Credit Repair For Veterans: Stats And Best Practices 2023

It takes patience to rebuild a military credit score, but the effort is very much worth it. Both servicemen and retired military members must understand that they have various alternatives for financial assistance with their liabilities, loans, credits, and financial affairs. This article will explain how service members and veterans can begin leading a debt-free life with a few simple steps.

Military Financial Statistics 

According to an American Consumer Credit Counseling survey, veteran personal finances statistics vary from civilian finances.

  • 41% of veterans had $5,000 or higher in credit card debt, as opposed to 28% of civilians;
  • 10% of veterans had credit card debt over $20,000, compared to only 7% for civilians;
  • 25% of enlisted soldiers cleared credit card payments regularly, as opposed to 41% of civilians.

A National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) did a poll in 2014, sponsored by Wells Fargo and conducted by Harris Poll, to examine military personnel's financial readiness. It was revised again in 2020. Comparing the polls helps uncover trends and supports emphasizing relevant problems.

In 2020, 78% of active-duty service members took up loans, an increase of a few percentage points compared to 2019 (75%). The COVID-19 pandemic may have played a role in increased payday loan demand since 52% of respondents expressed trouble finding suitable lending options during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The COVID-19 pandemic reportedly left one in every five military spouses woefully unequipped financially. 51% of spouses were worried about possible income loss and stable employment because of the pandemic. During COVID-19, 51% of active service members and 38% of spouses reported using freelance work to increase their earnings.

Since then, there has been an even more significant jump. Recent economic issues may be a big factor in rising payday loan utilization, as 52% of respondents expressed trouble finding suitable loan programs.

The attitude of military personnel toward credit obligations

Military members' financial preparedness and awareness: 

A poll updated in 2020 by the NFCC, sponsored by Wells Fargo, and performed by Harris Poll, evaluated the veteran's financial preparation.

  • Previously, 78% of active-duty service personnel recorded using a loan.
  • 31% of active-duty service members obtained a cash advance or a payday loan in 2020.
  • In comparison, 46% of active-duty service members believe that finances influence their life frequently.
  • 55% of veterans believe they could repay their loans on time.
  • 43% of veterans are worried about their finances..
  • 17% are concerned about not saving enough money.
  •  42% of veterans have a budget.
  • 49% wish they had more financial information catered to veterans.
  •  50% believe there are no adequate sources of finance accessible for veterans.

Debt behavior of military families

Concerning debt behavior, a FINRA report from 2017 and a National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) survey from 2015 reveal some alarming statistics:

  • 9% of Veterans are more inclined than the general population to engage in risky credit behaviors.
  • 7% of the average military household has a larger unsecured debt, or approximately $500 higher than the rest of the country.
  • Military families have 16% fewer physical assets or $11,000 less financial value than the national standard.
  • 15% greater monthly debt-related expenditures, which is about $200 higher than the norm.

Best practices for fixing bad credit score as a veteran:

Understand what factors impact the credit score

All three leading credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, apply an algorithm created by the Fair Isaacs Corporation, or FICO, to determine an individual’s credit score. Factors that contribute to the FICO score include:

Payment History

Available Credit

Length of Credit

Credit Inquiries

Types of Credit

35%

30%

15%

10%

10%

The initial move in credit repair is making timely payments. Hence you must not request a credit line, like a housing loan, car loan, or personal loan, until you have made regular, timely payments for all your financial commitments for a minimum of 1 year.

The report should contain accurate credit information for at least some time. Credit repair companies cannot delete genuine legal information from your credit reports, so keep this in mind if you intend to hire one.

Using it prudently:

Limiting your credit usage and bringing your totals down to under 50% are a few genuine military credit repair measures. Limit your credit card balances to under 50% over time by not opening new accounts and begin paying back your existing bills.

Avoid closing accounts despite wanting to:

Your credit accounts are of greater importance the longer they are in use. When examining a credit account with several years of information, a lender can identify habits of careful credit usage. Simply put, older credit accounts hold more importance.

Prioritizing Payment History and Available Credit categories

Payment History of Credit:

Your payment history is an aspect of your credit score with the most impact on how your score behaves. The rating algorithm establishes whether or not the borrower paid their timely payments. Over 30 days, over 60 days, and more than 90 days, delayed payments show up on the radar. The scores decline as the number of total days rise. What happens if a debt is uncleared and gets charged off or put into the collection? Well, you get a gradual decline in credit ratings.

Available Credit:

You can define available credit as the proportion of total outstanding credit balances to the credit limit allocated to your account, represented by a percentage.

About 30% of the available credit seems to be the perfect proportion. It is noteworthy to observe that in this case, ratings rise while a balance-free account will likely have minimal to no effect. What is your creditworthiness if you have never incurred any debt?

Nevertheless, as the sum rises, the credit scores would be impacted. Credit ratings will drop if the balance reaches and remains at 50%. A loan balance exceeding a credit line temporarily can severely damage your score.

Taking care of your payments on time

The information available on the main website of the three leading credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, confirm this.

The first step in credit repair is making timely payments, and you must never seek a credit line if you have not made regular, timely payouts on your previous financial commitments for at least a year.

Setting up auto-deduction systems to ensure that you pay as much of your payments on time is one of the most suitable methods to achieve this. You can build a solid track record by exercising the necessary positive credit behaviors.

Credit Repair for Veterans

A history of timely payments enables you to establish credibility if you can meet the minimum payment requirements. Your credit score gets influenced by the latest payment history rather than older data.

Keeping up with your credit report

You will not have the option of applying for new military credit or working effectively on credit repair if you do not have information from your credit report. Find out how to get your free credit score annually by visiting the official Federal Trade Commission website.

You can access free weekly credit reports online until 31st December 2023 from the three main bureaus. 

Call the credit bureaus immediately if you find any inaccuracies in the report. A survey by the Federal Trade Commission found that one in every five consumers finds a minimum of one mistake in their credit history.

 Ask for help from charities and other sources.
Credit Repair for Vetrans

Veterans and active military personnel can seek help from several non-profit organizations and community programs available in their locations.

Here, we list a few below:

  • Red Cross 

    The American Red Cross can provide financial support for military members and their families, including travel, funeral costs, food, shelter, and more.

  • American Legion
    Military families in crisis can get interim financial help from the American Legion.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 

    Through its Unmet Needs program, the VFW provides financial support to American military families with unforeseen financial burdens.

  • Operation First Response

    To meet urgent financial requirements, Operation First Response has assisted over 23,689 families of injured and disabled servicemen since 2004.

  • Operation Home Front

    Military families can get support from Operation Home Front through financial help, housing assistance, and caregiving support.

  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

    DAV assists veterans in receiving their due entitlements. Annually, they assist more than a million veterans and their loved ones.

  • U.S.A. Cares

    A nationwide charitable organization called USA Cares offers help to veterans and their struggling military families. It’s a network for military veterans and their loved ones.

  • Hope For the Warriors

    Family members of fallen service personnel and service members get offered a whole circle of treatment to heal the self and their families through Hope for the Warriors.

  • Coalition to Salute America's Heroes

    The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes supports wounded soldiers and the families of those involved in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

  • Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)

    Air Force families and military personnel can get financing and grants with no interest from AFAS.

  • Army Emergency Relief (AER)

    With the help of scholarships, grants, and interest-free loans, AER supports military personnel and their dependents.

  • Navy-Marine Corp Relief Society (NMCRS)

    For navy personnel and marines who are on active military service or have retired, and for qualifying relatives, surviving spouses, and reserve personnel, the NMCRS gives credit guidance, grants, and interest-free loans to help with immediate financial difficulties.

  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

    Members of the Coast Guard, both those in active military and retired as well as civilian personnel, reservists, auxiliaries, and commissioned officials of the Public Health Service, get assistance from the CGMA along with their dependents.

  • Community Programs

    There may be local assistance programs in your city, county, or state for serving and retired military members. For instance, the STEP, or Support the Enlisted Project, exists in Southern California. As mentioned above, your community military assistance society, Military OneSource, or the Red Cross may be able to assist in connecting you with community programs.

Control your spending and know where every dime is

Unlike civilian families, military families face monetary issues such as credit card debt and repeated migrations. Several consumers claim to be unaware of where their dollars are going. Simply keeping track of your financial activities can motivate you and your spouse. 

Knowing how your money gets spent is vital, regardless of the means you use to keep track of it. That may be either by documenting your purchases, maintaining a worksheet, or utilizing a tool that monitors every account. When you understand how to plan, things like budgeting and planning for the future will be much simpler for you and your household.

Using your credit wisely

Being in the military allows you to form new, accountable credit usage habits.

You can start using the Government Travel Charge Card Program (GTCC). Because the utilization of this charge card is required, service members get the chance to use it responsibly and start developing healthier credit habits.

The amounts get settled using a dual payout that involves the service member payment and an automated debit payment from their bank account.

The payment cycle is consistent because of a mechanism of the payment responsibility which also enforces the obligation to pay each time, and the cardholder will not be able to spend their funds for work travel.

How can the military help with your credit

Military families/veterans have access to some privileges, rights, and support that can benefit them financially:

  • G.I. Bill 

    For qualified service personnel looking for financial aid for learning and training, the VA manages the GI Bill.

  • SCRA
    The service member community receives special privileges from the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
  • MLA 

    Active-duty military personnel can get support from the Military Lending Act, which sets a 36% cap on some loans.

  • VUF

    Veterans United Foundation assists discharged military personnel.

  • VA

    The Veterans Benefits Administration provides special schemes, housing loans, insurance coverage, educational assistance, and health care benefits.

  • Military Saves

    Military Saves is a program created to help service members' families save income, eliminate debt, and acquire economic stability.

  • Military OneSource 

    MilitaryOneSource assists military service families with support for tax services, job placement, deployment, and migration.

Credit repair companies can sometimes help

A few reasons that can negatively affect the financial goals of a veteran are unexpected deployments, disabilities, long-term PTSD, and short-notice moves. It’s hardly shocking that a lot of veterans require credit repair services.

Credit repair for Veterans

Veterans deserve the best credit repair possible, and there is no shame in asking for help.

You can correct the credit reports through a reputable credit repair company at varying service levels for an affordable charge. Services typically consist of:

  • Credit counseling is frequently available;
  • Checking your credit records;
  • Disputing negative items with your creditors and the credit bureaus;
  • Keeping track of each dispute until settled;;
  • Supplying tools for personal finance and instructional materials;

Each business sets its rates and bundles its products.

The credit repair companies look at your credit history and flaws, such as:

  • Inaccurate items;
  • Outdated entries;
  • Unverifiable charges;
  • Fake items.

It takes a lot of work to fix identity fraud. Thus, many credit repair businesses provide specialized services in this area. Immediately notify the Federal Trade Commission of any suspicious activity.

Additionally, the company may send out specific letters, including:

  • Goodwill letters: These are letters requesting that a late payment get deleted from your credit report.
  • Cease and Desist Letters: These letters, known as cease and desist orders, ask debt collectors not to contact you.

The number of tasks the corporation will undertake in your favor each month depends on the service level you choose. Higher-priced service levels offer extra services like mobile apps, score analysis and monitoring, identity fraud repair, and money management tools.

Closing Thoughts

When choosing one of the various sites that provide credit repair for veterans, ensure that you read through their accreditation. Military and Family Support Centers are located on military bases and offer a broad range of services, such as financial planning, migration assistance, and mobilization support.

Several organizations provide financial assistance, credit counseling, debt consolidation, and debt relief to military veterans. Regardless of how an individual obtains the help required, we encourage all who need it to pursue expert advice.

Online tools, including free financial education, are readily available should you seek that kind of assistance. Alternatively, you can contact the concerned institutions directly by telephone, email, or online. Hopefully, the information here will help our brave veterans and their families achieve financial independence.

About the author Greg Lorenzo

Greg is a financial expert who has been advising his audience on loans for over 10 years. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area, and he is passionate about helping people get the best possible deal on their loans. Greg is an expert in negotiating loans, and he has a proven track record of getting his clients the best possible terms. He is also a strong advocate for financial literacy, and he regularly gives workshops and seminars on the topic.

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