How-To Guides

Need a better understanding of bad credit and how to fix it? Our finance experts have put together a series of step-by-step guides on a variety of bad credit related subjects.

From the Industry's Top Experts

John Ulzheimer Credit Expert
Erica Sandberg Finance Expert
Andrea Woroch Savings Expert
Ashley Fricker Senior Editor
10 Best Finance Bloggers for Military Families in 2024

1,501 views

11 min read

10 Best Finance Bloggers for Military Families in 2024

Military families face a host of financial challenges that most civilians never experience. Frequent... read more »

Credit Reports

What is Credit Monitoring? How the Practice Can Help Safeguard Your Finances

1,330 views

13 min read

How Credit Monitoring Can Safeguard Your Finances

Credit monitoring is a process that involves tracking your credit reports and scores so you can quickly identify any changes or suspicious activity, allowing you to detect potential... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 7/18/24

Lessons

What is a HELOC? Everything to Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit

2,970 views

13 min read

Everything You Need to Know About a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

For many, the Great American Dream still is home ownership. Owning your home can provide profound emotional benefits and a sense of security. It also has financial dividends, such as... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 7/11/24

Credit Cards

What is a Balance Transfer? How to Benefit & Save Money on Interest

5,947 views

11 min read

How to Avoid Interest With a Balance Transfer

Shifting existing debt from one or more credit card accounts to a different credit card is called a balance transfer. You will owe and send your payments to the new issuer. Balance... read more »

By: Erica Sandberg • 7/8/24

Debt

What is Debt Settlement? Benefits, Drawbacks, and Credit Score Impacts

6,270 views

13 min read

Debt Settlement: A Comprehensive Guide

Debt settlement is a process through which you negotiate with creditors to pay less than you owe by offering a lump sum payment that’s lower than your total debt. If they accept, you... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 7/3/24

Debt

What is a Default? How Lenders Respond to Nonpayment & the Impact on Your Credit

6,675 views

13 min read

How Lenders and Credit Scores Treat Defaults

A default occurs when you don’t make payments on your credit card or loan for an extended period, usually several months. It will damage your credit score, harm your future financing... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 7/2/24

Debt

What is Debt Consolidation? Types, Credit Impact & How it Works

4,875 views

17 min read

How Debt Consolidation Works & Affects Credit

Debt consolidation is when you combine multiple debts — including loans and/or credit cards — into a single payment. By consolidating them, you make one monthly payment instead of many,... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 7/1/24

Debt

What is Garnishment? When Creditors Can Take Money From Your Paycheck or Bank Account

5,556 views

19 min read

What is Garnishment? When Creditors Can Take Your Money

Garnishment happens when a court allows a creditor (i.e., the person or company you owe money to) to take part of your paycheck or money from your bank account to pay debts such as... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 6/27/24

Loans

What is a Cosigner? How Lenders Reduce Risk for Borrowers with Credit Issues

10,980 views

21 min read

What Is a Cosigner? How Lenders Reduce Risk

A cosigner is someone who helps you get a loan or credit card by promising, in writing, to pay the loan if you cannot pay it back. This makes it easier for you to borrow money,... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 6/26/24

Lessons

What is Credit Counseling? How a Professional Can Help You Better Manage Debt

10,894 views

13 min read

What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counseling is a service that provides help from a professional to better manage your money and debts. Counselors can help you plan to pay off your debts and guide you on how to... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 6/19/24

Loans

What is a Payday Loan? Benefits & Risks of High-Interest Loans

7,696 views

15 min read

Exploring the Benefits & Risks of Payday Loans

A payday loan is a small amount of money that consumers can borrow and then pay back when they receive their next paycheck. This type of loan is helpful if you need cash quickly,... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 6/18/24

Loans

How the Military Lending Act Protects Service Members from Predatory Lending

14,742 views

9 min read

How the Military Lending Act Protects Service Members

Predatory lending practices have the potential to affect everyone, but national security is at stake when financial challenges threaten military members. The Military Lending Act (MLA)... read more »

By: Mike Senecal • 6/17/24

Loans

What is an Installment Loan? How Fixed-Term Financing Works

12,308 views

15 min read

What is an Installment Loan? A Guide to Fixed-Term Financing

An installment loan is a loan with a fixed repayment term, meaning that there is a specific end date to the loan. When you sign up for an installment loan, you know exactly how many... read more »

By: Zina Kumok • 6/13/24

Personal Finance

10 Most Innovative Low-Income Resources for 2024

14,252 views

11 min read

10 Most Innovative Low-Income Resources for 2024

A person’s income depends on various factors. While some people may believe someone’s earnings stem from their ambition and work ethic, others hold that life’s circumstances have a more... read more »

By: Andrew Allen • 6/13/24

Credit Cards

What is an Unsecured Credit Card? How to Apply & Build Credit

13,819 views

21 min read

What is an Unsecured Credit Card?

Unsecured credit cards are available without putting down any money as a deposit to secure your credit line. When you spend with an unsecured card, you borrow money from the credit card... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 6/6/24

Lessons

How the Consumer Credit Protection Act Protects Borrowers

13,354 views

9 min read

How the CCPA Protects Borrowers

The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) is a federal law in the United States enacted on May 29, 1968. It includes four titles that focus on different aspects of consumer credit. The... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 5/29/24

Charge-Offs

What is a Charge-Off? Timeline, Credit Impacts & Tips for Recovery

21,216 views

13 min read

Explaining Charge-Offs and How to Recover

A charge-off occurs when a company believes you will probably not pay back the money you owe on a credit card or loan. They mark this debt as “charged-off,” and typically occurs after... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 5/28/24

Economy

10 Leading Consumer Economics Experts in 2024

18,876 views

13 min read

10 Leading Consumer Economics Experts in 2024

It’s hard to plan for the future if you don’t know where you are today. That common-sense assertion is why consumer economics experts are essential to understanding the financial... read more »

By: Mike Senecal • 5/16/24

Credit Checks

What is a Credit Check?

30,590 views

11 min read

What is a Credit Check?

A credit check consists of reviewing your consumer credit reports and the credit scores derived from the information found on those files. When a company wants to know how much risk it... read more »

By: Erica Sandberg • 5/9/24

Credit Scores

The Average FICO Score Drops for the First Time in Over a Decade

24,648 views

5 min read

The Average FICO Score Drops for the First Time in Over a Decade

For at least the last 19 years, the company known as FICO, my former employer and the company that invented credit scores, has published reports on average credit scores. In 2005, the... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 5/1/24

Credit Repair

What is Credit Repair?

36,233 views

15 min read

The Credit Repair Process & How it Works

Credit repair is a process that addresses errors and negative items on your credit reports. It can include identifying misinformation, disputing and removing inaccurate information, and... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 4/30/24

Secured Credit Cards

What is a Secured Credit Card?

42,522 views

23 min read

How Does a Secured Credit Card Work?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that the cardowner backs with a cash deposit that typically serves as collateral for the credit line. This makes secured credit cards... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 4/26/24

Credit Scores

25 Fast Facts About Credit Reports & Scores

17,196 views

5 min read

Fun Facts About Credit Reports and Credit Scores

The world of consumer finance is loaded with data, statistics, trends, acronyms, and averages. It’s truly a numbers-driven industry. As it pertains, specifically, to credit reports and... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 4/16/24

Credit Scores

What is Bad Credit?

25,920 views

15 min read

What Is Bad Credit?

Bad credit means your credit score is low — generally considered anything below 600 — because you’ve had problems paying bills or loans on time or you’ve previously filed for... read more »

By: Eric Bank • 4/9/24

Mortgages

How Do Credit Scores Affect Mortgage Interest Rates?

31,501 views

3 min read

How Do Credit Scores Affect Mortgage Rates?

The world of mortgage interest rates has been on quite the roller coaster over the last few years. Mortgage interest rates for garden-variety 30-year fixed rate mortgages went from... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 3/14/24

Budgeting

7 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

49,644 views

3 min read

7 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

March is National Nutrition Month and a good time to think about how you can add more healthy foods to your diet. But unfortunately, grocery prices have remained stubbornly high even as... read more »

By: Andrea Woroch • 3/1/24

Credit Scores

What Number Does Your Credit Score Start at & When?

45,855 views

5 min read

What Number Does Your Credit Score Start at?

Your credit score or, more accurately credit scores, are used by lenders to assess the risk of doing business with you. If you have good or great scores, you are likely to be approved... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 2/12/24

Credit Scores

Americans’ Credit Scores Resilient Against Rising Card Debt & Delinquencies

69,780 views

5 min read

Credit Scores Resilient Despite Rising Debt

When people are unemployed or underemployed, they often use their credit cards to bridge their income gap. Credit cards offer immediate access to a potentially substantial line of... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 1/22/24

Loans

Home Equity Loans vs. HELOCs, According to Experts

64,458 views

5 min read

A Guide to Home Equity Loans vs. HELOCs

If you are a homeowner, you may have accumulated equity that you can access. Depending on various factors, you can either borrow against the value of the equity with an installment loan... read more »

By: Erica Sandberg • 12/26/23

Debt

5 Tips To Quickly Pay Down Holiday Debt

56,168 views

3 min read

5 Tips To Quickly Pay Down Holiday Debt

Budgeting for the holidays seems simple, but it can be a rather complicated process when you consider the endless seasonal expenses that creep up this time of year, many of which are... read more »

By: Andrea Woroch • 12/15/23

Credit Scores

How to Get an 800 Credit Score (from a FICO Expert)

55,957 views

7 min read

How to Get an 800 Credit Score

Credit scores are three-digit numbers that are used by lenders to determine whether they’re going to approve your applications, and under what terms. Your many credit scores are... read more »

By: John Ulzheimer • 12/14/23

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