Presentation on theme: "Repair Your Credit. Success story As a mother of two young children, one of whom has special needs, Sharon Hays credits the Bluegrass Domestic Violence."— Presentation transcript:
Success story As a mother of two young children, one of whom has special needs, Sharon Hays credits the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program for helping her find the will to leave her abusive husband two years ago. The IDA program has helped Sharon go back to college. In addition, with the help of her one-on-one credit coach, Sharon was able to raise her credit score by 126 points.
Improving your credit score Just like losing weight, raising your credit score takes time and there is no quick fix
Payment history tips Pay your bills on time After 12 months this will be a good line of credit Get current and stay current on payments If you cannot pay on time, try to make the minimum balance prior to the 30-days notice Contact your creditors or see a credit counselor
Amounts owed tips Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit Pay off debt instead of moving it around Dont close unused credit cards Dont open several new credit cards that you dont need
Length of credit history tips Dont open a lot of new accounts too rapidly New accounts lower your average account age Avoid closing a lot of old accounts Keep your oldest accounts open If you are a new credit user, rapid account buildup can look risky Avoid applying for credit to get a free T-shirt or for a discount on an item you want to buy
New credit tips Do rate shopping for a given loan within a focused amount of time Open new accounts responsibly and pay them off in time Request and check your own credit report Order directly from the credit reporting agency or an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers
Types of credit use Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed Use credit cards and loans responsibly Keep in mind that closed accounts will still show up on your credit report Understand how to read your credit card statement
Fixing errors Check your credit report annually If you find errors on your credit report, take action ASAP Errors are potentially very damaging your credit score
Disputing your credit report You have the right to dispute information on your credit report. Can be done online or in writing An investigation will occur and you will receive a Result of Investigation Letter that explains the credit bureau findings. Could result in deletion of inaccurate information
Common errors Is your personal identification information correct? Did something appear more than once? Did someone look at your credit report without your permission? Is an inquiry shown on your report for more than two years? Is a bankruptcy listed more than 10 years old?
Steps to correcting errors Copy your credit report Highlight the error Write a letter that explains the error Copy additional information to support your claim Send all of the above to the credit bureau
Resolving debt on a credit report Pay off in full Arrange schedule Offer settlement amount for payment in full (approximately 40-75% for older debt)
Paying off in full Send cashiers check or certified money order In the memo section write for payment in full and the account number Keep a record of the names/phone numbers of people you speak with Have creditor send you a letter stating the account is paid off in full Request a receipt that shows a zero balance Send copies of receipt and letter to all three credit bureaus Ask each bureau to update the accounts to show paid in full
Arranging payment schedule Contact the company by phone or mail Find out if they would accept monthly payments Keep records of the names/phone numbers of people you speak with Keep copies of payments you send in After several months offer a settlement amount as payment in full Update bureaus when account is paid in full
Offer a settlement amount Estimate 40-75% of debt Two options: Contact company by telephone Contact company by mail
Option 1: Contact by telephone Before you call: Have the money on hand to send immediately after negotiating a deal Know your target amount you want to pay, offer less, and plan to negotiate Do not agree to pay more than you can afford Explain that you are interested in paying account off Negotiate a settlement and pay by date agreed Keep records
Option 2: Contact by mail Send the company a letter with the certified funds attached Write account number and paid in full in the memo section Letter should say you are sending the amount as payment in full Keep copy of certified funds and copy of letter Request a letter be sent stating account was paid off Send copies to all three bureaus
Obtaining help Talk to your credit counselor They can help you negotiate with creditors or set up a spending plan Learn more by visiting the following websites: Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov)www.ftc.gov National Consumer Law Center (www.NCLC.org)www.NCLC.org Dont be fooled by ads that claim they can erase bad credit! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Understanding bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a last resort Cannot clean up a bad credit record Stays on your credit report for up to 10 years Typically does not eliminate child support, alimony, fines, past-due taxes, and some student loans Before considering bankruptcy, talk to your IDA Advocate
Types of bankruptcy Chapter 7 Wipes out all allowable debts and provides certain personal-property exemptions Debtor gives up all property unless the state finds that the debtor needs it to support his or her dependents Chapter 13 Court-approved repayment plan Debtor keeps all property and makes regular payments on debt after filing for bankruptcy
Long-term effects of bankruptcy Could determine whether or not you get the job you want Insurance rates may increase May be difficult to rent an apartment or qualify for a home loan Bankruptcies stay on your report for 10 years
Alternatives to bankruptcy Before filing bankruptcy, try the following strategies: Reduce spending Negotiate a payment plan with your creditors Work with your IDA Advocate to create a debt repayment plan Talk to an attorney Consider debt consolidation-analyze risks and consequences of this action first
References The Allstate Foundation.(2009). Moving Ahead Through Financial Management-Module Three. Redevelopment Opportunities for Women.(2008). Realizing Your Economic Action Plan.