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Why Doing "Nothing" Can Do So Much Harm to Your Credit


Why Doing "Nothing" Can Do So Much Harm to Your Credit

Ignorance is bliss...or so the saying goes. However, when it comes to your credit reports and scores being ignorant can be a truly horrible strategy which can have some seriously negative consequences as well. People generally ignore their credit for one of two reasons. First, many consumers with good credit assume that everything on their credit reports is fine and do not even bother to check their reports until their next loan application. The second most common reason why consumers ignore their credit is due to the fact that it is so bad that they feel overwhelmed and powerless to change their credit situation. Regardless of the reason, ignoring your credit is a really bad idea.

Why Consumers with Good Credit Need Still Need to Pay Attention

If you always pay your bills on time and maintain very low or even $0 balances on your credit cards then odds are high that your credit scores are probably in pretty good shape. The truth is that you have the right to expect your credit reports to contain accurate information. However, the reality of how the credit scoring system works is that mistakes on credit reports happen. In fact the Federal Trade Commission released a study in 2013 which proposes that there were around 40 million mistakes on the credit reports of US consumers. Although the Fair Credit Reporting Act does give you the right to expect accurate credit reports, errors still occur every single day. What you may not realize is that the responsibility to make sure you credit reports remain error free lands squarely on your own 2 shoulders.

Credit reporting errors can range from insignificant with little to no credit score impact to all the way on the opposite side of the spectrum where the wrong credit reporting error can wreak utter havoc upon your credit scores. Thankfully, there are several options which make it extremely easy for you to keep a close eye on your credit reports in order to ensure that they remain accurate.

Option 1: In 2003, thanks to the FACTA amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers were given the right to access all three of their credit reports completely free of charge once every 12 months. To access these free credit reports you simply need to visit (Not-so-fun-fact: an average of only 4% of these available free reports are actually claimed by consumers annually.)

Option 2: If you are wise enough to understand the importance of keeping a close eye on your credit reports then you will also realize that checking your credit reports once a year is not going to be often enough. The good news is that there are many free options available to access and review your credit reports throughout the year - though this option can be a bit time consuming due to the fact that truly free reports can generally only be accessed one credit bureau at a time.

Option 3: Finally, there are also several affordable fee based credit monitoring services which will allow you to check an monitor all 3 of your credit reports and scores simultaneously and easily.

Why Consumers with Bad Credit Still Need to Pay Attention

There is no question that credit problems can feel overwhelming and insurmountable. When faced with credit problems the desire to stick your head in the sand and ignore them can be very tempting. Unfortunately, ignoring credit problems does not make them go away but only keeps you stuck in the same bad situation for longer than necessary.

Whether you choose to work on resolving credit issues yourself or to seek professional assistance with your credit problems you should make the decision to do something. No matter how bad your credit reports are currently - even if you are one day out of a freshly discharged bankruptcy - there are always steps which you can take to begin moving your credit back in the right direction.

CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis with a HOPE4USA credit expert to learn how to improve your credit reports and what HOPE4USA can do to help.

CLICK HERE to download our free credit repair toolkit - no strings attached. 


About the author: Ron Lambright has been a credit expert for over 14 years and is the Executive Director of HOPE4USA - a company he helped to found after struggling to overcome personal credit issues on his own twice before. He is a regular guest on radio talk shows and is featured weekly as the premier credit expert at training seminars in the Charlotte, NC region and up and down the East Coast.  Ron is an expert on teaching consumers how to achieve  "loan ready" credit reports, improving credit scores, and an expert in the fields of business financing and business credit as well. You can connect with Ron on Facebook page by clicking here.


How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy


How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy protection from creditors certainly has a long list of benefits. Bankruptcy can stop creditors from suing, it may put a stop to wage garnishments, and it can even grind foreclosure proceedings to a halt -  at least temporarily. However, while bankruptcy has its list of benefits it also has a very significant downside. In the majority of circumstances, filing for bankruptcy is likely to utterly destroy a consumer's credit scores.

While it is completely true that filing bankruptcy is virtually guaranteed to have a severely credit score impact, it is not true that consumers who have filed for bankruptcy cannot begin to rebuild healthy credit again once the bankruptcy has been discharged. Even though the evidence of the bankruptcy filing will remain on a consumer's credit report for 10 years in the majority of cases, consumers can still begin taking steps to improve their credit scores even while the bankruptcy is still present on their credit reports. Here are 3 simple tips which can help your credit to begin recovering after a bankruptcy.

1. Check your credit reports for errors.

In 2013 the Federal Trade Commission estimated that there were around 40 million mistakes present on consumer credit reports. Mistakes on credit reports are not unusual. Consumers who have recently had a bankruptcy discharged are no exception to the rule.

If a consumer has filed bankruptcy then he should check both the public records section of his credit reports to ensure that the bankruptcy itself is being reported properly and he should review each of the individual accounts which were included in his bankruptcy for errors as well. Should a consumer discover credit reporting errors (i.e. a discharged bankruptcy being reported as "filed," duplicate listings of a single bankruptcy, accounts reporting late payments after the bankruptcy was filed, accounts reporting balances after the bankruptcy was discharged, etc.) then it will unfortunately take some work to correct the errors.

A consumer can opt to dispute any errors he discovers on his own or he can also hire a reputable credit repair professional for assistance. Either way, it is extremely unlikely that credit report errors will fix themselves so ignoring the problem is not a solution.

2. Hone your credit management skills.

Many consumers file bankruptcy due to a financial catastrophe caused by an illness, job loss, or even a death. However, there are many other consumers who file for bankruptcy due to financial problems brought about by irresponsible credit management habits. In other words, these consumers spent more money than they earned.

For consumers who find themselves in the 2nd category, here is the first piece of advice I have to offer - shake it off! While that advice may sound a bit cliché, it is still worth following. Living in guilt over past credit mistakes is not going to undo those mistakes. However, obsessing over past mistakes might keep you from moving on and making positive changes in the future.

Consumers looking to hone and strengthen their credit management skills should start by drawing up a written plan for how to handle their finances - aka a budget. CLICK HERE for a free copy of the HOPE4USA Budgeting Worksheet to get started. It can also be helpful for consumers to have an accountability partner who can help to check up on their new commitment to manage money better.

3. Re-establish current credit.

One of the smartest strategies that a consumer can employ to begin recovering from a bankruptcy is to re-establish positive credit card right away, especially in the form of credit card accounts. Of course positive accounts will not completely overshadow the fact that a bankruptcy was filed; however, beginning to show positive credit management habits post bankruptcy can go a long way towards counteracting the impact of the bankruptcy upon the consumer's credit scores.

Many consumers will wonder, "What bank is going to approve me for a credit card with a bankruptcy on my credit reports and bad credit scores?" The answer is a bank which offers secured credit cards. When a consumer opens a secured credit card the issuing bank will require the consumer to make a deposit with the bank equal to the amount of the credit limit on the card. For example, a consumer would make a $300 deposit to receive a secured credit card with a limit of $300. Due to the fact that the account is "secured" with the consumer's own funds these types of credit cards can often be qualified for easily in spite of low credit scores and credit blemishes like discharged bankruptcies. 


Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with over a decade of experience, the credit blogger at, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, a contributor to the Wealth Section of Fort Mill Magazine, and  a regularly featured speaker at seminars up and down the East Coast. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE Facebook page by clicking here.