This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Bad Credit? Time For Tough Love And No Excuses





Quick, what's your credit score? Don't know? Don't care? You should. If you've been turned down for loans or received high interest rates from lenders, your credit may be, well, bad. The good news? You can fix it. You really can. But there's no magic formula. There are, however, some concrete steps you can take to turn your credit situation around. Begin by understanding what contributes to your current score and follow the four steps outlined below to change course.

"What is bad credit, anyway?"

Bad credit means that you have negative items or limited entries on your credit report resulting in being on the lower end of the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) Credit Score scale. FICO is the U.S. standard banks use to measure a person's creditworthiness. Your credit report consists of entries from lenders saying you have paid your bills on time, how long your account has been open and other information about your account. When you apply for new credit, such as a credit card, the potential lender looks at your credit report to see how you have behaved with other lenders. The point range is 300-850, with 300 being the lowest score. Credit scores below 620 will generally find it more difficult to obtain loans at favorable rates.

"Yeah, my score is low. But who cares? It's just a number."

A lower score indicates to lenders that you are a credit risk -- you may not pay back the money you have borrowed. In order to offset the potential loss that a lender may incur by lending to you, the rates and fees offered to you are typically higher than those offered to people with good credit scores. That means, for the same purchase, you may be paying more than someone with a higher credit score. For example, a landlord may charge you a larger deposit in order to rent an apartment or, if you carry a balance on a credit card, your interest charges are higher.

Because building a good credit score requires a history of timely debt repayment, a good credit score indicates to lenders that you are likely to repay the money you borrow. As desirable customers, those with high credit scores are offered the lowest interest rates on different types of loans including automobiles, homes and credit cards. Potential employers may also view your credit report, however, employers do not check credit scores.

"Why do I have a bad credit score?"

There are a variety of reasons why you could have a low FICO credit score. Some of these reasons will lower your score more than others. You may have one or more of the following factors:

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,096.90 -106.47 -0.58%
S&P 500 2,098.53 -9.25 -0.44%
NASDAQ 4,967.1410 -12.76 -0.26%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs