SC Consumer Watch: Improving Your Credit & Managing Debt

People get into debt for a lot of different reasons. Some people face serious financial struggles because of a job loss or because of an illness or unexpected family obligation. Many people also face a lot of pressure to provide for themselves and their kids in ways that are getting ever more expensive.  Just recently, for example, CNN reported that the average bill for a wedding hit $30,000. Even if you don’t spend this much, there are expectations for things like weddings and kids birthday parties nowadays that mean that the cost of services have gone up and there’s lots of pressure to overspend.  

When you get into serious debt, a Columbia, SC bankruptcy attorney can help. An experienced lawyer can explore your legal options and work to resolve your financial problems. While many people think bankruptcy is terrible for their credit, bankruptcy can actually help you to stop making your score worse. If you can’t pay your bills and get negatives reported on your credit report each month, your score is just going to keep going down. Bankruptcy stops this and lets you start to slowly improve your credit over time by building up a positive credit history.

Ways to Improve Your Credit

People who have filed for bankruptcy aren’t the only ones who may need to boost their credit score. If your cards are maxed out or if you’ve been late because of debt problems, your credit can take a hit. CNN Money has provided a list of ways that you can improve your credit that includes the following:

  • Understand how your credit score works: Your credit score considers several different key factors, including your payment history and judgements against you; your credit utilization; your mix of different credit; the age of your credit history; and how much new credit you have applied for. Each time you make a payment, are late with a payment, request new credit or open a new card, such actions are noted in your report.
  • Check your credit report: You need to check your report regularly to make sure there are no mistakes and to see how your behaviors are affecting your score.
  • Keep track of your score: Monitoring how your score changes over time can keep you motivated when trying to get out of debt and improve your credit. It also lets you know if your efforts are working or if your strategy needs to change.
  • Pay your bills on time: Your payment history is the single most important criteria of your score. A record of on-time payments to a credit card you get after a bankruptcy will start to improve your score.
  • Keep balances in check: Creditors like to see your credit utilization below 30 percent of the credit available to you. It’s always best if you don’t carry any balance.
  • Be careful about applying for new credit: Applying for a new credit card or loan results in an inquiry on your report. Too many and you’ll be penalized.
  • Avoid credit repair scams: There are dishonest companies out there that will actually hurt your credit. Don’t trust them — if you need debt help, get a lawyer.

If you are considering bankruptcy, contact the Columbia, South Carolina attorneys at Matthews & Megna today at 877-253-7705.


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