Don’t let bad credit hold you back. These easy-to-follow tips can help you boost your credit score and get you closer to a debt-free lifestyle.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Talking about credit isn’t the most exciting topic, but it’s certainly important because your credit score dictates many important life decisions.
If your credit is less than excellent, there are steps you can take now to fix it so you don’t get held up in the future. Before improving your credit score, you need to know what affects it.
“We want to know everything in our report,” said Lilias John, financial consultant and author at Your Financial Stylist. “And we want to know if it’s right or wrong or whatever.”
Here are the 5 steps to follow to clean up your credit:
1. Extract all credit reports
2. Check for errors
Make sure that all listed debts really belong to you. If you’re a junior or named after a relative, you might find something impacting your score that isn’t even yours.
“We see this often with fathers and sons,” John said. “It’s not mine, it’s my dad, and it’s on my report.”
It says to verify that the payment history and reported balances are correct. If you find errors, file disputes directly with each reporting agency.
WCNC Charlotte always asks “where’s the money?” If you need help, contact the Defenders team by email [email protected].
3. Call your creditors
Remember that all valid debts must be paid, so don’t fall for scams claiming to cancel a debt for a fee.
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4. Always negotiate
Creditors can and will work with you, but be careful.
“The one thing you don’t want to do is settle,” John said. “Settlements are a bit more difficult because they are credited to you as negotiated or settled for less than the amount. There are creditors who will let you negotiate and pay a lesser amount, but not have it written down. as a settlement on your credit. This will be an important distinction.
If you need help or just want some extra support, use free, nonprofit advocates like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
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5. Make payment arrangements and make sure you keep them
If you’re having trouble catching up and getting a deal, it’s essential that you keep paying. Otherwise, things can quickly go wrong.
“They can file a judgment against you if you don’t pay within a certain time and it stays on your credit like bankruptcy,” John said. “It goes near the top header of your credit file and it can stay there for up to seven years.”
You don’t have to manage your finances alone. Join John’s free Facebook group called The SuperSavers Club.
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