Building Your Credit From No Credit or Bad Credit
Building Your Credit From No Credit or Bad Credit by Paul Basco
Building credit from no credit or bad credit often seems to be a catch-22. Most credit card companies and lenders will not open an account for you or give you a loan if you don't already have an established credit history, but you can't establish a credit history without opening a credit card account or applying for a loan! Luckily, there are ways to break into building your credit score, even if you have no history or bad credit history. The secret is to start small and stay responsible.
Know the Score
Especially if you are recovering from bad credit, it is important to settle up on all of your lingering credit issues. If you have many debts or have recently gone through a bankruptcy, it can be difficult to keep track of how much you owe and to whom you owe it. To take care of this problem, you'll need to order a credit report from each of the three major credit agencies. They are:
Experian Equifax TransUnion
These are the exact same credit bureaus that lenders and credit card issuers are going to order your credit score from, so it is important to know what they are going to see when reviewing your history. By looking over them yourself first, you get a chance to explain any bumpy spots in your history or dispute any inaccuries.
Dispute Inaccuracies and Settle Unresolved Issues
Once you get your credit report, review it carefully. If you find any debts you have not paid off yet, pay them off right away. If you find any inaccuracies or mistakes on the lenders part, dispute them right away.
First, make sure you keep a record of all your correspondences with the company. If you are writing letters, print off two copies of each and date them. If you are calling on the telephone, be sure to get the name of each representative you speak with and keep a log of all the calls you make.
First, notify the credit agency that reported the issue that there is an inaccuracy. Write a letter to each credit agency notifying them of the inaccuracy and let them know that you are disputing it.
Next, contact the business that reported the false claim. Call them on the phone at first and let them know you will be mailing them a letter as well. If possible, ask if there is an appropriate department to address your letter. Also, let them know that you have already contacted the credit reporting bureaus about the matter.
Call the agency, or include in your letter that you would like them to contact the business in order to resolve the dispute. Once you get the business and the credit reporting agencies in a dialog, things will go much smoother for you.
Once the matters are all resolved, get a hold of each credit agency again and make sure they include a record of the dispute and the inaccuracies resolution on all of your future credit reports. This lets lenders know that you have addressed all issues that appear on your credit report.
Learn about Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards
Depending on your situation, you may want to get either a secured or an unsecured card. A secured credit card is isssued by a bank or credit union and has a credit line that corresponds to a balance in another account. This balance acts as collateral for your loan in case you default. This minimizes the risk for the lender and can get you better terms on your loan.
An unsecured credit card has no collateral, thus making it harder to be approved for and riskier to use. However, some predatory card issuers will lure vulnerable borrowers in with overblown offers with the anticipation that they will rack up huge balances and accrue interest. Unsecured credit cards can also come with hidden fees and special interest rates that are designed to get more money from you.
If you are just starting out or already have questionable credit, a secured credit card is a better way to go. Secured credit cards ensure that you always have enough money to cover your debts, which means less liability both for you and your credit card company.
Practice responsible borrowing habits
Pay off the entire balance each month. This will keep interest from building up. Always pay on time. Just one late fee can be a blemish on your credit report that can take a long time to go away. Don't spend what you don't have. Forget about cash advances, super checks, or keeping a balance over a long period of time. This leads to debt, debt, debt and interest. Stick with one credit card company. The longer you keep an account in good standing, the better it will look on your report. Keep an eye on your statements. Report any unauthorized activity or errors immediately. Negotiate better terms once you have stayed in good standing for about 2 years. Let your credit card company know that you are a responsible customer and deserve better rates.
Paul Basco provides expert opinions and reviews to help you Apply for a Credit Card and Compare Credit Card Offers with GettingaCreditCard.com.
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