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12 Things You Didn’t Know Affect Your Credit Score

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Credit scores provide lenders a look into your financial history by analyzing five main factors, but a lot more than five things influence that important three-digit number.

You probably already know that it’s important to pay your bills on time, keep a low ratio of debt compared to available credit (aka utilization rate) and maintain a long history of accounts in good standing. You may also be aware that it’s helpful to limit new credit inquiries and have a diverse mix of credit products.

However, there are some less obvious situations that can also influence your credit, like having overdue library books and unpaid parking tickets.

Below, we review these two surprising examples along with 10 other little-known things that can impact your credit score.

12 things you may not know affect your credit score

  1. Credit limit increase requests
  2. Business credit cards
  3. Unpaid medical bills
  4. Phone payment plans
  5. Withholding rent
  6. Unpaid parking tickets
  7. Overdue library books
  8. Co-signing a loan
  9. Student loans
  10. Personal loans
  11. Car leases and auto loans
  12. Mortgages

1. Credit limit increase requests

When you request a credit limit increase, your card issuer may perform a hard pull of your credit. This can temporarily ding your credit score by a few points. However, there are times when credit limit requests cause no harm to your credit score, like when your issuer does a soft pull of your credit or initiates an automatic increase.

2. Business credit cards

If you’re a small business owner or employee, the actions you take with your business credit card may affect your personal credit score. Business owners who are the primary account holder have the most liability and therefore the biggest risk to their personal credit. For instance, business owners who use the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business can add additional employee cards for no charge. While this is convenient, they assume some additional risk by letting authorized users make charges on their credit line.

3. Unpaid medical bills

Payment history is the most important factor of your credit score and extends to more than your credit card and loan bills. Any unpaid medical bills may be sent to debt collections agencies after a certain period of time.

4.  Phone payment plan

Installment loans, such as phone payment plans, may appear on your credit report and can affect your credit score. So if you want the latest iPhone and opt for an affordable two-year payment plan, make sure you keep up with the monthly payments.

5. Withholding rent and utilities

If you withhold rent and utilities or break a lease without paying the lease-break fee, your lack of payment may be reported to the credit bureaus and negatively affect your credit. Landlords and utility companies typically don’t report your payment history to the credit bureaus, but they are likely to report unpaid bills.

6. Unpaid parking tickets

Nearly any unpaid fines, tickets, fees and general payments can cause damage to your credit score down the line, and that includes unpaid parking tickets. If you don’t pay your ticket on time, it may be sent to collections.

7. Overdue library books

This one may come as a surprise — if you return a library book late and don’t pay the fine, the library may send your information to collections.

8. Co-signing a loan

If a family member or friend needs help taking out a loan or opening a credit card, you may consider co-signing. However, this could affect your credit in three ways:

  1. A new inquiry can appear on your credit report.
  2. The account balance or size of the loan can affect your utilization rate.
  3. Last, any of their missed payments can show up on your credit history.

9. Student loans

Similar to co-signing a loan, the new inquiry and size of a student loan appears on your credit report. In addition, your payment history influences your credit score.

10. Personal loans

A personal loan influences your credit just like a student loan. The loan inquiry, size and payment history are all reported to the credit bureaus.

11. Car lease and auto loans

You may take out some sort of car-related loan at some point, whether it’s a lease or auto loan for the purchase of a car. The inquiry, size of the loan and your payment history will appear on your credit report.

12. Mortgages

Mortgages are likely the largest loan you’ll ever take out and can have a huge impact on your credit score if you fall behind on payments. (Learn how the NFCC is offering free credit counseling to help you pay debt and prevent foreclosure amid the coronavirus.)

Bottom line

In order to avoid negative impacts to your credit score, maintain an on-time payment history and be aware of co-signing credit products, especially if the co-signer has bad credit.

Information about the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle

It’s been 11 weeks since Lai Xiaomin, the man once known as the God of Wealth, was executed on a cold Friday morning in the Chinese city of Tianjin.

But his shadow still hangs over one of the most dramatic corruption stories ever to come out of China – a tale that has now set nerves on edge around the financial world.

Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

At its center isChina Huarong Asset Management Co., the state financial company that Lai lorded over until getting ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption by China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

From Hong Kong to London to New York, questions burn. Will the Chinese government stand behind $23.2 billion that Lai borrowed on overseas markets — or will international bond investors have to swallow losses? Are key state-owned enterprises like Huarong still too big to fail, as global finance has long assumed – or will these companies be allowed to stumble, just like anyone else?

The answers will have huge implications for China and markets across Asia. Should Huarong fail to pay back its debts in full, the development would cast doubt over a core tenet of Chinese investment: the assumed government backing for important state-owned enterprises, or SOEs.

“A default at a central state-owned company like Huarong is unprecedented,” said Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. Should one occur, he said, it would mark “a watershed moment” for Chinese and Asian credit markets.

Not since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s has the issue weighed so heavily. Huarong bonds — among the most widely held SOE debt worldwide — recently fell to a record low of about 52 cents on the dollar. That’s not the pennies on a dollar normally associated with deeply troubled companies elsewhere, but it’s practically unheard of for an SOE.

Time is short. All told, Huarong owes bondholders at home and abroad the equivalent of $42 billion. Some $17.1 billion of that falls due by the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

Huarong Bonds Tank

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Huarong was created in the aftermath of the ‘90s Asian collapse to avert another crisis, not cause one. The idea was to contain a swelling wave of bad loans threatening Chinese banks. Huarong was to serve as a “bad bank,” a safe repository for the billions in souring loans made to state companies.

Along with three other bad banks, Huarong swapped delinquent debts for stakes in hundreds of big SOEs and, in the process, helped turn around chronic money-losers like the giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

After Lai took over in 2012, Huarong reached for more, pushing into investment banking, trusts, real estate and positioning itself as a key player in China’s $54 trillion financial industry.

Before long, global banks came knocking. In 2013, for instance, Shane Zhang, co-head of Asia-Pacific investment banking at Morgan Stanley, met with Lai. Zhang said his company was “very optimistic” about the future of Huarong, according to a statement posted on Huarong’s website at the time.

Before Huarong went public in Hong Kong in 2015, it sold a $2.4 billion stake to a group of investors including Warburg Pincus, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group acquired lots of stock too, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has collapsed 67% since its listing.

Lai had no trouble financing his grand ambitions. A big reason: Everyone thought Beijing would always stand behind a key company like Huarong. It easily borrowed money in the offshore market at rates as low as 2.1%. It borrowed still more in the domestic interbank market. Along the way Lai transformed Huarong into a powerful shadow lender, extending credit to companies that banks turned away.

The truth was darker. Lai, a former senior official at the nation’s banking regulator, doled out loans with little oversight from his board or risk management committee.

One Huarong credit officer said Lai personally called the shots on most of the offshore corporate loans underwritten by her division.

Money also flowed to projects disguised as parts of China’s push to build railroads, ports and more around the world – the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, according to an executive at a state bank. Huarong didn’t immediately reply to questions on its lending practices.

Given Lai’s fate, both people spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Huarong snapped up more than half of the 510 billion yuan in distressed debts disposed of by Chinese banks in 2016. At its peak, Lai’s sprawling empire had almost 200 units at home and abroad. Heboasted in 2017 that Huarong, having reached the Hong Kong stock exchange, would soon go public in mainland China, too.

The IPO never happened. Lai was arrested in 2018 and subsequently confessed to a range of economic crimes in a state TV show. He spoke of trunk-loads of cash being spirited into a Beijing apartment he’d dubbed “the supermarket.” Authorities said they discovered 200 million yuan there. Expensive real estate, luxury watches, art, gold – the list of Lai’s treasure ran on.

This past January, Lai wasfound guilty by the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court in Tianjin of accepting of $277 million in bribes between 2008 and 2018. He was put to death three weeks later – a rare use of capital punishment for economic crimes. Some took the execution as a message from China’s leader, Xi Jinping: my crackdown on corruption will roll on.

At Huarong, the bottom has fallen out. Net income plummeted 95% from 2017 to 2019, to 1.4 billion yuan, and then sank 92% during the first half of 2020. Assets have shriveled by 165 billion yuan.

The company on April 1 announced that it would delay its 2020 results, saying its auditor needed more time. The influential Caixin magazine this week openly speculated about Huarong’s fate, including the possibility of bankruptcy.

According to people familiar with the matter, Huarong has proposed a sweepingrestructuring. The plan would involve offloading its money-losing, non-core businesses. Huarong is still trying to get a handle on what those businesses might be worth. The proposal, which the government would have to approve, helps explain why the company delayed its 2020 results, the people said.

Company executives have been meeting with peers at state banks to assuage their concerns over the past two weeks, a Huarong official said.

The Chinese finance ministry has raised anotherpossibility: transferring its stake in Huarong to a unit of the nation’s sovereign wealth fund that could then sort out the assorted debt problems. Regulators have held several meetings to discuss the company’s plight, according to people familiar with the matter.

In an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg, Huarong said it has “adequate liquidity” and plans to announce the expected date of its 2020 earnings release after consulting with auditors. China’s banking and insurance regulator didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment on Huarong’s situation.

Rising Stress

Onshore bond defaults by China’s state firms hit a record in 2020

Source: Fitch Ratings; 2021 data are for the first quarter

One thing is sure: Huarong is part of a much bigger problem in China. State-owned enterprises are shouldering the equivalent of $4.1 trillion in debt, and a growing number of them are struggling to keep current with creditors. In all, SOEs reneged on a record 79.5 billion yuan of local bonds in 2020, lifting their share of onshore payment failures to 57% from just 8.5% a year earlier, according to Fitch Ratings. The figure jumped to 72% in the first quarter of 2021.

The shockwaves from Huarong and these broader debt problems have only begun to reverberate through Chinese finance. Dismantling all or part of Lai’s old empire would show Beijing is willing to accept short-term pain to instill financial discipline among state-owned enterprises.

The irony is that Huarong was supposed to fix China’s big debt problem, not cause a new one.

“Allowing a state-owned financial institution that undertook the task of resolving troubles of China’s financial system to fail is the worst way to handle risks,” said Feng Jianlin, a Beijing-based chief analyst at research institute FOST. “The authorities must consider the massive risk spillover effects.”

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, Jun Luo, Zheng Li, Dingmin Zhang, Evelyn Yu, Rebecca Choong Wilkins, and Tongjian Dong

Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

4.54%+N/A10, 15, 20$7,500 up to up to $200,000
(larger balances require special approval)
  • Fixed APR:
    4.54%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 up to $500,000
  • loan terms (years):
    10, 15, 20
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Time to fund:
    4 months
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a resident of Kentucky
  • Customer service:
    Phone
  • Soft credit check:
    No
  • Cosigner release:
    After 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Kentucky Higher Education Student loan Corporation
  • Max. graduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Credible Review:
    Advantage Education loan review
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.95%+1.89%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 up to $250,000
(depending on degree)
  • Fixed APR:
    2.95%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 to $400,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 – $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $400,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Does not disclose


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.97%+¹2.24%+¹5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 to $500,000
(depending on degree and loan type)
  • Fixed APR:
    2.97%+¹
  • Variable APR:
    2.24%+¹
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 to $750,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    Less than $150,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.34%+23.24%+25, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20$5,000 to $300,000
(depending on degree type)
  • Fixed APR:
    3.34%+2
  • Variable APR:
    3.24%+2
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 to $300,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    All states except for ME
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    College Ave Servicing LLC
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    Less than $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

4.41%+52.03%+510, 15, 20$7,500 to $200,000
  • Fixed APR:
    4.41%+5
  • Variable APR:
    2.03%+5
  • Min. credit score:
    700
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $200,000
  • loan terms (years):
    10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal references
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $249,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $199,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.79%+32.39%+35, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Minimum of $15,000
  • Fixed APR:
    2.79%+3
  • Variable APR:
    2.39%+3
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • loan amount:
    No maximum
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Forbearance
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.47%+42.47%+45, 10, 15, 20$5,000 – $250,000
  • Fixed APR:
    3.47%+4
  • Variable APR:
    2.47%+4
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 to $250,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.05%+3.05%+7, 10, 15$10,000 up to the total amount of qualified education debt
  • Fixed APR:
    3.05%+
  • Variable APR:
    3.05%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 up to the total amount
  • loan terms (years):
    7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    AES
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.99%+2.15%+5, 8, 12, 15$7,500 to $300,000
  • Fixed APR:
    2.99%+
  • Variable APR:
    2.15%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $300,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Does not disclose
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 12 months
  • loan servicer:
    PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.19%+N/A5, 10, 15$7,500 up to $250,000
(depending on highest degree earned)
  • Fixed APR:
    3.19%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $250,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Rhode Island Student loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.99%+62.85%+65, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 up to the full balance of your qualified education loans
  • Fixed APR:
    2.99%+6
  • Variable APR:
    2.85%+6
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 up to the full balance
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    No maximum
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes
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Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

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Tips on how to boost a bad credit rating

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HOLLAND, Mich. — Your credit score is just a number, but it can make a difference in your ability to get a loan, house, or even a job, and after a tough year for finances, now is an important time to pay attention to your score.

“You need to have options, and you need to be able to have access, and all of that boils right back down to your credit score,” says Bree Austin-Roberts, a credit expert and founder of Lakeshore Credit Management and Repair Services in Holland. “I think it was a reality check for a lot of people to saying, ‘Hey, it’s time for me to start thinking about my financial situation.’”

Bree’s story is similar to so many of her clients. A few years ago, before she founded her credit repair business, she and her family were evicted from their apartment. Searching for a house and facing homelessness, Bree noticed a similar roadblock everywhere she looked.

“The credit became a problem,” she said. “It always boiled back down to the credit.”

Bree buckled down on payments and, in no time, had raised her credit score enough to move her family into a home and start up her business. Now helping others achieve the same success, Bree says a few simple adjustments can make a big difference. Her first call was to the three major credit bureaus to check the accuracy of her score.

“Like 80 percent of people in the United States have something that’s inaccurate on their credit report, but a lot of people don’t know because they don’t monitor their credit.”

So start by checking with TransUnion, Equifax and Experian on the accuracy of your score.

If you’re having a tough time making payments this year on bills or installment loans (which Bree says you should always have at least one of them), try contacting your creditors to see if they can delay payments or work out some payment plan that works for you.

“Directly related to the pandemic, a lot of lenders are being very lenient,” said Bree.

In addition to making all your monthly credit card payments on time when you can, Bree says it also matters how often you use your credit card and on what. She says most repair experts recommend keeping your card usage below 30 percent, but Bree recommends a lower limit for her clients.

“When you’re in the building process, you want to keep it 10 percent or below,” she said. “If you’re planning on making a major purchase in like 30 to 60 days, you probably want to keep your credit card balances between 1 and 3 percent.”

Other tips include becoming an authorized user on a loved one’s credit card. If they have good credit, spending responsibly on their account could help boost your score faster. Just have them ask their bank or credit union about adding you as an authorized user.

You can also open a secured card on your own. A secured credit card is essentially a prepaid card that ensures you don’t miss payments.

And remember: no credit doesn’t mean good credit. Lenders want to see you can responsibly handle debt.

“Having something to report is positive, but it’s the amount that reports that shows your creditworthiness,” said Bree.

What it boils down to, Bree says, is having good habits and sticking to them. Building or rebuilding credit is a marathon, not a sprint, and Bree says patience is key.

“I was never always a credit expert. It was trial and error,” she said. “I have been there before, and it doesn’t take much to end up right back there again if you’re not budgeting well–if you do not credit consciously.”

You can reach Bree at [email protected] or on her website or Facebook and use the hashtags #lakeshoreCredit and #CreditQueen to join the conversation with her.

Doug Reardon at WXMI first reported this story.



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