Spot The Difference: Bankruptcies, Charge Offs and Collections.

In todays blog, we will take a look at the difference between a chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy and collections VS charge offs.

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How To Empower Your Credit

When it comes to balancing your credit report, each mistake can seem like a minor blow to your score. But when the mistakes begin to pile up, payments are missed and debt grows out of hand, what do you do in the aftermath? In todays blog, we will go over 4 steps you can take to start rebuilding your credit.

Step 1- Be Informed

If I were to ask you “what is your credit score?” would you be able to give me an exact number? What if I asked you how much debt was left on your accounts, or how many late payments are listed on the report? The first and most inportant step when you are trying to empower and rebuild your credit is to become well acquainted with your credit score and each item that is listed on your report. When it comes to finding a copy of all three bureau reports, Credit Armor is here to help! With the ability to pull all three bureau reports once a month, you can watch your credit update in real time and track each item individually.

On top of Credit Armor, the FCRA allows everyone one free credit pull from all three bureaus annually. To get your free reports, visit!

Step 2- Start Correcting Your Errors

After you have a copy of all three bureau reports, the next step is to start correcting your errors! The sad truth is that over 70% of Americans have a reporting error on their credit report? These errors can range from an incorrect addresses to manner of payment issues. Any incorrect or false information could be costing you points and financing opportunities. With Credit Armors new program Dispute Armor anyone can dispute errors in their credit report with just a click of a button!

Step 3- Make Your Payments

Open trade lines, credit mix and the amount of debt on your report are just some of the factors that help make up your credit score and each plays an impotant part when making up your report. The most important information that canb help or hinder your credit score is your payment history . Payment history affects over one-third of your FICO Score—35%, in total!

Making payments on time, even if they are the minimum payments and tracking said payments are the best ways to quickly build your score!

Step 4-Tackle Your Debts

The final step we need to take is to tackle your existing debts. I know this sounds easier than it actually is and most of the time it is a slow process, but living debt free is achieveable. The first step is to review your finances and see if you can allot anythung extra for a side savings account. This can be anything, $20 a month can go a long way to paying off that old phone bill or cable bill. With those saving slowly growing, the next step would be to inquire about debt negotiation and set a savings goal. Most of the time, firm that work with debt negotiation will require a percent of the debt up front to use as the negotiation funds. You can negotiate debts on your own through Credit Armor, but hiring a trusted firm save you the hassle and paperwork.

Top 4 Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

Are You Hurting Your Credit?

In the world of credit, the option that seems the most logical sometimes is not the best option. When you think about taking out a loan, the first thing that comes to mind is “how quickly can I pay this back?” If that is your mindset, then you are going to want to take a look at some of the ways you could be hurting your credit score!

1-Closing A Credit Card

Credit cards are a necessity now a days with the ever-rising price of amenities and general necessities. If you happen to have a credit card that doesn’t see use, the obvious option would be to close it out, right? Believe it or not, closing a credit card can hurt your credit more than if you had kept it open for small uses here and there. When a card is closed, any subsequent positive credit and payment history will be stopped. Keeping the card open and only using it for a small payment like a coffee or gas will keep that positive payment history and credit utilization reporting to the bureaus with minimal effort! 

2- Credit Utilization/ Payment History

“As long as I’m paying my credit cards on time, my credit score will rise.” I thought this for the longest time until I took a look at my annual credit report and had seen a substantial drop after making payments on one of my credit cards through out the year. Just because the card was paid on time, I was sitting extremely close to the cards max. Your credit utilization plays a huge part in your final credit score and the lower it is, the better it will reflect on your report. Generally, keeping your credit utilization rate (the amount you owe on the card) below 15% will steadily increase your score along with on time payment.

3- Paying Off A Loan Early

While it can benefit you financially to pay off a loan early (especially if you have a high interest rate) it can also harm your credit score. When you pay off a loan, just like closing a card, new payment history will not be made and your “credit mix” will lower. Your credit mix is a report showing how many distinct types of credit you are able to manage responsibly. A healthy credit mix shows a few open cards in good standing, a home or vehicle loan and low active debt. 

4-Partial Payments

When there is a debt owed, making partial payments does not better your standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. Even if a payment is made on a past debt, the payments will still be listed as “late” and puts the account at risk of delinquency. While this is not a situation that you want to just “take a loss on” if you are struggling to make payments, speak with a credit counselor to determine the best course of action. 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at 

Building Credit Without Credit

When it comes to building credit, you will be bombarded by multiple “how to’s” and tips and tricks to start building and refining your credit. In todays blog, we will go over the easiest and safest ways for a new consumer to start building and refining their credit.

Step One: Getting A Copy Of Your Report

Before you begin building your credit, you are going to want to find a get ways that you can reliably pull a copy of all three bureau reports. Outside of pulling your annual credit report from you can also pull all three-bureau reports easily here at Credit Armor once a month! You are going to want to have access to your credit report when you need it so that you can track your payments and guard yourself against false accounts and identity theft. 

Step Two: Speak With Your Bank

When it comes to acquiring a credit card, your bank is going to be the easiest way to find a lender. Now, if you have no credit established, the only ways you are going to secure any sort of card is with a secured credit card. A secured credit card is provided by your bank and works in a similar way to a debit card. The idea is that you have a set limit on your secured card and that limit is set aside in a separate account. This means that you will always have the funds to pay back your credit card while establishing good credit history.

Step Three: The Buddy System

Now this step is only meant to be done with someone you trust but becoming an authorized user on a positive credit account can help boost your credit. Finding a family member that you trust and has a great payment history to add you onto their account will share subsequent positive history with you. However, this also means that and negative history (such as overdue payments or high balances) can also hinder you and can potentially drop your score. The same also goes for cosigning on a vehicle or home loan. If one member of the party fails to make payments, then the other will face the consequences as well. 

Step Four: Build and Build

As you progress towards a year of building your credit with a positive payment history, you will soon begin receiving offers for new lines of credit. Keep an eye out and research some of the best card options that fit your needs and offer any bonuses you want. The same thing applies to these unsecured cards as it did with your secured card; make sure you are making your payment on time and keep your credit utilization as low as possible. The longer your cards are open with positive credit history report, the more your score will continue to climb! 

What Is A Hard Inquiry?

A common misconception that comes with the thought of hard inquiries is that anytime you have your credit pulled, you will receive a small ding you your credit. While there are several ways to pull your credit report, a hard inquiry only occurs when you inquire for a loan or financing with a lender. This means that as long as you are pulling your credit for information purposes (such as preapproval ratings or personal credit checks) you will not see an inquiry appear on your report. 

   -Soft Inquiries-

While soft inquiries are still inquiries and will show up on your credit report, a soft inquiry holds no weight on your score. Soft inquiries are only available to the consumer who requested them and can not be seen by lenders. If you are worried about soft inquiries mucking up your credit report when your trying to read your information, they will fall off of your report in about a year.

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On A Report?

Hard inquiries are a strange item as they affect your credit shorter than they are on your account for. With hard inquiries, they will hold weight over your credit for about at year, but are listed on your report for two years. This is because hard inquiries are meant to serve as a timeline to show how often you attempt to apply for new lines of credit and how easily you are accepted by lenders. In many cases, hard inquiries also will not show up as multiple inquiries on your report if they are made withing a certain amount of time when shopping for a home or vehicle loan. 

How Much Do Hard Inquiries Hurt My Score?

One common misconception when it comes to hard inquiries are the weight that they hold when they are listed on your credit report. It isn’t a case of “each hard inquiry is worth 5 points and if I have 10 on my report then my score will drop by 50 points”. Hard inquiries do not necessarily have a dedicated weight value and their potency depends upon what current positive credit is listed on your report. Someone with a thoughtful credit utilization rate and a beautiful credit history will not feel the effects of a couple hard inquiries as much as someone who has yet to fully establish their credit portfolio.

The Up’s And Down’s Of Student Loans

More Companies Are Wooing Workers by Paying off Student Debt | Money

With the 2022 semester coming to a close and new graduates venturing out on their new journey, Student loans are an ever-present shadow looming over their credit report. In todays blog, we will go over the in’s and out’s of student loans and how they can affect your report in both positive and negative ways. 

The Positives 

1. Payment History 

When paid correctly, student loans can be an amazing way to build or supplement your credit score. Being a long-term trade line with constant payments, successful minimum payments will provide great positive payment history to your report. Payment history makes up roughly 35% of the FICO grading scale and impacts your final score heavily. The main difference that sets student loans apart from your monthly bills like your car insurance are that they do not report monthly (only when you go into collections or miss a payment) unlike other loans that report positively when you have positive payments.  

This is also fantastic for those fresh out of high school that don’t have a car or home loan to build credit or the ability to open a credit card due to their lack of credit history.. 

2. Building A Credit Mix 

There used to be a myth revolving around having many “diverse” accounts listed on your report would increase your credit score exponentially. The truth is only about 20% of your FICO score is comprised of new credit and different types of credit being utilized. Normally, just having two different revolving accounts and two loans are all you really need to continuously build your credit. This means that your student loan will help you fill out a portion of your credit mix while you continue to make positive payments! 

Student loan cancellation: Here's who could benefit if Biden cancels  $10,000 of debt per borrower - 6abc Philadelphia

The Negatives  

1. Late Payments on Loans 

If you fail to make payments on time and manage your account properly, you can easily tank your credit score with a simple mistake. Just as on time payments can help increase your credit score, late payments on your student loan can also harm them, sometimes up to 100 points. 

These negative remarks can remain listed on your report for up to seven years and are accessible to any lender. If you continue to miss payments to the account and they roll over continuously, your scores will continue to drop more and more with each one missed. With subsequent late payments and defaults, rebuilding your credit score afterwards can become a daunting and almost impossible task. Be vigilant of what is happening with your bills and other finances and be sure to communicate with your lender or institution when you begin falling behind. 

2. Defaulting  

As mentioned above, if your accounts are sent to collections, this can harm your scores exponentially. Often creditors will refuse to lend you any money unless you correct the collections and get back into good graces with the current lender. If you go and apply for a home loan or a vehicle loan and they see collections listed on the report, it can be extremely hard for them to find a lender who can justify lending to a high-risk account. 

This can be extraordinarily troublesome for young students who are attempting to start a life for themselves. If you are trying to open a credit card, no matter what the credit limit, lenders will not be keen on the idea of lending to someone who was unable to pay back money in the past 

Student loan forgiveness won't happen soon. Here's how the Covid-19  forbearance helped borrowers. - Vox

What Resources Are There? 

Having a degree is important by today’s standards and student loans are likely to come with them. Make sure you stay up to date on your payments, continue to establish positive credit and make sure to communicate with your lender if issues arise . 

Be sure to keep an eye on your credit report for any changes or reporting issues. With Credit Armor’s score tracker, monthly 3B credit report and disputing options, monitoring your credit score has never been easier. Feel free to message us with any questions at

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it. 

Article by Joe Peters 

A Decrease In Your Credit Limit

When I was younger, I had applied and was accepted by a lender that provided credit cards specifically meant for medical purposes. I was ecstatic knowing that I could finally take care of myself and begin working on some much-needed dental repair. It was a rough process, and I needed my Father to co-sign with me, but I was well on my way to having a better smile. Now I knew that being an authorised user on an account meant that all my positive and negative credit actions would affect my dad and I was sure to keep my credit below a 20% utilization rate for when the card reported. One day, I woke up to a notification that the card provider had dropped my credit limit from $4000 to $2000 and the current debt on the report was reported. Now I was sitting at about $800 on the account and that decrease in my credit limit went from about a 15% credit utilization rate to about 40%. This dinged both my credit and my father’s score substantially as he had perfect credit history and I had little credit in my name. I was frantic attempting to find out just how I could combat this change in my limit and was furious they had done this after a year of on-time payments and low credit utilization. 

$1,000 Credit Limit Credit Cards for Bad Credit (2022) |

Can They Do That?! 

Though it is unsavory, the short answer is yes. A card issuer can lower the amount of money you can borrow from them at any time just as you can request an increase of your limit at any time. The lender can drop your available credit limit for a multitude of reasons; consumers being at a higher risk to default, account risks and economic hardships can all have an impact on their decision. An example of credit limits decreasing on a massive scale was when Covid 19 first hit. With many borrowers facing financial hard ships, unemployment rising daily and the nature of future economic changes, thousands of Americans had their credit limit decreased by their lenders. Though there are some regulations put in place when it comes to credit limit decreases, the card issuer has the right to lower and raise your credit limit as they see fit as they are the one who is lending the money to begin with. 

Can I fight Against This? 

Currently, there are no laws that prevent the lender from reducing the credit limit of one of their borrowers’ cards or the damage that can occur with a lower limit. As long as the changes do not breach your card holder agreement, a decrease can happen when the lender sees fit. 

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) does require the card issuer to send notice to the consumer whenever they act with a consumer’s card based on your credit report. It is also not likely that the lender will lower your limit lower than the amount you have already borrowed (if you have $800 borrowed, they will not lower the limit to or below $800). If this does happen however, there are Card Act provisions that help protect you from fees that come with going above your limit. 

If you are unsure if the credit decrease is merited, you can always contact the lender and attempt to find out why/ come to an agreement that can benefit you both. Sometimes adding to the interest rate or paying a large sum of the borrowed funds can sway the holder to reinstate your limit to is previous amount. 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at 

Building Credit After Graduation

Building Up Your FICO

When I graduated high school, like many students, I had no idea what a credit score was, how to build my credit or how big of a roll it would play as I progressed in life. Honestly, I thought to myself “If I can’t pay cash for something then and there, I probably don’t need it”. It was not until I rented my first apartment and attempted to finance a vehicle for my new work commute that I realized the importance of credit. 

The first question I asked myself was “What exactly makes up a credit score and what is a FICO?  Your FICO is determined by the categories and ratios listed below on the pie chart. Payment history and debt listed on the report are the two major factors that make up most of your credit score. As long as you keep your credit utilization low and make on time payments, your credit score should slowly start to rise. Your credit history, types of listed accounts and new accounts also hold weight when it comes to your final score, but as long as you keep your payment history and debt in good standings, the other three metrics should follow.

FICO® Score | Credit Score | Florida Credit Union

The Importance Of Credit

When I went to get my first decent vehicle so I could make my hour commute to work, I realized just how important credit was as I was denied repeatedly for financing due to my lack of credit.  Each time my bank or a lender pulled my credit, I felt a knot form in my stomach as I knew what the answer was going to be. If your payment history is bad or you are lacking credit history, the lender will not have substantial information on your borrowing credibility and will not be able to offer a loan. If you happen to have no credit history and don’t have a credit score, it can be almost as bad as having a poor credit score. 

The Typical Way To Build Credit-Credit Cards

When you are attempting to begin your credit building journey, chances are your first thoughts land with a new credit card. When trying to open a credit card with no credit, chances are you will not be able to find a lender due to your lack of credit history. Luckily, your bank is usually open to issuing you a credit card with them. Take in mind that this credit card is not a normal card and is not meant to take you on your next shopping spree. Your bank will offer you a secured credit card for you to make small purchases like filling up your vehicle. For more information on secured credit cards, click HERE. As long as you keep your secured card in check, make on time payments and make sure it doesn’t report with a high balance, you will notice a slow increase in your credit. Now that you have your secured credit card in check, what is another way to build credit while your credit builds? 

Become an authorized user

A wonderful way for parents to help their children build and establish credit is to make their child an authorized user on of their existing credit cards. You will want to review your payment history and length of history on the card prior to adding your kid on the credit card. If you have an older card, with no late payments and a positive credit history, this would be the best one to add your child to. Keep in mind that your child does not have to make purchases with the card for it to affect their credit and that all positive and negative history and payments on the authorized account will impact their score. 

While there are a few other options to build credit as a beginner, these two listed ways are by far the most efficient and the safest way to begin. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at .

Dealing With Debt Collectors

Calls, Texts and Spam Mail

Telltale Signs that Give Away a Spam Caller - Caller ID Reputation®

Have you or a family member been receiving annoying spam calls throughout the day? Has your inbox filled with aggressive collection messages? As a consumer, it is imperative to educate yourself about the process that an actual collection company can attempt to collect a debt as opposed to a scam caller asking you to meet them at the closest supermarket with no real explanation and with a considerable sum of money. It is common that if you are receiving phone calls, they will become more persistent until you do something to make them stop. 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA 

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) was established with the goal of offering set protection parameters for consumers. Though scam artists and debt collectors do not always follow the rules, harassment is an illegal practice and will not be tolerated. As a consumer, you have many avenues as far a legal action you can take should a debt collector harass you. Keep in mind that it is legal for a debt collector to contact you in an attempt to collect a debt, but it is not legal for the debt collector to harass and/or threaten a consumer. There is a major difference between collection calls and harassment, but it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls and follow FDCPA however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for: 

Collectors must 

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication and their intentions stating, “This is an attempt to collect a debt”. 
  • Must verify the name and address of the original collector 
  • State that you as a consumer have the right to dispute the debt 

If you receive a phone call and the collector calling you does not do provide the aforementioned information, do not pay them, or agree to any payment negotiations. You will want to contact an attorney immediately to see what steps can be taken. 

Taking Legal Action 

Debt Collection in California - Lomita Bankruptcy Attorney

The FDCPA has specific rules set in place for the way communication has to be handled by the debt collectors. If a debt collector or collections agency does not abide by those rules and regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward. 

  • Collectors may only contact you between the hours of 9am-8pm in your local time zone 
  • Auto dialing and numerous calls in the aims to annoy or harass the consumer is prohibited 
  • Profane, threatening, or abusive language is not allowed 
  • Calls to family, friends, or your place of employment is not allowed 
  • A Collector cannot threaten to report false information to credit reporting agencies 
  • Communication must stop once the collector has been informed that you are being represented by an attorney. 

Suing the Debt Collector 

What To Do If Harassment Continues 

If you harassment continues, keep logs of everything! Record calls if you can, keep texts and dont throw away any mail that may help an attorney out. Some other things that will help in this process are: 

  1. Collection Letters you received 
  1. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device 
  1. Telephone Bills 
  1. Notes and contact info taken during call 
  1. Take screenshots of your caller ID info 
  1. Review your credit report and keep track of any accounts mentioned. 

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it. 

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