This week, ABCNews posted an article about the craziest excuses for poor FICO® Scores. This got me thinking about some of the excuses out there. Now we aren’t in grade school anymore, so “the dog ate my billing statement” isn’t excusable. Especially with online/paperless payment options available. Likewise, my dear child spilled their milk on the mail isn’t a real crying issue. But there are legitimate excuses out there for poor credit scores, and legitimate reasons for good FICO Scores. Let’s try to blend the two together.
I Forgot to Pay on Time
Hey, months fly by so quickly sometimes that some things escape notice. And we’ve all had that “Wait, it’s the first already? Oh no, I need to pay X!” the important thing is
1) Get a calendar/reminder system set up – can be an analog desk calendar, or a digital cell phone reminder.
2) Find out what is the grace period on the card/bills. You might be able to miss 2 months before interest rates hit you. But be warned that you still might get flags on your credit report.
I Didn’t Have the Money
This is actually more relevant now with the government shutdown taking place. If your job hasn’t been impacted by the shutdown, try to work on a monthly budget. Find areas you can spend less, save more, and always have money for bills allocated. If most of your bills come at the first of the month, don’t go on a spending spree at the end of the previous month, and vice versa.
Now if you do work for the government and are experiencing a non-existent paycheck, as Tom Quinn recently suggested: contact your lenders. If you work with your lenders, they may set up payment deferment options, or already have those in place and you just need to bring forth your case.
These are the two biggest and most common excuses. But the good news is that they can be avoidable if you take the right steps. Of course, if you have any other great excuses you’ve heard and would like to share, please do.
Michael Cohen is the Content, Community and Social Media Manager at myFICO.com.