Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci has been helping people decode and master personal finance issues for more than 20 years. He is the author of “Credit Management Kit For Dummies,” “Credit Repair Kit For Dummies,” “Barnes and Noble Debt Management,” co-author of “Managing Your Money All-In-One For Dummies” and “Debt Repair Kit For Dummies” (Australia). Steve is an experienced expert witness in identity theft, credit scoring and debt related cases. He has been a presenter at the FICO InterACT Global Conference, the Federal Reserve and the International Credit Symposium at Cambridge University in the UK. 

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Credit limit: Issuer offered me low limit despite high credit score; why? -- If you have an existing high credit line with the same bank, it may not be so generous with additional credit accounts. ... (See Credit limits on new accounts)

New to credit: Will a store card help build my thin credit file? -- If you?ve just started building credit with one card, a second one could have a bigger impact on your score than if you had many accounts with long histories. And retail cards have disadvantages beyond credit scoring impact. ... (See Store cards and new credit )

Mortgage: Can you get approved without a credit score? -- If you want to apply for a home loan, but are currently unscoreable, there are ways to build up your credit file. But it may take six months to a year. ... (See Mortgage and credit scores)

Small unpaid balance: Will it hurt my credit score? -- A missed payment, even on a small balance, will hurt your score. But a tiny delinquency won?t hurt as much as a big one, and it has less impact if you have an extensive positive credit history. ... (See Small unpaid balance)

Forgot to pay annual fee: Does it hurt your credit? -- If you've forgotten to pay your annual fee and 30 days have passed, it could be reported to the credit bureaus as late and damage your credit score. After you pay it, ask your issuer to update your account status to "current." ... (See Annual fee)

Deceased spouse's card debt: Am I liable as an authorized user? -- If you live in a community property state, you could be liable for your deceased spouse's unpaid card balances. But if you don't, your authorized-user status effectively clears you of any responsibility for the debt. ... (See Deceased spouse's card debt)

Should I ask my issuers to reduce my credit limits after my debt is paid off? -- Lower credit limits can hurt your credit score if you continue to carry balances on your cards after paying off your current debts. If you have less available credit, your credit utilization ratio will increase more quickly as you use your cards. ... (See Credit limits )

Will my credit score rise after 12 months with no late payments? -- There is no scoring bonus for making a one-year milestone of on-time payments. However, if all other factors that go into creating a credit score are positive, you should expect your score to reflect this. ... (See Payment history )

Car repossessed: How can I rebuild my credit? -- The delinquent car payment that led to the repossession will stay on your credit report for seven years. However, there are ways to help your score recover in the meantime. ... (See Car repossession )

Improve your credit score in 2019: 10 tips -- If you want to improve your credit score this year, start by setting financial goals and knowing where you stand today. The five FICO credit scoring factors can guide you the rest of the way. ... (See Credit score tips )

Will my credit score drop if I take over my friend?s internet account? -- If you are assuming legal responsibility of an existing credit account with a negative history, that could affect your credit score. If it's a utility account, you may only see a small credit score hit from a hard inquiry. ... (See Internet account and credit score )

How can I help my financially abused, disabled ex-husband repair his credit? -- If a disabled person for whom you have power of attorney is being abused financially, you can freeze his credit and contact the card companies to which he owes balances. ... (See Credit repair after financial abuse )

Secured credit card: Can I still get one if I have medical bills in collection? -- If a medical collection is weighing down your credit, you could be denied a secured card. But you might want to consider other ways to rebuild your credit, while also developing a plan to pay off your medical bills. ... (See Secured credit card)

My car insurance went up because of my credit. Can I challenge it? -- Your traditional credit score and your credit-based insurance score can't be challenged, but you can review the information that determines them and dispute it if there are errors. ... (See Car insurance and credit scores )

Student loan deferment: How does it affect your credit score? -- A student loan in deferment does not affect your credit score because it's not a currently due obligation. If your score dropped after your loan came out of deferment, it's likely that something negative has happened. ... (See Student loan deferment and credit score )

Are two debt settlements worse for your credit score than one? -- Settling a charged-off debt for less than what you originally owed is a score killer, and doing it twice just makes it worse. But these financial missteps can also hurt you with regard to your taxes and future employment opportunities. ... (See Settling a charged-off debt)

If I buy an engagement ring with a new card, will my other credit limits drop? -- Getting a new card for a big purchase is not likely to spook your other card issuers into lowering your limits. However, you could see your credit score drop for a while, and the new debt may leave you vulnerable to financial shocks. ... (See Credit limit decrease )

What accounts do you need to achieve a credit score over 800? -- Just having a fistful of credit cards is not going to get you into the 800-plus range. But different types of loan accounts, which require you to make a set payment each month, can show that you're disciplined with your debts. ... (See 'Keeping Score' Q&A with Steve Bucci)

Renting an apartment: Should I raise my score or save for a big deposit? -- If you have a low score and bad debts, you should try to resolve the debts as soon as possible. However, you may not have enough time to significantly improve your score if you're looking to move within the year. ... (See Apartment rentals and credit score )

Can I dispute a late payment that was my lender's fault? -- Accurate information generally can't be removed from your credit report, but you should dispute it if you think it was a mistake. If you can't get it removed, the credit score impact will fade over time and with consistent on-time payments. ... (See Late payment )

Should I close high-balance card if offered a lower APR? -- If you close the card but continue to pay off the balance, your credit score won't change much for a while. However, moving the debt to a loan or a balance transfer card could help your score improve sooner. ... (See Close maxed-out card for lower APR? )

Millionaire with a low credit score: Options for improving -- If you have plenty of cash on hand to eliminate your bad debts, you should do it. But it still may not improve your credit score right away. ... (See Collection items and credit scores )

New credit card has high APR: Should I cancel it? -- Closing a new credit card can have a negative effect on your credit score. Instead, ask your issuer to lower the APR and avoid carrying a balance on the card. ... (See Close credit card with high APR?)

Should I cancel a card from a store I no longer shop in? -- Even if you no longer visit the store that issued the card, keeping it open is better for your credit score than closing it ... (See Store cards and credit scores )

Debt settlement: Can I still qualify for a construction loan? -- Settling a debt for less than you agreed to pay can damage your credit score for years. And a construction loan generally has more stringent requirements than a standard mortgage. ... (See Debt settlement and credit scores)

How to build credit if you can't get a secured card or personal loan -- You can't change negative information in your credit report, but you can add some positive data. Here are a few options if you can't get a secured card or a personal loan. ... (See Building credit )

How many credit cards do you need to get a mortgage? -- With just one card you may not be able to get a FICO credit score and qualify for a mortgage, but there are some simple things you can do to build up your credit profile ... (See Credit cards and mortgage approval)

How multiple loan inquiries impact new card approval -- Multiple loan inquiries shouldn't hurt your score much if they occur within a short time period. If your score is below 700, you may want to build it up before applying for a rewards card ... (See Multiple loan inquiries)

Authorized user account hurt my wife?s credit. Can we erase it? -- Adding authorized users to a card account that has high utilization can harm their credit. ... (See Authorized user's credit score )

How soon will my credit score recover from a collection item? -- A collection item stays on your credit report for up to seven years. After you pay it off, be sure to keep your other card balances low or pay them down to zero ... (See Collection items and your credit score)

Will my credit score improve if I pay off maxed-out cards within a year? -- Paying down credit card balances reduces your overall credit utilization, which should improve your credit score ... (See Maxed-out cards)

Should I close my credit card to get my score mortgage-ready? -- Closing an active card account can have a negative effect on your credit score by lowering your overall credit utilization ... (See Card accounts and mortgages)

Should I get a new credit card to help boost my credit score? -- A new credit card is one way to improve your credit mix, which could increase your score as long as you make your payments on time ... (See Credit score )

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Updated: 05-24-2019