Credit cards Updated:
There has been a tidal wave of bad news for anyone who relies on credit - and that means almost all of us.
Repossessions are at an eight-year high, property values are falling and lenders are turning down up to 60 per cent of applications for credit cards, loans and mortgages - one analyst estimates that 3.5 million people were turned down for cards, loans and mortgages during 2007.
It hardly seems surprising that financial counselling services report that 2008 has kicked off with record numbers of calls asking for help.
The place to start is your credit report, which lists what you've borrowed and how well you're managing your repayments. It gives you a snapshot of your current status and can help you to see where you should cut back and if you could close some accounts altogether.
Lenders check it when they decide whether to make you an offer and what terms - such as interest rates - to set, so it is crucial that it's up to date and accurately reflects your circumstances. It pays to work on improving your credit report because a better credit history makes you more likely to get a better deal.
Then check these tips on further steps you can take -and what to avoid. They could help you to make it through the credit crisis.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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