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Monthly Archives: May 2015


Pre-approved Credit Card Offers, You’re Actually NOT Pre-approved


If you’re in the market for a new credit card, a pre-approved offer can be a tempting way to accelerate the process. But with all of the different options, it can be hard to determine if you’re truly pre-approved.

Pre-approved offers, also known as pre-screened offers, are issued based on information in your credit report indicating that you meet basic credit criteria.

Before you apply for a pre-approved credit card, there are a few things you should understand about a pre-approved credit card offer:

1. A pre-approval is an offer.
While an initial screening process does occur for pre-approved offers, this does not mean that the credit card issuer must provide you with a credit card. You will still need to apply in order to get final approval. In this way, a pre-approved credit card offer is more of an invitation than an acceptance letter. It means that the lender has identified you as a potential candidate, is aware of your general credit standing, and wants to make you aware of the credit products offered for people in your credit range.

Offers may also be based on membership in certain groups or relationships with certain companies. For example, frequent travelers may receive solicitations for pre-approved airline credit cards.

After you apply, the lender will determine whether your credit history meets the lending criteria. There’s no guarantee you’ll receive the terms of the original offer, and you could be rejected entirely.

2. A pre-approved credit card offer will not impact your credit score.
The initial screening that lenders use to select pre-approved individuals does not impact your credit score. In fact, your credit score will not be impacted until you decide to apply for the card.

After you submit your application to the lender, the lender will request your credit score. The credit score request is called a “hard inquiry,” and it will remain on your credit report for 24 months. Even if your credit request is denied, the inquiry will still impact your credit score.

While being sent a pre-approved credit offer doesn’t hurt your credit score, every time you apply for a credit card a lender will pull your credit report, which will result in a hard inquiry that will impact your credit score. For that reason, you may want to avoid applying for several credit cards at the same time.

You may want to pull your free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com or purchase your credit score from one of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs) beforehand so that you know your general standing and can apply for the type of credit card that fits your credit range. You should be aware that the credit score you purchase may be an educational credit score and may not be the credit score used by your potential lender.  That said, the credit score you purchase may help you figure out what type of interest rate you can reasonably expect the lender to offer you.

3. After you apply, you may be approved for terms that are different from the offer.
If you are approved after you apply for the credit card, you may end up with different terms and conditions than what was included in the original offer.

Your credit card APR dictates the interest rate you will pay if you carry a balance from month to month. The higher the APR, the more the credit card will cost you if you carry a balance. Many credit card offers advertise an attractive APR, but the rate you get will depend on your credit history and credit score.

Read over the terms and conditions and, if you are approved, be sure you understand your APR and other financial obligations related to the account. If you do not carry a balance from month to month, then you will not have to pay interest on the credit card, but you may still be obligated to pay other costs, such as an annual fee.

4. You can opt out of pre-approved credit card offers.
If you already have several credit cards or aren’t interested in borrowing, you can opt out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com.

You may also contact the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which manages an opt-out list for consumers who generally prefer not to receive mail or phone offers. You can sign up for this service on the DMA’s website or download a form to submit by mail. You can also call the DMA at 212-768-7277 to have the form mailed to you.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  has no effect on your ability to apply for or obtain credit, but you may not receive the terms from pre-approved offers that may be more favorable than those offered to the general public.

5. Shred any unused credit card offers.
Credit card offers may contain sensitive personal information, such as your full name and address. You should shred these documents to protect yourself from identity thieves and scammers, who are known to scavenge dumpsters in order to find documents with personal information. Be sure to lock your financial documents and records in a safe place and destroy them when they are no longer needed.

6. If you are sent a physical card with a pre-approved offer, don’t try to use it.
A bank or lender cannot legally send you an actual credit card in the mail, so if there is a card in the offer envelope, don’t try to use it. This precaution, which was instituted by the Unsolicited Credit Card Act of 1970, is for your protection—to guard you against fraud, payment liability, or credit damage.

Before you respond and apply to a pre-approved credit card offer, be sure you read all the terms and conditions. Also be wary of incurring hard inquiries that could impact your credit score.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Jason Hall

President and Certified Credit Expert

Direct- 949.505.9971

Mobile- 808.633.5023

Fax- 866.567.8054


CreditKarma.com Credit Scores and Credit Alerts Misleading

creditkarma-logo-portfolio    myFICO_Icon_NEW_100x100

Credit Karma is one of the top free “credit score and credit monitoring” site online.

But understanding why it’s free will help you understand their information.  CreditKarma.com is an advertising site for credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans, and even credit repair.  The more that you visit the site, the better the odds of you clicking on one of the ads and potentially a “sale” for one of the advertisers.

So with the credit monitoring you are sent alerts to your email about changes to your report that you should be concerned about.  I’d once received an alert that my credit limit was reduced on one of my credit cards.  I logged into the site to see which one then immediately contacted my bank to investigate.  My bank stated that my limit was NOT reduced.  So CreditKarma.com tricked me into going to their website.

Another misleading aspect to CreditKarma.com is their credit scores.  The scores on the site are “Vantage Scores” which are different from credit scores banks use which are “FICO Scores”.  Each score is calculated differently from the same account information on your credit report.  Most of the time your Vantage score is higher than your FICO score.  So what most people do is assume that their Vantage score of 700 is good enough for a mortgage loan and are shocked to find out their FICO score is actually 640.

The only website online to obtain a mortgage FICO score is MyFICO.com .

If you need any credit or mortgage advice please contact me direct.

Jason Hall

President and Certified Credit Expert

Direct- 949.505.9971

Mobile- 808.633.5023

Fax- 866.567.8054

Why Your Credit Repair Failed


One of the main reasons your credit repair will fail, you didn’t settle your collections.

Some credit repair companies mislead the public and telling them to not pay their debts, they’ll get them off the report no problem.

The reason why this fails is because collection companies have a vested interest in keeping the negative account on your report.  This reporting of the collection is the main motivator to get you to settle.  Without the collection on the credit report, there’s nothing to motivate you to settle the item.

So settling a collection has 3 benefits to your credit score.

  1. Most collections report a balance due and a past due balance.  Any account that is posting a past due balance hurts your credit scores more than just reporting a balance.  Getting the collection paid will zero out the past due, which helps your scores.
  2. Almost all collection accounts are “re-aged” monthly.  What this does to your credit scores is to keep them low as the collection is viewed as a new collection, even though the “open date” when it first appeared on your credit report could be years ago.  Paying the collection account stops the re-aging process and it will hurt your scores less over time.
  3. Paid collections are easier to remove from a credit report.  Once the debt is settled, the collection companies aren’t motivated to keep the collection on your report as they’ve been settled.  Disputing the item for a deletion then becomes very effective removing it from the report, permanently.  With a collection removed, your credit scores will increase with less bad credit on the report.

So before you hire any company for credit repair, settle your collection accounts.  With them settled you’ll have more success with raising your credit scores.  Combine collection deletion with lowering your credit card utilization and you’ll see very large credit score increases.

To this day, my all time record for a score increase was 214 points in 30 days.  We achieved this by removing collection accounts and updating paid off credit cards through our “Rapid Rescore” process.

If you’d like more information about raising your credit scores effectively, please contact me.  I’d love to help.

Jason Hall

President and Certified Credit Expert

Direct- 949.505.9971

Mobile- 808.633.5023

Fax- 866.567.8054

Only 1/3 of consumers check their credit regularly online.


Thirty-five percent of consumers have never checked their credit reports, according to a survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. Another 23 percent of people said they check their credit reports about once a year, and 14 percent said they go more than a year without looking at their reports.

Younger and older consumers were more likely to turn a blind eye to the files: 41 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 had never seen their credit reports. Neither had 44 percent of people 65 and up.

Some people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to look at their reports until they’re about to apply for a loan. But by then it might be too late to make a change, says Jeanine Skowronski, credit card analyst at Bankrate.com. It can take weeks or months to clear an error from a credit report, which means people planning to apply for a credit card or other loan in the coming weeks might have to do so while the errors are still on their reports.

“There’s only going to be so much you can do in a short time frame to improve your credit score,” Skowronski says.

People who don’t know what’s on their credit reports may also struggle when applying for a job or an apartment. That’s because their credit scores, which are based on their credit reports, might be used as a measure of their trustworthiness, she says.


If you’d like a full credit report inspection please contact me direct.

Jason Hall

President and Certified Credit Expert

Direct- 949.505.9971

Mobile- 808.633.5023

Fax- 866.567.8054