It is often surprising for individuals to learn that having no credit history can be just as much of a burden as having a poor credit history. Many lenders are reluctant to extend lines of credit to those who have not yet officially proven their credit trustworthiness. For these individuals, a credit report lawyer near Fairfax may recommend reviewing your credit report to make sure you do not have an inaccurate credit report.
What Is a Non-Traditional Credit Report?
Non-traditional credit scoring methods were developed by credit bureaus and credit scoring companies to enable financially trustworthy consumers to access lines of credit. The most commonly used non-traditional credit report is called the FICO Expansion Score, which was developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. As with conventional FICO credit scores, the Expansion score ranges from 300 to 850, with the higher numbers being the most desirable.
Can Anyone Use Non-Traditional Credit Reports?
Unfortunately, non-traditional credit reports are not available for every consumer. They typically are accessed on consumers who lack a traditional FICO score. For example, if you have required the services of a credit report lawyer to submit a credit report dispute regarding erroneous information, you cannot use a non-traditional credit report to counteract your delinquent credit accounts. However, you can improve your credit score by working with your credit report attorney to correct the erroneous information on your reports.
Which Financial Information Is Included?
Usually, a person’s FICO score reflects payment history, percentage of credit utilized, and other factors from sources such as credit cards and installment loans. A non-traditional credit report relies on other financial information, such as information from your landlord if you are a renter or the utility company if utilities are not included with your rent payment. A track record of payments made to a cable company, home phone service, or even a childcare service could help you obtain lines of credit. School tuition, furniture, and appliance rental services, and retail store accounts may serve as the basis for a non-traditional credit report. Non-traditional credit reports may also be inaccurate, so consumers should obtain copies of those credit reports if they are denied credit or the ability to cash a check because of the inaccurate non-traditional credit report.
Credit reporting agencies assemble information about consumer credit histories and evaluate that information on behalf of third parties. Banks, landlords, and other creditors supply information about financial behavior – such as payment histories – to credit reporting agencies. They also may request information about consumers’ histories with other creditors when they are making decisions about extending credit. If you have errors on your credit report, your credit report attorney near Ashburn will dispute that information with the credit reporting agency that is reporting it.
Credit reporting agencies track an extremely large amount of information, and mistakes are common. However, they can also be reluctant to fix errors, which is why having a credit report lawyer on your side is so important. Your credit report attorney has knowledge of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and can insist on fair and fast corrections of your credit history. If your credit report has merged files, incorrect information, or outdated debts, let a credit report lawyer challenge the reporting agencies on your behalf.
Your credit history is proof of your financial credibility and stability, yet it may contain erroneous information. This can negatively affect your credit score and compromise your ability to secure lines of credit. You do have rights under consumer law. For example, credit reporting bureaus are required to fix inaccurate information, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). However, credit bureaus may not necessarily act in accordance with these requirements, which is why it is a good idea to go to a consumer protection law firm near Ashburn and speak with a credit report lawyer about your situation. Your credit report attorney can answer any questions you may have about credit report disputes.
Should I Contact the Furnisher or the Reporting Agency?
Sometimes, erroneous information does not arise from the credit bureau itself, but rather from the furnisher. It may seem like common sense to contact the furnisher directly to correct the error, and in fact, consumer law does allow individuals to do so. However, it is always best to begin a credit report dispute by contacting the credit bureau
directly, rather than the furnisher. This is because doing so will require the credit bureau to begin an investigation of the dispute and trigger duties for the furnisher of the information to investigate as well. If you find that the mistake is not resolved, you can only file a claim if you have already disputed the error directly with the credit bureau.
How Can I Document My Dispute?
Your credit lawyer will advise you to maintain comprehensive documentation. You should save documents such as certified mail receipts in order to prove that the credit bureau did indeed receive your dispute notice. You should also save any proof that you have been harmed as a result of the credit bureau’s failure to fix the error, such as denials of credit.
When Can I File a Lawsuit?
It is a common misconception that a lawsuit may be filed against a credit bureau solely based on the existence of inaccurate information in a credit report. In fact, you will need to dispute the incorrect data at least once before a credit lawyer can file a claim on your behalf.