Building and repairing credit is easier said than done. Whether you are trying to build credit or repair credit after some financial mishaps, the discipline to meet financial decisions responsibly can be paralyzing. And if you’re in the midst of a credit crisis, the situation could seem hopeless.
For better or worse, we live in a credit-dominated society. Big purchases such as homes, cars, education, furniture, internet service, and cell phones require a credit history. Good credit enables us to make these purchases and enjoy the benefits that come with them. Bad credit makes these purchases a challenge. Although you may get approved for the loan, the credit terms may be more expensive and carry higher fees and interest rates. And, you need to be cautious. The ease of spending on credit, without paying cash at the time of purchase, can create a cycle of over spending. Suddenly, it’s difficult to meet monthly bills.
However, there are a few ways to build credit without getting in to financial trouble.
Where to Begin?
If you’ve never had credit, or if you’re working your way out of financial hardship, you may need to seek some help. One option may be to get a secured credit card from your bank. This type of card requires a cash security deposit, which reduces the risk to the issuer and can help you build a credit history. A number of banks offer secured credit cards, where you can put money on the card that acts as your credit limit. These secured cards work differently than pre-paid and debit cards. You will receive monthly bills to pay in order to avoid penalties. Most important, make sure the furnisher of this card reports to the credit bureaus. You want your good payment history to count towards building or repairing your credit.
A second option may be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. This means that the primary account holder adds your name to their credit card account. You will receive a card and pay for the items you’ve charged. The accounts where you are an authorized user will likely appear on your credit report, along with your good payment history. Most of all, you want to establish financial discipline for paying back borrowed money on time.
Getting Credit Cards
After building up some credit, you will likely become eligible for a credit card of your own. But, beware. Credit cards are a lot of responsibility. You must avoid overspending so that you can pay off your balance in full, and on time, every month.
Organization is a Must
The most important step in building or repairing credit is staying organized and paying bills on time. Open the bills when you receive them!
Whether you get hard copies in the mail or emailed statements examine how much you owe. Plan your expenses so that you’ve saved enough money to make payments on time. Bills can be scary and intimidating, especially if you’ve spent more than you can afford to pay.
Credit reports list delinquent payments and bring down your credit score. Some people find setting up automatic payments from a bank account helps to stay current on bills.
Obtain current credit reports
Every twelve months consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each Transunion, Experian and Equifax. Review your report for accuracy. If you find errors, dispute them by writing to the credit bureau. You want your credit report to be an accurate reflection of your credit history.
Seek Legal Help
Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit report problems, those who’ve had contact from abusive debt collectors or a vehicle wrongfully repossessed by a lender. Whether the consumer fell behind on payments or not, there are laws that the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow. Contact Us for a free consultation to discuss whether your consumer rights were violated.