Looking for ways to improve your credit?
Trying to figure out how to fix your credit score?
Having a bad credit score can make many things in life more difficult. It can make it harder for you to get a mortgage, to find an apartment to rent or to get a car loan.
If you want your financial life to be as simple and easy as possible, you need to work on improving your credit. Luckily, there are ways to do it. However, it will take some time and effort to bring your score up where it needs to be.
Below we’ll tell you about the essential steps you need to follow to successfully repair your credit.
1. Know Your Credit Score
Before you start trying to repair your credit you need to know exactly where you stand. It’s important to check your credit score before you get started.
You’re legally allowed to get a report each year from the three credit bureaus for free which you can easily do using AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get a report in other ways as well. It’s very easy to check your score with various online services. Many credit card providers and banks also have a feature within your online account that allows you to check your score.
Credit scores range between 300-850 so you’ll want to see where your score currently falls. Here are the approximate credit score rankings:
- 800-850: Excellent
- 740-799: Very Good
- 670-739: Good
- 580-669: Fair
- 300-579: Very Poor
Once you know what your score is you’ll be better equipped to start fixing it.
2. Fix Errors
It’s important to know that everything that’s on your credit report may not be accurate. Sometimes errors are made by credit card companies or credit and credit bureaus.
Because of this, it’s important to carefully look over your credit report to see if there are any errors. If the report claims you have missed payments that you didn’t miss or if there are accounts on your report that aren’t yours, then you may have a problem.
If you notice any errors then you can dispute them by contacting the credit bureaus. You can do this online or you can send physical mail to do this. You may also choose to contact the bank or financial institution hat put the false information on your report.
By disputing any errors on your report you’ll eliminate anything on your report that’s bringing your score down but shouldn’t be.
3. Educate Yourself
In addition to knowing your personal credit score you also need to know anything you can about credit in general. There are several factors that determine what a person’s credit score is, so you should know what these are and pay attention to them.
The amount of missed payments on your account, credit utilization, and the age of your credit are all important factors that will affect your score, but there are other factors as well.
By doing your research and understanding how credit scores are made, you’ll do a much better job of repairing it.
4. Tackle Past Due Accounts
If you have any credit cards or loans that you’ past due on, you need to remedy that immediately. It’s important to get your accounts up to date and current, as carrying past due balances can affect your credit in negative ways.
While a month or more can be harmful, even worse is if your account is 180 days past due or more. When an account is 180 days past due it will be considered a charge-off which is especially bad for your credit score.
Make sure you get your account paid and current as soon as possible if you’re serious about improving your credit. Getting your past due accounts into a current status is the first thing you should do to get your credit score pointed in the right direction.
5. Control Your Credit Utilization
One factor that has an effect on your credit score is credit utilization. It’s important that you’re not using too much of your credit at once as this can make it appear that you may be unreliable. Having a high utilization of your available credit can make your credit score go down.
If you have any accounts that are currently over the limit or close to the limit you’ll need to get those back down as soon as possible. Ideally, you should keep your credit utilization at around 35%.
Make sure that you’re making regular payments to your credit cards and consider paying more than the minimum amount each month in order to get your utilization down more quickly.
6. Get New Credit
Believe it or not, even if you have bad credit there are ways to get new credit cards. However, you won’t have as many options as people with good credit scores have.
Getting new credit can help you build your score because it could improve your credit utilization. Additionally, having more accounts open is a good thing to some extent. If you use a new card responsibly then there’s a good chance it will help improve your score.
Secured credit cards are one of the best options available to you if you have bad credit. These cards will require you to deposit the equivalent amount of the credit line that they will give you. Secured cards can be very helpful for improving your credit even if your score is currently less than ideal.
There are some other credit card options available for people with bad credit as well. Store cards are often relatively easy for people with bad credit scores to get. Some unsecured cards exist as well. You may want to check out this helpful website to see some of the cards that may be available to you if you have bad credit.
7. Give It Time
Once you know your credit score you’ve followed the steps above, you need to make sure that you maintain any credit that you have. Building your credit will take time so it’s important to adopt good habits and to stay responsible.
Always make payments on time and try to keep your credit utilization around 35%. Don’t make purchases that you don’t need or that you won’t be able to pay back quickly.
By being careful with your credit and giving your score some time to improve you’ll eventually find that your credit score is starting to go up.
Figuring Out How to Fix Your Credit Once and For All
There is a lot to think about when you’re trying to figure out how to fix your credit. However, repairing it is not as difficult as it may seem. Make sure that you follow the steps above if you’re ready to improve your credit score once and for all.
Want to make sure you maintain your credit score? Click here to learn about the common financial mishaps that can damage your credit.