It’s official! The state of our credit has made national news! 60 Minutes did an expose on the state of the nations credit histories for our citizens. What they found doesn’t even begin to show the size of the iceberg under the surface.
Everything we do today, unless we live in a cave, in one way or another affects our credit life. If we miss a payment, even by one day, it can be reported to one of the credit bureaus. Every time we apply for a new credit card, or try to buy a car or qualify for a home loan, an “inquiry” is put on our credit. If we fall behind on medical bills, go over our limit on a credit card because our child got sick, or mom fell and broke her hip…it all gets reported to the bureaus.
Sound familiar? Does Big Brother ring a bell? The Orwellian view of the future is becoming truer and truer. Especially in the digital age. It is almost impossible to live off the “grid”, and try to keep what you do private. But with the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest…most people have no idea that what they are putting out there is being monitored. That is not to say that the bureaus are watching your account on Facebook…just making the point about our lives being “out there”.
In an extreme case, on the 60 Minutes expose http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50140748n, a woman has been fighting the bureaus for more than 5 years to separate her credit history from someone THEY mixed it up with. It’s been a nightmare for her. There’s nobody to talk to in order to solve the problem. Because the bureaus are completely automated, it’s difficult to get a live body on the phone, and when you do, it’s coming from a foreign country.
Most of the time, errors on your credit reports can be removed. It’s a matter of knowing how. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was put into place in 1980 to regulate the way that the bureaus handle your data. Even though they are required to abide by the law, those of us who work in this field know that they do not…and blatantly. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) was instituted in 2010 to do something about this, and several other troubling issues related to our precious credit histories. So far, they are still for the most part gathering information.
The fact is that CSC/Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian, the three largest bureaus, have a 4 Billion dollar annual stake in the way they are currently doing business. They make money from selling our data files to banks, lenders, and anyone else who lends money to us. The more negative the information, the more money they make. And there is nothing you as one person in the US can do about it.
Reality sets in when we get really upset with the situation, though. The problems we face mostly come from our inability to handle our finances correctly. We are careless about making payments on time, sometimes with good reason. But rather than contact our creditors and inform them of our temporary troubles, like the loss of a job, military deployment, major illness in our family, or other catastrophic situation, we stick our collective heads in the sand…and hope for the best.
Seems like there is no way out…right? But there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. A good credit restoration company can help. They know the secrets and the tried and true ways to fix things. They may not be able to fix EVERYTHING, but they can come close and make improvements you will like. It may be time for you to take a serious look at your own credit reports. If your scores are not where they need to be for you to live the life you desire, it is time to allow the experts to help.