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Making Sense of the Bitcoin Boom: Should You Invest?

October 17th, 2017 · Investing

Making Sense of the Bitcoin Boom: Should You Invest?Whatever your level of interest in cryptocurrency as an investment, it is hard to ignore this year’s growth of cryptocurrency in general and Bitcoin in particular. As we reported in September, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrency reached $158.5 billion in August, an increase of 795 percent for the year. Then, in October, Bitcoin hit a record high of $5,866 per coin. The question is, should you jump on the bitcoin bandwagon and use it to diversify your investment portfolio? Of course, there is no universal answer to that. Our best advice is get the facts so you can decide what’s right for you.

What’s so special about Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. There are hundreds of these digital currencies — known as cryptocurrency — but bitcoin was the first, created in 2009 by an inventor who goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin is also the most valuable cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase shows that, on January 3, 2013, Bitcoin was valued at $13.37. By December of that same year, it had risen to more than $1,000 per coin. It fell back into the hundreds of dollars for a few years, then broke $1,000 at the beginning of 2017. It’s been rising by leaps and bounds ever since, exploding to more than $5,000 per coin this month.

Why did the price of Bitcoin explode this month?

As reported by Business Insider, Bitcoin hit a record high of $5,866 per coin on Friday, October 13, 2017. Compare that to its value of $2,900 on September 15, 2017 — just one month prior — and it begs the question: What happened to double the price so fast?

Business Insider does a good job of breaking down the timeline in a series of articles cited below.

As Jonathan Garber reports, here’s what happened in September:

News of a crackdown on trading in China and regulatory uncertainty around initial coin offerings, a cryptocurrency-based fundraising method, pushed the cryptocurrency to a low of $2,900 a coin on September 15.”

But then, in October, three notable things happened to send Bitcoin soaring:

1) The Wall Street Journal published an article stating that Goldman Sachs is considering setting up a cryptocurrency trading operation, of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. “If Goldman follows through,” writes Business Insider’s Frank Chaparro, “it will be the first blue-chip financial services firm to break into the cryptocurrency market.”

2) Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman called Bitcoin “certainly more than just a fad.” At a Wall Street Journal conference, Gorman said, “It’s obviously highly speculative, but it’s not something that’s inherently bad. It’s a natural consequence of the whole blockchain technology.”

3) Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange, announced that users will now have immediate access to Bitcoin, and the other cryptocurrencies it trades in. As explained in the Coinbase blog, “Previously, customers who purchased using a bank account had to wait several days before receiving their digital currency. Customers can now buy up to $25,000 [though individual limits vary] and receive access to their digital currency immediately.”

Does all of this mean it’s a good time to invest?

Not necessarily. Yes, Bitcoin’s phenomenal growth is exciting, but it could also point to a big fall. Consider the less-than-glowing remarks that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon made about bitcoin at a Barclay’s conference in September.

As reported by Business Insider’s Akin Oyedele Dimon “says bitcoin is worse than the most famous asset bubble in history. The cryptocurrency is ‘worse than tulip bulbs….’ That’s a reference to the arrival and boom of the tulip plant in 17th-century Europe. Its market boomed as people speculated on its price, and it all ended in panic selling. He added that ‘it’s a fraud’ that would eventually blow up.”

Plus, although Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) are not stocks, you still want to follow conventional stock advice — buy low and sell high. So, by that standard, no. With bitcoin at record highs, it wouldn’t seem an ideal time to invest. That said, as of this writing, the price of Bitcoin falling off again, so it could be a great time to get in.

The truth is, we don’t know what Bitcoin is going to do (and how future regulations are going to affect it and other cyrptocurrencies). It’s a risky business that needs to be treated as such. Depending on what you know and how you manage it, investing in Bitcoin now could pay off big or lose you a bundle.

What’s the best way to invest in Bitcoin?

Take the time to understand cryptocurrency

The more you know about what you’re investing in, the smarter choices you can make. Granted, no amount of knowledge can guarantee success, but you can at least tip the scales in your favor.

First, if cryptocurrency is new to you, take the time to familiarize yourself with the basics, including:

How cryptocurrency works. You can buy and sell bitcoin through cryptocurrency exchanges. Though each exchange has its own rules, there is no single governing body that is regulating this market.

How cryptocurrency is mined. It’s hard to explain, so we’ll leave it to the The Economist:

“Every ten minutes or so mining computers collect a few hundred pending bitcoin transactions (a ‘block’) and turn them into a mathematical puzzle. The first miner to find the solution announces it to others on the network. The other miners then check whether the sender of the funds has the right to spend the money, and whether the solution to the puzzle is correct. If enough of them grant their approval, the block is cryptographically added to the ledger and the miners move on to the next set of transactions (hence the term ‘blockchain’).”

Where to trade it. Just as there are numerous cryptocurrencies, there are numerous exchanges where you can buy and sell it. Though Coinbase is the most popular, other reputable exchanges include Bitstamp, Gemini, and Kraken.

When to buy and sell it. Again, you want to buy low and sell high.

Buy and sell limits. Coinbase, for example, has weekly buy and sell limits, including limits specific to credit and debit cards.

Which cryptocurrency to invest in. Bitcoin may be the most valuable and high profile, but Litecoin and Ethereum should not be overlooked. See Investopedia for more info on these altcoins, as they’re called, as well as other alternatives to Bitcoin (Zcash, Dash, Ripple, and Monero).

Where to spend cryptocurrency. Though bitcoin is a long way off from universal acceptance, there are several places where it can be used, including Overstock, Expedia, Shopify, DISH Network, Microsoft, Intuit, and Paypal.

How cryptocurrency is taxed. Though it’s called cryptocurrency, the IRS treats it as property, meaning you will be responsible for capital gains taxes. There are also circumstances in which you may be responsible for federal income taxes as well (e.g., if wages are paid to you in bitcoin).

You can read more about each of these areas in our article, Bitcoin and Beyond: The Basics of Cryptocurrency.

Beyond that, the Bitcoin website is a great resource for additional information, including a getting started section, vocabulary of terms, and FAQs.

Finally, for more in-depth research, check out the SEC’s Investor Bulletin: Initial Coin Offerings, including sections on key points to consider when deciding whether to participate in an ICO and warning signs of investment fraud.

Use a trusted exchange

Coinbase is the most widely used cryptocurrency exchange, with more than 11 million users and a total market cap of over $50 billion. Based in San Francisco, Coinbase was founded in 2012, and its mission speaks to the appeal and future of cryptocurrency:

“An open financial system is one that is not controlled by any one country or company (just like the internet did for distributing information). We think this is the highest leverage way to bring about more economic freedom, innovation, efficiency, and equality of opportunity in the world. We have a ten year plan to get there.

  • Imagine if every payment in the world was as fast, cheap, and global as sending an email.
  • Imagine if anyone who had an idea for a product could have customers all over the world from day one.
  • Imagine if anyone with a smartphone had access to the the same financial services we enjoy in the developed world.

“An open financial system can be a great equalizer and lift billions out of poverty while accelerating the pace of innovation around the world. This is the best way we know to change the world.”

Coinbase features

  • Trades in Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum
  • Works on Android, iPhone, and web browser
  • Weekly limits for buying and selling
  • You can connect your bank account, debit card, or credit card
  • You receive digital currency immediately
  • You can schedule weekly or monthly buys
  • 98 percent of digital assets are stored offline
  • Insurance policy covers losses from a breach of Coinbase physical security, cyber security, and employee theft (not losses resulting from compromise of your individual account)

Other reputable exchanges include Bitstamp, which also trades in Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, as well as Gemini and Kraken which only trade in Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Only invest money that you can afford to lose

“It’s very volatile which makes it fun,” says Credit Info Center owner Jared Ericksen, who trades on Coinbase. “But I would not recommend investing money that you need in the immediate future. Only invest money that you can afford to lose.”

Fortunately, you can buy a fraction of a bitcoin. On Coinbase, for example, you can purchase and sell as little as $1 worth of bitcoin (or ethereum).

Buy and hold

“Buy and hold until you absolutely need to withdraw the money,” says Ericksen. “I have played around with trying to guess the valleys and peaks. I have also just bought and held and the latter has performed much better.”

Prioritize other financial considerations first

Traditional investments

Though cryptocurrency could be a good way to diversify your portfolio, it should only be a supplement to traditional investments. Get the facts about 401(k)s, IRAs, mutual funds, money market accounts, CDs, stocks, and bonds.

Savings and debt management goals

Before you risk your money on Bitcoin, make sure you’ve covered all your other bases first:

  • Do you have an emergency fund of at least $1,000 for unexpected expenses?
  • Have you saved up 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in case you lose your job?
  • Have you paid off outstanding credit card debt?
  • Are you saving for a down payment on a house or car?
  • Are you saving for college?
  • Are you saving for a wedding?
  • Are you saving for a trip?

Bottom line, as lucrative as Bitcoin investing could be, never underestimate the certainty of improving your financial situation through the act of saving and paying down debt.

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Holiday-Ready Finances: 8-Part Checklist for Your Budget and Your Credit

October 10th, 2017 · Budgeting

Holiday-Ready Finances: 8-Part Checklist for Your Budget and Your CreditWhether you think you have all your bases covered, or you know you’re in over your head, this 8-part checklist can help you get holiday-ready finances. Equally instructional and motivational, this checklist will walk you through the process of creating a holiday budget and a strategy for sticking to it, including affordable gift ideas, holiday sale best practices, how to use (and not use) your credit cards, and what to do when you realize you’ve spent too much. We also cover ways you can hurt your credit during the holidays and the credit-healthy choices you can make instead that are good for credit building and credit repair.

1) Do you have a holiday budget?

Even the best budgeters among us forget to include every category of spending. Holiday expenses is a perfect example.

Ideally, the budget you use year-round includes a set amount of monthly savings that you designate to a holiday spending category. Simply add up what you normally spend during the holidays, divide by twelve, and set aside that much every month. But don’t stop there.

The money you save all year long for holiday expenses should have a budget of its own. Learn how to create a holiday budget that breaks holiday spending down into subcategories: gifts, food, travel, and charitable giving.

2) Are you saving for holiday expenses?

It’s not too late. There is plenty you can do to come up with some money that doesn’t involve charging up your credit cards. As of this writing, you have 11 weeks until Christmas. That’s plenty of time to stockpile a little something that could contribute a lot to your holiday budget.

Think about it. Are there any extras you could eliminate for the next three months? Extras that are nice to have but that you don’t really need? Could you cancel one or more of your streaming services? Make your own lunch? Skip the latte? Hang out with family and friends at home instead of going out?

If these and other ways of cutting back help you set aside just $25 a week from now until Christmas, that’s $275 you can use to budget for the holidays this year.

3) Could you cut your holiday budget in half?

Even if you save a little extra each week between now and Christmas, it may not be enough to cover everything you want to do for the holidays this year. If it feels like your only option is charging the shortfall to your credit cards, then you haven’t seriously considered the smarter alternative — cutting your budget in half.

Only you know the categories of holiday spending that are more flexible than others for you, but one flexibility we all share is in how much we choose to spend on gifts.

  • Not convinced a $25 gift can be just as special as a $50 gift?
  • Can’t imagine changing your gift idea?
  • Worried you won’t be able to find gifts that are both cheap and thoughtful?
  • Afraid they’ll know you spent last?
  • Think it’s a good idea but something you should wait and try next year?

Legitimate concerns, all of them, and we have answers that address every one.

Related posts

Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget: Couponing

7 Ways To Cut the Cost of Christmas Dinner

4) Do you have affordable gift ideas?

It’s one thing to embrace the idea of buying less expensive gifts. It’s quite another figuring out what those gifts should be. Get as creative as you like, but if you get stuck, or just need a place to start, we have some ideas.

Check out our 50 cheap (and thoughtful) Christmas gift ideas that can work for holiday budgets with spending amounts ranging from $5 to $50 per person.

Too late to spend much time putting creative gifts together? Check out our 5 easy fixes for last-minute gifts you can find at the grocery store.

Related posts

18 Ways To Wrap Gifts With What You Already Have at Home

10 Tips for Gifting and Receiving Gift Cards for Christmas

Fun Gifts that Teach Your Kids Money Management

Layaway Q & A: Does It Make Good Shopping Sense?

5) Are you avoiding credit cards?

If you’re in the habit of charging holiday expenses to your credit cards, you’re not alone. It’s a habit that many of us practice as though it is its own holiday tradition. But while there is nothing wrong with credit card charges that you pay off within 30 days, carrying a balance for months into the New Year is an expensive habit that’s simply not worth the payoff.

As exciting as it is to see the faces of family and friends as they open your gifts, what they will appreciate more is you staying within your budget so that you don’t spend every month thereafter paying interest on their gifts instead of putting that money toward your financial goals.

Before charging a gift to your credit card, ask yourself this:

1) Is the item on your list?
2) Is it at or under the amount you planned to spend on this person?
3) Can you pay off the charge by the due date?

If the answer isn’t yes to all of these questions, don’t charge it. If this leaves you scrambling to afford everything on your list:

  • Lower the amounts you were planning to spend on everyone
  • If you’ve already bought gifts, return them and buy less expensive ones
  • Suggest a gift exchange in which family or friends draw names so that each person only gives (and receives) one gift within the group
  • If your family or friends have a set spending cap, talk to them about lowering the limit; chances are they will not only be receptive to it but grateful that you were the one who brought it up so that they didn’t have to

Related posts

Pre-Holiday Pep Talk for Debt-Free Giving

After-Christmas Credit Card Reset

6) Do you know how to make holiday sales work for you?

You have to be careful on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On the one hand, they can be great days to get good deals. On the other hand, they can be dangerous days when you get too caught up in the shopping frenzy and make costly mistakes.

You’re not making holiday sales work for you if you are:

  • Going over your budget
  • Buying things that are not on your list
  • Buying things that are not on sale, an especially tempting thing to do if you’re not finding the sale items you’d hoped for buy you’re in the buying mood
  • Not comparison shopping (before you leave the house or click the buy button, make sure you know what other retailers are charging for it)
  • Not asking about price matching (many stores price match, but exclusions apply)
  • Not asking about the return policy, a nice safety net to have in case you do go over budget and need to get your money back
  • Not keeping your receipts (even stores that don’t require them for return items often only give you store credit)
  • Not making sure online stores are secure (look for https:// and the lock icon)
    Hitting the sales by yourself when you know you do better shopping with a family member or friend who can help keep you in check

Related posts

Black Friday: 10 Ways To Get the Best Deals (and Have the Most Fun)

6 Super Cyber Monday Shopping Tips

9 Smartest Buys at Day After Christmas Sales

7) Have you already spent too much?

The answer is yes if any of the following circumstances are true for you:

  • You’ve gone over your budget
  • You’re charging more to your credit cards then you can afford to pay off within 30 days
  • You’re compromising important financial goals in the New Year

If any of these ring true for you:

  • Don’t spend another cent
  • Return items you’ve already bought and replace them with less expensive gifts
  • If you still have people to buy for, stretch the money you get from returned items to include them, too

Related posts

The “Don’t Buy It If…” Holiday Shopping Rules

3 Lies to Ignore This Holiday Shopping Season

Holiday Spending: The Right and Wrong Order of Things

10 Signs You’re Headed For a Holiday Shopping Hangover

8) Are you keeping your credit in mind?

The holidays have a way of suspending reality for a while. It happens with money, of course, talking yourself into spending more than you know you can afford through all sorts of rationalizations: Christmas is only once a year. The people you’re buying for are worth it. You already have so much debt; what’s a few hundred more dollars?

The holidays can have a similar effect on how you treat your credit:

  • If your credit is great, maybe you think you can afford to be a little reckless. Or maybe you underestimate the impact of certain behaviors on your credit score.
  • If you’re repairing your credit, and really deep into the process, maybe you feel like a break is deserved. Or, if you’re just getting started, maybe you rationalize that this can be one last hurrah before you really get serious about cleaning up your credit score.
  • If your credit is bad and you’ve not done a single thing to make it better, maybe you think the damage is already done. How much worse can it get?

Yet, it is because of these tempting rationalizations that you have to be more disciplined with your credit behavior during the holidays than any other time of year.

Ways you can hurt your credit during the holidays

  • Charging more to your credit cards then you can pay back with cash by the due date
  • Using more than 30% of your available credit at any one time
  • Maxing out your credit cards, sending your credit utilization ratio through the roof
  • Paying late and having the account sent to collections
  • Falling so behind on payments that the credit card issuer charges it off
  • Not following smart shopping practices that help protect against ID theft and fraud

Ways you can help your credit during the holidays

  • Using cash instead of credit
  • If you do use credit, only charging as much as you can afford to pay back within 30 days
  • Never using more than 10-30% of available credit at any one time, the ideal
  • credit utilization ratioReturning your credit card balance to zero every month, not only helping your credit score, but eliminating the possibility of interest fees
  • Paying all of your bills on time
  • Signing up for credit monitoring to track credit progress, and to detect errors and fraud
  • Freezing your credit to help protect against fraud, recommended by experts and regulators in the wake of the Equifax hack

Related posts

Year-End Credit Repair Checklist: 5 Things that Take 15 Minutes or Less

20-Step Guide to DIY Credit Repair

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What to Expect from an Employment Credit Check

October 3rd, 2017 · Credit Reports

What to Expect from an Employment Credit CheckDo you know how a potential employer can check your credit? Do you know what type of credit information — and other background records — they are going to see? Do you know how to request a copy of this information? What about disputing inaccuracies (an essential step in the credit repair process)? Get the facts about what to expect from an employment credit check.

How employers get permission to check your credit

Not just anyone can check your credit. From lenders to employers, they must have what is called permissible purpose. Permission is automatically granted when you apply for credit, but employers must get your express written consent first.

Not all, or even most, employers check credit, but some do, if only for select positions that require the handling of money or confidential information. You’ll find out whether a credit check is required at some point in the hiring process, at which time they will request your written authorization – of a credit check or more comprehensive background check that may include your credit history.

What this means, of course, is that you can refuse to allow an employer access to your credit. Just be prepared to lose out on the job opportunity.

What they see in an employment credit check

In general, what employers see when they check your credit is very similar to what creditors see:

  • Personally-identifying information (name, social security number, addresses, employers, other names you have gone by)
  • Public records (liens, judgments, bankruptcies)
  • Credit history (credit accounts, payment history, collections, charge offs)

However, what employers will not see in a credit check is your 1) date of birth or 2) credit score.

How an employment credit check affects your reports and scores

It doesn’t. Unlike hard credit inquiries conducted by creditors, which knock a few points off your credit score, your score is not affected by employer credit checks. And unlike creditor credit checks that appear as hard inquiries on your reports, employer credit checks don’t show up on your credit reports at all.

How to request copies of the consumer reports seen by employers

Any company that compiles consumer reports on you is required by law to disclose this information to you – for free – every 12 months. This won’t happen automatically, though. You must request it. (You are also entitled to a free report if its contents resulted in you being denied a job. See other special circumstances in our Credit Reports Guide: 11 Things Simply Explained.)

You’re likely already pretty familiar with three of these companies that may be providing information to employers – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. But there are several other consumer reporting agencies that provide employment screening services exclusively.

In any case, each company must be contacted individually to request a copy of your report.

Note, employment screening companies may or may not have any information to disclose to you. As many state on their websites, they will only have reports on you if one of their employer clients has requested they compile one.

How to dispute information included in consumer reports seen by employers

As helpful as it might be simply knowing what’s in the consumer reports seen by employers, what’s even more invaluable is the ability to dispute what’s there. Go through these reports carefully and dispute anything that may be inaccurate or unverifiable. Once you file the dispute, the company is required by law to investigate. If the listing cannot be proven as accurate, it must be corrected or removed.

Tips for filing a dispute

  • Though these companies provide multiple ways for you to dispute information, we highly recommend you dispute via certified mail with return receipt.
  • Use the dispute forms provided by the credit bureau or employment screening company.
  • If there are no forms provided for submitting disputes, follow closely any instruction they provide on what to include in your dispute mailing. In general, be prepared to provide proof of identification, details of the item(s) you are disputing, and supporting documentation. If you are disputing through an employee screening service, be prepared to provide the name of the employer that requested the report, date the report was issued, and report reference number.
  • If you are disputing an item with one of the big three credit bureaus, refer to this dispute letter template that you can edit according to your unique circumstances. (You may want to use it for reference when disputing with an employment screening company. Just be sure to edit it very carefully so that it reflects a reference to your consumer report from an employment screening company, not a credit report from a credit bureau.)

How to contact companies that provide consumer reports to employers

Credit bureaus

The big three credit bureaus provide credit reports directly to employers. They also provide credit information to employment screening services. So no matter which type of company an employer uses to check your credit, checking the accuracy of your credit reports through Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax is of the utmost importance.

You can request your reports from the big three bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can order free copies from each bureau every 12 months. Beyond that, you can monitor your credit reports (and scores) through free credit monitoring sites year-round.

Below is the contact information you’ll need for submitting credit disputes through the credit bureaus.

Experian

You can dispute information in your Experian credit report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

See Experian dispute instructions.

TransUnion

You can dispute information in your TransUnion credit report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

TransUnion
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

  • By phone: 800-916-8800
  • Online

See TransUnion dispute instructions.

Equifax

You can dispute information in your Equifax credit report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Equifax
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

  • By phone: 866-349-5191
  • Online

See Equifax dispute instructions.

Employment screening services

In addition to the information included in your credit reports from the big three bureaus, background checks provided by employment screening services may provide employers with your:

  • Employment history (employers, job titles, salary, and dates of employment)
  • Education records
  • Driving records
  • Vehicle registration
  • Court records
  • Sex offender records

Information employers have access to varies by state. Learn more about background checks from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Below is the contact information you’ll need for employment screening services commonly used by employers. Again, these companies may or may not have any information to disclose to you.

Accurate Background

You can request a copy of your Accurate Background consumer report:

  • By phone: 800-216-8024
  • By email: customer_service@accuratebackground.com

You can dispute information in your Accurate Background consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Accurate Background
Dispute Department
7515 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

  • By phone: 800-216-8024
  • By fax: 855-785-4434
  • By email: disputes@accuratebackground.com

See Accurate Background dispute instructions.

American DataBank

We could not find any specific information online for how to request a copy of your American DataBank consumer report. We called their toll-free number (800-200-0853) and were told that if a potential employer requests a background check on you then that employer will give you a unique website address where you can view your report.

You can dispute information in your American DataBank consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

American DataBank – Disputes
110 16th Street, 8th Floor
Denver, CO 80202

  • By phone: 303-573-1130 or 1-800-200-0853
  • By fax: 303-573-1298
  • By email: disputes@americandatabank.com
  • Online

See American DataBank dispute instructions.

backgroundchecks.com

You can request a copy of your backgroundchecks.com consumer report:

  • By mail:

backgroundchecks.com
Attn: Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 353
Chapin, South Carolina 29036

  • By phone: 866-265-6602
  • By fax: 866-306-9258

You can dispute the information in your backgroundchecks.com consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

backgroundchecks.com
Attn: Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 353
Chapin, South Carolina 29036

  • By phone: 866-265-6602
  • By fax: 866-306-9258

See backgroundchecks.com dispute instructions.

First Advantage

You can request a copy of your First Advantage consumer report:

  • By mail:

First Advantage Consumer Center
P.O. Box 105292
Atlanta, GA 30348-5292

  • By phone: 800-845-6004
  • By fax: 727-214-2127
  • By email: documents@fadv.com

You can dispute the information in your First Advantage consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

First Advantage Consumer Center
P.O. Box 105292
Atlanta, GA 30348-5292

See First Advantage dispute instructions.

General Information Services

You can request a copy of your General Information Services consumer report:

  • By mail:

General Information Services (GIS)
PO Box 353
Chapin, SC 29036

  • By phone: 866-265-4917
  • By fax: 866-265-4921
  • Online

You can dispute the information in your General Information Services consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

General Information Services (GIS)
PO Box 353
Chapin, SC 29036

  • By phone: 866-265-4917
  • By fax: 866-265-4921

See General Information Services dispute instructions.

HireRight

You can request a copy of your HireRight consumer report:

  • Online
  • By phone: 800-381-0645
  • By fax: 918-664-5520
  • By mail:HireRight
    Attn: Consumers Department
    14002 E. 21st Street, Suite 1200
    Tulsa, OK 74134

You can dispute the information in your HireRight consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):HireRight
    Attn: Consumers Department
    14002 E. 21st Street, Suite 1200
    Tulsa, OK 74134
  • By phone: 866-521-6995
  • Fax: 918-664-5520
  • Online

See HireRight dispute instructions.

Info Cubic Background Checks

You can request a copy of your Info Cubic consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

Info Cubic LLC
Attn: Compliance Department
9250 E Costilla Ave suite 525
Greenwood Village, CO 80112

  • By fax: 877-578-9558
  • By email: compliance@infocubic.com
  • Online

You can dispute the information in your Info Cubic consumer report using this form:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Info Cubic LLC
Attn: Compliance Department
9250 E Costilla Ave suite 525
Greenwood Village, CO 80112

  • By fax: 303-220-0171
  • By email: compliance@infocubic.com
  • Online

See InfoCubic dispute instructions.

IntelliCorp

You can request a copy of your IntelliCorp consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

IntelliCorp Records, Inc.
3000 Auburn Drive, Suite 410
Beachwood, Ohio 44122

  • By phone: 866-202-1436
  • By fax: 216-450-5279

You can dispute the information in your IntelliCorp consumer report using this form:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

IntelliCorp Records, Inc.
3000 Auburn Drive, Suite 410
Beachwood, Ohio 44122

  • By phone: 866-202-1436
  • By fax: 216-450-5279
  • By email: reinvestigation@intellicorp.net

See IntelliCorp dispute instructions.

OPENonline

You can request a copy of your OPENonline consumer report using this form:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

OPENonline LLC
Attn: Compliance
PO Box 549
Columbus, OH 43216-0549

  • By phone:888-381-5656
  • By fax: 614-481-6980
  • Email:compliance@openonline.com

You can dispute the information in your OPENonline consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

OPENonline LLC
Attn: Compliance
PO Box 549
Columbus, OH 43216-0549

See OPENonline dispute instructions.

Pre-employ.com

You can request a copy of your Pre-employ.com consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

MyBackgroundCheck.com
P.O.Box 491570
Redding, CA 96049-1570

  • By fax: 800-503-2371

You can dispute the information in your Pre-employ.com consumer report:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Pre-employ.com
PO Box 491570
Redding, CA 96049

  • By email: compliance@pre-employ.com
  • Online

See Pre-employ.com consumer resource information.

Sterling Talent Solutions

You can request a copy of your Sterling Talent Solutions consumer report:

  • Online
  • By phone: 888-889-5248

You can dispute the information in your Sterling Talent Solutions consumer report:

By phone: 888-889-5248*

*Tell them you prefer to dispute by mail. Ask for an address, if there is a dispute form they would like for you to use, and what information they need for you to include.

See Sterling Talent Solutions consumer FAQs.

Trak 1

You can request a copy of your Trak 1 consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

Trak-1 Consumer Disputes
7131 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136

  • By fax: 918-779-6521, ATTN: Consumer Disputes
  • By email: disputes@trak-1.com
  • Online

You can dispute the information in your Trak 1 consumer report using this form:

  • By mail (which we recommend):

Trak-1 Consumer Disputes
7131 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136

  • By email: disputes@trak-1.com
  • Online

See Trak 1 consumer FAQs.

The Work Number (from Equifax)

You can request a copy of your The Work Number consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

Equifax Workforce Solutions
ATTN: EDR
3470 Rider Trail South
Earth City, MO 63045

  • By fax: 877-879-8182
  • By email: EDR@equifax.com
  • By phone: 866-604-6570

You can dispute the information in your The Work Number consumer report using this form:

  • By mail:

Equifax Workforce Solutions
ATTN: DISPUTE
3470 Rider Trail South
Earth City, MO 63045

  • By fax: 314-812-6822
  • By phone: 866-222-5880

See The Work Number dispute instructions.

Other credit reporting agencies

There are dozens of consumer reporting agencies that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says need to be on your radar. This includes the big three credit bureaus, as well as employment screening companies, but also agencies dedicated to tenant screening, check and bank screening, and more. What are these 46 consumer reporting agencies saying about you?

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