Recently, I was at a 7-Eleven to pick up a cup of coffee. I noticed a local newspaper cover page with the headline “A Bad Credit Report Could Cost You a Job“.
I picked up the newspaper and started reading the article. It talked about, how in order to get a good job these days, more and more employers are pulling credit reports & looking at their candidates Credit Profile.
This is a very dire situation. A person, especially in today’s economy, could have a bad credit report for a number of reasons, being laid off, medical issues, or for many other reasons and now they can’t even get a job. It is really a, what came first, “the chicken or the egg” situation. The statistics that were shown in the newspaper referenced a survey that was done by the Society for Human Resources. They found that in 2009, 60 percent of the employers ran credit checks which are up from 42 percent in comparison to 2006. There was an increase of almost 50 percent.
What would you do if you had bad credit and at the same time no one wanted to hire you because of your bad credit?
I personally think this is discrimination and there should be a law suit filed against employers for discriminating against people because of their credit report.
If the person is qualified to do the job and for whatever reason they have a bad credit, that should not be the deciding factor to hire the employee. One possible option I see is that the employer can have a program for the employees with bad credit, and utilize Financial Education Services companies and organizations to help them fix their bad credit.
There is good news though. WA and HI have banned this practice and there is a bill pending in Congress that would ban the use of credit reports for hiring. However, there is an exception for people in the financial services industry and certain government jobs in the bill.
Being in the financial Industry as a Certified Credit Counselor I would like to suggest certain tips that can help people with bad credit and how they can establish a good credit rating.
Tip #1: Using Your Credit Cards Effectively: When using your Credit Cards keep in mind that it is money that you owe someone. The credit card companies have allowed you to use their money to be able to buy the things you want and need. However when credit cards are used effectively they can actually work in your favor. Most Credit Cards offer reward programs when you use the card. To get the most rewards, the key is to pay off your credit card balance every month.
Tip #2: Use only 27 percent of the available credit limit: This is important. Anytime your balance on the credit card goes above 27 percent it can impact your credit negatively. So for instance if you have a credit limit of $5,000.00 make sure to use only $1,400.00 maximum.
Tip #3: Never close any Credit Cards: This is very important. Your length of credit history and the total available credit limit is a big factor in the calculation of the credit score. Every time you close an account it is going to reduce your available credit limit and if you have had this card for a long time it will also wipe out the history you have established for all those years.
Tip #4: Pay all your bills on or before the due date: This factor alone counts for 35% for the calculation of your credit score. This is what establishes your credibility which as you know, is very important in life as well. This also reflects on your personal life. One of the reasons more employers have started looking at credit report before they hire an employee is this, to see how the employee manages things in their life. If a person can manage things in life well, they will be responsible at the job as well.
Tip #5: Have a plan: If you currently have bad credit and do not know where to start then I will share with you a simple and an effective plan. First if you don’t have a credit card, get one. A good number of credit cards to have is 2, in addition to a home mortgage and a car loan. There are two different types of credit cards that you can get started with, one is a secured credit card and other is unsecured credit card. The secured credit card is where a lender or a bank will take a deposit for the amount and then issue you a credit card, usually for less than the amount of the deposit. I personally would only go to banks that will give a credit limit equal to the amount of your deposit.
The other way is to apply for a credit card that works with a direct deposit from your employer. The way that works is when you have your salary directly deposited to the institution they will issue a credit card, instead of a debit card. Every time you use the credit card, even though the money is being taken out of your account, it is reflected as a credit transaction and it is reported to the credit bureaus and reflects on your credit report. It is a good way to get started.
One important thing to remember, which is unfortunate, is that a lot of businesses make money from people who are not able to manage their finances well. Think about it, who pays the most and at the same time earns or keeps the least. If you have bad credit, you are going to pay a higher interest rates than people who have excellent credit. When you are suffering with bad credit you may have to use the services of a company that can help you establish your credit, you may have to file a bankruptcy, do a loan modifications, pay higher interest rate on car loans, insurance rates, mortgage interests etc. You see where I am heading; life is going to cost you more.
I hope all this information was helpful and useful to you at the same time.