Establishing and maintaining your credit file is another. Here are some ideas to help you get a good credit file and maintain a good record at the same time.
1. Get credit in your own name - Whether single, married, separated, or divorced, you are entitled to a credit file in your own name. If your spouse or former spouse had or has bad credit and most credit was in the spouse's name, it would definitely be advantageous to have your own credit file. Even if debt was held jointly this could be a wise strategy because by separating the files and insisting that your file not include any of the spouse's credit, some negative credit could easily disappear.
All that is needed is contacting each of the three credit bureaus and requesting credit in your own name. You can contact me and I will walk you through the steps. Then insist that the bureau remove ALL accounts belonging to your spouse. By law they have to at your request. This helps the family out if one persons credit it good and the other has some issues to resolve. You can get a house in the better credit name and then add the other on later or just add them to the Title of the home so they feel secure and everyone is working as a single unit. The key is to strategize and not let credit hold you back from your goals.
2. Know how credit offers are evaluated - When you apply for credit, most often a credit or risk score is assigned to establish your probability to repay the debt. This method is used by applying calculations based upon formats developed by offices like Fair Isaac. At the 5th District AME Church seminars I go into complete detail in this area. But besides credit scores, creditors sometimes evaluate applications using the three "C's": Capacity, Collateral, And Character.
Capacity: A creditor wants to understand your ability to repay. But additionally they want to know how much debt you can realistically be expected to pay back. How long have you been on the job? What is the likelihood of advancement? Is your job and industry stable? What is your position? What is your current debt ratio? What kind of debts do you have? Are they all unsecured such as credit cards? Is there secured loans such as car or home? How long have you had these accounts? Do you have a good history of paying?
Collateral: Do you own a home, stock, valuables etc. This area could be crucial in procuring a loan if you have many late payments.
Character: your character shows through in objective manners such as, how long on the job and how long at your residence.
3. Build Your Chances of Approval:
1. Always apply in the exact same name. Don't use a middle initial sometimes and not others.
2. Bolster your credit application. If you have negative remarks is there a reason?
3. Apply for credit when you are most likely to get it.
4. Apply with creditors with whom you have a history.
4. Apply Credit Wisdom When You Have Credit:
Scrutinize pre-approved cards. What is the interest rate, annual fee, grace period.
If you have a card, protect it.
Rather than going over your limit, ask for an increase.
Once approved for a card, do not get out of control. Once you learn to control credit, credit applications will always be available to you.
One of the first things I look at is a clients credit report, but fortunately Countrywide has several programs that do not base your loan possibilities on credit scores or past history. In the financial industry, credit is the picture you send to someone before you meet him or her. Sooner or later we will be swapping credit reports before dating someone. Scary thought, huh?
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