Thursday, February 9th
How Repairing Your Credit Can Save You Money
Over 220 million Americans have a bad credit rating - and it costs them thousands of dollars each year in the form of higher interest rates on everything from loans to credit cards.
Credit reports have become the gold standard for determining a person's financial worth. In some instances, employers even use credit reports and credit scores during the hiring process.
There are several ways in which a poor credit history and low credit score can affect finances.
- Higher Interest Rates. Persons with poor credit reports and low credit scores (between 300 and 500) are subject to higher interest rates for loans. Because consumers with a bad credit history are a higher risk to lenders, an attempt to recoup as much money up front usually is reflected through a higher interest rate. Of course, it's also possible that loans from various creditors will be denied entirely. When
that happens, consumers are left with little recourse.
- Credit Cards. Approval for new credit cards will be difficult if not impossible with a poor credit rating. Consumers who are lucky enough to get a new card will find themselves saddled with a higher-than-average interest rate, as well as a low spending limit.
- Vehicle Insurance. Vehicle insurance companies have jumped on the bandwagon of reviewing potential clients' credit histories prior to agreeing to insure them. Roughly 92 percent of all insurance companies research a customer's credit history prior to insuring them. Consumers with poor payment histories or a dismal credit score can expect to pay higher premiums. Data indicates that persons with poor credit are
more likely to file claims and are therefore a higher risk for insurers. Conversely, those with excellent credit histories and credit scores generally have fewer accidents and tend to pay premiums in a timely fashion.
- Employment. With 69 percent of all U.S. employers admitting to checking credit reports as part of the hiring process, those with a bad credit history can be left out in the cold when it comes to landing a new job. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers must first seek permission prior to requesting a potential employee's credit report. Those who suffer from bad credit or a dismal credit score can find
themselves being passed over for new jobs as well as promotions with an existing employer.
Having poor credit is not the end of the world. With a little time and a lot of hard work, a bad credit history can be turned into a positive credit history.
The first step one should take toward repairing a bad credit history is to review copies of your own credit report. Reports can be requested through the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that all consumers are to receive one free annual credit report from each of the three agencies.
Consumers with poor credit histories also should consult with a consumer credit counseling service, which can help start the process of repairing credit. These services work by helping consumers to consolidate loans and other debt into monthly payments the consumer can afford. There are many such agencies on the market today, but consumers should be careful when selecting one, as not all are created equal.