I know you’re busy and possibly quite frankly afraid of what you’ll see. It can be all too easy to turn a blind eye to your credit profile. There are certain red flags that can let you know that something is really amiss – and that your credit score has entered the “bad” zone. (Credit scores range from 350-850 scale, but generally a “bad” score is considered scores below 600 scale.)
Here are a few indications that you may have bad credit.
1. A Recent Loan Application Gets Denied
2. Your Credit Card Company Won’t Lower Your APR (or Raise Your Credit Limit)
4. You Get a Default Notice or Subpeona From a Creditor
5. You’re Contacted By a Collection Agency/Debt Collector
6. You Start Receiving Subprime Credit Offers
7. You Have to Put a Deposit Down on Utilities
A loan denial is one of the quickest ways to learn that your credit score is low, since a good credit score generally entitles you to affordable financing and an average one will often net you credit, but at a higher interest rate.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires lenders provide a copy of the report they used, along with an explanation, when a consumer is denied or offered adverse terms on a contract or loan. This should give you an idea of where your credit stands shortly after you get turned down for a loan (though it’s a good idea to pull your credit immediately anyway).
A credit card issuer typically reviews your credit if you ask for a lower annual percentage rate (APR) or a credit limit raise on an existing account. So, if you get turned down for some reason, it’s probably a sign that there’s something on your credit report.
Credit Card issuers are in the habit of conducting account reviews on their own from time to time, so if you see a change in your credit card’s terms and conditions (like, say, your credit limit decreases or your rate is increased), your score may have gone down. And if it’s fallen low enough, they could close your account all together.
Late payments are certainly going to hurt your credit score, but by the time you’ve entered default, big damage is likely to have been done. The same rule applies if you’re being or were sued for an old debt.
Lots of different items, including medical bills, unpaid utility accounts or even gym subscriptions can wind up in collections. And these collections accounts will hurt your credit score, if the company who owns them reports to the three major credit reporting agencies. So, if bills start arriving in the mail or a debt collector comes calling, that’s your cue to check your credit.
You want to make sure the collections notice is valid, and then address it.
Credit card solicitations can wind up in anybody’s mailbox, but pre-approved offers from subprime financing providers, like a secured credit card issuer, payday lender or a car title loan company, may be a sign your score has dropped below a certain threshold, especially if you’re somebody who’s used to being qualified for prime credit.
Lenders aren’t the only ones who pull your credit. Cellphone providers, insurance agencies and even utility companies look at versions of your scores when determining whether to do offer credit to you. So, if you have to pay fees or are offered less-than-stellar rates, your credit may to blame.
Has There Been a Mistake on Your Report?
Keep in mind, your credit score may be bad for a variety of reasons. While you may have damaged your own credit, there is also a chance an error is weighing down your score. And something more damaging could be lingering… a sudden drop in your score could be a sign identity theft might be occurring.
To get a handle of what might be behind your bad credit, you should thoroughly check your credit. You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. If your bad score is valid, you can work to improve it by getting accounts out of default, paying down high credit card balances and limiting new credit inquiries.
If you need help, we are here for you to answer any questions you may have.
PS – If you want a free credit analysis, just reach out! Click here for your request.