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FICO is the name for the USA credit score system from Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that invented the financial industry's most widely used credit risk score model. Your FICO score is of vital importance when you apply for a credit card, home loan, re-mortgage, car or cash loan. Wherever you apply to borrow money, the bank or finance company accepts or rejects your application and decides interest rates based on your credit report and history which is analyzed and appears as a number, which will fall within a range that will determine your credit rating. This is your FICO score. To decide on your creditworthiness (how likely you are to repay your debts), lenders look at your income, employment record and savings. Your credit score can make or break the deal. There are other systems in use by different agencies in different countries, but in the US your FICO score affects you considerably.
An important factor to consider is managing finances and budgeting spending; knowing exactly what money and other assets you have and keeping track of your bank, credit cards and investment accounts. You can now do that all in one place on your computer, Apple or Android phones and tablets. What's more, this is a totally free service for users, from Mint.com. It works best for US-based banks and card accounts, but can be used by anyone.
Cost and disadvantages of low credit score or bad history
Having a bad (or no) credit history increases your cost of living. A few examples are: utilities – you may have to pay a deposit to get electricity, water, home or mobile phone, cable or other domestic services; you will pay higher insurance premiums – medical, life, home, automobile; you will pay a higher rate of interest on credit cards and loans. Your home mortgage is the most critical, where a bad credit score could cost you an extra $330 a month on a typical $150,000 loan. As far as jobs are concerned, many employers will check an applicant's creditworthiness; it's an indication of desirable characteristics like integrity and reliability.
Credit status and keeping your credit history up to date
Because of its importance, you should know your current credit status and if you find you have a low credit score, it's important to try and fix it.
The information held on file by credit agencies used to evaluate your creditworthiness may be incorrect, or out of date. Any non, late or slow payment or judgment against you is held on file for at least seven years and either reduces your credit score or denies you credit altogether. Identity theft and personal factors such as divorce can affect your credit records and score. Without research you will be unaware of what factors are working against you, rightly or wrongly and you are usually not given the chance to question the lender's decision. Rejection is simple, and if you apply to another company the result will probably be the same. Yours is only one of tens of thousands of daily applications for credit, and companies do not waste time or profits on potentially risky applicants.
In both the USA and UK, everyone is entitled once every 12 months to a free credit report from a nationwide consumer credit reporting company like Experian – see more below.
Debt Management & Debt Consolidation in the UK
If you are looking for more information on debt management and debt consolidation in the UK, then the resources on this website may be useful.
View Your Credit History Free Online in the UK
Did you know that your credit report information is very important to lenders when they are deciding whether to give you a loan or credit card? Which is why it's important to make sure your report is accurate and up to date.
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Bad credit – even if you're bankrupt – there are still ways to get credit and loans. Learn more.
Yes, it can. Despite the fervent proclamations of bureaucrats and credit bureaus everywhere, a simple fact remains: negative credit listings are deleted from peoples' credit reports by the thousands each and every day. While technically this can be done without professional help or intervention, the reality of trying to "do it yourself" may be a different story.
A few years ago, an attorney from Lexington Law. visited with a regulatory agency for a casual conversation with two agents. The Agency's office, as a matter of course, believed the credit bureaus' claim that bad credit couldn't be deleted. The visiting Lexington attorney asked, "How many negative listings would you have to see deleted from consumer credit reports before you would believe that bad credit can be deleted: ten? fifty? a hundred? one thousand?" The agents responded with only blank stares.
"How about 50,000 deleted listings, would that convince you?" continued the Lexington attorney. From his briefcase he pulled a stack of papers six inches high.
"In these pages, we have listed the permanent deletion of over 50,000 listings from our clients' files in the last two years alone," he explained. The agents pulled the stack across the conference table and began to pick through the pages, taking in the massive list.
"But have you deleted any bankruptcies?" shot back one of the agents, "we know that bankruptcies can't be deleted." The Lexington attorney leaned across the table and ran his finger down the first page.
"There's one deleted bankruptcy... and, there's another,... and another,... and another. Should I go on?" asked the Lexington attorney.
The agents sat back in their chairs. "You know," began the junior agent, "I have this one listing on my credit report that simply must belong to somebody else..."
How is credit repair possible?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows a consumer to challenge the information on his credit report on the basis of "completeness and accuracy." When a consumer files a dispute, the credit bureaus must contact the source of the credit information (the creditor) and confirm that the information is accurate, verifiable, and not obsolete. In some circumstances, the credit bureau is required to go beyond a simple verification of the creditor's own computer record. If, within 30 days, the credit bureau has not received verification from the creditor, then the credit bureau must promptly delete the credit listing.
Credit reports, credit score, history and repair in the UK
British residents having difficulty getting a loan, mortgage or credit card can find out why by asking for a personal credit report. This will show your current credit rating and credit history. You can also find out how to repair your credit with expert help. It's something you will find difficult to accomplish by yourself. Did you know that your credit report is free in the UK? Get the information you need here:
Credit status when moving from one country to another
Credit history is usually local to one country. Credit card information held by major networks like VISA and MasterCard and credit agencies is not shared between countries. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage. A person with an excellent credit record or credit score, even a letter of reference from a bank manager or credit card agency will find it of no use when applying for a loan or mortgage, bank account or credit card in a new country. A new credit history must be established and this takes time, probably six months or more.
In some countries, a bank may allow a credit card to be issued, providing a fixed deposit is lodged to cover the credit limit or more. See our Banking page. While this may seem pointless (why would you need a credit card if you have the money already?), there are several good reasons for having a credit card: you can make online purchases, rent cars without a large deposit, reserve rooms in hotels and more. The object is to start a new credit history and payment record which, in time, will reflect favourably when you apply for further card or other forms of credit such as an auto or home loan or mortgage in your new country of residence.
The above applies also to those who for one reason or another have bad or no credit, or have left unpaid debt in the 'old' country. There is a statute of limitation (a maximum time before the 'slate is wiped clean' and you should not continue to be pursued for payment). This differs between countries but seven years seems to be the median.
Depending on agreements relating to disclosure of legal or tax information between countries, it's possible to escape your creditors by moving countries and establishing new bank accounts and credit lines.
If you do find you have problems with credit, or your interest rates are too high on your mortgage or car loan, here's where you can start to fix them yourself with a FREE CREDIT REPAIR KIT if are a resident of the USA. You can stop letting the Credit Bureaus control your life, and also take back thousands of dollars of your own money so you can start living the life you deserve.
Alternative to Credit: Prepaid
If you continue to have credit problems, but still want the convenience of shopping without cash or checks, or being able to get cash on demand at ATM's around the world, there is an alternative: debit cards. These enable you to spend money you already have in the bank or prepaid to the card issuing company. There's no risk of overspending or coming home to bills for purchases on credit.
Prepaid cards for USA residents are easy to obtain; there are several methods to fund them. No credit status check or history is required for the issue of this type of card. These cards can also be used to start rebuilding your credit score.
Residents of many other countries (especially those earning income over the internet) will find a non-resident USA bank account with ATM Debit Card particularly useful, especially PayPal account holders wanting cash access to their balances.
Whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP!
Even if you're bankrupt, there are still ways to get credit and loans. Find out how.
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