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Credit Management Q&A

Wondering how to establish credit or what to do if you’re denied credit? Audrey has answers to these and more about managing credit.
Q: I am trying very hard to improve my credit, but my debts seem to keep piling up. If I join a credit counseling or debt management program, will it harm my credit rating?
Q: How long do I need to keep financial records like credit card statements, receipts, or tax returns after the year is over?
Q: I was a homeowner for eight years, but used much of my equity to get a new kitchen. Then I lost my job, and now I’m about to lose my house to foreclosure. I’ve been working sporadically, but my credit’s a disaster. How difficult is renting with bad credit?
Q: I’ve been living in the US five years and am applying for my first unsecured credit card. I have a bank account with a secured credit card and a steady income. Is that enough?
Q: I bought my husband a set of golf clubs online with a credit card and was told that they should arrive in two weeks. It’s been four weeks and they’re not here yet but the merchant did charge my credit card for them. What should I do?
Q: I’m 62 and was recently denied credit. Is this age discrimination that violates the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)?
Q: One of my creditors has denied me new credit. I wonder if it’s due to my credit score going down, since I’ve been out of work for a while and behind in mortgage payments. Can I find out why I was denied credit?
Q: I just paid off a large credit card bill and then was hit with a small additional sum for “residual debt.” Where did that come from?
Q: I’m planning some foreign travel this spring. I can get cash with my ATM card so should I bring credit cards? I don’t want to have to come back to huge bills, and I’m worried about pickpockets.
Q: We're trying to help our 22 year-old daughter establish credit and start building a responsible credit history. What should we advise her to do?
Q: I’m just out of college, trying to establish a credit history. Will getting a lease for my first apartment help?
Q: My partner in a small business wants to use a home equity credit line for some expenses, but I’d rather put it on our credit cards. Which is better?
Q: Our lender is offering credit insurance that would cover our loan payments if my spouse or I lost our job, got sick or worse. Is this a good idea?
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