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How Can a Felon Fix Their Credit?

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As those who have been convicted of a felony realize, life as they knew it prior to the conviction is over.

That doesn’t mean that life is over, just that nothing will ever be the same again.

In addition to the challenges of finding a job, finances typically become a major issue, and their credit rating probably took a major hit.

This blog post will address the issue of how a felon can fix their credit.

  • Managing Their Debt
  • Credit Report
  • Steps to Higher Credit Scores
  • Giving Themselves the Best Chance
  • Supporting a Felon in Fixing Their Credit


Managing Their Debt

Felons may have had difficulty in the past with managing their finances, resulting in major debt from credit cards, loans, and other sources.

One of the traps they may have fallen into is having multiple credit cards and running them to their limit with no concern about paying them off as part of their dishonest lifestyle.  They may have had loans they had not repaid.

Since leaving prison, they may have vowed to live an honest life and never to take out another credit card or loan again.

While this is a commendable thought, there are important reasons for having a credit card or getting a loan.

Having a credit card or loan:

  • Can build their credit rating. Having a card or loan that they make timely payments on will allow felons to make a larger purchase, a car or house.
  • For convenience.  It is not always possible or even wise to pay cash for everything.  A credit card or loan can make this easier.

In applying for a credit card or loan for a major purchase like a car or house, most companies’ primary interest is in their credit rating.

This is determined by obtaining a credit report.

Credit Report

The typical credit report contains several categories of information:

  • Identifying information – This includes Social Security Number, birthdate, and employment status.
  • Trade Lines – These are the credit accounts, including type of account, date account opened, credit limit, account balance, and payment history
  • Credit Inquiries – This is a list of everyone who has accessed this credit report in the past two years.
  • Public Record and Collections – This is public record information from state and county courts and information on bankruptcies foreclosures, liens, and judgments.

The credit area is one that many felons have difficulty with and typically is the main reason to be denied such things as homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance coverage.

Having been in prison, unemployed, and unable to find a job puts most felons in a precarious situation.  Their financial history may include a bankruptcy because of the inability to meet their obligations, especially during incarceration.

There are resources for helping get rid of debt.

Steps to Higher Credit Scores

There are steps that can help repair credit.  It isn’t easy even without the felony.  Having that criminal record makes it more challenging to accomplish.

One of the first things is to have a steady source of income.  That means finding a job, which felons know can be a major obstacle.

Make certain the information used in the credit report is accurate.  Incorrect information can lead to more difficulties in raising their credit score.

Another step is to pay all bills on time.  Late payments, especially from credit sources such as credit cards is a major factor in the credit score.

Also, reducing the amount owed is important.  This is difficult, but it can begin by not using any current credit cards.

An essential step is to consult a credit advisor.  They can assist felons with their particular circumstances.

It is important not to open new accounts or get new credit cards.  If an account is opened, keep it to that single account without establishing others are the time.

A reminder is that closing an account with an outstanding balance will not wipe it out; it will still show up on a credit report for seven years.

Giving Themselves the Best Chance

Felons must remember that it is essential that they are honest about their criminal record when applying for a credit card or loan.  If not, they can easily put themselves in the position of being denied a credit card or loan and for being charged with fraud for lying on their application.

This can carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, made worse by already having a previous felony conviction.

So, they should give themselves the best chance from the start.

It is important not to give up.  Getting that job with a felony is not easy.  The Free Guide to Getting Employment has success stories.

Persistence will pay off.  Just stick to it and keep trying.

Supporting a Felon in Fixing Their Credit

For families of felons wanting to get a credit card, stand by them.  All of you have been through extremely difficult times already.  Don’t let your loved one give up.

Be square with them and let them know the importance of not lying on a credit card application.  After all, not being honest put them in the situation they are in now.

Remind them of how proud they will be to live an honest life, find a credit card, and re-establish their credit.  That will provide them the opportunity to establish more responsibility again.

After all, that new life with honesty and financial responsibility in providing for their family are important.

So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can fix their debt?  Have you or someone you know fixed their debt after a felony conviction?  What was that experience like, and how were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

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