Options for Poor Credit or Weak Financials

You have your business idea. You are excited about the future and all the possibilities that exist for you as an entrepreneur. As you begin to plan, you cannot seem to avoid one big roadblock: your credit history. While business advice is plentiful, you are not sure if your weak financial history puts you in the running for loans, credit cards, money from investors. Are you out in the cold? Are your business aspirations doomed to failure? Not necessarily.

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Get a copy of your credit report and find out the facts. You can obtain your credit report for free once every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com. This one site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Your Credit Score or Number

A credit score is assigned to you based on your credit history. It lets lenders know the risk they'll be taking when loaning you money. Information on myFICO.com says:

"Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. As this information changes, your credit scores tend to change as well. Your 3 FICO scores affect both how much and what loan terms (interest rate, etc.) lenders will offer you at any given time. Taking steps to improve your FICO scores can help you qualify for better rates from lenders."

Visit myFICO.com to learn more about credit scores and how to improve your score.

Other factors that are considered in determining your credit score include:

  • income
  • educational level - the higher, the better
  • how frequently you move your residence - the less often, the better
  • how often you change jobs - the less often, the better
  • the number of credit cards you have - the fewer, the better
  • whether your payments have been on time
  • what you spend your money on
  • how close you are to your credit limit
  • how many cash advances you have taken

Clean up Bad Credit History

Consider these factors when trying to clean up a bad credit history.

If your credit report has verified that your financials are weak and the factors used to determine your credit score do not work in your favor, consider other options:

  • Contact a credit counselor (check out Consumer Credit Counseling)
  • Start saving as much money as you can now so that you can show potential lenders that you have money to invest in yourself.

Home ownership and having a retirement plan from a previous job are also helpful because banks will typically ask for such things as collateral for a loan.

One site to check out for funding (even with a less than ideal credit history) is Count-Me-In (www.count-me-in.org). They offer loans from $500 to $10,000 (first-time borrowers can only apply for a maximum of $5,000).

Other sites to check out include:

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