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Credit Score 101

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by homeis

Credit Reports and Credit Scores

Your credit history is important to a lot of people: mortgage lenders, banks, utility companies, prospective employers, and more. So it’s especially important that you understand your credit report, credit score, and the companies that compile that information, credit bureaus. This brochure provides answers to some of the most common, and most important, questions about credit.


Your Credit Report

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a record of your credit history that includes information about:

  • Your identity. Your name, address, full or partial Social Security number, date of birth, and possibly employment information.
  • Your existing credit. Information about credit that you have, such as your credit card accounts, mortgages, car loans, and student loans. It may also include the terms of your credit, how much you owe your creditors, and your history of making payments.
  • Your public record. Information about any court judgments against you, any tax liens against your property, or whether you have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Inquiries about you. A list of companies or persons who recently requested a copy of your report.


Why is a credit report important?

Your credit report is important because lenders, insurers, employers, and others may obtain your credit report from credit bureaus to assess how you manage financial responsibilities. For example:

  • Lenders may use your credit report information to decide whether you can get a loan and the terms you get for a loan (for example, the interest rate they will charge you).
  • Insurance companies may use the information to decide whether you can get insurance and to set the rates you will pay.
  • Employers may use your credit report, if you give them permission to do so, to decide whether to hire you.
  • Telephone and utility companies may use information in your credit report to decide whether to provide services to you.
  • Landlords may use the information to determine whether to rent an apartment to you.


Who collects and reports credit information about me?

There are three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—that gather and maintain the information about you that is included in your credit report. The credit bureaus then provide this information in the form of a credit report to companies or persons that request it, such as lenders from whom you are seeking credit.


Where do credit bureaus get their information?

A: Credit bureaus get information from your creditors, such as a bank, credit card issuer, or auto finance company. They also get information about you from public records, such as property or court records. Each credit bureau gets its information from different sources, so the information in one credit bureau’s report may not be the same as the information in another credit bureau’s report.


How can I get a free copy of my credit report?

You can get one free credit report every twelve months from each of the nationwide credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—by

You will need to provide certain information to access your report, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.

You can order one, two, or all three reports at the same time, or you can request these reports at various times throughout the year. The option you choose will depend on the goal of your review. A report generated by one of the three major credit bureaus may not contain all of the information pertaining to your credit history. Therefore, if you want a complete view of your credit record at a particular moment, you should examine your report from each bureau at the same time. However, if you wish to detect any errors and monitor changes in your credit profile over time, you may wish to review a single credit report every four months.


Who else is allowed to see my credit report?

Because credit reports contain sensitive personal information, access to them is limited. Credit bureaus can provide credit reports only to

  • lenders from whom you are seeking credit;
  • lenders that have granted you credit;
  • telephone, cell phone, and utility companies that may provide services to you;
  • your employer or prospective employer, but only if you agree;
  • insurance companies that have issued or may issue an insurance policy for you;
  • government agencies reviewing your financial status for government benefits; and
  • anyone else with a legitimate business need for the information, such as a potential landlord or a bank at which you are opening a checking account.

Credit bureaus also furnish reports if required by court orders or federal grand jury subpoenas. Upon your written request, they will also issue your report to a third party.


Does the credit bureau decide whether to grant me credit?

No, credit bureaus do not make credit decisions. They provide credit reports to lenders who decide whether to grant you credit.


How long does negative information, such as late payments, stay on my credit report?

Generally, negative credit information stays on your credit report for seven years. If you have filed for personal bankruptcy, that fact stays on your report for ten years. Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Information about criminal convictions may stay on your credit report indefinitely.


What can I do if I am denied credit, insurance, or employment because of something in my credit report? What can I do if I receive less favorable credit terms than other consumers because of something in my credit report?

If you are denied credit, insurance, or employment—or some other adverse action is taken against you, such as lowering your credit limit on credit card account—because of information in your credit report, the lender, insurance company, or employer must notify you and provide you with the name, address, and phone number of the credit bureau that provided the credit report used to make the decision. You can get a free credit report from this credit bureau if you request it within sixty days after receiving the notice. This free report is in addition to your annual free report.

In addition, lenders may use a credit report to set the terms of credit they offer you. If a lender offers you terms less favorable (for example, a higher rate) than the terms offered to consumers with better credit histories based on the information in your credit report, the lender may give you a notice with information about the credit bureau that provided the credit report used to make the decision. Again, you can get a free credit report (in addition to your annual free report) from this credit bureau if you request it within sixty days after receiving the notice.

If you receive one of these notices, it’s a good idea to get your free credit report and review the information in it right away. If you think your credit report contains inaccurate or incomplete information, follow the steps in Credit Report Errors below, to try to resolve the issue. For tips on how to improve your chances of being granted credit, or to improve your chances of receiving credit on better terms, read the Federal Reserve’s 5 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score (available online at https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/creditscore/creditscoretips_2.pdf).


I’ve been receiving unsolicited credit offers. Why? Can I opt-out of receiving these offers?

Credit bureaus may sell the names and addresses of consumers who meet specific credit criteria to creditors or insurers, who must then offer them credit or insurance. For example, a creditor could request from a credit bureau the names and addresses of consumers who have a credit score of 680 or higher and then offer credit to those consumers. You can have your name and address removed from these lists by opting-out of the listing. This will reduce the number of unsolicited offers you receive. To opt-out, call 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. You will need to provide certain information in order to opt-out, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. You have the ability to opt-out of receiving offers either for five years or permanently. If you want to opt-out permanently, you will need to fill-out, sign, and mail-in a form. The form is available by either calling the toll-free number or visiting the website. You can reverse your opt-out decision at any time to start receiving offers of credit and insurance again by calling the toll-free phone number or visiting the website.


Your Credit Score

What is a credit score? How is my credit score calculated? A credit score is a number that reflects the information in your credit report. The score summarises your credit history and helps lenders predict how likely it is that you will repay a loan and make payments when they are due. Lenders may use credit scores in deciding whether to grant you credit, what terms you are offered, or the rate you will pay on a loan.

Information used to calculate your credit score can include:

  • the number and type of accounts you have (credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, etc.);
  • whether you pay your bills on time;
  • how much of your available credit you are currently using;
  • whether you have any collection actions against you;
  • the amount of your outstanding debt; and
  • the age of your accounts.


What can cause my credit score to change?

Because your credit score reflects the information in your credit report, changes to your credit report may cause your credit score to change. For instance, if you pay your bills late or incur more debt, your credit score may go down. However, if you pay down an outstanding balance on a credit card or mortgage or correct an error in your credit report, your credit score may go up.


How can I get my credit score?

In some cases, a lender may tell you your credit score for free when you apply for credit. For example, if you apply for a mortgage, you will receive the credit score or scores that were used to determine whether the lender would extend credit to you and on what terms. You may also receive a free credit score or scores from lenders when you apply for other types of credit, such as an automobile loan or a credit card.

You may also purchase your credit score from any of the credit bureaus by calling them or visiting their websites.

Equifax: Call 1-800-685-1111 or visit equifax.com/compare-products

Experian: Call 1-888-397-3742 or visit experian.com/consumer-products/person…

TransUnion: Call 1-800-493-2392 or visit transunion.com/corporate/personal/cre…


How can I improve my credit score?

To find out steps you can take to improve your credit score, read the Federal Reserve’s 5 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score (available online at https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/creditscore/creditscoretips_2.pdf).


Credit Report Errors

How can I correct errors found in my credit report?

If you find errors in your credit report, you may dispute the information and request that the information be deleted or corrected. To do so, you should contact either the credit bureau that provided the report or the company or person that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau.

To contact the credit bureau, call the toll-free number on your credit report or visit their website:

To contact the company or person that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau, look on your credit report, in an account statement, or on the company’s website for contact information for handling such disputes.

When disputing information on your credit report, you should:

  • Provide information about yourself, such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number;
  • Identify specific details about the information that is being disputed and explain the basis of your dispute;
  • Have a copy of your credit report that contains the disputed information available; and
  • Provide supporting documentation, such as a copy of the relevant portion of the consumer report, a police report, a fraud or identity theft affidavit, or account statements.


What happens once I send in information to correct information in my credit report?

If you submit your dispute through a credit bureau or directly to the company or person that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau, your dispute must be investigated, usually within thirty days. If you provide additional information during the thirty-day investigation, that investigation period may be extended an additional fifteen days in some circumstances. When the investigation is completed, either the credit bureau or the company or person that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau must give you the written results of its investigation. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit bureaus so they can correct the information in your credit report. You can get a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This free report is in addition to your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, a credit bureau cannot put the disputed information back in your credit report unless the company or person that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau verifies that the information is, indeed, accurate and complete. You can request that the credit bureau send notices of any correction to anyone who received your report in the past six months. A corrected copy of your report can be sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.


What if an investigation does not resolve my dispute?

If an investigation does not resolve your dispute, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your future credit reports. You also can ask the credit bureau to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past, but you may have to pay a fee for this service

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Indian Accountants

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Our community recommendations for reliable and efficient accountants who understand your needs better.

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Indian Immigration Lawyers

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The List of all your recommended Indian immigration lawyers

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — the federal law enforcement agency in charge of arresting, detaining, and deporting undocumented immigrants or documented immigrants with criminal convictions — is reportedly begiun nationwide raids, potentially impacting thousands of immigrant families.


Dealing with law enforcement can be stressful, so it’s important to know your rights before you’re face-to-face with ICE agents. While there’s never any guarantee that law enforcement officers will follow the law, here’s what they can and can’t legally do to you and what you can legally demand.


Don’t Open the Door:

Like police, ICE can’t enter your home without a warrant signed by a judge. You can ask ICE to slide their document under the door, if they have one, to determine whether or not it's a judicial warrant.


Ask to Speak to a Lawyer:

A good immigration lawyer can help guide clients through the complicated and often confusing system of immigration law, so find one in your area and discuss your status with them, not with law enforcement. If you're at risk, try to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Immigration Lawyer Search lets you specify what kind of immigration law you need help with, i.e., “Deportation - Removal,” and search your local area if you enter a city name or zip code; you can even search by last name if you’re familiar with a lawyer in your area by name but not sure how to find them.


Remain Silent or Tell ICE You Wish to Do So:

You have the right to remain silent in any interaction with an ICE agent, and you can tell them so. What you say can be used against you in immigration court or deportation proceedings, so always be cautious of what you say to ICE or law enforcement and ask to speak to a lawyer before any communication takes place.


Don’t Sign Anything:

Unless you’ve already spoken to a lawyer who advises it you shouldn’t sign any documents ICE asks you to. According to the Miami Herald, signing a document provided by ICE may mean you’re signing your own deportation order.


Don’t Lie or Provide False Documents:

Lying to ICE agents can be dangerous. Providing false documents can be used against you in court proceedings.


Don’t Flee or Resist Arrest:

If you run from ICE, the results can be deadly not just legally dangerous. People who help an immigrant escape ICE can be charged with things like obstruction of justice by the Department of Justice, as was the case with a judge who let an immigrant escape after a court hearing. People who attempt to physically stop an arrest can also be charged with resisting a public officer.


You Don’t Have to Tell Them Where Someone Else Is:

You’re under no obligation to tell ICE where someone they’re looking for is, but you shouldn’t lie. Instead, ask the agents to leave contact information.


You’re Allowed to Ask for an Interpreter:

If an immigrant placed under arrest is not an English-speaker, they can ask for an interpreter during their detention process with ICE.


You Should Make a Plan With Family or Loved Ones:

In the event you are detained, it’s wise to have an action plan in place to handle any immediate concerns like child and pet care, and long-term issues like home maintenance and collecting mail. Attorneys also advise that loved ones have on hand the name and contact information for an attorney so they can make contact in the event of an arrest.


Keep Learning and Building Networks:

No one resource can prepare you for every possible ICE raid. But massive compilations of resources that cover workplace considerations, community preparedness, and more are available online from the information service Informed Immigrant and as collaboration projects between immigration groups.


Stay Safe homeis!

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In an emergency you might need some extra cash fast. Having your emergency fund at the ready would be ideal to cover your conundrum, but what if your emergency fund has been depleted, or you can’t or don’t want to use a credit card or line of credit to get through a crisis? There are other options out there – a cash advance or a payday loan. But beware – these options pose some serious caveats. Both carry high interest rates and both are aimed at those who are in desperate need of money on short notice. So before you commit to one of these options, let’s pause and take a close look at why you might be tempted to use them, and how they compare to other credit products, like credit cards or traditional loans. The Cash Advance If you already have a credit card, you may have noticed the cash advance rate associated with that card. Many credit cards offer a cash advance option – you would go to an ATM and retrieve cash, and the amount would be added to your credit card’s balance. However, there is usually no grace period for cash advances.[i] Interest would begin to accrue immediately. Furthermore, the interest rate on a cash advance may often be higher than the interest rate on credit purchases made with the same card. For example, if you buy a $25 dinner on credit, you may pay 15% interest on that purchase (if you don’t pay it off before the grace period has expired). On the other hand, if you take a cash advance of $25 with the same card, you may pay 25% interest, and that interest will start right away, not after a 21-day grace period. Check your own credit card terms so you’re aware of the actual interest you would be charged in each situation. The Payday Loan Many people who don’t have a credit history (or who have a poor credit rating) may find it difficult to obtain funds on credit, so they may turn to payday lenders. They usually only have to meet a few certain minimum requirements, like being of legal age, showing proof of employment, etc.[ii] Unfortunately, the annualized interest rates on payday loans are notoriously high, commonly reaching hundreds of percentage points.[iii] A single loan at 10% over two weeks may seem minimal. For example, you might take a $300 loan and have to pay back $330 at your next paycheck. Cheap, right? Definitely not! If you annualize that rate, which is helpful to compare rates on different products, you get 250% interest. The same $300 charged to a 20% APR credit card would cost you $2.30 in interest over that same two week period (and that assumes you have no grace period). Why People Use Payday Loans Using a cash advance in place of purchasing on credit can be hard to justify in a world where almost every merchant accepts credit cards. However, if a particular merchant only accepts cash, you may be forced to take out a cash advance. Of course, if you can pay off the advance within a day or two and there is a fee for using a credit card (but not cash), you might actually save a little bit by paying in cash with funds from a cash advance. Taking a payday loan, while extremely expensive, has an obvious reason: the applicant cannot obtain loans in any other way and has an immediate need for funds. The unfortunate reality is that being “credit invisible” can be extremely expensive, and those who are invisible or at risk of becoming invisible should start cautiously building their credit profiles, either with traditional credit cards or a secured card[iv], if your circumstances call for it. (As always, be aware of fees and interest rates charged with the card you choose.) Even more important is to start building an emergency fund. Then, if an emergency does arise, payday loans can be avoided. [i] investopedia.com/ask/answers/111414/h… [ii] speedycash.com/faqs/payday-loans [iii] incharge.org/debt-relief/how-payday-l… [iv] experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-…

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When you are immigrating to the United States, it is natural to want to land on strong financial footing. However, all immigrants face a common barrier: a lack of US credit history. This can impede your ability to get approved for a credit card, apply for a mortgage, or engage in other types of financial transactions. While it’s possible to use cash day-to-day, it is a good idea to begin building a credit history as soon as possible. Building credit can make it easier to apply for a mortgage, get a car loan, rent an apartment, or get a rewards credit card. Even if you aren’t looking to do those things now, you might want to in the future.


Keep Reading:

myrawealth.com/insights/an-immigrants… 

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Who will be the next PM of India?

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Election Results will be out in a few hours. We are counting down. But till then, let’s vote on who we think will be the next Prime Minister of India.
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Taking the decision to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions you can make while living in US. You show your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution by taking this decision and in return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship. Becoming a citizen involves that you must be willing to swear your loyalty to the United States, give up your allegiance to any other country; and support and defend the United States and its Constitution. As a permanent resident, you have most of the rights of U.S. citizens, but still there are many salient reasons to consider while becoming a U.S. citizen, such as:

● voting in elections.

●serving on a federal jury which is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens

● traveling with a U.S. Passport and getting assistance from the US government, if necessary.

● bringing your family members permanently to the United States

● obtaining citizenship for children born overseas.

● eligibility for federal jobs

● becoming an Elected Official

● permanent residency: A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.

● eligibility for federal grants and scholarships

● obtaining various available government benefits

You may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth after you meet certain requirements,.

To become a citizen at birth, you must:

-have been born in the United States; OR

-had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad)

To become a citizen after birth, you must:

-Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through your parents

-Apply for naturalization

Becoming a U.S. Citizen through Naturalization

Citizenship gained through the process of naturalization, which is the primary method of acquiring U.S. citizenship, is in almost all respects the same as citizenship gained through other means such as through birth, or being born of citizens of US. 

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Types of Visas

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The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. There are various types of nonimmigrant visas for temporary visitors to travel to the U.S., if you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. It's important to have information about the type of nonimmigrant visa you will need for travel, and the steps required to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.


B-1/B-2 Tourist/Visitor Visas

Available to individuals who are coming in for medical treatment, domestic employees or nannies (must be accompanying a foreign national employer), athletes, amateur and professional (competing for prize money only) and all visitors coming to the U.S for business or pleasure. B-1 business visitor visas are for a short duration and must not involve local employment. Nationals of certain countries may be eligible to visit the US for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.


C Transiting the United States

Available if you are traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States en route to another country.


E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas

Investors and traders and their employees may receive visas to carry on their businesses in the US if their home country has a commercial treaty with the US conferring visa eligibility.


F-1 and M-1 Student Visas  

Students seeking to pursue a full course of study at a school either as academic and language students in the United States may be eligible for a visa for the course of their study plus, in some cases, a period for practical training in their field of study.


H-1B/H-1C Specialty Occupation (Professionals) Visas

Professional workers for example physicians with at least a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent work experience) may be eligible for a non-immigrant visa if their employers can demonstrate that they are to be paid at least the prevailing wage for the position or employed in specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge. Nurses traveling to areas short of health care professionals are granted H-1C visa.


K-1 Fiancé (e) Visas

A Fiancé (e) of a US citizen is eligible for a non-immigrant visa conditioned on the conclusion of the marriage within 90 days.


J-1/J-2

Available for Exchange visitors or their children (under age 21) or spouse, professors, short term research scholars, teachers who are participating in an approved exchange programs.al


L-1 Intra-company Transfer Visas

Available to executives, managers and specialized knowledge employees transferring to their employer's U.S. affiliate. As an executive and manager, you may be eligible for permanent residency without the need for a labor certification.


O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas

This visa is aside for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and includes entertainers, athletes, scientists, and businesspersons.


P-1 Artists and Athletes Visas

This category covers athletes, artists and entertainers.


R-1 Religious Worker Visas

Religious workers may be eligible for an R-1 visa.


TC and TN NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade Agreement Visas

A special visa category has been set up for nationals of Canada and Mexico under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement.


PERMANENT RESIDENCY VISAS ("GREEN CARDS")

Family Sponsored Immigration Visas

U.S. citizens may petition for spouses, parents, children and siblings. Permanent residents may petition for spouses and children.


Employer-Sponsored Immigrant Visas

EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers and Multinational Executives and Managers

Individuals in this category can petition for permanent residency without having to go through the time consuming labor certification process.


EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business

Available for people who must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process which involves a testing of the job market to demonstrate that the potential visa holder is not taking a job away from a U.S. worker.


EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals

Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process.


EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers

Ministers of religion are eligible for permanent residency.


DV-1 Visas (the "Green Card Lottery")

55,000 visas are annually allotted in a random drawing to individuals from nations underrepresented in the total immigrant pool.


Other Statuses

Refugee and Asylum Applications

Available for persons with a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Temporary Protected Status

Available to individuals from selected countries which the U.S. currently recognizes as unsafe and allowing individuals to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their status, though it doesn’t lead to a visa.


TN Status

Allows certain Mexican and Canadian workers to avoid the visa application process by proceeding directly to a U.S. port of entry and presenting the necessary documents.

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