What you May Not Know About Bad Credit

by : Mike Hamel

See how many of these questions about bad credit you get right:

What exactly is bad credit?
"Bad credit" is defined as a FICO score of 620 or lower. FICO (the initials stand for Fair, Isaac and Co.) scores range from 300 to 900. A score above 680 signifies good credit. Scores in the 620-680 range are medium and a score lower than 620 puts you in the poor credit range.

How common are bad credit problems?
Bad credit affects more than 30 million Americans. As a nation, we have piled up more than $683 billion in revolving credit card debt. The average American household has $9,300 of credit card debt. And almost one in every 100 families will wind up filing for bankruptcy.

How long does bad credit information stay in your credit report?
Seven years, with these exceptions: bankruptcy may be reported for ten years; criminal convictions don't have a time limit, nor does data reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.

Will bounced checks give you a bad credit rating?
Not if you make good on the checks in a timely manner. If you don't, the company may turn the unpaid debt over to a collection agency. That will definitely show up as a blot on your report. Companies that send unpaid bills to collection often do so as soon as 90 days after getting the rubber check.

Does being on unemployment contribute to a bad credit score?
"No. However, if you are collecting unemployment when you apply for a credit card, unsecured loan, line of credit or bad credit home financing, you might get declined. Not because you have bad credit, but because unemployment checks are considered "unstable" income.

What happens if you marry someone with bad credit?
Nothing, as far as your credit score is concerned. Each person with a Social Security number has his or her own credit report. Bad credit only affects a spouse if you co-sign on loans, open a joint account, or jointly file for bankruptcy. State law governs whether a spouse can be held accountable for a partner's debts incurred while married.

Will unpaid utility and other home bills result in a poor credit rating?
Only if your account gets far enough behind (often 90 days past due) that it is sent to collection. This will show up as a black mark on your credit report. In addition to sending the account to a collection agency, utility companies and cable providers will probably also shut off services.

Will canceling inactive credit cards improve your credit score?
Closing an account you have paid off may actually hurt you. Your credit score is affected by how much available credit you have in comparison to your total debt. Cards with zero balances and available credit on them raise your available-credit-to-debt ratio.

What can you do to repair a bad credit rating?
The best way to repair a bad credit rating is to pay down your debt. Another important thing is to make all payments on time, even if it's only the minimum amount due. Also, get a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus and make sure there are no mistakes. Correct any errors you find.

What kind of bad credit home financing is available
There are several types of bad credit home financing available. You can learn more about each type-and get a free mortgage quote-at the following recommended sites: