How to Check Your Credit For Free

Many of us never bothering checking our credit. Why? Because we feel like we’ve gone through a few rough patches; maybe defaulted on a loan, have a past eviction, or even stolen a few items from a rent-to-own business and the credit world has flagged us for life. This is why leaning how to check your credit for free will give you an overview of where you stand with your credit and see how bad it really is or isn’t.

First, let me say that you shouldn’t just assume you have bad credit. If you had a problem with not paying your bills, collections, or even judgments against you that does not stay on your credit report forever, so don’t just assume you can’t get credit because of your past.

Many sites will tell you to contact the creditor and pay off your old debt, but what the smart people will tell you is check to see how long ago your bad debt was reported to the credit bureaus. After seven years, many items will fall off of your report and while it is the honorable thing to contact your creditor and pay it off, the smart thing to do, especially if you don’t have the extra cash is to let it disappear into the sunset and be gone forever. Just remember, to never try to get credit from the company again because they will remember and turn you down flat.

One fantastic and free way to check your credit is through the credit monitoring sites like Credit Karma. Now this is not an advertisement for the website, but simply letting you know that by entering your personal information, you can get a full account of who you owe, how old the debt is, and how much they’re claiming you owe.

This site, like many others will offer suggestions based on your credit score, which they will provide to you, what credit you will likely qualify for. The forum is filled with others just like yourself who have had ups and downs with credit, so you will know what to expect before applying.

The truth is, some individuals are just afraid to check. They again, assume their credit is horrible so they result to having no bank account (due to bounced checks), no credit cards (due to defaults), and end up using the local check cashing brick and mortars and prepaid debit cards, both of which you have to spend money to have access to. This is just crazy to spend money to add money to a prepaid card, or to pay 3-5% to cash your paycheck.

If you’re ready to get your credit together and are able to use credit responsibly, now is the time. Once you’ve signed up and reviewed your situation, try the shopping cart trick to see if you qualify for department store credit cards. You can find this information at My Sista Gurl and see how easy it is to get cards like Victoria’s Secret, The Avenue, Gap, and more without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Kimberly Best, freelance writer, has ghostwritten content in several different niches. If you need content for your web pages or help creating an E-book; let Kimberly express your thoughts through her writing.

10 Steps To Reduce Your Debt: Do-It-Yourself Debt Reduction

Getting into debt is easy and worrying about it won’t do much in relieving you from your debt. The best you can do when you have already run into debt is to start working towards reducing or clearing the debt and staying out of debt in every possible way. You can find your own strategy to deal with the debt, but there are several DIY debt reduction strategies and tips you can use to get over your financial woes.

1. Evaluate the debts. Start by collecting all financial documents and printing credit reports so you know exactly where you are with the debts. Most times people get scared just thinking of how hefty the debts are but you will never know until you take the courage to evaluate the debt so you can start somewhere with the recovery. Include all personal loans, auto loans, credit cards and payday loans in this evaluation.

2. Check your current earnings and budget. With the clear debt information, you then must start working towards debt reduction. Calculate the monthly income you get after taxes and basics like mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities and insurance. This way, you will get to find out how much you can spare for paying off the debt.

3. Find ways to increase pay off amounts. Sometimes when you subtract all basics from your income, you might find that you have very little amount left you can use on the debts. If the amount is too small, try and come up with ways through which you can reduce spending. Carpooling is one of the temporary methods you can use to cutback the expenses.

4. Create a plan. Now that you have some money to use on the debts, create a plan of how you are going to handle the debts and pay off. Will you start with one debt or pay a little every month for every debt you have? You might find it helpful to start with debts with highest interest rates or highest balance.

5. Negotiate repayment with your lenders and creditors. Agreeing to negotiate terms will be a plus to your credibility and your lenders or creditors will be more than willing to strike a deal with you.

6. Keep up with the debt reduction plan. Commitment is your only ticket out of debt so keep up with the plan.

7. As you continue with the repayment plan, avoid adding any more debts on top of what you already have.

8. Find better ways to deal with your financial issues besides getting loans. You can for instance, avoid making purchases for those that are not urgent.

9. Leave your credit card at home when going out unless you are going shopping. It will keep impulse buying at bay. In case you are going to shop, make a list of everything you need and stick by it no matter how tempting things in the store appear.

10. In case you take up a loan again, be consistent with your repayment and avoid piling loans. Try and have one loan at a time.

Fix My Credit Score Now

There’s a surplus of ways to harm your credit score such as running up student loans. Luckily, with some diligence and hard work, there are also a surplus of ways to fix your credit. So, if you’ve stumbled into a bad situation and found yourself wondering, “Yikes! How can I fix my credit score now?”, you’ve come to the right place.

The Beginning: What is a Credit Score?

This is a 3 digit number generated by an algorithm using info in your credit report. This number is used to predict risk. For example, it allows potential lenders to get a big picture view of your credit and make an educated guess about how likely you are to repay any obligations in a timely manner. Everyone has a credit score. In fact, everyone has 3.

Everyone has a credit score for each of the major bureaus:

Equifax
Experian
Transunion

The Middle: How is My Credit Score Determined

If you don’t understand all of the factors that go in to determining your credit score, it may seem as if this 3 digit number is just random. Somewhere, some guys are sitting around rolling dice to determine what everyone’s credit score is. However, in reality, these scores are based on some very concrete factors. In order of most to least importance:

Payment history – This includes late payments.
Amounts owed – The amount of debt you have.
Length of history – How far back your credit goes (the longer the better).
Types of credit used – Types of accounts you have (ex. revolving and installment).
Credit inquiries / new accounts – are you opening a lot of new accounts? Are a lot of inquiries being pulled (this happens when you apply for new credit and sometimes when you seek new employment)?

Now that you know more about your score we can finally answer the question “How can I fix my credit score now?”

When looking for ways to “fix my credit score now”, keep in mind that your credit isn’t chalk on a blackboard. You can’t take an eraser and just wipe it away in the blink of an eye. Bad reports on your score will typically hang around for seven years and bankruptcies can be reflected in your score for as long as ten years.

The End: Helpful Tips to Fix My Credit Score Now

Tip 1: History is Important

Unfortunately, this aspect of your score is somewhat beyond your control. You can’t start establishing a credit history until your 18 and it takes years to be classified as “good”. This means it is important to open up a few credit cards ASAP, keep them open, and keep them in good standing.

The part you can control is how long a card stays open once you have been approved. If there is a card you no longer want to use, instead of closing it, simply store it or destroy it. Leaving the account open, as long as you aren’t being charged an annual fee, will allow you to keep building a credit history.

Tip 2: Don’t Apply All at Once

Applying for a lot of different types of loans (ex. credit cards) in a short period of time can lower your score… as can opening a bunch of loans in a short period of time. This is a pretty easy way to fix your score. Simply stop applying for a bunch of loans and opening new accounts

Tip 3: Pay Bills On Time Always

If you have trouble remembering to pay certain bills, set up automatic payments so that the money is automatically deducted from your bank account each month. If this isn’t an option, set up automatic reminders on your phone or email program’s calendar.

Tip 4: Pay Down Debt

Lowering your debt to credit ratio by paying off debt is another way to improve your score. Paying your debt off on time (as mentioned above) is critical but if you can, you should also pay off debt ahead of schedule. Any little bit (even just $10 extra a month) will help you accomplish this goal and lower your debt to credit ratio.

Tip 5: Check Your Credit Report 3x a Year

Doing this will help you spot mistakes and fraud like identity theft.

You are entitled to 3 free credit reports a year (one from each of the major credit bureaus).

Pull a credit report every 4 months and carefully examine it. Take any mistakes seriously… they could be signs of identity theft.

Tip 6: Negotiate with Collectors

Paying off an overdue account won’t automatically remove it from your credit report. If you’re only slightly late, the balance is extremely low, or you’re going to pay the debt off in full, you may be able to negotiate with the collection agency to have the item removed from your credit report.