Here’s How To Raise Your Credit Score If You Have Bad Debts
Imagine for a moment that you’re at the bank looking to take a loan. You’re told that your credit score is too low to qualify for the amount you need, and that you need to do something about it. But you can’t – because that loan is the key to raising your score.
There are two scenarios that could be at play here. Both of which involve you being unable to pay off debt. The first is that you’ve missed too many payments and can no longer keep up. The other is that you have no credit history, and therefore have no debts that can be paid off.
While these look like completely different situations, they both result in poor credit scores. Either way, there are steps you can take to fix the problem.
Scenario #1: You’re deep in debt and need help getting out
Everyone is familiar with this scenario, even if it isn’t something they personally experienced. You could have ended up here due to your own financial negligence. Maybe you failed to control your spending and the constant need to acquire new things. Or it could have been a complete accident – a huge expected bill threw your finances off and sent you into a downward spiral.
Regardless, this is what you need to start doing.
This is usually the first step to take in trying to get your debt under control. Transferring multiple loans or credit cards into a single account makes it easier for you to keep an eye on how much you owe.
Consolidating your debts also reflects positively on your credit score by closing your other lines of credit; potentially reducing the number of missed payment reports that exist. Sure, you still owe the same amount as before – but you’ll be dealing with lower monthly payments and a potentially lower interest rate.
Negotiate with the bank for a repayment schedule
If you can’t find a debt consolidation plan that fits your needs, or maybe you have a few debts with the same bank. In that case, it might be more sensible to directly negotiate the bank. Few people are aware that this can be done instead of resorting to bankruptcy.
Banks would prefer if you could settle your whole debt and are willing to come up with a plan to help you. This usually involves extending the amount of time you have to settle the debt, while taking into consideration the amount that you can afford to pay each month.
Negotiating with the bank may work if you have one or two loans from the same place. It becomes much more difficult if you’re faced with the prospect of negotiating with multiple banks at the same time.
In this case, visiting a credit counseling agency would be a better option. Established by Bank Negara, the Credit Counseling and Management Agency (AKPK) provides help for those in financial need – without any fees.
No, they won’t give you any money or make the debt go away. Instead, they will sit you down and figure out a plan for you to solve your money problems. This might include talking to a bank, but it would also include telling you which parts of your lifestyle to change.
A proper credit counsellor will tell you a lot of things you are not ready to hear, so it is best to steel yourself for the worst. There’s no point in asking for help if you’re not prepared to accept advice.
Scenario #2: You have no credit history and need a loan
This is a less common situation; usually only faced by fresh graduates. If you’ve never taken a loan and don’t have a credit card you won’t have a credit score. Depending on how old you are, it could make financial institutions wary about giving you a loan.
Start slow – get a credit card
You’ll need to start proving that you can handle debt, and the easiest path is to start buying things on credit. Most banks offer entry level credit cards with minimal requirements. Perfect for those who are looking to start building their own credit.
You’re not likely to get a very large credit limit, or the best interest rates, or even the best rewards. But, that’s not what you’re looking for here. All you want is the chance to prove that you can handle credit responsibly.
Keep track of your progress
Take a look at which debts have been hurting you the most and plan to address them. Knowing your exact situation is half the battle; it’s also helpful to have a clear picture in the event that you need to talk to your bank.
Checking your credit score every three to six months helps you keep track of everything you’ve done to improve your financial health. Especially if you’re trying to build credit to secure financing.
After all, you’ll still need to save for the down payment on your new car/house; so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be improving your score at the same time.