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Ask Savvy: How Do I Get My Bad Credit Under Control? Part II


Dear Savvy,

I have bad credit and am trying to get it under control. Can you give me any tips on how to control it quickly? Can I get an apartment with bad credit? And is me having bad credit stopping me from getting a better paying job?

I answered the first part of this question earlier. See my answer regarding getting an apartment and a better paying job when you read more.

Savvy says: Let's start with the question about getting an apartment with bad credit. A low credit score indicates that you haven't been paying your bills on time and puts up a red flag to landlords reviewing you as a possible tenant. Landlords want tenants who pay rent on time and all they know of your financial habits is what shows on your credit report.

I've heard that some landlords don't require credit checks, though in all of my rental experience I've never come across this scenario myself. Landlords will likely ask for a larger security deposit up front if your credit is bad, so if you're thinking of renting it's a good idea to start saving up for moving costs. Asking someone close to you to cosign your lease may be an option, but realize it's a big favor: If you don't pay your rent, your cosigner is on the hook for the payments.

As for bad credit preventing you from getting a better paying job, my answer is that if you're interviewing for a position that involves finances, confidentiality, and handling money, then your credit probably contributes to your rejection. Some companies check applicants' credit regardless of the specific position under consideration, but not all companies utilize credit checks as part of the hiring process. So, your score may be a factor in your ability to get a better paying job, but there's no way for me to say for sure.

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