They Are So Greedy!

I cannot believe the greed of credit card companies nowadays! Look at this:

Visa credit card company revenue 2023 is $32.7 Billion!

That is up 11% from last year’s $29.31 Billion, which was up 21% from the previous year. When will they be rich enough?

It’s not their richness that riles me up. It’s how they are charging people 35.99% when they can get away with it — when the consumer is struggling and doesn’t have wonderful credit.

On the other end of the range, if you have great credit, then they “only” charge 8.75%, which is still too much, in my book. I mean, there’s no way I am paying that!

It’s not just Visa, either. The rest of them are just as greedy!

American Express revenue as of 9/2023: $65 Billion

MasterCard $24.36 Billion

I would go on, but I think you’re already sick enough!!!


Don’t let them gouge you like this! You work hard for your money, and it should be yours.

And in case you’re wondering about usury laws, the laws that make it illegal to charge an unfair and insane amount of interest, usury laws do not apply to credit cards!!!

How can you stop this greedy madness? It’s simple.

Never charge more than what you can pay off when the bill comes. That way, you pay $0 in interest! Ha!

Use the card as a convenience without carrying a balance, without paying a single cent in interest.

Then let them charge 100 percent interest if they want, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T TOUCH YOU — as long as you pay the bill in full each month.

This holiday season, find ways to celebrate that does not include going into debt. Don’t make the greedy creditors more filthy rich than they already are! Are you on board? Post in the comments your thoughts.

Credit Repair: Are free dispute letters working?

I feel compelled to speak out on the topic of free letters for credit repair that are available on the Internet, because what’s happening to some people is tragic.

Recently — and many time in the past — someone sends me an email something like this:

Dear Carolyn,
Before reading Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, I sent <this letter> to the credit bureaus. They rejected it. What should I do now?

The letter they sent was one of those free downloadable letters. Because of what the letter said and the information in the letter, these people had done irreparable damage to their ability to get the derogatory account deleted early.

“Free” can be extremely expensive! A bad dispute letter might cement a negative account to your report like concrete. In some cases, they will need to wait for the derogatory item to age off their report. In other cases, they can try again after waiting 3 to 6 months.

If you want results like the top, experienced pros, then you must follow the strategies the pros use. One thing they don’t do is list all of their negative accounts in one letter. Another mistake is telling the credit bureaus that the balance on a paid off collection is wrong. A third mistake is sending out a dispute letter before you have cleaned up your personal identifying information. I could go on… but let’s look at this…

Here is a comment posted on one of my blog posts last week by a book reader named Darcy:

“Carolyn Warren is the best! I went from a 550 to 805 with all 3 bureaus within 6 months based on her simple but effective letter pack. Life changing. I now have over $150,000 in personal credit and I’m using that to leverage business credit. Worth every penny. FYI the book are a good read as well.”

Thank you, Darcy, for sharing your success with us!

If your credit is at a low point, grab onto hope! Darcy’s scores were at 550 and now they are top tier! With a score over 800, she has respect in all business arenas.

You can’t change the past, but you have control over your future. As we go through the holiday season, don’t throw your common sense out the window and over-spend.

The sacrifices you make today will pay off when you achieve good credit.

If you want the letter packet Darcy used, pick up a copy of Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon. The link for the letters is here.

Paperback and Kindle

Loan Modification: Good or Bad Idea?

This is important for all homeowners to know. And yet, most do not. You’ll want to pass this on to other homeowners.

Most people think a mortgage loan modification is a good idea. Many people who don’t get one are envious of those who do. Many who don’t need one feel angry at the idea that even though they pay perfectly on time for years on end, they don’t “get a break” like those who get a loan mod. BUT WAIT! There’s a lot of misunderstanding tangled up with those emotions.

First, a loan mod is not the great blessing to the homeowner that many think. It’s actually doing the lender a favor first.

A loan modification (mod) is when a homeowner cannot pay the mortgage due to a temporary hardship, so the lender modifies the contract to allow them to pay less for a specified period of time and at the same time, the unpaid portion of their regular payment gets tacked onto the end of the loan term. (Or it might be a “shark agreement.” See Beware below.)

Here is how that helps the lender:

  1. They don’t have to go through the expensive process of foreclosure and resell.
  2. They make more money in the long run, because the unpaid portion of the payment that is tacked onto the end of the loan earns them additional interest profit.
  3. It’s good publicity, because it makes them look like good guys rather than bad guys.

Here is how it helps the homeowner:

  1. Instead of losing their home to foreclosure, they get time to get their finances back on track.
  2. They aren’t forced to sell their home, which is stressful and time-consuming; plus, finding a place to rent can be difficult.

Good or Bad Idea?

A loan mod is a temporary band-aid. If paying the extra interest that it will cost you is worth the benefit of receiving a temporary financial break, then it’s a good thing. Possibly even a godsend. If your financial hardship is temporary, and you will be able to resume the payments — as set forth in the loan mod agreement — then it’s a good thing.

However, if the loan mod is prolonging the inevitable loss of your home, then better to sell sooner so that you don’t lose more of the proceeds from the sale (the cash) to the lender.

If you don’t truly need a loan mod, then applying for one is a stupid/misguided idea. The bank is not doing you an act of charity out of a loving heart with the loan mod. They are making a financial move that helps their own bottom line in the long run.


Some loan mod agreements are better than others. Read every word. Get a contract expert to help you read it. Notice if the contract requires you to pay all of the unpaid portion as a giant lump sum payment as soon as the loan mod ends. If so, will you be able to do that? Some loan mod agreements don’t let you extend the payments beyond 30 years; instead, they increase your payment immediately when the mod period ends. Will you be able to handle that payment?

Know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you sign, then you will be able to make an intelligent, informed decision.

The Risk of Sending a Goodwill Letter

Before you send a letter to a creditor asking for a late payment to be deleted for no reason other than “goodwill,” read this.

Before social media was a big part of life, before the pandemic, before the recession, waaay back when more people were truth-tellers and fewer people carried an attitude of entitlement, goodwill letters did work.

A goodwill letter is when you write to a creditor and explain that the reason you were late on a payment was due to some rare and specific hardship, and that you are so sorry and never meant to be late, and that you adore being a customer and would like to continue shopping at their fine establishment, so would they please forgive the late payment and remove it from your credit file? You would be so grateful and the love relationship would then continue. But that doesn’t work anymore.

First off, why would they believe you? Did you include any documentation to prove your story? Maybe a hospital bill and a letter from your employer to show you were laid up and out of work? If not, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Secondly, the giant national creditors like Capital One, Chase, and Visa are too big to care. You signed an agreement to pay on time, regardless of circumstances — unless you took out a special insurance as protection. Your goodwill letter is one of thousands, and they’re giving every one of them a rubber stamp NO.

Only the rare smaller establishment might consider a goodwill gesture like deleting a late payment from a customer’s history. And for that, you need to locate the right executive to write to, address them politely by name, explain the situation succinctly yet compellingly, and include documentation that verifies your story.


When you send a goodwill request, you are asking for a favor. This means you are verifying that you were indeed late on your payment on that date. If they deny your request, you have nowhere else to go. Your challenge is over, and now you wait out the time for the late payment to age off your report.


The strategy is in the details. If the late payment was posted on the wrong date or the date of the late pay shows on a different month for Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, that is an opportunity to request an investigation and possible deletion.

However, if the isolated late payment is old, don’t be overly concerned. The older it gets, the less it impacts your credit score. Once it is past the 12-month mark, mortgage lenders usually won’t ask about it. If you’ve the account for more than three years, leave it open. Don’t shut it down and don’t delete the entire account. It’s doing you more good than harm.

Analyze why you were late and then create a solution so it won’t happen again. Onward and upward — you’re going to be just fine.

Only 5% down for duplex, triplex, 4-flex

Good news for people who want to invest in real estate or create more wealth through equity!

Fannie Mae announced that beginning November 18, 2023, they will reduce the down payment requirement from 15% to only 5% for an owner-occupied duplex, triplex, or 4-plex property.

How It Works

You put down 5% and Fannie Mae carries the rest of the loan. You must live in one of the units for a minimum of one year. After that, you may turn it into 100% rental, if you like. Your income must qualify, but rental income for the additional unit(s) does count. A rental appraisal or current rent-lease determines the income used; but be aware that only 75% of the rent is used for qualifying purposes.

As with all rental properties, 25% of the rent is considered “maintenance money” and isn’t used by underwriting for income. For example, if the rent you receive is $2,000/month, then your rental income will be $1,500 for qualification.

Your credit must qualify, also; and that can vary from lender to lender — which is why I highly favor going to a mortgage broker rather than a bank. A mortgage broker can shop wholesale lenders to get you the most lenient lender, if needed; or the strictest lender with the lowest rate, if your credit is stellar.

Where to Get It

All mortgage brokers and any bank or lender that uses Fannie Mae money for loans. Many credit unions don’t use Fannie Mae money, so they would be last on my list. I favor going to a local mortgage broker, as mentioned above.

This loan program will be available in all 50 states, come Monday, November 20th.

Why This is Important

The ability to buy a duplex, triplex or 4-flex and use your renter’s income to pay for your own unit is a fantastic opportunity.

“One of the surest ways to build wealth over time is to offset a liability with an income-producing asset,” says Donielle Geiser, Thrive Mortgage Chief Operations Manager. And I agree!

Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle

Dispute Letters: Four Mistakes to Avoid

You don’t want to send a letter to the credit bureaus that shoots yourself in the foot, that cements a bad account to your report like Gorilla Glue.

There’s a lot of BAD information on YouTube about credit repair.

And there’s a lot of BAD free letters on the Internet that will sabotage your efforts.

Three Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Your Dispute Letters to Credit Bureaus:

  1. Giving more than one reason for requesting a deletion. One letter = one reason. That’s what the best credit repair pros do. If you put all your reasons into one letter, then if they send you back a form letter denial, you’ve got nothing new to send for round two.
  2. Telling them specifically what is wrong. Listen, it’s not your job to fix things for the credit bureaus. If you tell them the balance is incorrect, then they will update the balance and your score will go down. If you tell them the date for the late payment is wrong, they will fix the date and your score will go down. Don’t do that! Instead, make this truthful statement: “This account is showing factually incorrect. Delete account.”
  3. Enclosing a copy of your letter to the creditor (Visa, Santander, Macy’s). There is no reason the credit bureau should see the contents of your letter to the creditor. If you are stating that you did not receive a reply from the creditor, simply state that with the date you sent it.
  4. Sending any dispute letter before you have cleaned up your personal identifiers: Name misspellings, nicknames, address errors, social security number or date of birth errors. Look at the list in Chapter 24 to see what to do first, second, third, etc. Don’t read the first couple chapters and then jump the gun by firing off dispute letters before you have the whole picture of what professional credit repair looks like.

If you want professional results, conduct your credit repair like the pros, not like youtubers and so-called advice from people who don’t have a portfolio of experience.
See Repair Your Credit Like the Pros here.

If You Already Sent a Bad Letter

If you made a mistake with a letter already, then my advice is to give it a rest for at least three months and work on the other aspects of your credit. Your future starts today. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up a copy of Credit Repair MINDSET. It can change your life!

Credit Bureau Rejection: What it means and how to reply

Did you receive a form letter from one of the credit bureaus that says this?:

If so, here’s why...

They believe that the dispute letter was not sent by you, personally; therefore, they are rejecting your request.

Here’s what to do next…

First, make sure you are not sending disputes on someone else’s behalf. Don’t “help” a friend or family member by sending letters for them. DIY credit repair must be done by the individual. (They may choose to hire a professional service, but that is another topic.)

It is illegal to order a credit report on someone else without a permissible purpose, such as a lender, landlord, insurance agent, or employer checking for credit-worthiness — and even then they must have your written permission to do so.

Therefore, if you can’t order your friend’s credit report, it follows that you can’t dispute your friends’ credit report. That is what’s behind that rejection letter.

But what if you got that letter and it was really YOU disputing for yourself? That can be annoying and maddening. Here’s what you can do next:

  1. Send a letter with your handwritten signature that matches the signature on your ID. Include a copy of your ID. If you can send several different IDs, that is even better and more persuasive.
  2. At the top of your letter, handwrite “Sent by me personally!”
  3. Change the header “Dear” to something unconventional and non-business-y, such as “Hello” or “To the esteemed representatives at Experian”. LOL
  4. Change the sign-off from “Sincerely” to something non-business-y, such as “Have a tremendous day,” “Peace,” “Namaste,” or even “Thank you in advance for your prompt personal attention.”

    That should assuage the credit bureau’s suspicions about the sincerity of the letter. Good luck, and do what the pros do: they continue on, never giving up.

Finding “Hidden” Errors in Your Credit Report

You have the right to have a credit report that is factually correct, current, and verifiable.

Anything account that is not 100 percent true and correct is subject to investigation and possible deletion.

When you read your credit report and see a derogatory account, look to see if all the details are correct, because oftentimes, there is an error that you might not notice if you don’t look closely. For example…

Are all the dates correct? Before you say yes, compare the dates of the late payments across all three credit reports. Oftentimes, Experian will show Jan – May on time with June 30 days late. While Equifax shows Jan – June on time with July 30 days late. (For example)

One bureaus shows June late and the other shows June on time. Both cannot be true! This is a factual error. You have the right to request a deletion based on false information posted. (It is your choice to request a correction to the dates or to request a deletion based on erroneous info posting.)

Another common error is that the account number doesn’t match from one credit bureau to another.

Another possible error is a partial account number showing. If you cannot see the entire account number, how can you verify that the account is truly yours? “This doesn’t match my records. Delete.”

Don’t overlook your name spelling. If you have a credit card or loan with a nickname, call the credit card company or lender and get that changed to your correct legal name. If you still have a nickname on your credit report, send in 3-5 pieces of ID that show your true legal name and get that nickname removed.

Any false information, especially including an incorrect name or address, on your credit report can be the result of a merged credit file where someone else’s information is merged onto your report. Obviously, you don’t want that!

Thank you to all my readers who have made Repair Your Credit Like the Pros a bestseller. I truly appreciate you and your recommendations to other good people who might benefit from the information.

Turning $9K into $300K Real Estate Wealth

How would you like to turn $9,000 into $300,000 in ten years? Wouldn’t that be fantastic!

Not many people can save almost a third of a million dollars in cash in ten years, but people with ordinary incomes who can come up with a three percent down payment are acquiring significant wealth in real estate. AND…

people who can’t save 3% but who qualify for a down payment assistance program do the same!

One of the best ways to set yourself up financially is to become a homeowner. Historically, real estate doubles in value approximately every ten years. Let’s look at a scenario:

You put $9,000 down on a $300,000 house or condo. That $9K could be your own money, gift from family, or from down payment assistance, or a combination.

In ten years, your home is worth $600,000, assuming it doubles in value. You have now gained $300,000 in real estate wealth. This is not liquid cash you can spend, but it represents security.

If needed, you could sell the house and make a large profit, even after paying closing costs.

Or, you could sell and move up to a better house.

Or, you could keep the house until you owned it free-and-clear.

Eventually, you could pass it on to your children through your will. This is called generational wealth. It gives the next generation a big leg up financially. There are some groups in America who have not had the advantage of generational wealth. Now is the time to change that; and for your own family, it can start (or continue) with you.

Let’s go back to our example:

$300,000 gained over time
+ $9,000 original down payment
+ 18,000 paid down on the mortgage (estimated)
= $327,000 wealth accrued in real estate (estimated)

Let’s say you decide to spend $9,000 to buy a car instead of a house or condo. Ten years later, what do you have?

A car that’s worth less than what you paid for it.

Let’s say you decide to spend $9,000 on a cruise, a new wardrobe, and some souvenirs. Ten years later, what wealth have you gained?


It takes vision, patience, and self-discipline to save money for a down payment. For some people it takes applying for down payment assistance (if their income qualifies).

I could write a book on this topic and include sources for down payment assistance in all 50 states… oh, wait! I did.

If you want all the insider information on how to qualify for a home loan, and
the intel to get the lowest interest rate like the loan officers do, and
avoid the needless, stupid junk fees,
and learn how to avoid the pitfalls,
and what loan programs there are for people without top tier credit,

then head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Get the Mortgage You Want Like the Pros now before the price increases.

I’m a huge fan of homeownership. My first house was a smelly dump, but I fixed it up and sold it for a $25,000 profit three years later.

I hope this inspires someone to become a homeowner. Please feel free to ask a question in Comments.

Most Common Error on Credit Reports (You also?!) + Lexington Law Fined Billion$

When you receive your credit report, check first for the most common errors:

  1. Incorrect name spelling or a wrong name or a nickname instead of your legal name
    It is important that your name is correct on your credit report. If you are Robert, you shouldn’t have Bob on your report. If you are Ladonna, you shouldn’t have La Donna on your report or L’Donna.

    You might not think having an alternate is a big deal, but it is a BIG DEAL when someone else’s $5,000 collection appears on your report and a lawsuit is filed against you.

    Get your name fixed on ALL your legal documents, including your credit report.
  2. Incorrect addresses
    As a mortgage broker, I saw a lot of credit reports. It’s surprising how many include an address that is false, and when that happened, the person had to write a Letter of Explanation for the underwriter about the address, because when getting a home loan, the lender must know if you own a rental property.

    Your parents’ address (your childhood home) should not be on your credit report. Nor should a storage unit or a place of employment be there. And if there’s an old address where you never took out credit or had ancient bad credit that is closed, get that off, too, because you have a right to an updated report.
  3. Wrong Social Security Number
    Check it because a wrong number could result in a disastrous case of mistaken identity.

When sending in a letter to correct your personal identifiers, make absolutely certain your supporting document is EXACTLY the same as what your name/address should be. Don’t get sloppy and send in a piece of ID that has your name different.

See here for more information about sending supporting documentation.

LEXINGTON LAW and Fined Billions of Dollars — WOW!!!

Lexington Law and were sued by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). They reached a settlement agreement outside of court for $2.7 Billion, and now it’s up to a judge to approve the agreement. In addition, they cannot telemarket for business for 10 years.

How are they going to pay that? I don’t know, because Lexington Law has now filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Will they continue business or be permanently shut down? I’ll be watching to find out. If you’d like to read more about this, see here.

If you’re too busy or overwhelmed to do your own credit repair, hiring an ethical and honest credit repair company is a valid option. But you can also save your money and do your own credit repair if you like.

Available in Paperback and Kindle