstance.

Can a divorce hurt my credit score?

While filing for divorce won’t directly hurt your score, some of the fallout could create credit problems. For example, if you have a joint vehicle and one of you is granted the responsibility of that vehicle, that does not remove you as a cosigner of that loan. The person granted custody of the vehicle will need to refinance the vehicle in their name only. If that person fails to do so and misses payments or gets the vehicle repossessed, it will negatively impact both of you.

Credit Score Advocates Program

Do I need an appointment?

Yes, Credit Score Advocates utilizes phone appointments for your convenience and ours. We don’t want to take a lot of your valuable time, and allowing our credit improvement specialist to review your credit reports, before the call, allows you to get back to your day faster and allows us to help educate more people in the world of credit. When submitting your information, be sure to check your email and texts as that is where many of our pre appointments tasks are sent.

What languages do you speak?

We currently have English speaking representatives as well as a Spanish speaking translator.

Why does the free consultation cost money?

The consultation itself is free, however, we do need access to all 3 credit reports without hurting your credit score. Our preferred service is SmartCredit as we have a discounted rate with an initial $1 trial for 3 days and then $21.99/month.

Why do I need Smart Credit? (For services)

SmartCredit allows combined access to all three of your credit reports and scores without hurting your credit. Their report provides all the information we need to determine the best course of action for your individual needs! Additionally, we have a discounted rate negotiated with them to save you money. This service is also one of the most affordable ways for our clients to get access to all three bureau reports.

What is the difference between Credit Karma and SmartCredit?

Credit Karma is not a credit monitoring service, they are a marketing company. There is a saying about “free” services. If you are not paying for the product or service, you are not the customer. Credit Karma’s website allows their products (people accessing free credit reports) to share their personal credit profile with their paying customers (credit card companies, debt refinance companies, and other lending institutions). Smart credit offers all 3 credit reporting agencies reports to be viewed with individual account information that allows us to see discrepancies in reporting.

If I already have a copy of my credit report can I use it?

Unfortunately, no. The credit reports from lenders, or free sites do not provide the information we need to see to ensure the disputes are as detailed and accurate as possible to provide the best results!

Why is there a difference between my SmartCredit score and my lender’s score?

Generally, banks and lenders will be using a version of the FICO score model while SmartCredit shows a version of Vantage score. Both versions are “YOUR” credit scores, however they are rated on different scales. When we shift focus to what is on the credit report, as that is the indicator of the score improvement, we will be able to gauge the improvement throughout the program on a vantage score without negatively affecting the scores by a hard pull through the lender. To speak plainly, if the negative information on your credit report is removed or updated to positive, it will positively affect both versions of your credit score.

Is CSA legitimate?

Absolutely! Credit Score Advocates is a small family owned and operated business. Our mission is to help educate and empower our clients to achieve better credit scores so that they can qualify for homes, build businesses, and most importantly save money!

How long have you been doing Credit repair?

Credit Score Advocates have been helping clients reach their credit goals since 2016.

Do your services really work?

For the last 6 years, Credit Score Advocates has been helping many people reach their credit goals! Most of our clients are seeing results of 60-120 points in or around 70 to 105 days.

Can Credit Score Advocates Guarantee a certain score?

If a credit repair company guarantees a score, RUN! Unfortunately, credit scores are not something that can be guaranteed. While our dispute program is designed around an action plan that includes educating you on how to build and maintain credit, scores vary based on activity, payment history, balance activity, average age of accounts, types of accounts, and inquiries. Our mission is to help educate and empower our clients to achieve better credit scores so that they can qualify for homes, build businesses, and most importantly save money! We will do everything in our power to help you achieve the credit score you deserve.

How much does CSA cost?

Credit Score Advocates offers different packages based on what is on an individual’s credit reports. Each of our plans offer very budget friendly prices.

How does billing work?

Payments to Credit Score Advocates are collected via a credit merchant services company’s secure portal. Clients can pay with credit card, debit card, or echeck/ACH. We have two payment options for each package. Pay in full round payments are discounted since there are fewer processing fees. Weekly payments are also available to make it more affordable to get started. Either plan that is selected will charge after the work has been completed for each round.

Why should I pay Credit Score Advocates to repair my credit?

We have the knowledge, and the ability to devote the necessary time to get the best results in a preferable time frame.

When can I expect to start seeing improvement?

Usually after the first 30 day update you will see your credit scores start to improve as long as you have been following your customized action plan. Please remember, credit repair is a process and will not be an overnight change. The credit monitoring service will include 1 monthly update, so we will not have any information on improvement during the dispute round.

How often will you update my report?

Dispute rounds last 30 days. Credit Score Advocates updates our clients 3B credit reports every 35 days. It is important that you do not update in between the rounds as it may cause delays in the dispute process or cost additional fees from the credit monitoring service.

How do I view my accounts progress and credit score?

As we are working on your credit profile, we keep you up to date through phone calls, emails and text messages. We also have a secure client portal where your information will be updated every 30-35 days and is accessed through a password you create.

How will I know my credit is repaired?

Credit Score Advocates provides a fully transparent system that allows our clients to follow their progress in our client portal. This secure portal access is given after becoming a client and is accessed through a password you create.

Can I cancel service?

Credit Score Advocates follows the Credit Repair Organization Act’s requirement of a 3 day cancellation policy. Unlike subscription plans that last until you cancel them, our dispute packages are based on 3 dispute rounds. Each of these rounds carries a flat fee that is paid after each service is provided. We also offer weekly payment plans to spread the cost out over 22 weeks. If you wish to stop services, the payments for the services already completed will continue to be billed.

What happens if I do not pay?

Remember, our services are completed prior to the payments being charged. If you miss a payment, your services will be put on probation immediately. If the payments continue to be declined, or charged back after completion of the work, we reserve the right to submit your file to collections. We look forward to helping each client meet their credit goals, so in the event you can not afford to pay, please contact us immediately and we will try to work out a solution for you!

Should I stop paying my active credit card accounts or active loans and bills?

Absolutely not. This will cause a direct negative impact on your credit scores. If you are unable to pay for your bills, we recommend revising your budget. Other possible options are refinancing accounts or maybe even bankruptcy.

If you remove an item from my credit report does it eliminate the debt?

No, removing an item from the credit report does not mean you no longer owe the debt. If you legitimately do owe the money, it may need to be settled or paid in order to get qualified for a loan. For example, a mortgage lender may have a requirement to have under $2000 in non medical collections in order to qualify, or else they may reduce your income by 5% of the debt for a “monthly payment estimate”.

Do I need to settle with my creditors?

Settling collection accounts does not improve your credit scores, unless the collection company agrees to remove the derogatory account from your credit report. In certain situations, it may be advantageous to settle, but Credit Score Advocates does not work with the creditors to settle your accounts.

What should I do about collections accounts?

While in the Credit Score Advocates dispute program, we do not want you to communicate with collection account creditors. As previously stated, paying collection accounts do not positively impact your credit scores, and it may cause issues with disputing inaccurate information.

Does Credit Score Advocates offer debt settlement services?

We do not settle your debts on your behalf, however we can provide you with tips and information that may help you if that is the best and most efficient option.

How do I get started & what are the first steps?

We start with a credit review. We will first need access to your credit reports. Then our team of credit improvement specialists will conduct a review and send you a scheduler for you to select a time convenient for you. Once you are on the schedule, our team will contact you to go over your credit report and determine which of our credit improvement packages best fits your needs or give you information to help you improve without a dispute package. After that, the process is pretty straightforward and quick! We will walk you through all of the documentation we will need signed or forwarded over from you!

Do I get a refund if my scores don’t go up?

Our program is designed for credit improvement. As long as our client is following the customized action plan, their scores will increase. Credit Score Advocates does offer a 100% money back guarantee if there is no improvement, while following the program.

Do Credit Score Advocates share my personal information with anyone?

Absolutely not. Your information is private and confidential. We keep it that way.