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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Sep 29, 2019.

Question

My mom needed me a few years ago to help her get a car. I won't go into details, but the only way for her to get it was for my name to be primary and her be a cosigner. She promised to make the payments, and I trusted her. 2 weeks ago, that car was repossessed and I found out she has missed 6 payments (at least). She got the car back after getting a personal loan from a friend of hers.
Here is my question- Im furious, and part of me wants that debt off of me now and her to refinance, but as she only owes less than $3000 on it, is it better for my credit if she pays it off? (I will be making sure she makes payments). Is there any way to discuss this with the credit bureau? I know it's my fault- I put the car in my name and ultimately it's my debt, but I can't help but feel angry that I tried to help and now I'm paying for it with a damaged credit score. I don't think there is much I can do, but any advice would be appreciated! I'm planning on getting a credit card soon to try and build my credit score as well. My only personaI debt is in Student loans.

Answer

First of all, sorry for your situation.  It sounds like you have already considered some of the consequences.  The credit bureaus publish some of the factors that go into your credit score but it is difficult to know for sure how your mom's late payments will impact yours, or whether it is better for her/you to pay off the debt all at once or continue to make timely monthly payments.  You might try asking that question to one or more of the credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).  Also, the web sites for these agencies have some helpful (free) education information.  Improving your credit score by taking out a credit card is a good idea...make sure to use it wisely and pay off any balance in full each month.

Hope that helps.  Keep in mind that any "marks" on your credit should roll off in time as long as you stay current on any other debts/credit cards and use debt prudently.  Good luck.  


For additional information visit http://www.360financialliteracy.org/

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