Many people have and suffer from bad or marginal credit. This does not mean they are a bad person as bad credit can happen as a result of a sudden unplanned illness or emergency, a job layoff, etc … Many families do not have sufficient savings to ride out a serious and costly emergency or job loss. Actually, according to MSN, many families are living only one paycheck away from bankruptcy and this is not good. To stop this one needs to put reigns on all unnecessary spending, but we will talk more about this further on.
The first step anyone with possibly bad credit needs to take is to find out the exact extent of your credit. You may have only seen 1 credit report or only been told what might be on your record by a bank or loan manager or finance manager, but did you know there are really 3 separate credit reporting agencies and each has a different report and score? Just because one credit report shows as bad doesn't necessarily mean the others do, and vice versa, if one is good the other two may be quite the opposite. Usually, as a rule, they are similar, but negative items or entries do tend to stay longer on some then others and some tend to have more errors in their entry reporting.
Go online to any of the three major credit bureaus (Just Google the names of Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) and pay to have your all three in one report with credit score pulled. You want all three as they can and probably will be slightly different. The report is necessary so you can actually measure and understand exactly how bad it is and what needs to be done to improve and fix it. A all three in one report is around $ 40 to $ 50 and worth it. Free reports which you can receive per recent federal laws will only give one credit bureau and no score (how do you know where you stand without a score unless you are a finance manager or work at a bank loan department?)
If your score is 600 and above your credit is marginal, but not bad. You won't have too much to repair. If your credit is 500 or below you probably have a lot of negative entries, possible tax liens, judgments, repos (car repossessions), a possible bankruptcy, and / or other serious negative influences and entries in your reports. A low or bad credit score will take more work and effort, but you can still achieve a much higher credit rating and fairly quickly.
Now, that you have your credit report and scores, find out which is the most important credit reporting bureau for your area of the country (each bureau has a particular area of influence). The easiest way to do this is to contact your local new car dealer and ask the finance manager what credit report they most commonly use to establish credit. Usually it is only one and that is the one that will be most influential in your area and the first one you should repair.