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Consumer Tips for Reestablishing Credit.

MMI offers tips on how to turn bad credit good

HOUSTON -- Good credit is a tremendous asset and when maintained properly, it can provide you with financial freedom and save you money. Unfortunately, maintaining good credit can sometimes be difficult, especially when unexpected situations cause you to incur debt. In fact, according to bankrate.com unexpected medical expenses, a reduction in income and divorce are three of the top ten causes of debt problems.

If your credit score is less than desirable, there are many things you can do to repair your credit and improve your financial standing. The following tips from the experts at Money Management International can help you regain control and start down the road towards repairing your credit.

Develop an Action Plan: Sit down and develop a budget that is feasible and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Also, be sure to contact your creditors to ask about payment options, so you can begin bringing your accounts current. This will show them that you are serious about improving your credit.

Be Patient: While most credit scores do not change more than a few points from month to month, time can still be the best cure for less-than-perfect credit. Generally, it takes about one year of on time, full payments to re-establish your credit.

Review your credit file. Request a free copy of your credit report, at www.annualcreditreport.com. Be sure to verify that your accounts are being reported accurately. According to creditreports.com, 70 percent of credit files contain errors.

Open a secured credit card account. A secured credit card is a good way to raise your credit score, especially if you don't qualify for a regular credit card. Use it, make timely payments, and eventually the account will no longer need to be secured by your savings. Be sure to shop around before opening a secured credit card account as the fees and interest rates can vary dramatically.

Get help. Ask someone responsible and with good credit to put you on his or her account as an authorized user. They can then request that the creditor report the account activity on your report.

Contact an expert. Consider contacting Consumer Credit Counseling Services and ask about a Debt Management Plan (DMP). A DMP can help you establish a budget, assist with creditors and eventually become debt free.

"Finally, remember that credit is not a right; it is a privilege that you should protect," said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for Money Management International. "The good news is bad credit will not haunt you forever. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states derogatory information can only remain on your credit bureau file for seven years." Visit www.ftc.gov for more information.

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800-762-2271 or visit www.moneymanagement.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 27, 2006
Words:529
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