How to Live with Bad Credit

How To Live With Bad Credit
Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Updated: June 23, 2020
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Having a bad credit score isn’t a joy for anyone. It makes so many things more expensive and more difficult to do.

But what options are there if you’ve been unemployed for a long period of time and have found it impossible to keep up with the bills?

Sometimes a bad credit score is just unavoidable. In this case, it’s good to keep in mind you can live with bad credit for now while working to make it better over time.

Here are some things to keep in mind when living with bad credit.

1. Credit cards are almost a necessity in our modern way of living

Without a credit card, you can’t rent a car, stay in a hotel, make purchases online or do dozens of other things. But if your credit is bad enough, getting a credit card can be nearly impossible.

There are alternatives, including those prepaid cards that allow you to put money into an account and then use the card to pay with your own money.

It’s like spending cash, but it serves the function of having that piece of plastic so many transactions require.

Check out our list of awesome credit cards if you’d like some new plastic in your wallet.

2. If you’re in the process of looking for a job and have bad credit, this can actually be used against you in the process

That’s right; many companies now run a credit check on potential job seekers. If you find yourself in this situation, there are steps you can take.

First, if you are told a credit check is part of the application process, consider taking your credit report in and discussing it as a part of your interview.

An employer would be more likely to consider a job candidate with bad credit if the candidate explains the situation and how they are working to improve it.

“By being upfront, you can gain the

trust of those who are concerned.”

3. Finding a place to rent can be a big challenge if you have bad credit

In this case, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success.

First, ask upfront what the criteria are for renting to someone. This is different from asking whether there’s a credit check involved — that will set off alarms right away.

Not every landlord will run a credit check, and if they don’t mention it, they may not.

Second, line up your references. Good references are sometimes as important as a good credit history. Finally, if you know there will be a credit check, do as I suggested for job seekers.

Take along a copy of your credit report and explain the situation item by item. This will show the landlord you are proactive and are working at trying to improve your situation.

4. Buying a car when you have bad credit can be challenging as well.

The best way to approach this dilemma is to ask yourself how much you can afford. If you can purchase a car for cash from a private seller, then do that.

However, if you need more car than you can afford, try negotiating with a credit union or other lender by putting as much money down as you can.

Having a large down payment will show a lender you are willing to commit as much as you’re asking from them.

Having bad credit doesn’t make you a bad person. This is the way you need to present your situation to people who are looking at your credit score critically.

Given the hard economic times so many of us have gone through recently, a bad credit score is much more understandable to people these days.

By being upfront about it and showing you are working toward improving your credit, you can gain the trust of those who are concerned about it.

And remember, bad credit is temporary.