While it may seem obvious to state it, credit reports are predominantly concerned with assessing the risk involved in lending money to you. Lenders are obsessed with one thing, getting repaid, and their entire industry revolves around making this occur. Therefore, they have developed the credit score that will assess your likely hood of repaying them and this is then used to either approve or reject your application for credit. While this is the basic purpose, some more sophisticated lenders desire to get in on an ever larger share of the market and in order to lend to higher risk borrowers, they create different categories of loans which people with lower scores can qualify for. These loans will invariably have higher interest rates and other less favourable conditions and this will be the price you pay for having a lower credit rating.
Since loans are used to finance homes, education, cars, and most other large purchases in life, the inability to get access to credit, or only to be able to get it at less attractive terms and rates, is a substantially reason to care about your credit report and try to keep it in as good a condition as possible.
Credit reports are also used when you apply for renting or leasing accommodation. This is usually because the landlord wants to be fairly certain that you’ll be able to pay your rent as it falls due. So keeping your credit score healthy at this stage will pay off if you need to be approved for renting or leasing residential property.
There is also a trend among employer to start using credit ratings when assessing job applicants. The reasons they are making use of credit reports are of course different for every employer but there is a consensus that a healthy credit report and a good past record of meeting financial commitments is a good sign that the job applicant is someone reliable and worth employing. While it does seem slightly perverse that the very people that will need a job the most are precisely the ones that can be denied it but that’s the direction things are moving in.
Your credit score accounts for the amount of interest you have to pay for a loan or a credit card. Increasing your score in just a few points will make a big difference in the interest rate you will pay for a purchase. If your credit score is high enough, you’ll have no problem qualifying for a lender’s best rates and terms on auto financing, home loans and small business loans.
As a consumer you’ve learned the importance of establishing a good credit rating with your lenders. Whether you are shopping for a new home or auto, or searching for the best deals on insurance, your credit worthiness will be judged by your credit rating or credit score.
A bad credit history or bad credit habits will place “black marks” on your credit profile. These include things such as late payments, having an account assigned to a collection agency, and of course bankruptcy.
Establishing good credit habits and therefore a good credit rating will improve your credit worthiness. This will be reflected in potential lenders offering you substantially lower interest rates and better deals on credit offers.
1. Getting your credit reports
There are three chief credit government departments that regulate these credit functions. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You need to research up and get to know their opinions about your case in specific. There is every chance of diverse viewpoints amongst all three. Those in bankruptcy hunting for credit repair need to report to only one particular bureau to whom they subscribe. Thus people with bad credit don’t need to report to all three. You can get reports from all three for $9 each and can get them free if you have been denied insurance, employment or credit due to bad credit. You can obtain them in 60 days after your rejection. The most considerable report can be considered by you as an option.
Get copies of your credit report —then make sure the information is correct.
Go to the Annual Credit Report web site. This is the only authorized online source for a free credit report. Under federal law, you can get a free report from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months
You can also call 877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) web site and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Don’t Use Too Many or Too Few Credit Cards
How much is too much ? How little is too little ? Many credit experts and financial planners suggest two to four credit cards is just the right mix.
2. Examine the reports
Once you obtain the reports check them in every nook and corner for any kind of mistakes. The reports may be erroneous as these bureaus do not cross check the information provided by the credit companies to them. Be sure to look for any obsolete information and erroneous account records. Be painstaking enough while organizing and preparing points of dispute. If there are any false points there you can look to rectify them through your good habits and timely billings and fight bankruptcy.
Your credit score is based on your credit report, so you should begin by ordering your reports and reviewing each one for accuracy. You can get your reports from a service such as MyFico.com, or order from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union separately online or by phone.
Review Your Credit Report Regularly
Monitor your credit report from all three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – on a regular basis. Check your credit profile at least annually. Review it carefully and make sure that any past mistakes or disputes have been corrected.
Also, if you notice an account listed that you know that you have not personally opened, contact that creditor and the credit bureaus immediately. This could be a sign that you’ve had your identity stolen. Request to have a fraud alert placed on your profile and account to protect yourself and your credit. Identity theft is the fastest growing consumer crime in America, with an estimated 1 million people victimized each year.
Understand how your credit score is determined.
Although your first credit accounts can serve to build and improve your credit history, there comes a point when each subsequent credit application can reduce your score. New credit cards reduce the age of your credit history, and a department store credit card isn’t good evidence of credit worthiness. Every time you apply for a retailer’s credit card your credit store gets dinged.
Your credit score is usually based on the answers to these questions:
Do you pay your bills on time? The answer to this question is very important. If you have paid bills late, have had an account referred to a collection agency, or have ever declared bankruptcy, this history will show up in your credit report.
What is your outstanding debt? Many scoring models compare the amount of debt you have and your credit limits. If the amount you owe is close to your credit limit, it is likely to have a negative effect on your score.
How long is your credit history? A short credit history may have a negative effect on your score, but a short history can be offset by other factors, such as timely payments and low balances.
Have you applied for new credit recently? If you have applied for too many new accounts recently that may negatively affect your score. However, if you request a copy of your own credit report, or creditors are monitoring your account or looking at credit reports to make prescreened credit offers, these inquiries about your credit history are not counted as applications for credit.
How many and what types of credit accounts do you have? Many credit-scoring models consider the number and type of credit accounts you have. A mix of installment loans and credit cards may improve your score. However, too many finance company accounts or credit cards might hurt your score.
Establish good credit habits early in life and reap the benefits that your good credit rating will provide you for the rest of your financial future.
- Dispute reporting
Report the points of dispute to the credit bureau after thoroughly preparing a list of errors and their proper justification. Remember to keep the supporting documents, letters, identity proofs, address proofs and other important documents that can get your errors rectified. You must then send them to the credit authority to rectify the errors.
Having at least one credit card that’s more than 2 years old can help your score by 15 percent. Make sure that your credit report is checked only when necessary. Or, if you are shopping for a home, try to apply for loans within a two-week period. By keeping the loan process within a two-week period, all of the credit report lookups are seen as one single request.
Check the identifying information for name, social security number, birth date and incorrect address. Make certain that old negatives and paid-off debts are deleted. Check for accounts and delinquencies that are not yours, late payments, charge offs, lawsuits, judgments or paid tax liens older than seven years old. Also, paid liens or judgments that are listed as unpaid, duplicate collections, bankruptcies that are older than ten years and any negative information that is not yours.
Beware of credit-repair scams.
Sometimes doing it yourself is the best way to repair your credit. The Federal Trade Commission’s “Credit Repair: Self-Help May Be Best” explains how you can improve your creditworthiness and lists legitimate resources for low-cost or no-cost help.
There is an unfortunate stroke of luck and you have engrossed yourself neck-deep in bad credit. Credit repair seems to be the need of the hour. You need a dolphin-jump to free yourself from the shackles of bankruptcy and you are out of ideas. You are loaded with bank notices and warnings. How do you handle this stressful bad credit? You are just a layman and bankruptcy can dig up nightmares for you. This is really getting on your nerves. Well, the very sensation seems stinky. It feels miserable if you are glued with bad credit and you need a quick guide to credit repair.
A few handy tips, well imbibed can raise your eyebrows and get you exercising your jaw. These can give you a reason to smile and can set you back on your track. But self help may be the best help. You don’t need to be depressed. Bad credit can be repaired through a few systematic steps and make you credit- worthy in some time.
Dissolve bad credit and escape bankruptcy
You can use various consolidation techniques and also recommend the bank to lower your installments. You can also take various credit cards and diversify risks.
5. Show your credit worthiness
You can approach petrol pumps, banks, companies, shops, etc that have your previous proofs of purchase and liquidity. You can forward these to the bureau, gain their trust and repair credit.
Pay Your Bills On Time
Lenders only have your past payment history on which to decide the type of credit risk you present to them. How you pay off your debts now indicates to them how you will pay off future debts.
Always pay at least the minimum due payment, but never less. And remember, just paying the minimum payment means it will take you years and years to pay off that credit card.
Example: Paying off a $2,000 credit payment at 18% APR with a minimum monthly payment of 2% ($40 dollars or less) will take you 30 years to pay off the amount plus interest.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your credit score is pay your bills by the due date. You can set up automatic payments from your bank account to help you pay on time, but be sure you have enough money in your account to avoid overdraft fees.
Payment history makes up more than a third of the typical credit score. If you paid bills late in the past, you can improve your credit score by starting to pay your bills on time. Lenders are looking for any sign that you might default, and a late payment is a good indicator that you are in financial difficulty.