Before you head off to enjoy your new and improved credit score or to work on boosting your credit score, consider two more tips that may well come in handy as your try to repair your credit score:
Tip #100: Learn to deal with collection agencies.
If you have bad credit, you will have to deal with collection agencies sooner or later, and these companies often present the most persistent and unpleasant problem for those with bad credit. Collection agencies are basically companies that work on behalf of companies to try to recoup money that is owed.
If you owe your credit card company a payment that has not been made in some time, your credit card company will eventually ask a collection agency to speak with you. In many cases, collection agencies try to get money for their clients through phone calls. Some collection agencies are quite reasonable and will try to work with you. However, some will use threatening or harassing techniques – including verbal threats and daily phone calls – to try to get you to pay. To prevent the stress that collection agencies can cause, learn to deal with collection agencies.
You should always get the full name of whomever you speak with at a collection agency. You should try to be honest about your ability to repay and try to work out a payment schedule or payment options. If at any point you feel threatened or harassed, say so. Hang up the phone if the collection agent persists and contact the company who is trying to recoup money from you directly.
Note that the collection agency the company uses has been using is using abusive or upsetting language and ask to resolve the issue with someone at the company directly. Get the name of the collection agency and report them – and the agent you spoke with – to the Better Business Bureau. Refuse further calls from the collection agency and continue your communication with the creditor directly, noting each time the collection company contacts you with harassing or abusive calls.
Unfortunately, some collection agencies feel that intimidation yields the best results and since most collection agencies work through telephoning, they feel that they can say whatever they like (including making personal and false accusations) in order to try to recoup money for their clients. There is no paper trail and few people harassed by the agencies take these companies to court.
Some debtors feel so ashamed of their bad credit rating that they almost feel that they deserve the abuse. Both views are completely wrong. A bad credit rating does not make you deserving of abuse. Report collection agencies that offer harassment as a technique and make it clear to lenders that you will not work with a company that uses abuse as a technique of recouping money.
Some collection agencies will try to use your credit score against you, telling you that they can ruin your credit score at a glance or file a claim on your credit score. Don’t fall for this. Your credit score is instantly affected when you fail to make a payment or are reported to a collection agency, but there is nothing that the collection agency employee can do to make your credit score worse beyond those two things.
You will still be eligible for credit in many cases. Do not let false claims about your credit score intimidate you into accepting the abuse of a collection agency.
Tip #101: Keep at it.
Credit repair is not something that you simply do once in a while when your credit rating slips below 620. Credit repair and credit check-ups need to be part of your overall long-term financial plan. You need to follow a regular maintenance schedule of checking your credit reports regularly (you can get one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every four months, which lets you check your credit for free three times a year).
Regular check-ups will ensure that you have not been the victim of identity theft and will help you make sure that your credit has not begun to slip. Catching errors and problems early can be an excellent long-term way to ensure that you never need intensive credit repair again.
Your credit should be part of your financial goals because your credit can help you meet your goals. Good credit can help make loans affordable, and so can help make education, homes, and cars possible.
Your credit score will not stay steady – it may drop due to oversight or if you suddenly open some new loan accounts. However, overall you should continue to follow the strategies in order to develop good habits that will keep your financial life stable and will help keep your credit score overall in good repair.