10 Credit Myths
by Scott Bilker
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As they say, "Knowledge is power." Many times, people either act on false information or fail to act because they didn't know what could be done to their benefit. This is the case in many areas of life, but on the top of that list is money. And in the money category, you will find lots of misinformation about credit.
There is so much to talk about on the topic of credit myths that an entire book could be dedicated to it.
Myth #1: I'm a complete financial loser for getting myself into this mess.
Fact: It may be true that you're responsible for getting into debt, but that doesn't make you a loser. In fact, it may not be your fault at all. As long as you start working on becoming more knowledgeable when it comes to finances, you will ultimately find success in controlling your debt.
Myth #2: Credit is what got me into this mess.
Fact: Spending is what got you into this mess (debt). Credit was the means to spend. If your problem is spending, then you very well may have spent all your cash. However, credit cards may make it easier to spend.
Myth #3: There's nothing I can do about it now. My credit is destroyed forever!
Fact: As long as you work, starting today, to rebuild your credit, you'll eventually get it under control. Rebuilding your credit means: (1) Paying on time; (2) Looking for better credit options; and (3) Learning more about money and credit.
Myth #4: If I cosign a loan for my friend, it has no affect on my credit.
Fact: When you cosign a loan, it's like you took the loan on your own! It may be true that your friend is the first one responsible for the loan. However, if they default, it's completely your problem.
Myth #5: It's fine to give out my credit card number for identification as long as I don't authorize a charge.
Fact: Never give out your information as a form of identification. When it comes to giving out any personal information, be sure you know exactly with whom you're speaking. This is especially true with someone on the phone.
Myth #6: If I pay off an old debt, it will be removed from my credit report.
Fact: Most likely, no. In fact, when you pay past-due debts, it restarts the time period that it can be reported in your credit history!
Myth #7: When I get divorced, my "X" will owe half the debts.
Fact: If your name is on the account, then you owe the money! If you have a joint account and your ex-spouse refuses to pay, even if you've agreed they would, then you're next on the collection list.
Myth #8: The government owns the credit bureaus.
Fact: Credit reporting agencies are not owned by the government. Although, there are many laws that dictate how they must operate.
Myth #9: I cannot change the information on my credit report. It's set in stone.
Fact: You can change the information! The Fair Credit Reporting Act outlines that information that's not 100% accurate or cannot be verified with 30 days, must be removed.
Myth #10: If I get in debt too deep, I can just file for bankruptcy protection.
Fact: The bankruptcy laws have been changed to make it more difficult to eliminate all your debt in a bankruptcy, so you may end up paying much of it back anyway. It will also be on your credit report for 10 years! Hey, if you have no other options, then you should certainly investigate bankruptcy. However, it's much better to settle the debts if you can.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
Bilker is the founder of DebtSmart.com and the author of Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. Send your questions about money, credit, loans, mortgages, or debt, to him at: Scott Bilker, PO Box 563, Barnegat, NJ 08005-0563 or online at: www.debtsmart.com/askscottShare your thoughts about this article with the editor. Just Click Here and tell us what's on your mind.