SmartCredit® Action Buttons: A Big Leap Forward for Consumers
Here’s something most Americans probably don’t know. Up until the FICO® score was created in 1989, people couldn’t actually see their credit score much less do anything to change it. Even worse, they were often denied credit because there was no unbiased standard for evaluating them fairly. Which meant creditors could refuse loans based on someone’s character or even their appearance.
Thankfully, the FICO score removed bias from the equation and only focuses on your ability to repay a loan. However, it still doesn’t make it any easier to dispute errors on your credit report. Written disputes and phone calls with long hold times to Credit Reporting Agencies (e.g. Experian, Transunion, Equifax) can be time consuming and frustrating.
Of course, knowledge is the most powerful tool you have to overcome these roadblocks. In addition to the solutions covered in this blog, resources like badcredit.org help you better understand how credit works. This includes useful insights on the history of credit scores.
The Impacts of COVID-19
Not surprisingly, the pandemic has only worsened the challenge of disputing errors. With growing jobless rates and economic insecurity, more people than ever are reporting mistakes on their credit reports. In fact, between September and February of 2021 alone, consumers lodged over 13,000 complaints saying that their disputes were not addressed within 30 days. That compares to just 2,000 similar complaints in 2019, a whopping 550 percent increase All of which compounds the anxiety a lot of people already feel about their credit score.
But You’re More Than Just a Number Right?
Cliches aside, we all know there’s a person behind each credit score, but it doesn’t necessarily feel that way when you apply for a loan.No matter how hard you try to get around it, your fate is decided by the creditor, and your score plays a huge role in their decision. If only you could take action in a fast and efficient way…
Push-Button Power Is the SmartCredit® Way
Most of us associate pushing buttons with immediate or fast results.It’s something you can actually do with your finger, a satisfying experience.SmartCredit® gives you that ability. The Action buttons on SmartCredit.com help you send communication directly to your creditors to:
- Fix errors on your credit
- Request goodwill corrections
- Charge off debts
- And report/remove ID Theft
And contacting your creditors directly is what makes our Action buttons so powerful. This completely bypasses the need to contact or deal with the CRAs (e.g. Experian, Equifax and Transunion), and going straight to your creditor(s) is often a much faster and more effective way to get issues resolved. They’re also required by law to contact all three CRAs, so going directly to the creditor can resolve issues on all three of your credit reports.
That’s because all creditors are bound under the Fair Credit Reporting Act by the same rules as the CRAs. So, just as disputes to CRAs must be resolved in 30 days, the same goes for disputes directly to creditors.2 This approach also helps you avoid the pitfalls of dealing directly with CRAs. For example, CRAs often reject or ignore disputes on technical grounds, but a direct dispute with a creditor prevents that from happening.
Additional Advantages of Our Direct Approach
Processing a Dispute is Faster with Action buttons
Snail mailing disputes to a CRA can be time-consuming, and you must pay for postage. Once they process your information, they then communicate with the creditor which can take up to two weeks.
Key Takeaway: our Action buttons eliminate the middleman (CRA) so you can deal directly with the creditor. This saves you time and hopefully money too, because it’s all done online on your end and no postage is needed.
A Single Dispute to a Creditor Simplifies the Process
The problem with writing to three different CRAs? It can result in three different interpretations of your disputes, which means conflicting information is sent to the creditor. Not to mention that each CRA processes disputes at different times, so the creditor may get requests at different times.
Key Takeaway: our Action buttons help you send a single dispute to each creditor, so you avoid the confusion and inaccuracy.
Anytime a CRA makes a change, there’s always the risk the creditor will undo that change in their next report to that CRA. EXAMPLE: you’re confident your payment a few months ago wasn’t late, but the creditor still reports that it is. You mail the CRA a dispute letter proving you made the payment on time. The CRA then removes the late payment, but here’s the catch: the creditor never fixes their records, so the late payment reappears in their next monthly report to the CRA.
Key Takeaway: who needs to get stuck in this non-virtuous cycle? Communicating directly to the creditor with Actions buttons fixes the problem directly at the source.
Always Stay Informed
Like anything that impacts your life in a big way, it’s best to keep a close eye on your credit score and financial activities. SmartCredit® not only can help you add points to your credit score fast, but also provides a clear picture of your most important information.
Our ScoreTracker shows your:
- Credit Score: based on your latest TransUnion credit report.
- Auto Score: over 90% of all Auto lenders require this when considering you for a loan.
- Insurance Score: may be used when you apply for any type of insurance.
- Hiring Risk Index: increasingly used by employers as part of their hiring/screening process.
Plus, our Money Manager gives you full visibility of your financial and investment accounts in one convenient place:
Stay informed with sites that bring together the web’s top finance experts, who inform and educate users to make better credit decisions and create a brighter financial future.
It’s Only Getting Better
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the FICO score was created, but people also need tools that put them in charge. After all, your credit score can actually change your life, for better or worse. With SmartCredit® you can take command of your credit and finances with the push of a button. We even offer a personalized plan in our ScoreMaster® feature to help meet your future goals. It’s a big leap forward for consumers, and we’re just getting started!
1 ConsumerReports.org, 2021
2 FTC.org, 2021