I’m a little ahead on the bankruptcy information (and a little behind on this blog) but a couple things have come up that are actually related to fixing your credit after you file bankruptcy.
One of the most important things you’ll need to do post bankruptcy, if you have any interest in bouncing back, will be to pull your credit reports. I’ve already covered how to get free credit reports previously (legitimately free credit reports), but you will also need to be aware of your FICO score.
Your FICO credit score (Fair Isaac Corporation) is the score that most lenders use to determine your credit worthiness. Unfortunately, you won’t even know what your credit score is simply by pulling your credit reports, because it usually isn’t included. Most of the time you will have to pay for your credit score, even if you are entitled to free credit reports.
The most reliable place to get your credit score, in my opinion, has been www.myfico.com. Two related events are taking place at My Fico currently:
1. If you sign up for Score Watch, which is a credit monitoring service, you will receive your FICO score free with the service for 10 days. After that you need to cancel or you will be billed $12.95 a month, which is actually quite reasonable. Maybe you don’t think you need credit monitoring, but if you have filed bankruptcy, you really do. Most bankruptcy filers find a number of errors on their reports that only make repairing credit that much more difficult.
2. If you join the forum at My FICO, you can take the FICO Fitness Challenge, which involves setting a goal in October for your desired FICO score by the end of the year, and taking steps to reach that goal. Even if you haven’t filed bankruptcy, if you feel that your credit may need some work, it may be beneficial to take part in the FICO Fitness Challenge. According to My FICO, the Consumer Federation of America found that consumers could save 28 billion a year in credit card finance charges, just by increasing their credit scores by 30 points.
If you have filed bankruptcy, acquiring your credit reports, your FICO credit score and even taking part in the FICO Fitness Challenge could help out quite a bit in fixing the dent in your credit that the bankruptcy caused. Not knowing these things or taking these steps could end up costing you more and making the process of credit repair that much more difficult. (And longer.)