There are people in your life who have a bias against you and your poor credit. The mistakes that you have made with debt not only put blemishes on your credit report and lowers your credit score, but they let people in your life hold your bad credit over your head in some way.
A bad credit score or report can have a much further reach than simply costing you a higher interest rate on a new loan. It can cost you the apartment you live in or even your job. But, it does not have to be that way. You can recover.
While it may take you a while to raise your credit score and improve your report, you can begin to quickly ease the damage you have done with a few simple ideas. Below are the five people who can access your credit score or report (and potentially use that against you), and what you can do right now to help set the record straight and mend some bridges.
Car Insurance Companies Use Your Credit Score Against You
Many people may not be aware that your car insurance company uses your credit score in their formulas when they determine your auto insurance premium. There are a host of factors that go into the car insurance company’s proprietary calculations, and your credit score is one of them. Car insurance actuaries have found a correlation between the amount of costly claims that drivers file and more of those being filed by folks with a lower credit score. A poor credit score will cost you in a higher car insurance premium.
Potential Fix: Shop around for your next car insurance quote. Far too many people simply continue using the same car insurance company they have used for years without discovering if a better rate is out there.
Your Future Landlord Will Ping Your Credit Score
One of the first pieces of information on rental applications for an apartment or a house is your Social Security number. I recently filled out an rental application for a new apartment and it was immediately followed by another form that I had to sign allowing the landlord access to my credit report and credit score.
Potential Fix: One thing that you can do to help alleviate your future landlord’s concern about your low credit score may be to offer to pay a higher security deposit. While we all hate the idea of volunteering to pay more, this may be the icing on the cake you need to sway the landlord to rent to you.
Some Employers Look At Your Credit Report
It can be difficult to find a job in a tough economy. There are many employers who request your permission to look at your credit report before they hire you. This can especially be true for government employees. For example, members of the military have their credit report examined before they are granted any type of security clearance.
Potential Fix: As in all cases, you should be honest and upfront with your employer, or future employer, about your troubles with debt or issues that you have had in the past. If you bring it up first, before your employer pulls your credit report, you can ease some of the tension.
Are You Being Truthful With Your Spouse Or Significant Other?
I found out the hard way when I was dating my wife just how dangerous hiding debt and financial problems can be to your relationship with your spouse or significant other. I was ashamed about the amount of credit card debt I had accumulated during college. I didn’t want to share the information with her, and it hurt our relationship in the beginning. It actually took her years before she stopped worrying about creditors calling the house, bouncing checks, and the like because of the poor initial interaction we had together about my credit.
Potential Fixes: Be upfront with your significant other about your spending and finances. Show how signs of how you are fixing it. Bad news never gets better with age. Don’t wait too long before you spill the beans about your financial past and mistakes.
Show your loved one that you have a plan to stop racking up debt or to fix issues in your credit report. You will one day want to buy a house and you will want to be able to title it jointly or not have to worry about depending solely on your spouse’s credit score to help you earn a lower interest rate.
Even Utility And Cell Phone Companies Use Customers’ Credit Scores
Like your landlord, most utility companies, cable companies, cell phone providers, and even oil delivery companies will pull your credit report and your FICO Score before they let you sign a contract with them. As with most purchases, having a lower credit score will cost you either in higher fees and/or interest rates.
Potential Fix: Utility and cell phone companies are another great example of companies where you may be able to ask for a larger than normal security deposit to ease their concerns. You may also be able to ask for a probationary period of time that you can use to not only build your credibility with the vendor but also help to rebuild your credit score.
No one is perfect of course. In fact, a recent Citi survey found that over half of all Americans have admitted that they have paid a bill late at some point in their lifetime. And, over 80% of that survey’s respondents made a late payment recently within the last 12 months. So you are not alone in making mistakes with your debt and other items that are reported to the credit bureaus.
While there are many people who will hold your bad credit against you, you can make a few quick wins with each of these groups of people in order to increase your standing with them. While you can not always make a dramatic improvement in your credit score over a relatively short period of time, you can ease people’s fears and bias against a poor credit score with dedication, honesty, and a little perseverance.
Has having a low credit score ever held up something that you wanted to do? Has someone ever held your credit score against you? Have you found a unique way to overcome it?