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If you find yourself with less-than-good credit, you are not alone. Business Insider, an online business news website, reports that one in 50 households owes more than $20,000 in credit card debt. Coinciding with this alarming figure, the site further states that more than 2 million Americans look to credit counselors each year to avoid bankruptcy.
Before your finances fall into the bankruptcy category, you can take steps to help turn your bad credit around. Just ask James Cheslek, dean of academic affairs at Brown Mackie College – Albuquerque.
Step one: Request a free copy of your credit report.
Every American is entitled to a free copy of their credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To order your free copy, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call (877) 322-8228.
Step two: Read your credit report carefully for inaccuracies.
Step three: Dispute inaccuracies.
To dispute an item, notify the reporting agency of the inaccurate information.
Step four: Request verification of debt.
Step five: Once your credit is fixed, keep it fixed.
Cheslek offers the following rules of thumb to follow in the interest of keeping a good credit score:
•Pay bills on time. Late payments add fees to the balance owed.
•Change the payment due date if the current one is inconvenient.
•Pay more than the minimum due, even if just a little.
•Do not skip any payments. Skipped payments lead to bad credit.
•Do not close old accounts. Creditors look at how long you’ve had credit.
•Keep one account with no balance.
•Do not apply for loans you don’t need.
Published: February 2, 2012 – Volume 10 – Issue 42