How Do You Make Money With Tradelines?

In a change of pace, we’ll be covering the other side of the coin in this blog.

Usually we talk about what tradelines can do for you from the purchaser perspective. But…what if you’ve heard people whispering in quiet circles about the benefits of tradelines? Maybe you’ve caught just the word briefly in the air and wondered…hey now, I’ve got perfect credit, how can I get IN on this amazing thing?

Here’s the deal, if you’ve got great credit, you’ve likely built it up over a period of years. If you’re in the habit of paying things on time, all the time, you probably have upper 700 (or better) FICO scores, and have also likely accumulated several credit cards that are still open that you barely use, if at all.

Psst…this is where you’ll want to pay attention.

Selling AU spots on your credit cards is literally the easiest money you will ever make. The only easier money is the kind they slap the cuffs on for. And unless you’re Bonnie in search of your Clyde, or vice versa, we recommend avoiding this type of easy money.

Selling AU spots is totally legal. Now, we get it, when most people unfamiliar hear about them, tradelines can sound shady, you add someone you don’t know to your credit card and you get paid cash money? YOU are the one who’s going to sell tradelines? HO no, no way, you’re not getting involved. What if they get your data, what if the bank comes after you, what if–any other number of boogeymen consequences that pop into your cerebrum–happens??

And here’s a great spot to answer: What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Your credit card gets shut down.

That’s it.

Now in some extreme cases we’ve seen people lose multiple cards with the same institution, but as a rule, getting one card shut down does not affect the cards you have at other lenders. These banks don’t talk to each other. They are in direct competition. Professional courtesy, among banks?? The people in the top floors of the highest skyscrapers with the big names, US Bank, Chase, Bank of America, etc, would rather do anything than help a competitor. Remember the betta? Pretty Japanese fish that must remain alone? Put two betta’s in a tank and one of them isn’t coming out alive. It’s the same thing with bankers from different firms in a boardroom.

No joke.

 

Credit and…Pirates!?

It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th, 2018! In honor of such a prestigious and momentous event, we wanted to breakdown the origin of the first corporations (pirates!) and give a brief letter of encouragement to all sailors on the sea of life in search of major treasure and fine trinkets (i.e. financial success), as we are currently living in an economic environment that is not friendly to the individual.

Wait what?

Back when our government was trying to figure out the major fiasco of the 2008 financial crisis and global credit crunch, Dr. Peter Hayes published a paper titled ‘Pirates, Privateers and the contract theories of Hobbes and Locke’. He stated that pirates were the originators of modern democracy because of the way they ran their ships:

“Pirates elected their captain, voted on major decisions and distributed their booty in roughly equal shares, and there is something in the idea that a pirate ship is the equivalent of a modern corporation.”

The way buccaneering was approached back in these wild times was that a person would find a crew, appropriate a ship, then sail the seven seas in search of gold. This is much like modern venture capitalism, the prospect of risk vs enormous rewards. Those rickety old vessels were the equivalent of modern corporations, which, in search of their bottom line, are out to appropriate every dollar they can pull in.

The problem comes about when certain rules apply for individuals, but not for a select few corporations. Remember when the big banks, the root cause of the total economic meltdown in 2008 were bailed out by the government, or that during the Obama years, the top 1% captured over half the economic gains while the bottom 99% never recovered from the crash?

Dr. Hayes says:

“Pirates had a democratic structure and relative equality, but they were doing all of this to violate the rights of other people. The idea of a social contract is that it protects human rights. But what if you create a social contact to say that we’ll observe rights towards each other, but we won’t observe rights for outsiders?”

Sound familiar?

This is why we at Boost Credit 101 do everything we can to help people protect themselves (through education) from the dastardly, scurvy tactics of these major corporations, not to mention the obtuse methods and algorithms utilized by the credit bureaus–which are also major corporations.

Hey, remember when Equifax lost half the country’s data and paid zero consequence? But you miss a single payment and your score drops from 780 to 690. Is that fair? No, that’s why using tradelines can be a secret weapon against the unfairness of these massive companies that don’t mind grinding us little folks into the ground.

Take heart mates. We are here to make your lives easier.

So please be directin’ any questions ye may have at any time to us without hesitatin’!

 

With Great Credit, Comes Great Opportunity

 

Money is one of the most mysterious things on the planet. It’s the pathway to security, to freedom, to pleasure; it is a festering nuisance because there never seems to be enough of it, or it’s somewhere in between. It’s been around a long time, starting around 9000-6000 BCE when a funky ape named Homo sapiens started domesticating cattle and exerting agricultural control over the environment. In its first iteration, cows and plant products were money, and over millennia it has been salt, rocks, cloth, sticks, gold, silver, paper, and now…numbers on a screen living on the internet as it flies above our heads in waves of electronic ether.

Money is a ledger. It’s a way of keeping track of exchanges. A long time ago that aforementioned ape created the concept of the future, and with that invention, we created credit. Credit gives you the ability to borrow money with the promise of paying it off at a later date. If you’ve got  have great credit you can borrow at the lowest rates offered, and usually that borrowing will take one of the following forms. We’ll start with the biggest first, that shining beacon of the American dream.

 

Mortgage: Owning a home will allow you to build equity in good markets, and it will allow you the luxury of having a roof over your head with a fixed payment in a falling market. As far as basic human needs go, buying a home gives you shelter (and probably water), with the ability to prepare food, so all human needs are wrapped up in it. No wonder people are so obsessed with buying a home. There are programs with 3% down, 5% down if you don’t mind paying mortgage insurance.

Renting vs buying, that old conundrum. There’s an old adage: buy a home, so you aren’t paying someone else’s mortgage. But even if you can, should you?  Impossible for us to say, as your situation is as unique as you are. The best idea, and it applies to everything financial, is do the math. Click the link for a classic Dave Ramsey rant (Pro Tip: playback at 1.5x to turn 9.58 into 6.39 minutes of your day).

 

Auto: Everyone needs to get around. That’s the culture we have in America. We are far too spread out to rely on public transportation, and speaking of public transportation has a negative connotation (it shouldn’t) in a lot of cities, so having the ability to get in your own car, turn the key, and get to where you need to be on your own time is something Americans consider a necessity, because it often is. If you need a vehicle, and you can finance it, you don’t have to have perfect credit, but like all loans, the better your credit is, the better the rate is.

 

Credit Cards: One of the biggest questions we get asked on a weekly basis: how do I get approved for big limit credit cards? Everyone wants that 20-30k (or higher) piece of plastic in their possession. It’s like a badge of honor. The easiest way to get a high limit credit card, is to already have one. Wait what? Yeah, it’s kind of like getting that first job you want. You know, the one where they say they like you but can’t hire you because you don’t have any experience? How are you supposed to get experience if no one will hire you? Life is full of conundrums like that. You could go the short way and get added as an Authorized User, or “tradeline” (industry speak) by talking to a trusted friend, family member, or even buying one. Any of these may increase your chances. Or if you have cards in your name that have perfect (or great) payment histories and you’ve had them for a while you could ask for a limit increase (you can–and should if your income supports it–ask for a limit increase every 6 months on all credit cards). Credit cards offer the ability to earn rewards, sometimes free vacations, the ability to fall back on in an emergency. Some say they are evil, but they are necessary, being as much as 60% of your credit score. Great credit cannot be maintained without them, so get friendly with credit cards, but not too friendly. Make sure you pay the statement balance in full monthly.

 

Credit is not something that gets taught to the masses.

It’s something that makes most people’s eyes roll back, and we don’t blame them, but having it not only under control but in the stellar category, puts you in a position to accomplish and acquire things that are basically required in this country.

Is it something you understand, something you barely think about, or when someone brings it up you’d rather eat raw catfish liver than even think about it? Again, we don’t blame you, and if you have any questions whatsoever at any time, contact us and we will spend as long as you want making this opaque subject as clear as we can.

 

Is “piggybacking” legal?

A few years ago, the creators of the FICO credit scoring system announced that they would stop including authorized users in the latest version of their FICO 08 scoring model which essentially will place an end to “piggybacking”. The monopoly of credit reporting i.e. Transunion, Equifax and Experian did not consider the Equal Credit Opportunity Act also referred to as Regulation B. They later reversed their decision since it would be incompliant with ECOA and here is what experts have to say:

“Fair Isaac, following the recommendation of the FTC counsel, admitted that it would be illegal to ignore authorized user credit histories as a part of the FICO score calculation.”

Steve Cypher, Reporter – www.autocreditexpress.com

 

“Fair Isaac Corp., creator of the well-known FICO credit score, had announced last year it would end the practice…” of piggybacking “…but during Congressional testimony Tuesday, acknowledged it had changed its mind”

Jeremy M. Simon, Staff Reporter – www.credit.com

 

“This is possible because creditors generally have followed a practice of furnishing to credit bureaus information about all authorized users, whether or not theauthorized user is a spouse, without indicating which authorized users are spouses and which are not. This practice does not violate Reg. B”

Robert B. Avery, Kenneth P. Brevoort, and Glenn B. Canner – Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs Federal Reserve Board, Washington, D.C.

 

“After consulting with the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, Fair Isaac has decided to include consideration of authorized user trade lines present on thecredit report”

Thomas J. Quinn – Vice President of Scoring Solutions, Fair Isaac Corp.

FICO Credit Score vs. VANTAGE Credit Score

Credit scores: They determine whether we can buy a home, car and even get student loans. Consumers in general are captive to credit reporting agencies.  We expect them to get our payment histories right. For years, FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) has had a corner on the credit score market. Consumers are not privy to their FICO score and the first sign of a problem is a credit rejection. The rejection reasons for most loans is a low credit score. Over the last decade, a FICO competitor has emerged: Vantage.

What is Vantage?

The three major credit reporting agencies came together and created Vantage. Vantage’s scoring model is different than FICOs model. Vantage uses a shorter look-back period for late payments. They also use a different grading system for charged off accounts. Vantage’s goal was to address a specific need. They believed there as a need for “a highly consistent, more predictive scoring model that is easy to understand and apply“.  Remember, they still look at many of the same factors as FICO, just for shorter periods of time.

Multiple credit score confusion

Consumers have a different credit score depending on the reporting agency. Transunion, Equifax and Experian reports often contain different information. This is due to the various times they pull reports from your creditors. When you apply for a credit card, car loan or mortgage, your lender pulls your credit report. These reports have a FICO score associated with them.  Depending on which report your lender requests, your FICO score will vary. This causes confusion for borrowers who are not provided the same scores offered to lenders.

Vantage Use vs FICO

While some lenders are using Vantage scores, FICO still has a corner on the market. Credit decisions based on FICO scores may be more detrimental to those new to the credit markets. The fact is, like it or not, most major lenders still use FICO to make lending decisions. Borrowers with a strong FICO score are more likely to have their request approved.  Low credit scores likely mean a rejected request. This applies to credit cards, car loans and home mortgages and is not shocking.

What does this mean for consumers?

Not much. Access to credit will vary little regardless of whether a lender uses FICO or Vantage. Consumers will have the same access to credit regardless of which score the lender uses. Since a small minority of lenders are using Vantage, you won’t see any changes in your ability to borrow. For young borrowers, lenders who use Vantage may offer them a slight edge. The problem is finding these lenders may be challenging.

FICO versions: What you may not know

Early in 2016, FICO released FICO9. Most lenders have not adopted this version of your score. Chances are high they will not adopt this model either. The reason is simple: Many lenders are using older models for credit decisions. For example:

  • Car loans– The three major reporting agencies use FICO Auto Score most of the time. Depending on the lender, they may use version 2, 4 or 5.
  • Credit cards– Credit card companies prefer FICO Bankcard Credit agencies often still use versions 2, 3, 3 4 and 5.
  • Mortgage loans– This is perhaps the most complicated scoring. Experian uses FICO Score 2, Equifax uses FICO Score 5 and Transunion uses FICO Score 4.

Consumers who are considering applying for credit should pull a free credit report. Verify all information in your report is correct. Understand what factors go into determining your credit score. Don’t open up credit lines you don’t need, make your payments on time and keep your balances low. This is the path to a higher FICO score which you’ll most likely need if you apply for a home mortgage or car loan.

Using Your Tax Dollars to Improve Credit

Tax time is almost here, and lots of people are already preparing their returns. If you have poor credit, you may be thinking about using your tax refund to make improvements. A variety of credit repair strategies exist, so it can be difficult to decide how to approach the problem.  Below is some information to help you decide how to put your tax money to the best use.

Ways to Improve your Credit

The most common methods used to improve credit include professional credit repair, DIY strategies and investing in tradelines.

Professional Credit Repair

Professional credit repair companies offer to improve your credit for a fee. Some lawyers also provide credit repair services. Most reputable credit repair companies and lawyers begin by analyzing your credit report and looking for questionable entries, repetitive entries or other inconsistencies. The professional will analyze each of these issues and take steps to fix them.

Keep in mind that not all credit repair companies are reputable. Some will promise services they can’t deliver and/or use illegal tactics in an attempt to raise your credit score quickly. Some unethical credit repair companies have also been known to scam consumers by collecting a fee and then failing to provide promised services.

DIY Strategies

Instead of investing in credit repair, some people may decide to attempt to improve their credit without help in hopes of saving money. Some of the strategies you may use to improve your credit without professional help include:

  • Disputing duplicate and/or fraudulent entries on your credit report by contacting credit reporting agencies and creditors directly.
  • Using secured credit cards.
  • Applying for new credit or larger limits to reduce debt-to-income ratio.
  • Taking out new loans.
  • Paying down debts.
  • Pay all of your bills in full and on time.

Although these strategies can all improve your credit over time, it can take months or even years before you begin to see results.

Investing in Tradelines

Tradelines are active credit accounts with a long history of on-time payments. When you purchase a tradeline, the owner of the account adds you as an authorized user. Once the account has been added to your credit report, it can improve your score by raising your available credit, increasing the average age of your accounts and enhancing your payment history.

Making a Choice

You receive a tax refund only once each year, so it’s important to use it efficiently. Although each of the methods above can improve your credit when used properly, tradelines provide the quickest results. However, as with credit repair, it is important to note that tradelines are offered by both reputable and non-reputable sources. To avoid falling victim to a scam, make sure that you acquire tradelines from a trustworthy source.

7 Tips for Building New Credit

Whether you’ve relocated from another country or want to improve your current credit rating to build a more successful future, there are a number of things you can do. Here are seven of the top steps to take in order to build more solid credit and a sound financial foundation:

1. Timely Payments

The most important factor in building or improving credit is a habit of on-time payments. Timeliness counts for a full 35 percent of your credit score, so take it seriously and cultivate this important credit-boosting habit.

2. If You Are An Immigrant

Start by knowing that your credit rating from your home country will not follow you to the U.S. This can be good or bad, as a negative credit history can be left behind; however, if you had a positive credit history, it will not factor into your rating here. Credit history simply cannot be transferred across international boundaries.

A social security number is crucial to the process of establishing credit. When you seek employment in the U.S., you will be required to have a social security number. It is mandatory if you wish to build credit in a meaningful way, such as through purchasing a house or car, or applying for credit cards or personal loans.

3. Co-Signers and Authorized User History

One of the most effective ways to improve and build credit is by signing on with others who have positive credit. A spouse, partner, friend or business associate may be good candidates to ask. Having someone with good credit co-sign with you for a credit card or other loan greatly increases your chances of getting the loan. Have them add you as an authorized user to one or more of their existing accounts. From there, with responsible use of any credit you receive, your rating will rise naturally. You might also look into companies that sell authorized user histories through products called “tradelines,” which allow you to benefit from the positive credit histories of others.

4. Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card is an account that requires a deposit for the amount you would like as your credit limit. The card is used somewhat like a debit card, but responsible use of this type of account will be reflected as positive action on your credit report.

5. Watch Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Credit utilization refers to the amount of available credit used on a credit card at any given time. Persons striving to build positive credit should keep this ratio at less than 30 percent at all times. Make only small to moderate purchases, and pay the balance on the card every month if possible.

6. Reduce Debt

Few things will drag down your credit rating and financial health faster than debt, so strive to carry as little as possible. That said, a home mortgage, car loan, student loan or other installment debt treated responsibly is good for your credit; just make sure to make all payments on time. Excessive revolving consumer debt like credit card debt can hurt your credit score and should be paid down as efficiently as possible.

7. Use Automated Payments

Take advantage of the perks of technology by automating any loan or credit card accounts that you do acquire. You can set the payment amount to any level you wish, from just the minimum to the entire statement balance each month. This will help you to avoid late fees and black marks on your credit report.

Building new credit can seem daunting, but success is possible. With patience, diligence and using these seven tips, you’ll soon be on your way to a positive financial future.

Leasing vs Purchasing an Auto

Determining whether it is more economical to lease or buy a car is not simply a matter of looking at the monthly cost or the purchase price. Instead, to get a complete picture, numerous factors need to be taken into consideration.

A Look at Monthly Payments

In terms of monthly payments, leasing tends to be the more economical choice. For example, a sedan that costs $24,775, including leasing fees, results in a monthly payment of $294. In comparison, after a down payment of more than $4,000 on the same new car, the owner pays $400 a month. Purchasing a used car, such as a three-year-old sedan, drops the purchase price to an average of $15,688 with a down payment of $2,304 with a resulting monthly payment of $301.

Other Factors to Consider

When it comes to leasing and buying a car, each option carries unique expenses that need to be factored into the purchase price.

  • Interest Rates

Buying a car typically means taking out a loan with its accompanying interest rates. Consumers purchasing a new car tend to have better credit scores, according to data gleaned from Edmunds. This puts them in the position of being offered lower interest rates — often several percentage points lower when compared to those extended to buyers of used vehicles. Additionally, finance companies often offer special financing for purchasers of new vehicles.

  • Repairs and Maintenance Costs

Leasing a car typically means not being responsible for the costs of repairs and maintenance beyond tire rotations and oil changes. However, some lease agreements include a free maintenance program that eliminates even these expenses. Buying a car means the owner foots the entire cost with used cars likely needing more repairs.

  • Insurance

When a consumer purchases a car, they are typically required to maintain full insurance coverage on it for the duration of the loan. A lease agreement, on the other hand, might include a requirement for additional insurance which increases its costs.

  • Ownership

One reason that people hesitate to lease is that they don’t own the car at the end of their lease. However, they often have the option to purchase the vehicle at what is typically the current market value.

The Bottom Line

Leasing is often a more attractive option when it comes to out-of-pocket expenses, especially when compared to purchasing a new vehicle. For the long term, though, because the consumer now owns their vehicle, their costs are actually lower compared to someone who leases the vehicle. That person would either need to purchase a vehicle or enter into another lease agreement in order to obtain transportation.

How many Credit Scores do you have?

Do you know you have lots of credit scores? You do, and different lenders use different scores to determine your credit worthiness. Your credit score is a number determined by ranking items on your credit record and then taking those rankings to calculate your credit score. Complicating things is that each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Experian, and Equifax) use slightly different criteria when computing your credit score. So, to start, you have 3 different credit scores. But, those credit scores are based on information from Fair Isaac Corporation and is known as your FICO score. But, the credit reporting agencies pay FICO for credit scores and in 2012 created a competing credit score called Vantage. As with FICO, each agency uses slightly different criteria so you have different Vantage scores with each agency. That brings the total number of credit scores to 6.

Both FICO 8, the most common score from FICO and Vantage scores calculate credit scores on a scale of 300 to 850. Both models return similar but not identical credit scores.

More Credit Scores

Other companies provide credit scores too, but the most popular are FICO and Vantage. However, FICO has at least 49 different scores according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP). They include older versions of FICO and some industry specific scores.

The newest FICO score is FICO 9, but the one used by most lenders is FICO 8. Even with so many different credit scores, the key to a good credit score is that consumers manage their credit responsibly – for Vantage and FICO scores this means:

  • All bills are paid on time
  • Credit card balances are low – less than one-third of available credit.
  • New lines of credit are opened only when needed

Authorized Use of Credit Cards

Some people think that by becoming an authorized user (AU) of someone else’s credit card they can quickly improve their credit score. And, being an authorized user does help, though if someone has many negative marks and excessive inquiries the help will not be drastic.

Take Away

  1. Consumers have more than one credit score
  2. FICO is owned and operated by the Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO provides many scores, some are industry specific.
  3. The three largest credit reporting companies developed vantage scores. Vantage and FICO scores both use a 300 to 850-point score. They parallel each other and the higher the score the better you are as a credit risk. Higher scoring consumers get more favorable loan terms.
  4. FICO 9 is the newest iteration of the FICO credit scores, yet FICO 8 is the most popular.
  5. Being an AU helps with credit scores, how much depends on what’s on your credit report already.

Sources:

http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-score-versions/

http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/fico-score-8-and-multiple-versions-of-fico-scores/

http://blog.credit.com/2015/04/how-many-fico-scores-are-there-114574/

http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/28/pf/fico-credit-scores/

A Primer for Your Consumer Rights When Contacted by a Debt Collector

Imagine you are home, the phone rings, as soon as you say hello the person on the line informs you that the call is a debt collection call. You don’t remember owing any entity or person anything and ask for information about the debt. The caller tells you the debt is four years old and they are with a collection company assigned to collect it. Do you pay it? What should you do? If you owe a past due debt, or someone informs you that they are contacting you to collect an old debt you have rights. These rights are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Your Rights as a Debtor

  1. Although debt collectors may call you at home, they cannot call until after 8 AM in the morning and not call you after 9:00 PM. A debt collector cannot contact you at work if you inform them orally or in writing that your employer doesn’t allow you to get non-work related calls.
  2. After a debt collector contacts you by phone, they have five days to send you a document called a “validation notice” that tells you whom you owe and the amount of money you owe. This notice also must tell you how to proceed if you don’t believe you owe any money to the creditor.
  3. After you receive the validation notice you have 30 days to dispute the debt. However, a collector can contact you if it sends you written proof of the debt such as a copy of a bill for the amount that the collector is attempting to collect.

What Debt Collectors Can’t Do

Collection laws are consistent at the federal and most state levels of government. These laws forbid collectors from:

  • Harassing you with threats of violence or harm; using obscene language; threaten to publish your name as a poor credit risk; repeatedly using the phone with the purpose of annoying the debtor
  • Making false statements such as claiming you committed a crime; falsely claim they are an attorney or government representative; that they work for a credit bureau, lie about the amount you owe.
  • Other things debt collectors cannot do include telling you that you will be arrested if you don’t pay the debt or they will seize your property or wages (unless the law allows them to do so).

What Steps Can I Take for a Debt Collection Violation Against Me?

You can contact an experienced debt collection attorney to file a lawsuit against the debt collector. Other alternatives include contact your state Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

If you fail to notify the debt collector in writing within 30 days of the first contact with you that you dispute the debt, you will give up most of your debtor rights.