5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

How Could You Be Hurting Your Credit?

The more you know about how credit works, the better your score will be. This is because, without a lot of background knowledge, your own logic and reasoning will oftentimes fail you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your credit score, so trying to make decisions when it comes to your credit without studying up first can be tricky. There are five big mistakes a lot of consumers often make because, without any background knowledge, they all sound perfectly reasonable.

1. Close A Credit Card

Just because you don’t really use your card does not mean you should close it. Closing a credit card will stop any subsequent reporting of positive credit and payment history and positive credit utilization. Keeping a card open, even if you rarely use it, can be beneficial. Be sure to use your card every once in a while, be it for a cup of coffee or a drive through sandwich. This will keep activity on the account and keep the card holder from deactivating the account.

2.Believing that Paying on Time is All You Need for A Good Credit Score

Yes, paying off all your credit card debt on time is good for your credit score, but that is not all it takes to have what is considered a quality credit score. If you are using a huge portion of your credit limit every month, even paying it off completely and on time will not be as beneficial as lowering your credit utilization ratio would be. Your credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors that goes into creating your credit score, and the lower is it, the better your credit will be. So, keeping your utilization ratio under 30 percent per credit limit will benefit you even more when it comes to your credit.

3. Pay Off A Loan Early

It definitely can benefit your finances to pay a loan off early, especially if you are paying a very high interest rate on the loan, but this can also hurt your credit score. It would be very easy to think that paying a loan off early would help your credit, but in reality, it lowers your credit mix and therefore lowers your credit score. So, if the interest rate on your loan is not burdening you financially, then you will actually benefit from not paying a loan off early.

4. Reject Higher Credit Limits

The only reason you should reject a higher credit limit is if you know you will not be able to stop yourself from overspending because of it. Otherwise, keeping your spending at a consistent rate while also increasing your credit limit will raise your credit score because your credit utilization ratio would then be lower. So, accepting a higher credit limit will in most cases raise your credit score if you can keep yourself from overspending.
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5. Send in Partial Payments

Paying off a debt partially does not put you in better standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. You will still be reported as paying late and are at risk for a delinquency on your credit report. So, if you are struggling to pay your minimums every payment cycle, talk to a credit counselor before trying to appease the creditor by only paying partially.
Other Factors Causing A Drop
  1. Late payments
  2. High Balances
  3. Too many Inquiries
  4. Late reporting (possibly your credit cards reporting at different times to the credit bureaus. An easy fix to this is call your credit card and ask them when they report to the bureaus so you know when to make payments so your score reflects better)
  5. Paying an old collection (there is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity)
Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help. If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.
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Financing A Vehicle II Where To Start

Time For A New Car?

Several years ago when I was broken down on the side of the interstate in my 92 Jeep Cherokee I thought to myself “My next car is going to be brand new so I don’t have to deal with this gain!”  I knew that I would need to finance as I was just a twenty something with a low end painting job, but I was hopeful that I would be approved. I was quite ambitious for a boy with little to no credit reported or open trade lines.

Fast forward to later that evening; I sat in the Nissan dealership for hours, hoping one lender would overlook my credit score and provide me with anything! Spoiler: No lender would even consider me and my abysmal credit score. At that moment I knew that I would have to go about this a different way if I ever wanted to even be considered for financing and began my research over how exactly credit worked.

 

Understanding Your Credit

First off, I had to get a hold of my credit report and see just exactly what was going on. My credit adviser directed me to Free Credit Hub where I was able to sign up for credit monitoring and finally see what was dragging my credit! I was greeted with a cacophony of different numbers, phrases and names that filled the pages and made my stomach drop. My adviser walked me through each  line on the report and explained that there were multiple categories that made up the report. Those categories were:

1. Payment History-  35% of your credit score is based on your past bills and how they were paid.

2. Amounts Owed- 30% of your credit score is based on the available credit card limit you’re using and the amount you owe across your accounts.

3. Length of credit history – 15% of your credit score is determined by the credit history you have built. This is based on the average age of your accounts  along with a few other factors. The longer the history, the better the results!

4. Credit mix – 10% of your score is from the mix of revolving credit (credit cards) and installment credit (car loans, mortgages, etc.) you have.

5. New credit – 10% of your credit score comes from new credit accounts that you have established.

 

Time To Build!

Alright, now that I know what exactly makes up my credit, it is time to start building it up! I took 3 easy steps to start building positive credit and the foundation for a strong credit score.

  1. Lowering My Card Utilization– When I got my first credit card I was told to never use more than 50% of the allowed credit and I would be fine. If we look at our credit utilization like a grade card, a 50% utilization rate is a solid F. 30% is about a C rating and the lower you go the better your rating. Keeping your utilization under 10% is an A rating and is sure to build your credit the fastest.
  2. Becoming An Authorized User– Becoming an authorized user is by far one of the easiest ways to build credit and is kind of like passive income. If you are listed as an authorized user on a trusted family members card, their history is listed on your report as well and you don’t even have to use the card! Be sure you work with someone you trust because the negative history will be placed on your report as well.
  3. Pay Your Bills On Time-  Paying off those balances on time is extremely important when building credit as it provides positive credit history and establishes a exceptional trade line. Late payments are one of the largest discrepancies on most Americans credit report!

 

Your Car Loan Will Help Build Credit.

After about 6 months of building up my credit, I was able to acquire financing toward a new vehicle. You don’t need to have perfect credit to acquire a car loan, but it will affect your financing options and future payments. The wonderful thing about this loan is that it establishes another line of installment credit to your account. As long as you are making your payments on time, this installment credit will soon become a wonderful trade line that builds a long credit history. In the end it is all bout finding the right lender for you and managing a positive ascending credit score. If done correctly, you will be on the road that that fabled 800 credit score!

 

 

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

Student Loans and Credit Scores

Student loans seem to be on almost everyone’s credit reports . They can positively impact your credit scores if you are consistent with your payments and aware of what is happening with your loan. As with any bill or loan you take out, it is extremely important to your credit score as well because it can also have a negative impact too. We will discuss some of the positive ways that your loan can impact your credit, as well as a few ways it can do severe damage if you are not careful.

The Positives

1. Payment History

A student loan, when paid correctly, can be a great trade-line for your credit report. If you make the minimum payments, this shows great repayment on your part that you can reliable and make on time payments. This part of the credit report makes 35% of the FICO grading scale. The difference with a student loan as opposed to your other monthly bills such as your car insurance is that they do not report monthly (only when you miss the payment or fall into collection) whereas your loan will report positively when you have positive payments. This is great for your credit!

For some consumers, building credit is hard to do if you do not have an auto loan or any credit cards, but your student loan can help start to establish that payment history.

2. Building A Credit Mix

For a while, there was a myth out that having “diverse” accounts helped your scores and provided for a healthy mix of credit. Only about 20% of your FICO score is made up of new credit and types of credit used. Typically, having two revolving accounts and two loans (home, auto,or personal) are sufficient enough in trying to build on your scores. Your student loan will also help you start to fill out a portion of that percentage of your credit mix while you continue to make positive payments.

 

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The Negatives

 

1. Late Payments on Loans

A good way to completely tank your credit scores quick, fast and in a hurry is to get a late payment. As much as on time payments can help your credit score, they can also harm them, sometimes up to 100 points.

These bad or derogatory remarks can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. If continue to miss your payments and they continue to roll over, your scores will just keep dropping and dropping. The other piece to this puzzle that is not good, is how long it can take for you to rebuild once you have fallen behind. Be aware of what is happening with your bills and other finances and communicate with your institution if you start to fall behind.

2. Defaulting 

If your accounts are sent to collections, this can also really impact your credit scores. Often times, creditors will not lend you any money unless you “correct” it and make it right with the lender of the money. If you go and apply for a home loan and they see collection status, it can be extremely hard for them to justify lending to you with a lot of derogatory marks on the report.

You may hope to open credit cards and start to establish credit but the creditor denies you due to the defaults on your credit report. All in all, if you are seeing collections/charge offs or have been denied financing, you may want to reach out to a credit repair company today.

What Resources Are There?

Having student loans and pursuing a degree is important in this day and age. We see so many student loans every day on credit reports that are doing great things for people and their credit report. Make sure you stay up to date on the payments and work as well on establishing credit.

For more information on student loans and second chance checking, please visit this site. You will find a lot of programs to help you out in regards to student loans if you have not been able to find any resources yet that work.

Saving At Closing Time

Are You Trying To Rent With Poor Credit?

Less Than Perfect Credit Scores and Living Situations.

Many families deal with tough situations when it comes to rentals and the landlords that come with them. According to the Business Insider, more Americans are renting than at any time in the last 50 years.  I can recall a time when I rented a home that had mice so big, that even the neighborhood cats didn’t try to catch them. My roommate and I had to put our fear and phobias aside and get rid of all the mice on our own. Maybe this is your current situation now, and your credit scores are forcing you to rent.

Are you currently living a rental nightmare?

We understand that this is not the ideal living situation.

At some point I lost track of the number of mice we ended up finding and shortly after, we were able to end our lease. Such is not always the case. Breaking a lease can be extremely difficult and some landlords are not as understanding. After many times of reaching out to our landlord with little to no help, we figured out a few things:

  1. Slumlords, as we call them, are only interested in the rent being turned in on time. (No, not all landlords are this ruthless, but you find while renting that few really care about the tenants residing in them).
  2. Quick fixes and patch jobs are ways they are able to make temporary fixes at little to no cost to them.
  3. With the demand and price being very high for a place to live, the quality of homes can be very, very low.
  4. Whether you are renting in a college town or a nice area in the suburbs, you meet less than perfect landlords. It is bound to happen!

 

So why are people renting more now, than they ever have?

These are just a few of the pain points that have been expressed:

  1. Poor/Bad credit-The inability to get approved for a home loan/mortgage.
  2. Lack of excess funds-Unable to make the down payment or fix things in the house once it is purchased.
  3. Lower expenses-Included in rent such as water or electric in most cases.

 

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These are just a few reasons why more people are currently renting. If you are in a position where renting is your only option, here are three things to take into consideration in an effort to make a change:

  1. Look into your state laws and know your rights as a tenant. Is your landlord hard to get in touch with? Do they fail to repair things in a timely manor? Each state has their own requirements when it comes to repairs on a rental. There is such thing as ‘repair and deduct’ which just means if you as the tenant pay for a repair, it can be documented and deducted from the rent. The landlord must know about the problem and it must be proven that the landlord failed to repair it within a reasonable time. If you are dealing with a lazy landlord or one that is hard to get in touch with, this may be something you deal with. Continue to reach out and attempt to communicate with them via email/phone. Document everything that happens and try to keep everything in text and email so there is written communication.
  2. Credit Repair with a Law Firm: A bad rental situation may have you interested in looking into buying a home. With a poor credit score, you may be far off from moving if you don’t take action now. With attorney-based credit repair, you can expect to see results between 30-180 days.  If you are unsure of what your current credit score is, you can pull a credit report here. Talk to a Credit Advisor today about what you can do to get out of your current rental and into your own home soon.

If low credit scores are keeping you from improving your living situation, please contact us today for a free credit consultation. We have helped over 30,000 clients improve their scores. Let us get you back on the path toward financial freedom.