Here’s where you can find all the answers to the most common questions. To make things easier for you, we’ve broken this FAQ into categories, including credit reports and scores, the credit bureaus, credit repair, and The Credit Brains.
How does credit scoring work?
Credit scoring gives banks, lenders, and landlords an easy way to judge an applicant’s ability to manage debt. In some cases, employers may also use credit scoring to evaluate how “financially responsible” an applicant is. The most commonly used credit score is the FICO® Score. This is a number between 300 and 850, with the higher numbers reflecting better credit worthiness. This score is generated by an algorithm based on five primary factors, the biggest one being your credit history.
What are the effects of a poor credit score?
Generally, applicants with weak credit scores are more likely to be rejected for credit. This is because they are seen as more likely to default on the loan, thus making them a bigger liability. In addition, if someone with a poor score is approved, they are sometimes forced to accept higher interest rates and stricter terms than applicants with better scores.
Does a high credit score guarantee approvals and better rates/terms?
Unfortunately, no. Most lenders place a lot of weight on credit scoring when deciding whether or not to approve applicants and what rates and terms to offer them. However, if you’ve ever filled out a credit application, you already know that these companies consider other factors too. For example, besides your credit score, lenders also look at your income, type of employment, and how much debt you have relative to your income, among other things.
Credit score vs. credit report – what’s the difference?
Your credit score is just an indicative number. However, your credit report is a detailed record of your credit and credit entitlements throughout the last 7-10 years. Essentially, it shows how much you’ve borrowed, how much you could have borrowed (in terms of your credit card limits), and whom you’ve borrowed from. Your credit report also includes details about applications, public records, identity details (such as previous names and addresses), and more. You might think of your score as a “grade” you got on a paper, and the report as all the red marks and notes the teacher put on each page.
How can I improve my credit score?
Generally speaking, people who’ve taken on manageable amounts of debt, have had the accounts for an extended period, and have made their repayments on time, often have higher credit scores. Meanwhile, it’s usually best not to use all the credit available on your credit cards, nor should you apply for too much credit at once. If you request a free credit audit* from The Credit Brains, for instance, the report we generate will include specific details on how to improve your credit score. Click to Start Now >
Which events are most damaging to credit scores?
Some of the most damaging credit events are foreclosures and bankruptcy. However, people who file for bankruptcy often already have a significant amount of poorly managed debt. This has likely already damaged their credit score. Identity theft can also have an impact on a victim’s score. This is because scammers usually take out large amounts of debt in a short period, with no intention of making repayments.
Is there a “magic number” over which I’ll automatically be approved for credit?
Unfortunately, no. Loans, mortgages, etc., may require a minimum credit score for approvals, but no single number applies to every type of credit. In fact, requirements can vary widely between different products, loan amounts, and lenders – all at different points in time. It’s also worth remembering that lenders judge applicants on more than just their credit scores/reports. Some common examples include income, type of employment, and debt-to-income ratio.
When are credit reports checked?
More often than you might think! As well as being a standard part of loan, credit, and mortgage applications, credit checks are also sometimes used by employers and landlords. For these reasons, your credit report can significantly affect your financial future.
How can I check my credit score?
There are various ways to check your credit score, including going directly to the credit bureaus. In fact, when you’re undergoing an intensive credit repair process, it’s crucial that you have access to reports and scores from all three of the main bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It’s also essential that you update these reports and scores regularly. For this reason, we’ll ask you to sign up for a credit monitoring service as soon as you request your initial credit audit. We’ll then retrieve your credit reports and scores so we can perform the audit. This allows us to create your negative account summary, which we then send to you. If you choose to continue with our service, we’ll continue to fetch your credit reports/scores after each round of disputes. This allows us to better track our progress as we work.
What exactly are the credit bureaus?
The credit bureaus are companies with the legal right to collect and store information about how consumers manage their debts. In some instances, the credit bureaus can share this information with lenders, landlords, employers, and other third parties. The data can then be used to aid them in deciding whether or not to approve applicants for credit.
How many credit bureaus are there?
There are many credit bureaus, many of which only serve niche industries. However, when talking about personal consumer credit, we’re referring to the so-called “Big 3” bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Is FICO® a credit bureau?
Actually, no. FICO® is a separate company that produces credit scores based on the information within an individual’s credit reports. That said, many lenders use the FICO® score to evaluate an applicant’s ability to repay loans or other types of credit. FICO® scores range from 300 to 850, with the higher numbers indicating better credit worthiness.
Why do the credit bureaus make so many errors?
The credit bureaus rely heavily on information provided to them by third parties. These range from banks and credit card companies to mortgage providers and public record keepers. In many cases, the information these third parties report is either inaccurate or unverifiable. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are free to challenge such entries. Those that cannot be proven must be deleted.
How does credit repair work?
Effective credit repair involves utilizing the authorities outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act to challenge questionable entries in your credit reports. After a challenge is made, the responsibility is on the bureaus to verify that the disputed entry or entries are accurate and fair. If they fail to do so (or do so within a set timeframe), the disputed entries must be removed by law.
Is credit repair ALWAYS successful?
Unfortunately, it can be complicated to remove every single negative entry. That said, you can maximize your chances of success by working with specialists who have a firm grasp of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For example, at The Credit Brains, we perform a free credit audit* so that we can provide each potential client with a detailed Negative Account Summary at the start of the process. This way, both the client and our team can be more confident that we’ll succeed in our repair mission.
How long does it take to repair bad credit?
The timeframe varies greatly depending on the number, type, and severity of the issues being challenged. At The Credit Brains, we typically can resolve most issues within our initial four rounds of disputes, with each round taking about 40 days. That said, we aim to conclude our dispute processes within six rounds of service. However, many clients end up seeing significant results much sooner. To keep our clients informed, we provide a reconciled report after each round of disputes, making it easier for them to track our progress.
How much does credit repair cost?
We don’t believe in forcing clients to accept a one-size-fits-all fee structure. That’s why we developed a Pay-Per-Deletion pricing system. This ensures our clients only have to pay for the items they want to be removed and only after the items are successfully deleted. Depending on the number of negative items you need to be removed, you can pay anywhere from $50 to $99 per deletion. Reach out to one of our consultants today for more information.
How do you work?
Our process leverages the legal protections laid out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This complex legislation empowers us to work on your behalf to challenge Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to either Verify or Delete questionable entries in your credit reports. You can view Our Process in full detail here.
What kind of results have you delivered for past clients?
We’ve compiled a large sample of client success reports to help you better understand the results we’ve delivered in the past. Click here to see our Past Results.
What are your fees?
We embrace a Pay-Per-Deletion model in which you only pay for the items we successfully remove from your credit reports. Depending on how many items you need to remove, you will pay between $50 and $99 per deletion. Remember, our goal here is to help you rebuild your credit, not to bait you into a deceptive monthly subscription credit repair service that will charge you regardless of results. In fact, we start the entire process with a free credit audit so both parties can see exactly what’s negatively affecting your situation. If you want to continue, great! If not, you’re under no obligation to use our service.
Will you bill monthly?
We firmly believe that a Pay-Per-Deletion structure is better for our clients than monthly subscription plans. From what we’ve seen, monthly subscription plans are the primary reason people have such a bad impression of the credit repair industry. Primarily because many end up paying monthly fees for up to 2 years before realizing that they’ve only achieved marginal credit improvements. For instance:
The Credit Brains wants to stand out as the “client-centric” option. That’s why you only pay after we deliver results.
How can I check my progress?
Keeping our clients up to speed is a priority for us. That’s why we’ve integrated a State-of-the-Art Client Portal to keep you abreast of each deletion. We also use email and SMS communications so that you never miss out on an accomplishment.
How do I know I can trust you?
Unlike most credit repair companies, you can find The Credit Brains service agreement, which is linked in the footer of our website for all to see. In fact, we invite you to review it thoroughly so you can see exactly what we’re all about.
We also want you to know how important your privacy is to us. That’s why we ask you to review and sign our Privacy Agreement during your first Client Portal Login.
Remember, we can’t promise that every dispute will be successful. However, we do know how to use the legal protections within the Fair Credit Reporting Act in your favor – and we have an excellent track record of success. In fact, we’ve compiled a large sample of client deletion reports to give you an idea of the sort of results you can expect.