Just about everyone wants to know how to get good credit, unless they are of the opinion that they do not need credit. One radio personality is currently selling his secrets for living without credit. He claims that his credit score is zero, because he has never used credit. This may be great for him. Apparently he has always had enough cash to pay for what he needs or wants. The average person is not so lucky. Whether you currently have a poor credit history or no credit history at all, then there are certain things you can do to create a credit history, improve a poor credit history and correct errors in your credit history. You can learn how to get good credit.
The first step for anyone learning how to get good credit is to view the information stored on their credit reports. Because of a recently enacted law, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) created a website (www.annualcreditreport.com) where you can view and print your credit reports. Be sure to spell it correctly or you may end up at an impostor site selling information about how to get good credit or improve poor credit. Even the credit bureaus will try to get you to sign up for newsletters offering advice about how to get good credit and what to do if you have poor credit. Check the report for inaccurate information. This could be a problem whether you have no credit or poor credit. Check the report for obsolete or outdated negative items. This will only be a problem if you have a poor credit history. Check the report for unverifiable information. This is a gray area for people with poor credit or negative items on their credit reports. Unverifiable simply means that if you dispute the information, the credit bureau cannot verify it; which brings us to disputes.
If you have no credit history, then you will have nothing to dispute. If you have a poor credit history, then you may have a lot to dispute. Most books, credit repair kits and companies which offer services related to credit repair issues focus on disputes. If you want to learn how to get good credit and you have negative items on your credit report, then you must learn how to dispute these items, negotiate with the creditors that reported the items or hire a professional to do it for you. Disputing information is a relatively simple process, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming. The consumer credit section of the Federal Trade Commission’s official website has a sample dispute letter which you can view and copy if you are trying the do it yourself approach. The FTC also offers advice about how to get good credit, but their advice about repairing poor credit is somewhat discouraging. Law firms that specialize in advising consumers about how to get good credit will take care of the letter writing for you. However, the credit bureaus will only communicate directly with you, so you will still be an active part of the process.
Whether you have no credit history or poor credit history, applying for numerous credit cards is not the answer to how to get good credit; simply applying for a credit card or loan means allowing the lender to view the information on your credit report. This is called an inquiry. Multiple inquiries will lower your credit score. People who are trying to learn how to get good credit may not realize that banks which offer secured credit cards (those which are secured by a savings account, with a credit limit equal to the balance in the savings account) report payment history to the credit bureaus. If you have no credit or poor credit, a good starting point for establishing good credit is a secured credit card. Open a savings account and use the card occasionally for purchases, but do not charge up to the maximum limit. One factor used to determine a person’s credit score is the amount of available credit or the difference between the average monthly balance on their credit card and the credit limit.
If you have no credit and you are trying to learn how to get good credit, you will need to open a checking account and maintain it properly. Try to maintain the minimum monthly balance, try to open a savings account at the same bank and get a secured credit card through the same bank. In this way, you establish a relationship with the bank, a good credit history with the bank and a good credit history in general, as long as you pay your bills on time.
Another way to establish good credit, whether you have poor credit or no credit is to be listed as a co-applicant. If you are young, your parents may be willing to open an account and list you as a co-applicant or you may have a friend or another family member who is willing to list your name as a secondary cardholder. You want to make sure that the person who helps you already knows how to get good credit and knows how to keep good credit. If they have a poor credit history, then they cannot help you.