You can certainly improve your credit score but keep in mind that it doesn’t happen overnight. Credit scores are based on your cumulative past and present credit behavior. Just like losing weight, the right way to repair your credit is gradual. Quick-fix efforts are more likely to backfire so be wary of finance gurus who promise to improve your credit score fast.
Rebuilding your credit entails responsibility. Having a bad credit score doesn’t mean that you’re doomed forever. You can take responsible actions now to repair your credit history and benefit from it in the long run.
#1 of 5 Tips to Improve Credit Score: Review Your Credit Reports
First and foremost, you have to check your credit report for accuracy. We all have 3 different credit reports from the 3 credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. However, know that credit reports sometimes have errors too. In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found out from their study that 1 in 5 consumers spotted a mistake in one of their credit reports. Hence, it is your responsibility to double check your credit reports.
Your credit score depends on the data on your credit reports. So, I suggest getting your free copy of your credit report from the 3 credit bureaus. You are entitled to 1 free copy from each credit bureaus once a year. Access yours through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Here’s a quick checklist once you have all your 3 reports handy:
- Are all your personal data accurate?
- Do all 3 reports include all your credit accounts?
- Are there missed or late payments listed that you actually paid on time?
- Are there credit accounts you don’t recognize?
- Are there items more than a decade ago that still shows up on your credit reports?
#2 of 5 Tips to Improve Credit Score: Identify What You Need to Improve
Your misspelled name on any of your credit reports won’t lower your credit score. However, some errors are most likely to affect your score. Below are some examples.
- Someone stole your identity and is abusing your credit.
- Collections from years ago still reflect on your credit report although they are past the state-set limitation.
- You have a divorce agreement with your ex but he or she has doesn’t pay the bills. You’re sure to suffer the consequences.
- Your default on a single loan shows up as multiple defaults because they forwarded it to collection agents.
- You have the same name as someone else and they have included his or her credit history in yours.
#3 of 5 Tips to Improve Credit Score: Make On-Time Payments
Get back on the right track by paying your dues on time. Organize yourself and set reminder alarms for credit card and loan payments. Check your due dates and your paycheck schedule so you can set aside a budget for them early on. Remember, delinquent payments stay on your credit reports for up to 7 years.
#4 of 5 Tips to Improve Credit Score: Open A Secured Credit Card
Did you know that you can open a secured credit card even with bad credit? A secured credit card asks for a specific amount of deposit. This secures the credit line that the bank extends to you. For instance, you deposit $200 in it, then you get a $200 credit line. At times though, the bank may give you a credit line, which is higher than the amount you deposited. All you need to do is maintain a positive payment on your secured credit card. If you default on the payments, the bank will use your deposit to cover your card balance.
#5 of 5 Tips to Improve Credit Score: Leave Your Old Debt On Your Report
Old debt of more than 7 years does not harm your credit score. In fact, you can leave it like that. Handling old debt well shows your financial responsibility. The longer your good payment history is, the better for your credit score. So, stop arguing with the credit bureaus to remove your old debt from your credit reports.
Need Help In Repairing Your Credit History?
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