Though it may feel like it, bad credit scores aren’t the end of your financial world. Learn the steps that led you to where you are and the steps you need to take to turn your bad scores into good ones.
Yes, buying a home is possible when you have bad credit. However, you’ll likely be limited to certain mortgage programs because of your credit scores. A popular mortgage for people with low credit scores is an FHA mortgage. The program accepts applicants with scores as low as 500, but if your score is between 500 and 579, you’ll need a 10% down payment.
The exact definition of a bad credit score can vary by the scoring model but, in most cases, a score lower than 580 is considered bad credit. A variety of factors can lead to a bad score, including late payments, not making payments at all, and having your account go to collections.
You’ll need to shop around and get quotes from several lenders to see what your options are. Expect to pay higher interest rates than someone with good credit scores, as lenders see your bad credit as a risk.
Yes, you can probably find a lender that can provide an auto loan for your bad credit. When you start your search, make sure you get pre-approvals from several different lenders so you can compare rates. An option for lowering your interest rate may be to provide a substantial down payment.
You can get an apartment even with bad credit, but you’ll need to be smart as you search for a place to live. Ways to increase your chances of getting an apartment include finding rentals without credit checks and prove that you have steady and reliable income.
In most cases, consumers with bad credit will have to search for secured credit cards. These cards typically require a down payment that serves as your credit limit and a backup just in case you can’t pay your bill. A good secured credit card is the Discover it Secured, which provides rewards and waives your first late fee.
Credit repair is the practice of improving your credit through a variety of methods including correcting errors on your report, consolidating debt, paying down balances, tracking your credit score, and building good habits like keeping your credit balances low and making on-time payments.
Your credit report contains a wealth of information about your financial history and actions. If you have credit or loan accounts, those accounts and how you pay them are included in your credit report. It’s important to review your credit report at least once a year so you know what your creditors are saying about you.
A free credit report is a credit report you can access without paying a fee. Services like Credit Karma require you to create an account to view your credit reports from credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax, but they don’t charge a fee.
A credit check is something a lender, bank, or service provider performs when they need to check your financial history. It grants them access to information about your existing and past credit, payment habits, and types of loans so they can assess your risk level as a borrower.
Having a negative credit history means you have several pieces of negative information on your credit report—a document that contains details of your payment and account history with creditors and lenders.
A FICO score is the branded version of credit score most widely used by the nation's largest financial institutions to make credit and loan approval decisions.
A debt collector is a person or company that collects payments for past-due accounts. They may be hired by a business or buy debt from other companies.
Credit repair companies help people fix inaccurate items on their credit reports. Although you can repair these items on your own, it can help to have a well-trained credit professional work through the process with you. Not only will the best credit repair companies do most of the work for you, but they’ll make sure there aren’t inaccurate items on your report.
A secured credit card is a card that requires a security deposit to open an account. The card issuer will use the deposit to cover any payments you don’t make, and your credit limit is usually equal to your deposit. These cards typically have stripped-down benefits and only a few offer rewards.
In general, credit scores of 700 or higher are considered “good credit” scores. Good scores tend to provide more opportunities for better lending terms, including lower interest rates. Two steps toward good credit include making on-time payments and keeping your balances low.