Over thirty-five years of my career has been either directly or non-directly working in retail credit. Working with individuals and families for years helping them with financing. Over the years I have learned a thing or two about financing and credit.
Sadly, most of my clients these days have credit issues. You have no idea how much more difficult life can be when you don’t have a good credit rating. Bad things happen to good people certainly. However, so many folks are what bankers call chronic derogatory credit.
It’s amazing to me how many people will, for example, let a car repo because the dealer won’t help them fix the car. Ruining their credit. Will get into this later in the article.
What I want to give you is sage advice on getting and keeping your credit. To also give you advice on how to regain your credit if you’ve lost it. How to pick up your scores and maintain a quality credit score.
The first thing we should cover is what you need to do before you buy anything on credit. Once you sign on the dotted line, you’re an OWNER. Does not matter how bad the product is you bought, you own it. Many consumers say they have three days to return an item. Better check with your States Attorney General for what is and is not covered under this law.
For example, in the State of Texas when you buy a vehicle, once you drive off the dealer’s lot you own the car. There is no bringing the car back if you have buyer’s remorse. When you cross the curb of the dealership if the car falls into two pieces, you own two pieces of a whole car.
You can’t just simply take back a product after you consummated a deal and expected not to have consequences such as a repo. It does not matter how right you think you are, that you may have been duped. That is NOT the bank’s problem at all. The bank is not a mediator between you and the dealer in this example.
What is an absolute must before you sign for credit, know what you’re buying. Make sure that all your bases are covered. Does not matter is what you buy doesn’t work you still have to pay. Not fair I get it, but NOT the lender’s problem. Your problem is between you and the seller.
Banks lend money period; they don’t care about problems outside of you paying them back. They did not break your TV or car; they lend you the money to buy them. They assume that you’ve done your due-diligence.
Consumers get caught up in the moment, get excited and make rash decisions. Don’t let emotions get in the way of sound financial judgment. Salespeople are trained to create excitement around your purchase. Don’t get fooled into something you are not completely in control of. Otherwise, you may get to pay for a piece of junk. You can give it back at the cost of your credit. Bankers don’t care about your story or how you got duped. What they will care about in the future is will you do it to them! Don’t catch that plague.
Research the product, car, TV, whatever item you plan to buy with credit. Before you sign on the dotted line.
So, what happens if now if credit is gone. Scores in the four hundred or five hundred range. What can consumers do to fix this?
Here are a few things you can do now:
- Get copies of all three credit reports with scores. Free services are good but go get your report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Trans Union®, Equifax®, Experian®. See what a bank will see. Know exactly what is what.
- If you find erroneous information on your report. File a dispute with that credit agency to have it removed.
- Check the dates for derogatory information. If something from twenty years ago is on your report file a dispute to have removed.
- Work with creditors to remove derogatory information if you have paid them.
- Open credit card accounts that are maxed out. Work to pay more than minimum payments, make sure your payments post before your billing cycle. Very important that payments post before your billing cycle.
- When possible get at least one payment ahead on all your credit accounts. If you can’t at least try to get one or two. Especially cars, and mortgage. You never know when you might have a rainy day.
- Before you hire a credit, repair agency understands all they’re really doing is disputing information on your credit report. If creditors don’t respond within a set time, the credit agency will remove. You can do that for FREE.
There is NO magic cure to fix credit. When you dispute claims, some will fall off while others will stay.
When rebuilding credit starting off with a secured credit card can help. Lots of car dealers can help you with derogatory credit financing. This is not a loan that you buy your dream car with. So many folks go into car dealers to buy super expensive cars with sub-prime financing. This is a huge mistake.
Now you bury yourself in a depreciable asset, that you have no real chance of trading out of for years. Don’t get in this trap I have seen more people make financial matters worse doing this not better. Get your pride out of the way. You may not be driving the car you want this go around, but if you take care of business, the next car can be your dream car.
Believe me; dealers will let you get whatever you want they don’t care if you repo or not. Get what you can easily afford. Wouldn’t it be much better to have good credit in the future or perhaps you think driving a “Buy Here Pay Here” car would be a dream car. In that situation, if you put $2000 down that will be the value of the piece of junk you HAVE to buy for thousands of dollars more than what the car is worth. The cycle won’t end. Get pride out of the way!
If you want to change your credit outlook, it will take work. It won’t come overnight either, but it will come. You may work a couple of years to do it, but one day you will have credit again. Get with a good Credit Union and work to build good credit again. Secured loans and credit cards are a good start. Use practical sense when making purchases on credit where high-interest rates are part of your buying your way back to good credit. Do this, and before you know it, credit will again shine in your life.
I am happy to answer questions about credit: