July 18, 2023
Most of us have experienced money problems at one time or another.
Some situations are worse certainly than others, but far too many people are finding themselves panic-stricken when they suddenly realize: “OMG! I can’t pay the bills!”
It is a harsh lesson to discover how quickly an “average” credit rating can devolve into “bad credit,” and then sink into the depths of “no credit.”
And harsher still to learn how slow and demanding it is to restore your financial good name.
Fortunately, people who need to rebuild their credit can now find assistance as close as their local bank. And much of this help is free.
For example, First Community Bank now offers customers an easy way to monitor their personal credit report, receive guidance on how to improve their credit score, and help them qualify for better terms for a mortgage loan, auto loan or credit card.
Think of your credit report as your financial report card. It shows where you borrowed money, and your history of how and when you paid it back. It also reveals how much of your available credit you use. The better your credit report, the better your credit score.
It is important for customers to know what is in their credit report and learn how all that information impacts their financial future. They can start the process by accessing a free credit monitoring service that resides on the bank’s mobile banking app.
“Customers have to opt-in to use our Credit Insights program, and can opt-out at any point,” said Ronald Richardson, Assistant Vice President for Digital Banking Operations.
The program provides a current credit score, and a personalized analysis of the important factors that affect your personal score, including payment history, credit usage, account mix, credit age, recently opened accounts, and the number of credit inquiries that have been made about you.
Also available on the app are suggestions to improve your score, a simulator to see what may happen if you pay off a loan or open a new account, and you can check the amount of loans for which you are pre-qualified.
“Credit Insights will let you set a credit score goal and track your progress toward reaching that goal over time,” Richardson said. “It’s a fantastic tool for anyone serious about their finances.”
A variety of “Financial Wellness” articles are available through the app, offering subjects to help you identify and overcome various financial hurdles.
Other paths to rehabilitating your credit may include secured credit cards, secured loans and an account called “Fresh Start Checking.”
“A perfect tool to build or repair credit is the First Community Bank Ascent secured credit card,” said Anthony Pitts, Assistant Vice President for Credit Card Services. “This card reports to all three major credit bureaus, offers an online portal, plus access with a dedicated mobile app. It features a lower interest rate, and has a credit limit tied to the amount of your deposit.”
“Fresh Start Checking” is designed for the people who have had trouble managing checking accounts or have been turned down for a checking account in the past.
Even if you have a negative history with a consumer reporting agency, you may be eligible for a Fresh Start checking account to reestablish a positive checking relationship and get back on track.
So if you or someone you know is experiencing money problems and is serious about rebuilding personal credit, your bank is a good place to start the discussion.