Having a negative credit score can severely impact your life. It’ll limit your options for getting loans or credit cards, which could strain your finances. You may be denied home and car loans in particular, potentially hampering some of your life goals or transportation to work or important events. Some landlords may even deny your applications for poor credit scores, severely threatening your housing security. Even if you are approved for loans and credit lines, you’ll likely face much higher interest rates, or be required to put up collateral.
If your debts are significant enough, your creditors could even take you to court. Failure to respond to a lawsuit in time could make you automatically lose your case. Even if you fight the suit, losing in court will allow a judge to require your repayment, perhaps going so far as to garnish your wages until repayment is complete.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your credit, and certain laws that protect your rights. It can take time to rebuild a low credit score, but by starting the process now you can begin the path to achieving your goals.
The first thing you’ll need to do is look at your credit report to see where you’re being penalized, which could help you know what to address. It’s even possible there are errors on your report or fraudulent uses of your identity. You could dispute these issues and potentially get your credit fixed.
One of the most likely culprits of a low credit score is a history of late payments. Late payments can show up on a report in as little as 30 days past due, but usually it’s 60 to 90 days. Falling too far behind on payments for too long could lead to a default, in which your creditor charges off your debt to a collection agency. This is a huge red mark on your report that will make future creditors wary of loaning to you.
Therefore, making all of your payments on time going forward will slowly help you bring up your score.
You may also have problems on your credit report if you have too many lines of credit out, especially if those lines are over, at, or near the limit available to you. Increasing your credit lines, but not adding to the balance, could help improve this part of your report.
If your biggest issue is not having enough of a credit history, acquiring a small credit card or two could help you build that up; just be sure to keep the balance low and always make your payments on time.
Handling financial situations can make consumers vulnerable to unfair or predatory practices. Fortunately, there are consumer protection laws that can help you during the process, created to address some common problems people face when trying to improve their credit.
Consumers with poor credit scores are often the targets for fraudulent or predatory credit repair services. The Federal Trade Commission created the Consumer Credit Protection Act which created regulations that credit repair services must follow. For example, they aren’t allowed to require advanced payment for their services, nor can they hide or lie about the terms of their services. Contracts must be in writing, and consumers must have the option to cancel the contract without penalties.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the federal government limits who can access your credit report, or what kind of information they’re able to see on it. Creditors, banks, landlords, employers, and insurance companies are allowed to see your report, but only with your permission. Few others can get a copy of your credit report.
The FCRA also requires a time limit on the items listed in your report. Most negative activities on your report are removed after seven years, including defaults, late payments, and foreclosures. Other events, like Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, can stay for 10 years.
This is also the law that allows you to dispute incorrect information on your credit report and the law that created the right to credit repair.
When it comes to addressing credit problems, it doesn’t have to be you against the world. There are different kinds of services you can use to help you get your credit score back on track.
There are the aforementioned credit repair companies. Just be mindful of the relevant laws when working with these groups and don’t stay with a company that breaks them.
You could also hire a financial advisor. Financial advisors can offer you tips and advice on how to address your credit problems, and assist you in building long-term financial goals.
Credit lawyers can also be a valuable help in credit repair matters. An experienced credit lawyer could search your credit report to find the best penalties to address. They can file disputes on your behalf and communicate with creditors for you. They could even help settle some of your outstanding debts or make alternate payments arrangements that might make your repayment plans more manageable. Credit lawyers can especially be an important asset to use if you have to go to court over a credit issue, representing your case and negotiating with your creditors or the court to lessen or prevent harsh penalties.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified credit repair lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local credit repair attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.
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