17
Apr

Credit Repair

If you are having some credit problems, it may be time to assess where you stand with your credit management style. We have some questions you can ask yourself to get back on track.

Does my latest credit report lists all my credit accounts as current or ‘paid as agreed’.

If you haven’t gotten your credit report, now is the time to pull it. You can get a copy of your credit report from each of the major bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Once you have your report, examine each of the accounts listed on the report. If you have negative listings, it may be time to challenge errors on your credit report or hire a professional credit repair company.

What is my current consumer debt?

To calculate your current debt, divided the total of your car loans, student loans and credit card debt by your net monthly income. Note: this figure does not include mortgage debt. If your figure is above 20%, you are in the danger zone.   High debt ratios tend to indicate that the person could be over spending and putting their credit in danger. In addition, if you have credit cards, you should keep your credit utilization to under 30%.

Have I checked my credit score in the last 2 years?

Like checking your credit report, knowing where you stand credit-wise is always important, and as some lenders only look at your credit score, you need to know this metric. Credit score ranges:

  • 300 – 579 very poor
  • 580 – 669 poor
  • 670 – 739 good
  • 740 – 799 very good
  • 800 – 850 excellent.

If your score is not where you want it, read more about fast fixes for your credit score here.

Have I ever had a collection, charged off account, judgment, lien, repossession, wage garnishment, foreclosure or bankruptcy?

Your credit score is very unforgiving about the above items. If you’ve had any of the past incidents within the last 7 years and they are on your credit report, your credit is probably suffering. These items can be difficult to remove from your credit report and you may need a little extra help getting the credit bureaus to remove unverified, unfair or erroneous information which is related to these tough credit situations.

Do I comparison shop when applying for new credit products?

You comparison shop for price when you’re buying anything else, don’t you? It’s the same when apply for credit. When applying for a new loan, mortgage or credit card, it’s best to shop around for the best deal. There are plenty of competitors in the market looking for your business.

Do I have a list of my credit card account numbers and creditor contact information handy in case of loss or theft?

People lose credit cards every day and identity theft is all too common. If you don’t act fast, it could take some time to repair the damage to your credit. It takes an average of $500, and 30 hours to recover from identity theft, according to the FTC 2003. These days, it could take as long as 6 months and 200 hours. Having a list handy can cut down on the time that is available to thieves who could damage your credit further.

Do I pay my credit cards in full each month to avoid interest charges?

Not only do you save on interest, but paying down your cards each month keeps your credit utilization, or the percentage of available credit, at a minimum. Your credit utilization is 30% of your credit score, and experts say that you should keep your utilization between 10 and 30%.

Have I checked my credit report for errors or identity theft this year?

The FTC reports that as many as 42 million Americans have errors on their credit reports. The FTC also found that 5% of those with errors reported a drop in credit score so significant that it could deny them credit. It’s always a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year – as the longer you wait to correct problems with identity theft, the longer it can take to unravel them.

Do I have a personal policy not to co-sign on any loan or credit card?

Co-signing a loan or credit card can be dangerous, as you are literally handing over control of your credit rating to someone else. While most people have good intentions when they ask you to help them out by co-signing, if someone needs your help with the co-signing, it could be an indication that they have not been managing their own credit properly and may have trouble with this line of credit also. If they miss a payment, a late pay will go on your credit report, even if you are not informed of credit problems on the account.

Have you ever taken out a payday loan, car title loan, used check cashing stores, rent to own stores to get cash or merchandise?

All of the above loan products are high interest rate and have poor quality terms and conditions. Usually people turn to them out of desperation in order to pay bills or buy things they cannot afford. If you are a user of these services, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to get a grip on your finances and start a budget. Your credit is probably in big trouble, and it could be time to see a consumer credit counselor to help you manage your money.  At the very least, using payday or car title loans can trap you into a debt cycle that may be difficult to break free of.

I use or have used several different types of credit.

There are two main categories of credit: installment loans like mortgages and auto loans and revolving lines of credit like credit cards and home equity loans. Your mix of credit is 15% of your credit score. Your credit score is higher when you’ve shown that you can handle responsibly different types of credit account, and that’s what a good mix of credit will show.

Are you worried about the way your credit was managed? Learn how you can start repairing your credit here, and carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.