I must honestly say, I am not a credit guru – never was and probably still will not be the best at it. I never knew what the word “credit” really meant or what it really was until I got in my mid 20’s. It’s funny because while my friends were receiving credit cards with a substantial amount of money on it, I couldn’t get one. I was told that I didn’t have enough credit history…..so, wouldn’t that make me a better candidate for one?
I never owned a credit card in my life but, however; my credit history became ruined early all because I was unknowledgeable about the definition of credit ( the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment). You see, although I never owned a credit card, I had a problem with paying things on time. It was never an issue with obtaining the things I wanted, it was a problem with keeping up with the payments. Not paying furniture accounts on time, car notes, a mortgage, rent payments – all made my credit score go down and my credit report became scarred with derogatory payment details.
Recently, I finally had the courage to actually check my credit report. I always shunned the fact of checking it because I felt like, If I didn’t know about it – maybe the things on there would instantly disappear. And besides, I never wanted to really see what was on there because I was embarrassed by it. So, I told myself that I would take a look and I’m going to be very transparent right now – It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. My credit score was 573 on Trans-union and 540 on Experian.
When I really delved in to see why my scores were truly low, I was shocked by how naive and careless I had been when it came to my credit history. I had over 27 Inquiries, 2 repossessed cars that had been charged off. A court judgement regarding a rental property (that I had no idea about), my current car was also on there – showing perfect payments. I shared my credit report with you because I wanted you to know that while a credit score is good to know, pulling your report is the best practice for you to do. There are many things that get put on there, some things you may know of and there are others in which you may not. But you’ll never know unless you have the courage to come to terms and face your own credit report.
Listed below are a couple of tips that I’ve learned along the way that could help you get your credit on the road to success ~
1. Be Brave & View Your Report:
Whatever is on your credit report is not going to go away because you don’t look at it. While there are certain things that do go away over an extended period of time, it’s always good practice to get in the habit of viewing your report at least once or twice a year. This will give you a heads up on expenses or items that were put on there that shouldn’t be. You’ll also have an opportunity to dispute those items, in which in most cases takes up to 30 days. So, take a peek you’ll be surprised at what you might find and it may not be as bad as you think.
2. Make Timely Payments:
You may not know much about credit but making timely payments helps your credit score to go up. These payments can include your car, furniture, cell phone, store credit and even loans. You also want to make sure that whomever you are making payments too are also reporting your payments to the necessary credit bureaus because if you’re making timely payments, you want that to be reflected on your credit. If they do not report to the credit bureaus, this is not helping you build your credit – but it’s hurting you. Because everyone does credit checks, including some jobs.
It’s never too late to get your credit straight!!
3. Inquiries Can Cause Problems:
With everyone doing background checks regarding your credit, it could become really damaged by too many inquiries. Every time you give someone access to dive into your credit history and you get denied; that creates a credit inquiry, which brings your credit score down even more. Inquiries can hurt your credit more than not making an on time payment. Make sure that whomever you allow to pull your credit that it’s concerning something you will benefit from or really need. If you can do without it, then don’t allow your credit to be pulled. It could save you some major credit points later.
4. Beware! of Quick-Fix Credit Scams:
Yes, I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to fall for the credit report site or individual that promises to fix your credit for mere hundreds to thousands of dollars (No, I don’t have thousands of dollars..lol) but I’ve been to the point where I’ve been crazy to do it. This rule is simple, there is no quick fix when it comes to your credit. If someone tells you that they can clear your credit for $200 – Watch Out! I’ve known quite a few people whom took the bait and their credit ended up being worse off than it was before. No one can truly fix your credit but you. Yes, we all want quick fixes for everything and yes, it does take time to fix your credit but in the end; you’ll be more knowledgeable about your own business and will still have some money.
Below are some resources that I’ve used that will help you also…
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche – Tiffany has been deemed as “America’s favorite financial educator” she has a group on FB called – Dream Catchers : LIVE RICHER, it’s a closed group, so you’ll have to get permission to join but she’s awesome when it comes to finances and budgeting. She has a phenomenal story of how she went from sleeping on her sisters couch to obtaining her own financial freedom. If you sign up to receive her emails, she’ll send you a “Goodie” every Wednesday which are free tools that’s usually packed with information on how to live richer and wiser. Her website is here: Live Richer Challenge and her link to FB is highlighted above. So, if you’re interested in getting educated about your finances and learn to live richer, then follow Tiffany – you’ll be glad you did.
Why not check your credit report today! Sign up with Credit Karma – Credit Karma is where I checked my credit report – I even applied for a credit building credit card through Capitol One, someone they suggested. The card will help anyone who has a low credit score carefully build up their credit score. It’s a great resource that could help you too.
Below is a chart of how your Credit Score is obtained. Make this the year that you become knowledgeable about credit.
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