Is your credit score too low to get credit?
How to increase your FICO score so you can get credit
Iíve seen a rash of search terms that tell me new readers are looking for information about bad credit and FICO scores that are too low to get a loan.
[Updated June 2011... Credit advice changes according to economic cycles. Some things that worked in the past don't work in a different lending climate]
Iím afraid I donít have any magic cure for past problems. Iíve been in the situation where ďlife eventsĒ pile up and suddenly you canít seem to make any headway no matter what. Working yourself out of that hole is VERY possible, but it does take some concentrated effort and you canít give up and get stupid in the middle.
Here are some suggestions, depending on your situation:
- If you need to refinance NOW to get out of an adjustable mortgage and you have bad credit, do your research and come up with a list of several lenders. Make the calls and get several loan officers working to try and help you. Tell each one that you are working with several people to try and solve your problem and you want them to take a look at your credit before you commit to any one of them.
- If you donít know your credit score, it really is time you found out. This will save you time and money if youíre spinning your wheels now trying to find a lender to work with you. There is no point in calling "A" paper lenders all day if your score puts you in the D- category. You also canít expect to get the lowest rate if youíre not A paper quality, but you shouldnít settle for a D- rate if youíre B+, either.
- If you order your own credit report and FICO score, it doesn't ordinarily count against you as an inquiry. Be sure you order a report that gives you the FICO score as well as the credit report. Some packages have one or the other, but not both. You probably donít need monitoring services or any other specialized services right now, and you can come back to them later if you want to. The free credit report you are entitled to annually DOES NOT include a FICO score.
- If your score is under 620, then you are statistically a very high risk borrower. The lower the score, the more chance there is that you will default. How does the lender know that? Your past experiences with credit provide the lender with a pretty good idea of how you handle your finances. If youíve defaulted on loans in the past, chances are youíll do it again. If youíve experienced a one-time traumatic ďlife eventĒ that put you under, be ready to explain what happened and how you are recovering, including what youíve learned about preventing it from happening again.
- If youíre over your head in debt and just have to find a way to continue living indoors and feeding the kids, then you probably need some serious professional help. The options at this time seem to be declaring bankruptcy or finding a legitimate credit counselor to help you dig out. Neither one of these scenarios are pretty and should be the last, rather than the first thing you try.
- If youíre determined to dig yourself out of the hole, try an supportive group or online support. Working your way out of debt is difficult and youíll have to be determined, but Iím proof that itís possible.
- If youíre in pretty good shape except for an adjustable rate mortgage and some increasing credit card debt, then one last refinance might be the right move. I donít really believe that you should use your home like a credit card, financing purchases you donít need, but your home is one investment you might be able to count on in a pinch. Rates and Values can change quickly, so this might be the right time to get your financial picture in order.
Copyright: Judi M Moore, 2rhouse.org, September 28, 2005, all rights reserved