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What is a Charge-off? – Lexington Law

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A charge-off is a negative mark on your credit report that occurs when a debt has been left unpaid and the creditor determines the money to be uncollectible.

Charge-offs can be filed within 90 days of a late payment, though most creditors wait up to 180 days after a late payment. However, if your debt has been listed as a charge-off, this does not imply you are no longer responsible for the debt.

After being listed as a charge-off, debt can be sold by a creditor to a third-party collection agency. This will make it more difficult for you to resolve the charge-off and remove it from your credit report.

Why is my debt being charged off?

Creditors determine these unpaid debts to be uncollectible so they can remove them from their accounting books and write them off in their taxes. Although the debt is considered a loss for the credit company, they can still expect to recover their expenses through tax.

How does a charge-off affect a credit score?

Charge-offs can remain on your credit report as long as seven years from the date the account was listed as uncollectible. If you have even one charge-off on your credit report, creditors will view you as a high-risk loaner. You will likely be denied any new loans with a charge-off on your credit report.

A charge-off can be removed before the seven-year mark, but allowing it to remain on your credit report for any duration can be seriously damaging to your credit score.

How long does a paid charge-off affect my credit score?

Even a paid charge-off will remain on your credit report for seven years. Though paying a charge-off sounds like a simple solution, it does not change how long the charge-off will be visible on your credit history.

Should I pay charge-off accounts?

Paying a charge-off may improve your credit score slightly and will lessen the impact of the item over time, though it will still appear as a negative influence on your credit report. This can hurt your chances for credit approval when applying for new credit cards, loans or competitive interest rates.

Before paying a charge-off, consider the implications of your decision to pay. The charge-off’s age and other factors may make a difference in whether you should pay it or leave it unpaid.

When should I pay a charge-off?

There are several scenarios that may make paying a charge-off the best option. Consider paying a charge-off when:

  • The creditor will delete or re-age it. Some creditors may agree to delete a charge-off from your report if you make the full payment. It is also possible to re-age the account, which may make it appear as though you settled the debt in a more timely fashion.
  • You need to pay the charge-off to qualify for a home loan. The mortgage industry often requires that all outstanding debts be settled before approval for a loan. Ask the home loan lender if a partial payment is enough to satisfy their loan requirements.
  • The charge-off is recent. If the charge-off is new, it can be easier to have the account removed from your credit report entirely if the debt has not been sold to a third-party collector. A new charge-off will likely trigger a significant drop in your credit score and will be even more drastic the higher your original score was.

charge-off removes points from credit score

When should I leave a charge-off unpaid?

In some cases, collection agencies may try to fool you into paying old charge-offs. If the debt is close to being “time-barred,” or past its expiration date of collection, collectors will no longer be able to sue you for collection. They may use a barrage of high-pressure tactics to get you to pay these debts before they are unable to collect.

Collections agencies may also increase their pressure on you to pay the charge-off if the debt is nearing its reporting limit. Debt collectors will try to collect on accounts that are about to fall off your credit report because they will lose leverage once the debt is past its reporting time.

In these situations, it may be more advantageous to leave a charge-off unpaid until you’ve spoken with a professional about how to handle old charge-offs.

Additionally, you should consider leaving a charge-off unpaid when:

  • The charge-off is listed for more than one company. If your debt has been sold to a third-party collections agency, it will be listed on your report multiple times. After debt has been sold by the original creditor, it may change hands many times to multiple third-party collection agencies. Confirm which agency actually owns the debt to ensure you don’t pay someone who no longer owns the debt.
  • You aren’t sure the amount listed on the charge-off is correct. Some third-party debt collectors may add on fees and interest to your charge-off amount. Unless the agreement you signed with your original creditor allows for these third-party fees, you do not legally owe the additional money. A credit repair specialist can help you verify the amount listed and confirm it is correct.
  • The charge-off is past the statute of limitations. Though collection laws vary by state, charge-offs have a statute of limitations which can act as a defense against having judgement brought against you for non-payment of a debt. However, if your debt passes the statute of limitations for payment, you must appear in court to defend against any lawsuits filed by collection agencies.

How can I remove a charge-off from my credit report?

There are several ways a charge-off can be removed from your credit report. If the charge-off is inaccurate or unverifiable, these negative listings can be removed just like any other debt. Additionally, the credit reporting limit requires that charge-offs be removed from your account after the seven year period.

Before attempting to have a charge-off removed from your report, speak with the original creditor of the loan. Avoid negotiation with third-party collectors as they have no authority over what the original creditor reports to the credit bureau in regards to your charge-off.

Ask a credit repair specialist about these removal methods for your charge-off:

  • Pay for delete letter. You may be allowed to make the full payment for the debt in exchange for removal of the charge-off from your credit report. If a creditor has not already sold your debt, they may be willing to negotiate this. If the creditor is open to this option, be sure to have all correspondence in writing in case it is needed for future evidence of the negotiation.
  • Use the advanced method to dispute. If you are unable to pay the balance in full or the creditor will not agree to remove the account, you can dispute the account directly with the credit bureau. To do this, it is important to verify every detail of the charge-off entry to be sure that everything is accurate. If you find any errors, write a letter to each of the credit bureaus stating that your credit report contains mistakes that need to be corrected or removed. The credit bureau will contact the original creditor who must then verify the account is correct. If they cannot or will not, the charge-off must be removed.

When using the advanced method to dispute a charge-off, look for details in this information:

credit report charge off dispute

When attempting to remove a charge-off from your account, it is important to frame your requests to creditors carefully. Speak politely and avoid placing blame on any party. Many creditors and credit bureaus may dismiss your requests if they deem them to be unimportant or invalid. It may be more effective to use the help of a professional credit repair specialist or attorney when disputing charge-offs.

How to prevent charge-offs

Charge-offs are very damaging for your credit report and affect your ability to apply for new loans, credit cards and interest rates. Luckily, they are easily preventable.

Prevent charge-offs from being listed on your credit report with these tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. It is important to make your monthly payments on time. Even one late or missed payment can trigger a charge-off. If you find yourself unable to pay on time or in full, speak with your creditor before the deadline. They may be able to make arrangements for you and will be appreciative of your notice before you are late. If possible, avoid going over 60 days past due on any bill.
  2. Don’t ignore “Final Notice” bills. Creditors will send you a bill stamped with a “final notice” warning when you are nearing the limit for your late payment. Contact your creditor if you receive one of these bills. It is important to come to an agreement with your creditor before the debt is sold to a collection agency.
  3. Create a monthly spending plan. Managing your finances is key to avoiding a late payment or going over budget. Monitor your credit accounts carefully and track your spending to be sure you are using your money wisely. Plan your finances around any debt you may have to pay back what you owe in the least amount of time possible.
  4. Monitor your credit report. You may not be notified of a charge-off on your credit report. Check your report and credit scores often to be sure all information is correct and look closely for any missing payments or charge-offs.

Finally, consider asking for professional help. Credit repair specialists can assist you with many aspects of your credit report. If you are experiencing problems with a charge-off or questionable account on your credit file, a professional may be able to help you navigate the process of disputing errors and improve your credit score.

Sources

U.S. News | BadCredit | Investopedia



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Finance – Lexington Law

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FICO and “The score lenders use” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

© 2018 Lexington Law®. All rights reserved. John C. Heath, Attorney at Law, PLLC d/b/a Lexington Law, and of counsel attorneys. 360 N. Cutler Drive, North Salt Lake Utah, 84054

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We Want You To Cancel | Lexington Law Review

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Article Updated September 10, 2018.

Nothing makes us happier at Lexington Law than when our clients cancel our services after reaching their credit goals. Sounds strange, right? At Lexington Law Firm, hearing a client has achieved their goal is something worth celebrating, so when that happens, then cancelling out their case makes us happy.

For instance, in the video above, our client used our credit repair services for several years because he wanted to buy a home. This client was able to improve the accuracy of his credit reports that in turn helped him increase his credit score. This, in turn with managing his credit wisely, helped him get approved for a home loan.

Many clients sign up for Lexington Law Firm because their credit reports have inaccurate, unverified, and unfair items that are negatively impacting them. In many cases, our clients are referred over to us because they were denied for a loan or a line of credit. Each client’s goal is important to us, whether it’s to have a better credit score and more accurate credit report, or to buy a new home, and we want nothing more than to help accomplish those goals. Nothing makes our paralegals happier than hearing a client say “I want to cancel because I achieved my goal.”

At Lexington Law, our number one priority is our clients’ satisfaction. We work hard every month to challenge inaccurate, unverified, and unfair negative items on your credit reports. Not only that, but we provide credit education to help you understand the credit ecosystem. Once our clients’ credit is repaired, we want you to maintain that good credit, so our website and our paralegals provide you with tips and tools for maintaining good credit, such as keeping a low credit utilization ratio and not constantly applying for new credit. Some of our service levels include a customized credit report improvement analysis each month that can be accessed anytime on our client website. That way, clients are armed with the information they need to keep a good credit report and score once they’ve achieved it.

Of course, if you want a little extra help monitoring your credit after it’s been fixed, we offer plans to help you do so. We understand that some clients may appreciate the extra help once they’ve reached their goals, and we have services that can help you monitor and maintain your good credit. Clients still receive notifications about changes to their credit reports, so that they can keep up.

Whether it’s fixing your credit reports, or monitoring your credit, Lexington Law has represented over half a million clients and helped clients see the removal of millions of questionable, negative items from their credit reports. Call now and learn more about how Lexington Law Firm may be able to help you work to remove negative items from your credit reports such as collections, late payments, charge-offs, and many others. We offer a free credit consultation to go over what is negatively impacting your credit.

 

 

*Disclosure: Testimonials represent the results of the particular individual and you should not expect the same result because your case is different than everyone else’s. Lexington promises only to communicate with creditors on your behalf and in your name, verify report changes with bureaus, and provide you timely information about changes in your reports. Previous clients have seen impressive credit report results, with an average of 10.2 removals in 4 months across their three reports. Some members do not achieve that result and Lexington makes no guarantee that you will receive that average result.



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How to Build Credit – Lexington Law

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Building credit can be frustrating, especially when the credit industry is not set up in your favor. Since credit reporting agencies incentivize large spending and lending habits for those just starting to build credit, establishing a positive credit score can take time. Luckily, by using some inside knowledge of how credit reporting agencies work you can get past the gap by establishing positive lending practices.

Whether you need to establish a credit score from scratch or need to improve your credit score, use this guide to lead you towards your goals.

How to build credit with a credit card

If you went to check your credit score or credit history and did not find any results, you are part of the 1 in 10 adults that are credit-invisible. For the 26 million Americans who are credit-invisible, it can be difficult to apply for most loans, leases and credit cards. However, not having a score does not prevent you from establishing credit.

The first step to obtaining a credit score is to establish a credit lending history. If you are starting out without any credit or lending history, there is a market of lending options for you. Although these choices do not come with perks and incentives that top credit cards come with, they are an opportunity to build credit quickly.

three ways to build credit using a credit card

1. Find an easy approval credit card

Secured Credit Cards
A secured credit card is a way to build a credit history without any of the risks that come with borrowing a sum of money. A secured credit card will use a deposited sum of money to act as collateral for a line of credit. Most secured credit cards require at least a $200 deposit and depending on the lender there may be an annual fee.

It is crucial to pay off any outstanding payments on time because secured credit cards have a high purchase annual percentage rate for any amount overdue. Use a secured credit card as you would a debit card, only make purchases you know you have sufficient funds to afford.

Student Credit Cards
Student credit cards are designed for college level students over the age of 18. Student credit cards may require a minimum credit score in order to apply but the requirements are designed for the student in mind. With low annual percentage rates and competitive rewards programs, these cards are a great way to build credit if you are just starting out.

Store Credit Cards
Store credit cards are an option that some businesses offer to finance in-store purchases and even general purchases. Store credit cards often have a low or no credit score requirement making them a great option for someone starting out without any credit. Store credit cards are best used for grocers and any other place where you shop frequently for necessities.

2. Ask for a credit card cosigner

A cosigner can be used when applying for a credit card if you do not have sufficient funds, are under the age of 21 or do not have a credit history on your own standing. The cosigner will act as a responsible party vouching that if any funds are due to the lender, they are accountable to pay the debt. Ask your parent or guardian if they are comfortable becoming your credit card cosigner.

3. Become authorized user on someone else’s card

Credit card companies allow the card owner to set up authorized users under the account. An authorized user is not accountable to pay debts or fees but can make charges onto the card. As an authorized user your name will begin to show on the credit history for the specific credit card account and in turn, you will begin to build credit. Because an authorized user is not fully accountable to repay debts, it is helpful to ask a parent or guardian if you can be listed as an authorized user. Becoming an authorized user will give you a standing as being listed by the credit bureau, but you may not build significant history to aggregate a credit score.

How to build credit without a credit card

Credit cards may be the most common way to build credit, but they come with heavier responsibilities and repercussions of high annual percentage rates. As a credit score is calculated using your total lines of credit and lending history, there are other steps to take to build credit without using a credit card.
how to build credit without a credit card

1. Take out a credit builder loan

Credit builder loans are designed specifically for new lenders in mind and are a method to establish a positive lending history. Banks, credit unions and self-lending companies offer small loans of around $1,000 as a way to establish credit. When the loan is taken out you will be expected to pay it back over a period of 6 to 12 months. During the term of your loan, you will need to make payments on time in order to receive a positive credit score.

2. Negotiate a loan

Any loan will count towards your credit score so if you are planning on a large purchase or expense you can negotiate a loan. If you are starting without any credit a lender may ask you to place collateral or to get a loan cosigner. Getting a cosigner is common for student and car loans as they are typically a hefty investment. Student loans may have a payback period of over 10 years and will begin to build credit when you start to pay off the loan. Car loans have a shorter payback period and typically start to show on your credit score quicker. Keep in mind to make your payments on time and in full, this is the key to building a great credit score.

How can you improve your credit score?

Once you already have a credit history, improving your credit can be a little more difficult. Your credit score is carefully calculated using metrics of your lending and payment history, transactions, types of credits and total amounts owed. Luckily with careful planning and some budgeting best practices, you can quickly bring your credit score towards an upwards trend.

7 habits to improve a credit score

1. Pay off your credit more frequently

Paying off your credit more frequently can have a positive effect on your credit score as it will keep your credit utilization low and help you stay ahead of large debts. More frequent payments also give a higher number total payments for your credit score to be calculated from. Paying your bills more frequently is a longer-term investment and will have a positive effect on your credit score in months rather than weeks.

2. Make credit card payments on time

Keeping up to date on your card payments has the most impact on improving your credit score over time. Payment history is the top-most weighted metric in your FICO score and weighs heavily into your overall credit. If you struggle to make full payments, making the minimum payments will not negatively affect your credit score.

3. Repay any outstanding debts

Paying back any outstanding debt can have a positive and a negative impact on your credit score. Paying your debt off earlier than expected and paying off debt later than expected will both negatively affect your credit score. Credit companies incentivize sticking to your financial plan and place a positive credit score on paying your debts back on time. Paying back debts before or after the due date is a sign that the borrower should have taken out credit with a different timeline.

4. Keep unused credit cards open

Closing out old and unused credit cards is not ideal and could negatively affect your credit by raising your credit utilization and shortening your lending history. If your credit card has any fees or minimum usages required you should still close the account despite the impact of your credit score.

5. Lower your credit utilization

Credit utilization is the percent of funds you usually borrow compared to your total credit limit. Your average credit utilization is a major factor of your credit score as it determines if your spending habits on the card are close to your total limit. An Ideal credit utilization is 30 percent or under, which is low for many starting out with a new credit card. It is important to keep your credit utilization low as frequently hitting your limit will negatively affect your credit score.

6. Increase your credit limit

If you find yourself nearing your credit limit between each payment, you should ask for your credit card provider to raise your limit. When you reach out to your credit card provider to raise your credit limit, be sure to have first paid off any balances or bills due on the card. Credit card companies will look into your account before deciding to raise your credit limit and can deny a request if you have outstanding balances, frequently miss payments or pay frequently pay only the minimum balance.

7. Remove negative credit entries

Negative credit entries like hard inquiries, late payment charges, reporting mistakes and even delinquencies can all be removed from your credit given some stipulations. Removing a negative credit entry is one of the quickest ways to improve your credit score as updates are typically handled within the 30-day period in which credit reporting agencies are updated.

How is a credit score calculated?

breakdown of the 5 fico score factors

To best understand how to improve your credit score it is important to look at how your credit score is calculated. Your FICO score is calculated using data reported by the major credit reporting agencies and is used by lenders to determine risk and eligibility for lending.

The FICO Score Variables

  • Payment history
  • Amount owed
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit transactions
  • Credit mix

Payment history

Payment history is the most important value which carries a 35 percent weight in your overall credit score. Payment history will have a positive effect on your credit score if you make your payments on time and in full. Payment history will have a negative effect on your credit score if you carry over balances, are late or default on payments.

Amount owed

Your total amount owed accounts for 30 percent of how your credit score is calculated and consists of both good and bad debt. Good debt is allowances you are paying off and paying down over time. Just because you have an outstanding debt does it mean you will have a negative score. Bad debt in the case of amounts owed would be outstanding credits you are not paying off the minimum payments on.

Length of credit history

How long you have been listed as a lender accounts for 15 percent of your overall credit score. The length of your credit history adds more certainty to your overall credit score as it is more likely that if you have established past good behaviour with lending that you will continue. A long lasting bad credit history will have a negative impact on your credit score and this factor can end up significantly lowering your score.

New credit transactions

Your newest transactions account for 10 percent of your overall credit score and are weighed higher than you overall transactions. Many credit score raising hacks like taking out another credit card or loan can cause your credit score to rise, but the benefits are short term. New credit transactions are constantly revolving and is updated in 30-day cycles.

Credit mix

Your credit mix is the diversity of your overall credit or lending history and accounts for 10 percent of your overall score. Your credit mix is scored by the number of different types of credit you have outstanding and used in the past. Student loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages and any other formal lending will add to this score.

Repair your credit quickly

Negative credit report entries consist of late payments, delinquencies, charge-offs, overdrafts and a variety of other negative lending practices. Another avenue to raising your credit score is through credit repair services that remove negative entries from your credit history.



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2018 Consumer Debt Statistics – Lexington Law

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Total consumer debt is on track to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2018, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data. That’s an amount with twelve zeros. Collectively, Americans owe 26 percent of their income to this debt and spend 10 percent of their individual monthly income on non-mortgage debts like car loans, credit card accounts and student or personal loans.

Americans have been amassing more and more debt since 2013 and disposable income has increased as well. Though income is increasing, American consumers are borrowing more money more often.

So what is causing these changes in behavior? Recent studies have shown that Americans are losing their financial literacy at an alarming rate. These studies, which cover topics like basic finance and investment, show that Americans lack fundamental knowledge in these areas. Perhaps that explains the marked uptick in consumer borrowing.

To dive further into consumer debt and learn how to properly manage it, let’s first understand exactly what it is and how it works in our financial systems.

What is consumer debt?

Consumer debt is personal debt owed by an individual to another entity, typically a bank or credit union. Consumer debt often involves household purchases and transactions independent of a business or government operation. It does not include debts owed by a business or corporation to another entity.

These purchases are typically consumable and include items that do not depreciate in value. Purchases like this allow consumers to better themselves through a purchase without the requirement of paying the full purchase price up front. For example, consumer debt may come in the form of auto or student loans.

Also referred to as credit debt, there are typically two types of consumer debt: revolving and non-revolving.

Revolving Consumer Debt

The most common example of this type of consumer debt is credit card debt. This kind of debt is referred to as revolving because it is meant to be paid off frequently, typically within a month. Revolving credit fluctuates with consumer use and usually comes with a variable interest rate.

Non-revolving Consumer Debt

Conversely, non-revolving consumer debt is not on a particular payment schedule. Instead, payments may be seen as “fixed” and are usually active for the life of the underlying asset. This type of consumer debt may include long-term loans for cars and education. These debts typically include a fixed payment plan with few changes to the amount charged. It is possible for consumers to choose between fixed and variable interest rates for these debts in some cases.

Consumer Debt Statistics

The following statistics come from the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Credit G.19 release:

  • Total consumer debt totaled $3.898 trillion in 2018, a 7.6% increase from last year.
  • Average consumer debt per capita is approximately $11,880 (total consumer debt/total US population as of July 4, 2018).
  • Total revolving consumer debt was $1.039 trillion in 2018.
  • Total revolving consumer debt rose 11.4% annually in 2018.
  • Average revolving debt per capita is approximately $3,167 (total revolving consumer debt/total US population as of July 4, 2018).
  • Credit card debt in May 2018 broke the previous record of $1.02 trillion set in 2008.
  • Credit card debt was 27% of total consumer debt in 2018, down from 38% in 2008.
  • Two in ten adults say they roll over $2,500 or more a month in credit card debt [Source: NFCC]
  • Total non-revolving consumer debt was $2.858 trillion in 2018.
  • Student loans totaled $1.524 trillion in 2018.
  • Auto loans totaled $1.113 trillion in 2018.
  • Average loans per student equal approximately $76,468 (total student loans/total students enrolled in public or private universities in 2018)*

*Total enrollment based on a 2016 projection of students in public or private universities.

Barring two recessions, one small event in 2001 and the well-known housing market crash of 2008–2009, consumer debt has increased steadily over time. It is possible that total consumer debt may break four trillion dollars within the next decade.

If you’re unsure how to begin tackling your personal debt, there are many available resources to help you. Paying your monthly fees on time and maintaining your credit can also help you reduce your loan amounts over time.



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How Lexington Law Protects Customer Data

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It seems like every week or two, another breach of consumer trust comes to light. From government agencies to department stores, banks to social networks, it is clear that criminals and hackers have their sights set on our personal information.

The Equifax data breach, which first came to light in September 2017, affected a mind-boggling 145.5 million Americans. More than half the adult population of the United States found their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license information compromised. Over 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen, as were dispute documents for over 182,000 people.

While the country was still reeling from that situation, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal hit the headlines. In this case, “only” 87 million people saw their personal data — which they trusted Facebook to protect — shared with unauthorized entities, starting as far back as 2014. Cambridge Analytica collected personal information from millions of unsuspecting Facebook users due to a security flaw in Facebook’s Open Graph framework, which has since been fixed. In this case, the breach would not result in financial loss, but instead, may have potentially impacted Great Britain’s Brexit vote and the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

These and similar events have left an understandably sour taste in many mouths. Sometimes, it feels like there is no one we can really trust. It is important, however, to step back and take in the “big picture” when considering this subject.

At times, there have been errors in the way some organizations have handled the data entrusted to them, and regrettable delays in notifying affected parties. But, by and large, entities whose activity requires access to protected information are making concerted efforts to protect sensitive data on behalf of their customers.

Lexington Law is proud to count ourselves among that number.

What data does Lexington Law collect, and why?

As an organization dedicated to helping individuals improve their credit scores through strategic education, behavioral change, and legal support, we do need to collect a significant amount of sensitive personal information from our customers.

As noted in our official Privacy Policy, our customers “may provide Lexington a variety of personal information, including your name, mailing address, email address, phone number, payment information, and tax identification number.”

Additionally, “Lexington may supplement the personal information you provide with personal information available from other sources, such as public databases, data aggregators, and other commercially available sources.”

In simple terms, this means we need to collect a significant amount of personal identifying information from our customers directly and other sources they have previously used, in order to offer our services. The personal information we collect allows us to access your credit history, review your current credit score and report, and make informed recommendations to help you improve your financial standing. It also allows us to act on your behalf when contacting creditors, or otherwise working for the betterment of your credit situation.

In an effort to continually improve our offerings, “Lexington also may use your personal information for research, development, and analysis, and for advertising, marketing, product and service offerings, security, fraud prevention, and other business activities.”

Who can access our customers’ personal information?

First and foremost, all our customers can access and control their own information by logging into their personal accounts. Most information can be quickly updated and/or deleted at the customer’s discretion, although there are exceptions to this rule where legal or regulatory requirements demand retention.

We will share customer information with commercial partners of Lexington Law, but only with the customer’s express consent, or when our own contractual relationship with these entities guarantees they will maintain the same high standards of confidentiality we demand of ourselves. Outside of those circumstances, the only other release of protected customer data would be in compliance with legal obligation, and then, only when no other option is possible or practical.

How is all that customer data protected?

To keep things clear, we want to include exactly what is stated in our Privacy Policy:

“Lexington takes precautions to safeguard your personal information from loss, theft, and misuse, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. These precautions include technical, physical, and managerial procedures.

“Lexington uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption on all pages where personal information is collected. This protects the confidentiality of your personal information while it is transmitted over the Internet.

Beyond preventing customer data from falling into the wrong hands, we also want to make sure that data is consistently protected for future access by the customer:

“We work to protect data from accidental or malicious destruction. Accordingly, we may not immediately delete or change residual copies and we may not delete or change information from our backup systems. Unless a disproportionate effort is required, we will provide information access and correction without charge.

What can you do, as a client of Lexington Law, to stay vigilant?

While we take our responsibility to protect your data very seriously, it behooves all consumers to take data security into their own hands as well.

For your own protection, you should always exercise care with the information you share over the Internet. Educate yourself on common identity theft pitfalls and actively protect yourself. For example, always use a secure browser and exercise good judgment in using passwords, such as using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters, and you should avoid using the same or similar passwords across multiple sites. Be very wary of public Wi-Fi hotspots, and never transmit or access sensitive information when connected to an unsecured network.

Since email and instant messaging are not recognized as secure communications, we will never solicit personal identifying information via these channels. We strongly recommend that you not send private information to us by email or instant messaging services.

Finally, we realize cybercrime is only escalating and identity thieves are always working diligently to figure out new and creative ways to part people and organizations from the personal information we want to protect. Therefore, we regularly review our compliance with our Privacy Policy and enforce safeguards within the company. And, we’re constantly considering our policies and strategies in light of the latest information.

If you are currently a client of Lexington Law, or if you are considering partnering with us to improve your credit situation, you can be confident in our commitment to protecting your data.

 

 

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.





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Lesser-Known Credit Card Benefits – Lexington Law

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Although credit cards sometimes get a bad rap from the debt that can accumulate with misuse, responsibly used credit cards can offer a wealth of useful and valuable benefits to their cardholders.

For example, the cash back rewards that some cards offer can equate to a savings of 5% or more on many popular purchase categories — and that’s not to mention the signup bonuses. And if you pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest fees, that’s a no-cost savings.

But purchase rewards are just the flashiest credit card benefit. There are a host of lesser-known credit card benefits that can end up saving you thousands when used wisely.

Price Protection

Few things sting like thinking you got a great deal — then discovering an even better one after the fact. With credit cards that provide price protection, you can get a rebate of up to $500 per claim if you put the entire purchase on your credit card and find a lower advertised price on the same item within the designated period (usually 90 days).

While most providers cap claims at $2,500 a year, that’s still significant savings that would otherwise simply disappear.

Purchase Protection

As with price protection, purchase protection can give you that extra security when making large purchases by covering you in cases of damage or theft. Most cards provide up to $500 per claim, with an annual maximum of $50,000 in coverage.

You’ll want to read your benefits agreement thoroughly, however, as your policy may have limitations, such as not covering lost products or only kicking in as secondary coverage. Purchase protection usually extends up to 90 days from the original purchase date. Pre-owned or secondhand items will typically be excluded from purchase protection.

Rental Car Insurance

If you’ve ever rented a car, you’ve likely raised your eyebrows at the pricey rental car insurance the agency offers — and taken the risk of turning it down. With a credit card that provides primary rental car insurance, you can turn down the rental agency’s pricey coverage with a clear conscience, knowing you’ll be covered in the event of theft or collision.

Some cards only provide secondary insurance, and most exclude specialty and luxury vehicles, so read your agreement for details to avoid a costly assumption of coverage.

Cell Phone Protection

What was purely a luxury purchase 20 years ago is practically mandatory in today’s world, but cell phones are hardly a cheap necessity. When you’ve shelled out a few hundred bucks for the latest device, it can be devastating to have it stolen or damaged — unless your credit card comes with cell phone protection.

If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with an eligible card, you could get up to $600 in coverage (less the $25 to $100 deductible, depending on the card).

Extended Warranty Protection

It almost seems inevitable: just a few days past the end of the manufacturer’s warranty, your trusty kitchen appliance lets out the beep of death and ceases to function.

Credit cards that offer extended warranty protection can provide up to one additional year beyond the original manufacturer’s warranty for qualifying items that have warranties of three years or less. While specific coverage caps will vary by card, the coverage will never exceed the cost of repair or replacement.

Trip Insurance

Using a credit card to pay for your next vacation can not only earn you great rewards, but may also provide valuable protections. Mainly found on top-tier travel credit cards, trip delay or cancellation insurance can be (nearly) priceless if weather, a medical emergency, or other covered situation leads to a costly travel delay or — worse, and more expensive — the cancellation of your entire trip.

Cards with quality travel insurance will cover a multitude of expenses not otherwise reimbursed, including flights, hotel stays, and even meals in some cases. Trip delay insurance will have a minimum delay time (usually 12 hours), with caps around $100 a day or $500 a claim.

Trip cancellation insurance will often include multiple members of the party — provided their itinerary was purchased with the qualifying card — and offer up to $5,000 per person, per trip.

Luggage Reimbursement

Depending on where you’re headed, your luggage could contain any number of valuable items, from costly couture to expensive electronics — which is just one of the many reasons losing your luggage while traveling can be devastating.

Lost or delayed luggage reimbursement can be a trip saver when the carrier misplaces your luggage, covering everything from the toiletries and clothing necessary to wait out rerouted bags (minimum delay time will vary by card) to providing up to $3,000 per passenger for bags damaged or lost by the carrier.

Avoid Interest Fees to Make the Most of Card Benefits

Although high interest rates and added fees are certainly reasons to avoid misusing a credit card, responsible cardholders can get significant value out of their credit card — even without adding in lucrative purchase rewards.

Of course, the keyword here is “responsible.” Carrying a balance on your card from month to month can result in high interest fees, easily canceling out the value of any purchase rewards or even most secondary benefits.

Similarly, the credit damage that can occur when you miss card payments or carry high balances is not worth the occasional price protection reimbursement. Pay your card in full and on time each billing cycle, however, and you can reap all kinds of great rewards.

 

 

 

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Should Millennials Buy Property? – Lexington Law

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It has been 10 years since the real estate market crash of 2008, and the market has never fully returned to its pre-crash glory. Home ownership was at an all-time high in 2004, just four years before the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, to which a volatile real estate market contributed. The oldest among the millennial crowd were only moderately affected by the real estate bubble, as many of them were not financially prepared for home ownership at the time of the recession anyway.

However, as home ownership rates remain much lower than their pre-recession counterparts, it’s clear that home ownership remains out of reach for many people, especially millennials. However, most financial advisors will tell you: real estate is a good investment. So should millennials buy property? The short answer is, yes. Everyone should buy property if at all possible. Not only is it a good way to invest in your own future, but it remains a cornerstone of the American dream. The question should be: HOW can millennials buy property?

There are several things millennials can do to prepare themselves for home ownership, regardless of income and student debt:

Raise your credit score

Before you can make any major financial moves, you’ll need to ensure your credit is in tip-top shape. Some things that may prevent you from raising your score: a high debt-to-income ratio (your debt is too high for the amount of money you bring in), unpaid or very late bills, negative items on your credit report, and a lack of attention to finances.

When you raise your credit score to at least 700, a whole new world of options becomes available to you. A credit repair service may be able to assist in this area much faster than you could do it on your own.

Apply for an FHA loan

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans were designed to help first-time home buyers achieve their dream of homeownership. Under this program, buyers only need 3.5 percent of their purchase price to use as a down payment, rather than the 20 percent usually needed for a conventional loan. So if you find a home you like, and the asking prices is $250,000, you’d need a down payment of $8,750.

Relocate to a less expensive area

People choose their geographical locations for a reason. Usually proximity to where they grew up, close family members, jobs, or familiarity that keep them where they are. However, if you’re willing to search a little outside your comfort zone, there are plenty of places in the U.S. that still have incredibly affordable housing in addition to good job markets. Additionally, as technology continues to advance, more and more people find themselves able to work remotely. If your company is one of them, consider moving to another location to find the best property your money can buy.

At the end of the day, if any person in any generation can afford to buy property, there are ways to make it happen. It will take some hard work and sacrifice on your part (apparently, cutting down on avocado toast will fix your problems), and possibly even delving into credit repair, but home ownership is well within reach, and can even help ease the burden of student loan debt in the form of tax refunds.

 

 

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.





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Lexington Law App wins Gold in dotCOMM Awards

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On July 18th the dotCOMM Awards announced that the Lexington Law App won a Gold award. Lexington Law, and other early deadline winners in the 2018 international awards competition, were  honored for their excellence in web creativity and digital communication.

The dotCOMM Awards‘ categories represent the elements of the web’s evolving tools. Interactivity, content, design, social media, video, apps, bios and influencers are all important components of digital public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns. Entrants include designers, developers, content producers, digital artists, video professionals, account supervisors, creative directors and corporate executives.

dotCOMM award-gold-LEX

Judging for the awards is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals. AMCP oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and rewards outstanding achievement and service to the profession.

With the new app, Lexington Law’s clients will no longer have to manually search through Lexington Law’s full website on their phones to check on the status of their credit repair cases. Now, they can simply log in to the app and access the information they need with just a few easy taps.

 

 

 

 



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Lexington Law App Named Gold Award Winner in 2018 dotCOMM Awards

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On July 18th the dotCOMM Awards announced that the Lexington Law App won a Gold award. Lexington Law, and other early deadline winners in the 2018 international awards competition, were  honored for their excellence in web creativity and digital communication. The dotCOMM Awards‘ categories represent the elements of the web’s evolving tools. Interactivity, content, design, […]



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