Archive for April, 2010

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Crummy credit? Let’s fix it!

April 30, 2010

Here at Car Country, we are used to people with bad credit. That’s what we do! Our job is to get you into a clean, reliable vehicle with low monthly payments, even if you’re credit history isn’t the best. So you’re purchasing a car from us, and you love us, but you want to get to work on rebuilding your credit. Let us tell you how.

The first step is to get a copy of your credit report from all three credit agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You can get a free report from places like www.freecreditreport.com (tell your friends, tell your dad, tell your mom!). It may not seem free because you have to give them your credit card information, and they charge you a small fee (around $14.95) but if you call immediately and cancel their “service,” you will get the fee refunded in a week or so. So it really is free, it just may not seem like it right then.

Next, look over all of the report carefully. Almost everyone will have a mistake on their report, so read slowly! It is also interesting to see what’s on your report; you may have a strike against you that you don’t even know about. (This is a real deal; it happened to me.) You can send a letter to the company that is saying you didn’t pay them if you feel it’s in error, or it was an honest mistake, and explain the situation; this helps you look like a good person and they’ll be more willing to work with you to remedy the situation.

So you’ve made some mistakes, and you are now looking at a list of them in black and white. Seems overwhelming, and you’re kicking yourself now for paying bills late, or whatever you did to mess up your credit. (Note: late payments can stay on your credit report for seven years, bankruptcies for 10). Not to worry, it’s never too late. Sadly, only time can fix the situation, but that’s okay. Time is one thing that everyone has, so let’s get going on fixing your credit!

Pay your bills on time! This is the number one way to fix your credit. Improve your habits, and your credit score will slowly go up. Find a system that works for you, and stick with it. At our house, we use a dry erase board, listing each bill, the amount, and the day that it’s due. Once it’s paid, we check it off the list. We do this every month, and we can easily see what’s been paid and what hasn’t.

If you have 20 different credit cards, it’s time to quit that! There is nobody in the world that needs that many cards; the recommended number is two to four. A dangerous habit is opening multiple cards for stores. You know how you go to say, Target, and they offer you a 10% discount if you open a Target card? That’s how they suck you in. Because what they don’t tell you is that while you’ll save your 10% (big deal), you must put that purchase on your Target card. One way around this is to open the card, charge it, and then make an immediate in-store payment. But honestly, it’s never a good idea to open all those accounts. There was a time when I had J. Crew, Old Navy, Express, Target, Lowe’s…and three out of five of those were used maybe two times. In the meantime, I made a late payment here and there, and what did I have? Strikes on my credit, all for a stupid pair of Old Navy flip-flops. So next time they ask you if you would like to save 10%, just say, “No, thanks!”

Immediately close all of the accounts that you don’t use. Cutting up a card is a good start, but that doesn’t mean you’ve closed the account. Make sure you contact the company and close it (your credit report will then read “Closed by Consumer,” which is what you want it to say.) If you have a large number of cards, close them out slowly over the period of several months, not all at once. Start making your payments (ON TIME!). Your goal is to pay off the card with the highest amount of interest first. Put any extra cash that you can toward that bill, and pay the minimum on the others. Once you pay that off, use the money you were using toward that bill and pay it toward the next highest-interest card, and so on. Eventually you’ll pay them off, and your credit will start to repair itself. One last thing is to open a savings account at your bank. This shows creditors that you’re serious about saving and that you have money to pay your debts, if necessary.

Hang in there, and you will eventually get your credit back in good standing. But in the meantime, if you need a car, come see us at any of our three Car Country locations, and we will be happy to help you out!

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Buy Here Pay Here? How?

April 28, 2010

You’ve got bad credit. So what? Maybe you’ve been divorced, maybe you’ve made one too many late payments. Either way, it doesn’t make you a bad person; we all make mistakes. It can hurt your chances of getting a car or a loan or a house….but not always. Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) car dealerships, like Car Country, can you help you get in a car today.

The difference with a BHPH dealership is that we skip the third party, like the bank. All of our financing is done on-site, through the dealership. You simply arrange the loans and make the payment through us. Sounds easy, right? Sure is. Some traditional dealerships are beginning to offer BHPH options, but they don’t usually advertise it. At a traditional dealership, you will go through all of the hooplah, test-driving, so on and so forth, and THEN talk about financing. At a BHPH dealership like ours, we get all of that money and credit talk out of the way first. Then we’ll show you which cars will work for you in your particular situation. Makes sense to us!

There are also a few benefits to going to a BHPH dealer. Mainly, it gives folks with poor credit a chance to get a car! It’s hard to pay bills without a job, and it’s hard to get a job without a car. And it’s hard to get a car with bad credit. We’ll help you. Another bonus is the chance to rebuild your credit. Most times, if you make your payments in a timely manner, the BHPH dealer will report that to the credit agencies, and you can re-establish yourself. Lastly, BHPH dealers are more forgiving in the trade-ins they take. They understand that not everyone can afford to buy a new car every couple of years, and they are more willing to take older models in trade.

If you have more questions about your BHPH options, please call us at Car Country and speak with Roger Gibbs, our Credit Cruncher. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.

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Hello from Car Country

April 27, 2010

Hello out there, Car Country fans! We’re pleased to announce the launch of our social networking campaign, so that we may reach all of you who like to play on your computers while pretending to work. (It’s okay, we won’t tell on you!) You’ve obviously found our blog, so we’d like to welcome you! Please feel free to leave comments; whether you like what you’ve read, or if you have a problem, we’d love to hear about it.

Car Country now has a Facebook fan page, too, so please find us and learn all about what we’re doing at your favorite Buy Here Pay Here dealership. You can find our Facebook page here:  http://tinyurl.com/2489pfy

You can also follow us on Twitter @carcountry. And of course, you can always visit our website and check out our online inventory and fill out private credit applications at http://www.carcountrycars.com

Car Country has three locations to better serve you. We have dealerships in Bixby, Broken Arrow, and Sapulpa. Our salespeople are always ready to help you find the vehicle you need, and Rog, the Credit Cruncher, can help you with your credit problems. As we like to say, Car Country is “Financing your future, not your past.” Come visit us and help us get into your new car today!