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Why Do the Credit Scores I Pull Look Different Than the Ones My Lender Pulls?


Why Do the Credit Scores I Pull Look Different Than the Ones My Lender Pulls?

“Help! I’m really confused! I got all 3 of my credit scores online last week and they looked really good. Today I applied for a mortgage and the scores the lender pulled look totally different. All 3 scores are about 50 points lower than the scores I saw online. Thankfully, my scores were still high enough to get a mortgage loan, but why are the scores so much lower today?”

In the credit world there are few things which frustrate and upset consumers more than discovering the sometimes vast difference between consumer credit scores and the credit scores used by lenders. Popular TV commercials for credit monitoring websites often confuse consumers and lead them to believe that they have only one credit score. However, the truth is that there are actually hundreds of different types of credit scores. The idea that you have one "official" credit scores is a complete myth.

Consumer Scores Vs. Lender Scores

While there are hundreds of credit scores available, most of these scores can be boiled down into one of 2 categories - consumer scores or lender scores. (Insurance companies often use credit based insurance risk scores as well, but for the purpose of this article those scores will fall into the "lender" category as well.) Consumer scores are scores that are accessible to you individually. You can purchase these scores from the credit bureaus directly, from FICO directly, or from a host of consumer credit monitoring websites. Some websites will offer you free credit scores in exchange for signing up for a trial offer of their credit monitoring services. Other websites will offer you a free score from 1 of the 3 major credit bureaus (not all 3) in exchange for your email address and the right to advertise financial services to you. CLICK HERE if you would like to compare websites where you can access your 3 consumer credit scores.

Lender scores are almost always some version of a FICO score. There are some lenders which have begun using VantageScore credit scores (a score created by the credit bureaus themselves) in recent years, but FICO is still the most popular lender score in use today by a landslide. Both FICO and VantageScore have released multiple generations of their credit scoring software. Additionally, FICO scores come in many varieties (FICO Mortgage Score, FICO Auto Score, FICO Personal Finance Score, FICO Installment Loan Score, etc.) and each different FICO score variety typically has different versions in use as well. If today you were to pull a copy of your consumer credit scores, have a mortgage loan officer pull your credit scores, and have an auto lender pull your credit score then you have almost a 100% chance of getting a different set of numbers every time. Credit scores can vary pretty wildly depending upon which credit scoring model is being used to calculate them.

Focus On Healthy Credit

If you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed as you try to keep track with all of the different possible credit scores, you are not alone. Remember the statement above revealing that you have hundreds of credit scores? It would be practically impossible for a consumer to keep track of each one of these scores individually. Instead of spending time and energy focusing on the numbers, it is much better to focus on the health of your credit as a whole.

The fact of the matter is that all credit scores are based upon the same data. Your credit scores are calculated from the information which is contained in your credit reports. (Don't forget, you can get a copy of all 3 of your credit reports, without scores, completely free once a year at If your credit reports show that you routinely make late payments on your accounts, your scores will suffer regardless of who pulls them or which credit scoring model is used to calculate them. If you have clean credit reports with no collections, no late payments, and low credit card balances then all of your many scores will likely be in great shape. You may have hundreds of scores, but you only have 3 credit reports. You may not be able to control your credit scores, but you can absolutely control your credit management habits.  


Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with nearly 2 decades of experience, the credit blogger at, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft.

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Preparing Your Credit for a New Mortgage


Preparing Your Credit for a New Mortgage

So you are ready to take the plunge and apply for a new mortgage loan this year? Great! Congratulations on making the decision to become a homeowner. With low interest rates, tax advantages, and a host of other benefits that come along with purchasing a home, you have about a million reasons to break free from the shackles of renting.

You can set yourself up for success during your entire home buying experience by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Most importantly, you should be sure that your credit is in tip top shape so that you can qualify for the most attractive rates and terms available on your new mortgage. Check out these 5 steps to help you get started.

1. Check Your Credit

There’s nothing worse than filing out a mortgage application only to find that some unwanted “surprises” have shown up on your credit reports. Unfortunately, this is a very common problem. However it doesn’t have to be since you can access your own credit scores and reports online 24/7. Plus, contrary to a popular credit myth, checking your own credit does NOT harm your credit scores whatsoever.

CLICK HERE for a list of great resources where you can access your 3-bureau credit reports and scores. Finding out exactly what is on your credit reports prior to your loan application should definitely be the first item on your “to do” list during the home buying process.

2. Dealing with Surprises

If your credit reports were all 3 squeaky clean when you checked them in step 1, then skip down to step 3. However, if you found errors or blemishes on your credit reports then you may have some work to do before applying for a mortgage.  Remember, you have the right to dispute inaccurate and unverifiable accounts with the credit bureaus. You can dispute accounts on your own, but you also have the right to work with a professional if you are too busy or feel overwhelmed by the process. CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis to develop a professional plan to help you work toward cleaner credit reports.

3. Optimize Your Scores

Even if you have no errors or derogatory items on your credit reports (i.e. collection accounts, charge-offs, tax liens, judgments, etc.), it may still be possible for you to improve your credit scores. Take a long hard look at your credit card balances. Paying your credit cards down to $0 can potentially have a very BIG impact upon your scores. (CLICK HERE to read “The Perfect Credit Card Balance.”)

Can’t afford to pay off all of your credit cards? You still have options. Paying down even a few of your cards to zero might still be beneficial to your credit scores. Plus, you can always consider a debt consolidation loan to transform that score-lowering, revolving credit card debt into much more credit score friendly debt – an installment loan.

4. Avoid Mistakes!

When preparing to apply for a mortgage, you need to be a credit boy scout. You don’t want to make any credit mistakes which could result in lower credit scores and a loan denial. Some of the most common mistakes you will want to avoid include making late payments on existing accounts, charging up your credit card balances, opening new accounts (that new car loan needs to wait!), and having your credit reports pulled excessively by lenders.

5. Monitor Your Credit Reports and Scores

There is no better time to keep a close eye on your credit scores than while you are preparing to apply for a mortgage. However, with so many credit monitoring options available, it can be difficult to choose. Keep in mind that a credit monitoring service which allows you to keep an eye on just one credit bureau and one credit score is not going to be enough. After all, when you apply for your mortgage the lender is going to take a look at all 3 of your credit scores and all 3 of your credit reports – Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. CLICK HERE for a list of several different 3-bureau, 3 score credit monitoring services to see which one is the best fit for you.

Buying a new home is an incredible and exciting experience. However, credit problems during the mortgage application process can often turn what could be a wonderful experience into a nightmare. Follow these 5 steps above and set yourself up for mortgage success. It can be tempting to take shortcuts, but putting in the work on your credit ahead of time will pay off every time.


Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with over a decade of experience, the credit blogger at, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.

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Equifax Data Breach: How to Find Out If You're Affected and What to Do About It If You Are


Equifax Data Breach: How to Find Out If You're Affected and What to Do About It If You Are

Last week credit reporting giant Equifax announced some very unsettling news. Equifax fell down on the job. There is no other way to put it.

The credit reporting agency experienced a massive data breach which unfortunately compromised the personal identifying information of approximately 143 million people. For a company which makes billions of dollars collecting, storing, and selling your private information this breakdown in security is not just negligent, it is inexcusable. 

If you understandably missed this disturbing announcement last week amidst all of the news coverage about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, here is what you need to know right now.

Why This Breach Is a Big Deal

Data breaches have occurred with increasing regularity over the past several years. Insurance providers, hospitals, retail chains, online gaming services, and many other businesses have experienced cyber theft which compromised the personal information of millions. In fact, it almost feels as if you cannot turn on the news or log into your favorite social media newsfeed without hearing about a new breach of security.

The regularity of these data breaches can unfortunately be desensitizing. It can cause you to drop your guard. That, however, could be a dangerous mistake especially if your information has indeed been compromised in the Equifax breach.  

Equifax's breach does not simply involve credit card information which can be easily changed to prevent fraud. Instead, the breach involves exposed information you are not going to be able to change: names, social security numbers, dates of birth, etc. The hacked information could be sat on for years, allowing you to forget about the danger, before any actual fraud or identity theft is even attempted. The stolen information will be just as valuable to thieves in the next week, the next month, the next year, and even potentially the next decade to come. If you were among the 143 million consumers compromised, your exposure to identity theft is now a long term risk.

Action May Be Needed. Panic Is Unnecessary.  

Now that you have digested the bad news, let's talk about what you can do to protect yourself. Panic is not going to solve anything, but a solid plan can go a long way.

1. Find Out If You Are a Victim

Equifax maintains credit files on over 200 million consumers. That means that approximately 29% of you were fortunate enough not to have your personal information compromised. You can find out if you were exposed to the data breach here:

(NOTE: Equifax initially came under fire on social media and from several lawmakers, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), for including fine print in the terms of service on the above webpage which reportedly may have attempted to dupe consumers into waiving their rights to enter a class action lawsuit or to sue Equifax over the breach. Equifax has since changed their terms of service to remove the offending clause. Really, Equifax?!)

2. One-Call Fraud Alerts

If you visit the website above and discover that your "personal information may have been impacted by this incident" then placing a fraud alert on your credit reports may be a good next step. You can easily place a 90 day fraud alert on all 3 of your credit reports by requesting an alert with Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian. Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), once any of the credit bureaus receives a request for a fraud alert they must communicate that request to the other 2 remaining bureaus on your behalf.

The FCRA also gives you the right to place an extended, 7 year fraud alert on your reports as well. However, you will first need to prove that you have actually been a victim of identity theft (aka someone has opened or tried to open a fraudulent account in your name). Both types of alerts are free under the FCRA.

3. Credit Monitoring

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring (TrustedID) for 1 year to anyone who wants to take advantage of the offer. It is not a bad idea to take advantage of this offer, but it is probably not going to be enough. You need to keep in mind that this is a 3-bureau credit monitoring service but you will only have access to your Equifax credit report. Additionally, the service is only free for 1 year and you will need to monitor your reports for much longer than that (forever essentially) if you were a victim.

If you want to truly keep an eye for fraud on your credit reports then a 3-bureau monitoring service with access to all 3 of your credit reports is probably best. However, you will probably have to pay a fee for such a service. There are a lot of good services out there which offer 3-bureau and 3-score monitoring with 3-report access. Some are more expensive than others. If you are looking for some comparisons of available services, visit

It has always been important to routinely check, monitor, and review your credit reports for fraud and errors. If your information has been exposed in the Equifax data breach, that importance has simply become magnified for you more than ever before.

4. Credit Freeze

Fraud alerts can potentially help to prevent identity theft and credit monitoring can help you to quickly discover fraud when it occurs. However, if you want a tool which can help to prevent fraudulent accounts from being opened in the first place then a credit freeze is the biggest gun you can use to defend yourself.

When you place a credit freeze your credit report is taken out of circulation. This means that no future lender will be able to access your reports. If a scammer tries to use your information to open a fraudulent account then the freeze will stop a lender from pulling your credit and, viola, any future loan applications will most likely be denied as a result. Almost no lender is going to approve a new application if they cannot pull your credit.

It is worth pointing out that it is not free to place a credit freeze unless you have actually already been a victim of fraud. However, credit freezes are relatively inexpensive (under $10 per credit bureau at the time of publication). Unlike fraud alerts, you must place an individual freeze at Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Additionally, the credit bureaus also offer a service known as a "credit lock." Equifax has even announced that it will be giving away credit locks for free to victims of the breach. While credit locks are advertised by the credit bureaus as more convenient than freezes,  it is unclear whether or not they offer the same protections. Credit freezes are generally covered by state law, potentially giving you more protection in the event that there is a problem.

5. Keep It In Perspective

The truth is that identity theft is a growing crime. Over $16 billion dollars was stolen by fraudsters and approximately 15.4 US consumers were affected by identity theft in 2016 alone. Even before this Equifax data breach, your personal information may have been vulnerable to thieves in one way or another.

It has always been and will continue to be your personal responsibility to check your credit reports regularly in order to verify that they contain only accurate information about accounts you really applied for and opened yourself. (Remember, you can check your 3 credit reports every 12 months for free at If you ever discover fraudulent accounts on your credit reports the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you a long list of rights with a lot of teeth to help you recover from the identity theft.

If you want some tips on how to recover from identity theft, CLICK HERE. You have the right to try to correct identity theft issues on your own, but you can also hire a professional credit expert to work on your behalf if you are too busy or feel too overwhelmed by the process.


Michelle Black is an author and leading credit expert with a decade and a half of experience, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars across the country. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.


Wells Fargo Scandal: 3 Steps You Should Take If You Are a Customer of the Banking Giant


Wells Fargo Scandal: 3 Steps You Should Take If You Are a Customer of the Banking Giant

Since 2011 employees of Wells Fargo may have opened over 2 million unauthorized credit card and bank accounts without the permission of their customers. The banking giant was recently fined a whopping $185 million by regulators as a result of the investigation which reveled these and other disturbing findings.

The Scandal Is Actually Identity Theft

Motivated by the desire to meet cross selling sales quotas, a disturbingly large number of Wells Fargo employees opened accounts which were not authorized by their customers. Over 5,300 employees have been fired by the banking giant as a result of the scandal; however, that does not erase the fact that over 1.5 million unauthorized deposit accounts were potentially opened without consent and a shocking 565,443 credit card application were submitted without permission.

Stated simply, the Wells Fargo employees who participated in this shady behavior for years committed identity theft. Identity theft is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the illegal use of someone else's personal information (such as a Social Security number) especially in order to obtain money or credit." Victims of the Wells Fargo scam have been charged fees and many have faced credit score damage due to the illegal actions of another. Wells Fargo has been ordered by the CFPB to pay "full restitutions to all victims," but those funds will not undo any credit score damage which occurred as a result of the fraud. 

Steps You Should Take

If you bank with Wells Fargo you should certainly consider taking steps to ensure that you were not charged any fees unfairly. You should also verify that your credit is not currently being damaged by any unauthorized accounts. Here are 3 steps to help you get started.

1. Review Your Credit Reports

In light of the scandal, the very first thing you should do if you bank at Wells Fargo is to take a long, hard look at all 3 of your credit reports. It is important to review your credit reports often, but it is especially important to review your credit reports when you suspect that you may be a victim of identity theft. You should check your reports for both unauthorized credit card accounts and unauthorized hard inquiries (i.e. when your credit report was pulled by a lender as part of a loan application). You can claim a free copy of your 3 reports online each year at If you have already claimed your free reports or if you wish to see your credit scores then another great resource to check out is

If you discover unauthorized inquiries, know that they have the potential to damage your credit scores for 12 months and may remain on your credit reports for 2 years. You can alert the credit bureaus and the bank if any unauthorized inquiries occurred and ask that they be removed from your reports since they were a result of identity theft. These requests can be handled on your own, or you can hire a reputable credit repair professional to take care of the leg work for you.

2. Be Cautious When Closing Credit Card Accounts

Fraudulently opened Wells Fargo credit card accounts are not automatically going to have a negative impact upon your credit. Yes, the initial inquiry would have hurt your credit along with the fact that the new account might have lowered the average age of accounts on your credit reports. Both of these factors might have damaged your credit scores. However, oddly enough the credit card you never asked to open might actually be helping your credit scores overall.

If you discover an unauthorized Wells Fargo credit card on your credit reports, but the account is reporting a $0 balance and no late payments then the account could possibly be helping your scores by lowering your overall revolving utilization ratio. The fact of the matter is that closing the unauthorized credit card account might even potentially have a negative impact upon your scores. However, if the account is impacting your credit negatively then, just like with the unauthorized inquiries, you have the right to contact the credit reporting agencies and the bank itself to request that the fraudulent account be completely deleted from your credit reports.

3. See If You Are Owed a Refund

Unauthorized bank accounts, thankfully, are generally not going to have any impact upon your credit reports or scores. Furthermore, there is no potential danger of damaging your credit scores by closing these accounts if that is your desire. Of course you should keep in mind that although these accounts are likely not impacting your credit, you may have been unfairly charged banking fees associated with these accounts. It is a good idea to check a history (online, over the phone, or in person) of all existing Wells Fargo accounts in your name. If you discover any accounts which were opened without your consent, you can take a look at your statements (both for the individual accounts and your primary account as well) to see if you are owed a refund for wrongfully charged bank fees.

You Can Ask for Help

As is the case with any credit related problem, you have the right to try to navigate the muddy waters of repairing credit errors on your own. However, remember that you have the right to hire an expert to help you as well. You do not have to struggle through analyzing your credit reports or trying to correct inaccuracies alone.

CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis with a HOPE4USA expert today. 


Michelle Black is an author and leading credit expert with nearly a decade and a half of experience, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars across the country. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.


20 Facts You Need to Know About Credit In Your 20s


20 Facts You Need to Know About Credit In Your 20s

As a young adult there will undoubtedly come a time when you will ask yourself the question, "Why didn't I learn about how to manage my credit during high school or college?" After all, you learned the formula to accurately calculate the area of a parallelogram with the given vertices (something you use every day in your career now, right!?). Regardless of what you did or did not learn during your school years, the unfortunately reality is that most graduates enter the real world with very little knowledge about the very important subject of credit.

Learning how to achieve and maintain great credit is a lifelong endeavor which requires hard work and consistency. However, the rewards of achieving stellar credit scores can be truly tremendous. While you cannot learn everything there is to know about your credit in a single article, here are 20 important credit facts which you need to know sooner rather than later as you embark upon (or continue) your journey into adulthood.

Fact #1: You have 3 credit reports.

A common credit myth which refuses to die is the false idea that you have only 1 credit report. However, you actually have 3 credit reports, 1 from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies - Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Fact #2: You have hundreds of credit scores.

While you only have 3 credit reports, there are actually hundreds of different scoring models that can be used to calculate your credit scores depending upon who is checking them and for what purpose. Most lenders will use some version of the FICO credit score if you are applying for a loan or credit card. Although the idea that you have hundreds of scores may feel overwhelming the good news is that all of your credit scores are based upon the same information - the items appearing on your credit reports. Focus on maintaining clean credit reports and your scores should remain in good shape.

Fact #3: It is your job to check your own credit reports.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to expect accurate credit reports. Yet it is ultimately up to you to make sure that your credit reports remain error-free. No one else is going to monitor your credit on your behalf.

Fact #4: Checking your credit reports once is not enough.

Your credit reports are not static but are ever evolving and changing with new information. Therefore, checking your credit reports once is not going to be nearly sufficient. You can check your credit reports for free each year at You can also check your credit reports and scores more often (sometimes for a fee) through credit monitoring services online such as those found at

 Fact #5: When credit errors occur, you have rights.

If you do discover errors on your credit reports the FCRA gives you the right to dispute those errors with the credit reporting agencies. You can submit a dispute on your own or with the help of a professional. CLICK HERE for a behind the scenes look at how the dispute process really works.

Fact #6: Credit cards are not the enemy.

Many people, especially Millennials, are anti-credit card. After all, you have likely seen your parents or another person you care about misuse credit cards and possibly fighting for years to overcome poor credit card spending habits. However, credit cards can be a very powerful tool which can help you to build excellent credit when they are used properly, not to mention they offer unparalleled fraud protections to help you protect your hard earned money. Treat credit cards as if they were debit cards (never charging more than you can afford to pay off in a given month) and you will be off to a great start in the credit card management department.

Fact #7: Credit card debt is not your friend.

While the plastic in your wallet may not be inherently evil, credit card debt is a predicament which you should strictly avoid. Not only can excessive credit card debt land you in a pile of financial troubles, revolving credit card debt from month to month is going to take a toll on your credit scores as well. If you wish to earn great credit then it is essential to develop the habit of paying off your credit card balances monthly.

Fact #8: Late payments are a big deal.

From a credit scoring perspective it is a mistake to shrug off the occasional late payment as if it were insignificant. Late payments are actually a pretty big deal. Since a massive 35% of your FICO credit scores are based upon the payment history on your credit reports it will be virtually impossible for you to ever earn the great credit scores you desire unless you permanently squash the late payment habit. On the flip side, if your credit reports show a history of on-time payments then you will be well on your way to credit score greatness.

Fact #9: Collection accounts can really hurt you.

If late payments can negatively impact your credit scores, collection accounts can cause a credit score train wreck. When a collection account finds its way onto your credit reports you are virtually guaranteed to see your credit scores start sliding in a downward direction.

Fact #10: Medical collections can prevent you from qualifying for a loan.

Even medical collections can harm your credit, often severely. It is true that many loan underwriters might not require you to pay off medical collections if your credit scores are high enough to qualify for a loan (leading some to incorrectly believe that medical collection do not matter). However, the presence of the medical collections on your credit reports is most likely going to damage your credit scores. As a result, while the balances of your smaller medical collection may not matter all that much when you apply for a loan their presence on your credit reports is very likely to be a problem.

Fact #11: Paying off collection accounts does not undo the damage.

When most consumers set out to start repairing their own credit they will often begin by trying to settle old collection accounts. Unfortunately, the bad news is that paying off collection accounts generally will not do much (if anything) to improve your credit scores when you are applying for a loan. Most lenders still use an older version of the FICO credit scoring model. These older FICO models care much more about the presence of collection accounts than the balances of those collection accounts. Therefore, a collection account with a $0 balance and a collection account with a $5,000 balance will have nearly the same negative impact upon your FICO credit scores.

Fact #12: Debt collectors have to follow the rules.

Even if you owe an outstanding debt, 3rd party debt collectors are still bound to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in their collection attempts. Among other protections afforded to you this law prevents debt collectors from lying to you, harassing you, or revealing information about you to others when trying to collection a debt. Click here for more information about HOPE4USA's free collection letter review service.  

Fact #13: Applying for too much credit can spell trouble for your credit scores.

You may find it unbelievable, but the mere action of applying for credit can potentially damage your credit scores. Credit scoring models are created by taking massive numbers of credit reports and comparing trends which lead to late payments and defaults. The stats clearly show that people who apply for credit more often are bigger credit risks for lenders to take on as new customers. As a result, if you want to achieve stellar credit scores you should make a habit of only applying for credit when you really need it.

Fact #14: Retail store credit cards can be dangerous to your credit scores.

Remember the tip above that says you should not apply for credit unless you really need something? Well, applying for a retail store card to save 15% off your order does not really qualify as a "need." Not only can the extra inquiry hurt your credit when you open a new retail store credit card, the new account itself can also lower your average age of accounts and potentially damage your credit scores even more. Finally, these types of cards are notorious for having low limits which makes it easy to run up a high debt to limit ratio - another dangerous prospect for your credit scores.

Fact #15: Co-signing can be the kiss of death for your credit.

At some point in your adult life you will probably be asked to co-sign for a friend or family member. However, whether you are co-signing for a loan, a credit card, or even an apartment you are risking your personal credit health by doing so. When you co-sign for a credit obligation you are equally responsible for the debt, just as if the account belonged to you and you alone. If the account is ever paid late it could cause serious damage to your credit scores.

Fact #16: Loved ones can add you as an authorized user to an existing credit card account.

For the sake of your loved ones, it is not a good idea to ask them to co-sign for you either. However, a loved one can help you to establish better credit for yourself without little to no risk to their own credit by adding you as an authorized user to an existing credit card account. Once the authorized user account shows up on your credit reports (assuming that the account has never been paid late and has a low or $0 balance) you might begin to see a positive impact upon your credit scores immediately.

Fact #17: Maintaining credit independence is important.

Even after you are married it is still important to keep your credit obligations separate from your spouse. The idea that you are required to co-sign for accounts with your husband or wife is completely false. In fact, unless both of your incomes are needed to qualify for a larger loan like a mortgage it is best to continue to maintain credit independence even after tying the knot.  

Fact #18: Payment history is not the only thing that matters.

While your payment history certainly is the most important factor considered in your credit scores (35% of your FICO scores to be exact) there are other factors which impact your credit scores as well. The age of your credit accounts, the mix of accounts on your credit, your credit card balances, the number of accounts with balances appearing on your credit reports, and how often your credit reports have been pulled lately are just a few of the other factors considered in the calculation of your credit scores. CLICK HERE for more information about how your credit scores are calculated.

Fact #19: You have the right to work on credit problems by yourself.

Bad credit happens to good people all the time. Identity theft, credit reporting mistakes, job loss, illness, divorce, and other unfortunate circumstances can easily lead to credit problems. Your credit problems might have even come about because you made money management mistakes and perhaps bit off a little more than you could chew financially. However, whatever the reason for your credit problems you do have the right to try fix them on your own if you wish. There is no legal requirement for you to hire a professional to help you (just like you are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in court.) If a credit repair company makes you feel like you have to hire someone else to work on your credit you are probably dealing with a scam.   

Fact #20: You have the right to hire professional help.

Just because you have the right to give DIY credit repair a try does not mean doing so is the best idea. Dealing with creditors, debt collectors, the credit reporting agencies, and building a credit recovery plan on your own can be an extremely difficult process to successfully navigate without professional guidance. Thankfully, you absolutely have the legal right to hire a credit expert to assist you in your credit restoration efforts if you are tired of trying to recover all on your own. CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis with a HOPE4USA credit expert today.

What Now?

Remember, the reason your credit matters so much is due to the fact that the condition of your credit reports and/or your credit scores is going to have an impact upon your life over and over again. In fact, whenever you purchase a vehicle, apply for a place to rent, take out a mortgage loan, apply for auto insurance, open a new utility account, and perhaps even when you apply for a job your credit will probably be reviewed by companies deciding whether or not they wish to do business with you or hire you. Bad credit can lead to some very bad problems.

Thankfully, if you have made credit mistakes in the past you can absolutely make a u-turn today and start heading back in the right direction. With the right plan, a little time, and a bit of hard work you can overcome credit problems and set out to earn great credit in the future. It may sound like a cheesy marketing line, but the truth is that there really is no such thing as a HOPEless credit situation. 



Michelle Black is an author and leading credit expert with nearly a decade and a half of experience, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars across the country. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.