Credit Repair Warning

Numerous studies show that 1 out of 4 consumer credit reports contain errors that will result in the consumer being declined for credit. While this is a serious fact, what is more serious is what REALLY happens when these consumers actually dispute these errors on their report with the Credit Bureaus. Many “Consumer Protection” and “Consumer Rights” groups try to make consumers feel confident by explaining that any errors on their credit report have to be…”Investigated” by the credit bureaus and… any information which the bureaus are UNABLE to verify within 30 days, must be DELETED from the consumers report. All that is required to make this happen is the consumer must mail a letter (or go online) in order to “initiate” the investigation process. Sounds great… because you’ve probably heard it before. When most Americans hear the word…”INVESTIGATION” in regards to an item on their credit report they’re challenging, they usually picture some variation of the following three step process:

STEP ONE: An employee at the Credit Bureau receives their dispute and personally reviews it. During this review they gather information and documents in regards to the disputed account by contacting the original creditor or collection agency etc. (a.k.a. the Data “Furnisher”).

STEP TWO: The Credit Bureau Employee then reviews copies of original documents like the Credit Application, Billing Statements, Billing and Payment Statements or notes in the account looking for any errors in reporting. If anything is in question they will request proof from the “Data Furnisher.”

STEP THREE: Once a “complete and thorough” investigation has been completed, the Credit Bureau Employee will then update the consumers account according to the results of the investigation.

Now, let’s talk about how it REALLY works. FIRST: A dispute letter is created by either…You, An Attorney or A Credit Repair Company. And it’s then mailed to the Credit Bureaus. It doesn’t really matter who mails the letter because… SECOND: When the letter is received by the Credit Bureau it’s electronically scanned with “Optical Character Recognition” and… matched against a DATABASE of…”Boiler Plate” Dispute Letters commonly used by Credit Repair Companies or found in Software Programs and Credit Repair Books. If your letter “matches” one of these letters in their database your dispute will most likely be…

a.)Flagged as FRIVOLOUS

b.)Marked as SUSPICIOUS, or

c.)Completely IGNORED

If you’ve used a Credit Repair Company or Dispute Letters out of Credit Repair Books you might have firsthand experience with this. THIRD: No matter who writes your dispute letter or how threatening it may sound, if the SCANNED version of it does NOT match that of a “Boiler Plate” Dispute Letter used thousands of times, the scanned version will then be sent electronically overseas for processing in a country like: India, Jamaica, Philippines or Costa Rica. There, an outsource employee who doesn’t even speak English as their native language will look at your scanned dispute and turn it into nothing but a TWO or THREE Digit Code. Yes, you heard that correctly. They will take your dispute (even if it has 10 pages of detailed documentation supporting your claim) and convert it into nothing but a… TWO or THREE Digit Code And, to make your blood boil even more, they do this with a highly automated system the Credit Bureaus created called e-Oscar which (get this) stands for… E-lectronic O-nline S-olution (for) C-omplete (and) A-ccurate R-eporting

The e-OSCAR system takes your dispute and usually uses a pull down “Pick List” to convert the dispute into just 1 of 26 Different Dispute Codes. Even worse, of these 26 Dispute Codes, 85% of disputes will fall under the same 5 codes. For example, according to testimony from congressional hearings, credit bureaus used the following codes in these percentages with the e-Oscar system:

31% of Disputes “NOT MINE”, 21% of Disputes “ACCOUNT STATUS”, 17% of Disputes “INACCURATE INFORMATION”, 9% of Disputes “ACCOUNT AMOUNTS”, 7% of Disputes “ACCOUNT CLOSED”

85% of Disputes fall under same 5 Codes

Once your dispute is converted to one of the “Standardized Dispute Codes” within the e-Oscar system, the code is sent to the Data Furnisher (a.k.a. the Original Creditor or Collection Agency) using a standardized form known as an “Automated Consumer Dispute Verification Form” (or ACDV for short). This request is sent to the Data Furnisher via the e-Oscar System. An ACDV merely consists of a few items of identifying information about the consumer, the Dispute Code and in some cases, additional notes. Any supporting documentation like, Account Applications, Canceled Checks, Billing Statements or Pay Off Letters or Confirmations etc. are NOT included in these electronic communications between Data Furnishers and the e-Oscar System. Your dispute is essentially converted into nothing but a “Dispute Code”. In fact, there is…NO MECHANISM IN PLACE for the Credit Bureaus to send your Supporting Documents and Proof of your claim to the Data Furnishers! So, what happens when a furnisher receives an “Automated Consumer Dispute Verification” (ACDV) from the e-Oscar System? “Do they begin an “in-depth” investigation?” “If the furnisher is a Collection Agency do they contact the Original Creditor for REAL documentation on the account?” Hardly… remember, the data furnisher will never even receive nor see all the documentation in your dispute (even if you sent 60 pages of proof).

In fact, there’s a new piece of technology to even further automate the e-Oscar System for Data Furnishers and it’s called…BATCH INTERFACE. Data Furnishers like large banks and collection agencies can receive thousands of disputes a month. Dealing with all these disputes manually via the e-Oscar System quickly becomes A LOT OF WORK, e-Oscars solution to the problem is to send the Data Furnisher all these disputes in one large file, all at one time. This is what the BATCH INTERFACE function was created for. Now, when the data furnisher receives this large file there are several options for processing the data. One such option is something called…REPLY ALL. REPLY ALL allows the data furnisher to select a response like…”Account Verified”, and apply this response to dozens or even hundreds of records in the file with a single push of a button. But if this doesn’t have you fuming enough, then maybe another feature will. And, that feature is one called…AUTO POPULATE. The “Auto-Populate” function allows the data furnisher to Auto Populate responses of Automated Consumer Dispute Requests before submitting them back to the credit bureau via the e-Oscar System. Of course, we all know the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that all Data Furnishers MUST perform a REASONABLE INVESTIGATION. Then again, maybe it all depends on what one calls a “reasonable” investigation and how reasonable it can be when AUTOMATED. So, if you’re ready to learn the Truth about the fastest way to improve your credit score so you can get…The Cash You NEED for a Business and Buy The Home You Not Only Love But would Love to LIVE IN!

Know About Indian Railways Reservation System

Since the advent of train journeys in 1853 when the first passenger train was started, Indian Railways has always been reinventing and innovating itself. From the days of steam engines to electric express trains, it has come a long way. While the make and comfort that the Indian Railways offer has obviously improved with the boost in technology, the truly revolutionary concept of the Indian Railways has been the introduction of the online railways reservation system. A highly risky venture considering the literacy rate of the country, let alone internet literacy rate, it has been a brave attempt at modernization of a government run public transport system.

While train tickets could always be booked from the large number of railway reservation counters of the Indian Railways, the attempt to offer the service online and to make it a smoother and convenient process for travellers has definitely been a successful one. Owing to the online railways reservation system, train tickets can be booked without the hassle of standing in queues, jostling with people or frantically searching for the right train as per timings and fare variations in different classes of train tickets. All the relevant information, including the number of trains from one destination to the other, available categories of coach classes, availability of train tickets for a particular class and the fare for each class, is just a few clicks away. What makes it even more convenient is the mode of payment. While earlier the online railways reservation process accepted only credit cards as mode of payment during booking of train tickets online, now other payment options like direct transfer and debit card can also be used to pay for train tickets on the online railways reservation system.

Keeping in sync with the traveller’s convenience, train tickets booked through the online railways reservation system are available in the form of e-ticket (email tickets) or i-ticket (paper ticket). While the e-ticket, booked through the online railways reservation facility of the Indian Railways, is instantly delivered to the passenger through e-mail, an i-ticket is sent via regular mail, and takes 2-3 days to be delivered. Besides the convenience of booking train tickets, the online railways reservation system also offers information about other processes of the Indian Railways that are linked with online bookings. All essential information about the online railways reservation system and process is readily available including details of cancellation and concession policies.

Health Insurance Explained In Plain English

Understanding health insurance and the health industry is much easier if you recognize some of the basic terminology and how it applies to you and your health insurance policy. If you have a health insurance plan and aren’t sure how it works or what the terminology means, take a few minutes to read the explanations below. Knowing these terms and what they mean to you can greatly aid you in dealing with your health care providers, insurance company, insurance agent, or during the health benefits shopping process.

Benefit Year
This is the 12-month period in which your benefits are calculated. Most insurance companies use a CALENDAR year, which is January 1 to December 31, but a few will use a 12 month period from when your policy goes into effect. For example, if your insurance goes into effect on June 1, the END of your benefit year is May 31. Make sure that you understand how your benefit year will be calculated.

Deductible
Deductible means the amount of money you must pay out of your pocket for medical expenses EACH YEAR before your health insurance begins paying out. Deductibles are usually reset to 0 at the beginning of each calendar or benefit year. Many insurance companies offer health plans that have benefits that are not subject to having to meet your deductible each year such as doctors office visits, immunizations, wellness or routine exams, etc. An easy way to remember what this term means and how it works is this:

When you have incurred medical expenses, all bills must be sent to the insurance company. When the insurance company looks at your bills, they then look at your policy and see how things are covered. They will then add up what the combined medical expenses have been for the year to date: determine what your deductible is and how much you have already paid towards meeting your deductible for the year, and pay out according to how your insurance policy says it will.

So in a nutshell, the insurance company is “deducting” your financial responsibility for medical expenses each year from the total combined medical expenses before they have any responsibility to pay out…hence the term “deductible”.

Co-Pay
A co-pay is an amount that is paid by the patient to a provider at the time of service. It will either be a flat fee (like $15 or $20) or it can be a percentage of the service provided. The percentages or fee may vary depending on the type of service provided. A co-pay is different than “coinsurance” – see next.

Coinsurance
Coinsurance is the percentage paid by the insurance company after you pay the deductible. Example: Your health insurance pays 70%, you pay 30%. The insurance company pays 70% coinsurance, you pay 30% coinsurance. Most health insurance policies will have a limit on the amount of coinsurance you have to pay out each year this is known as your “Annual Coinsurance Maximum” or “Stop-loss”.

Annual Coinsurance Maximum
After paying your deductible and after paying your coinsurance (classically 20% or 30% of medical expenses) to a certain dollar amount, your health insurance will pay 100% for the remaining costs in the calendar year. Example: After you pay your deductible, your health insurance pays 70% of medical expenses and you pay 30%. Once you reach the coinsurance maximum, you no longer pay 30% of the medical expenses because the insurance pays 100%.

Out of Pocket Maximum or Stop Loss
Stop Loss is the maximum amount of money you will have to pay out of your pocket in the benefit year.

Lifetime Maximum
This is the limit of the money the health insurance will pay out over your lifetime. Most major medical health insurance policies will be a $2 million lifetime maximum, while others will go as high as a $12 million lifetime maximum. In general, it is not recommended to have a policy with less than a $2 million lifetime maximum.

Office Visits
When you visit a doctor in their office they normally bill the health insurance company for an “office visit.” Most health insurance plans pay office visit expenses at the coinsurance (generally 70% or 80%) after the deductible. Some health insurance plans pay office visit expenses at the coinsurance rate but waive the deductible, which means you don’t have to reach the deductible amount before they will cover their portion of the expense. Still other health insurance plans pay office visit expenses in full after a co-pay (usually $25 or $30). It should also be noted that office visits can be classified in two different categories. One category is usually called “Routine Care,” “Wellness visits” or “Preventative care” (see definition below). The other type of office visit is deemed as “Medically Necessary” (see definition below). Certain health insurance policies cover each of these types of visits differently and other plans do not cover them at all. If having these types of office visits covered by your health insurance policy is important to you, make sure you let your agent know so that they can help find the right plan for you.

Preventive Care
Preventive Care is classically defined as routine exams, immunizations, well child care, and cancer screenings. These include your yearly exams and checkups for things such as physicals, pap smears, mammograms, etc. Not all plans cover preventive care. It may not be a wise use of your money to have preventative care included in your plan if you never go to the doctor. A good health insurance agent can help you determine if this is necessary coverage for you.

Medically Necessary
These are the visits utilized for your smaller ailments such as colds, flu, ear infections or minor accidents. Not all plans cover ‘medically necessary’ visits, so make sure you know if your policy includes these exams if you need them covered. You may consider purchasing accident insurance or adding a rider (explained below) to your policy to cover these types of issues.

Diagnostic Lab and X-Ray
These are tests involving laboratory or imaging services (such as x-ray, CAT scan, etc.) to diagnose a health problem. These services are usually paid at the coinsurance (typically 70% or 80%) after the deductible.

Chiropractic Care
When you visit a chiropractor for spinal manipulation or other services, these expenses are customarily paid at the coinsurance rate (70% or 80%) either after the deductible is met, or by waiving the deductible. Most health insurance plans limit the number of chiropractic visits/services to 10 or 12 per year – especially if the deductible is waived. After this, additional visits are not paid by the health insurance plan, and you will be responsible for the full amount of the bill.

Inpatient or Outpatient Care
When you receive care from a hospital (inpatient or outpatient services), these expenses are customarily paid at the coinsurance rate (70% or 80%) after the deductible has been met.

Emergency Room
When you receive care from a hospital emergency room, these expenses are customarily paid at the coinsurance level (70% or 80%) after the deductible. Most health insurance plans also require you to pay an additional co-pay (commonly $75-$100) for each emergency room visit. A number of plans waive this additional co-pay if you are actually admitted to the hospital through the emergency room and the plan will pay as an inpatient service. A plan can sometimes be structured to have separate coverage for accidents as an additional rider (see definition below) to your policy.

Prescription Medications
Prescription medications can be classified as generic, brand name, or non-preferred brand name (see below for definitions). Please Note: Not all health insurance plans pay for prescription drugs, so if you already take prescription drugs or think you will need help in the future with prescription drugs, you will want to make sure that you are purchasing a plan that includes this coverage. Prescription drugs may be covered at the coinsurance rate (70-80%) after a deductible specifically for prescription drugs is met, other plans may include Prescription drugs in the total deductible for the plan.

Generic Medications
Drug manufacturers are permitted to sell a generic version of a medication after the patent expires for the brand name medication (generally 20 years after the brand name medication was registered). Generic medications are equivalent to the corresponding brand name medication, but are much less expensive than the brand name medication. Health insurance plans frequently provide better payment for generic medications as an incentive for you to ask for the generic version. About half of all prescription medications filled in the United States are filled with generic medications.

Brand Name Medications
Brand name medications are more expensive than generic medications. Most health insurance plans create a limited list of brand name medications that they will pay for and many health insurance plans also provide less coverage for brand name medications than for their generic counterparts.

Non-Preferred Brand Name Medications
Most health insurance plans create a limited list of brand name medications they will pay for. If your brand name medication is not on this list, it might be paid at a lower level under “Non-Preferred Brand Name Medications.”

Maternity
Some health insurance plans cover the cost of maternity, which includes doctor and hospital charges for prenatal care as well as labor and delivery. Maternity is expensive to add into a health insurance policy because it is considered a “guaranteed expense” for the insurance company. If a woman becomes pregnant, it is a safe bet that there is going to be medical expenses incurred! If there are no complications and the birth goes well, the insurance company will be out a large monetary portion of the cost of delivery and even more if there are problems with the delivery or the newborn. Insurance companies price maternity so that they can still maintain profits. In some cases it may be best to save your money and pay for the prenatal care and the delivery out of your own pocket (or on a credit card) and let the insurance cover the catastrophic events. The difference you save in the monthly cost of having maternity coverage may be well worth it to you. Remember, once you have a policy that covers maternity, you can’t just remove the maternity coverage after the pregnancy is done! You will continue to pay for that maternity coverage for as long as you have that policy.

Mammography
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for the examination of breasts to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms. Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the American Medical Association (AMA) recommend a screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Various plans will have automatic coverage for mammograms but some will not. Several states (like Washington State, for example) have specific guidelines that require companies to have coverage for mammograms in their policies as an automatic benefit.

Mental Health
Outpatient mental health services include visits to a licensed counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. Inpatient mental health services include admission to a psychiatric hospital. Many plans do not cover mental health services.

Rehabilitation Therapy
Rehabilitation therapy may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, message therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, and chronic pain therapy. Most health insurance plans limit rehabilitation therapy to a certain number of visits per calendar year or to a certain dollar amount that they will pay for rehabilitation for either the year or for a lifetime.

Rider
Anything that changes the way your policy acts by default is called a “Rider”. A rider can be anything from an exclusion of coverage for a medical condition, or additional coverage for potential conditions. (As in an “accident rider” mentioned earlier in this report)

Occupational Coverage/On the job coverage
The largest portion of health insurance plans do not cover occupational related medical expenses. This can be a HUGE pitfall for self employed people. Always make sure that if you need to be covered while you are working that your plan will give you “on the job coverage”. If you get injured or sick while you are on the job and you do not have Workman’s Compensation or Labor and Industries accident coverage, you may have to pay for ALL medical expenses out of your own pocket.

Vision Coverage
Vision coverage is usually broken into two parts: vision exam, and vision hardware. Vision exam benefits include the cost of a refractive exam used to test vision acuity (20/20, 20/40, etc.). Vision hardware represents the cost of eye glasses or contact lenses. A number of health insurance plans do not cover vision exams or hardware. However, medical issues relating to the health of the eye (like Glaucoma) are almost always covered under the regular medical portion of the health insurance plan.

Doctor Directory
Each insurance company will have a list of doctors that the company has negotiated terms for payment of services with. You can go to the insurance company’s website to find a listing of contracted “preferred providers”.

This information may help you understand a policy that you already have, or aid you in understanding a policy that you may be thinking about purchasing. The more knowledge you have about what the industry “jargon” means, the more you will be able to make informed decisions about the insurance you choose to use.

How To Find The Right High Risk Merchant Services Provider

The biggest challenge for businesses classified as high risk merchants is finding stable, reliable, and secure high risk merchant services. High risk merchants need to accept card payments, of course. But, companies also need other high risk merchant services such as electronic checks, international bank transfers, and local payment options in order to maximize sales.

How can high risk merchants discover the right processing company? Here are a few tips of what to look for in high risk merchant services providers:

Fraud Protection. One of the reasons businesses are classified as high risk merchants is that they are frequently targeted by cybercriminals. It is vital that your high risk merchant services provider gives you an arsenal of easy-to-use customizable weapons such as cascading rules, filters, geo-location, velocity checks, and other tools that help you maximize good sales and avoid fraudulent ones.

PCI Certified. Level 1 PCI processing is a vital part of high risk merchant services. PCI keeps high risk merchants safe and compliant with processing regulations.

Processing Vault. High risk merchants with recurring billing models benefit from using military-grade data encryption, tokenization and enhanced security features offered by high risk merchant services providers.

Automated chargeback management. High risk merchants are more vulnerable to chargebacks than are non high risk merchants. Be sure to use high risk merchant services providers that provide automated chargeback management which keeps chargeback ratios low.

Multi-Currency Processing. One of the best ways for high risk merchants to increase sales from international buyers is to offer payments in local currency. Chose high risk merchant services providers that have multi-currency processing as a standard feature.

Robust Reporting. High risk merchants must have data to quickly respond to changing markets. High risk merchant services providers should provide in-depth analytics and customizable reports specific to the needs of your business.

Alternative Payments. High risk merchant services providers often have multiple alternative payment options including international bank transfers, echecks, or mobile payments which increase sales.

Processing Volumes. Rapidly growing companies are often classified as high risk merchants. It is vitally important to chose high risk merchant services provider who can accommodate fast growth.

Single Gateway Multiple Accounts. Many high risk merchants have multiple accounts. Streamline management and reconciliation operations by using high risk merchant services providers which include load balancing.

Virtual terminal. High risk merchants that accept orders by telephone by mail, phone, or fax need a virtual terminal. Make certain a virtual terminal is included as part of high risk merchant services.

Dedicated Descriptor. One way for high risk merchants to keep chargebacks low is through the use of a dedicated descriptor. High risk merchant services should include dedicated descriptors to increase customer retention and help maintain low chargebacks.