Looking for ways to improve your credit but not sure where to start? They say that slow and steady wins the race. But, there are some credit repair measures that can yield benefits quickly. By following these tips, you may see your credit score start to improve.
1. Get Your Credit Report
A surprisingly low number of people request their credit reports each year. All three major credit bureaus allow you to get one free credit report per year. Fun fact: checking your credit won’t affect your credit score. Since it’s important to check your credit often, it’s a good idea to space out your check from each bureau. Getting one report every few months will allow you to check it 3 times a year without paying.
2. Minimize and Repair Mistakes
Old, settled debts—or even incorrect personal information—that remain on your credit report can lower your score. Be sure to correct or repair these mistakes as soon as possible by challenging the credit bureau. A credit repair company (like this one) can also assist you in correcting errors on your credit report.
Identify credit problems that you can address immediately: those that will require some work, and those that will take longer to fix. By figuring out your biggest issues, you’ll be able to better devise a strategy.
4. Knock Out Those Small Issues
Even if paying down a small balance doesn’t affect your score right away, every little bit counts in the long run.
5. Open a Line of Credit
If you don’t have any credit cards, get one. If you don’t qualify for an unsecured card, consider a secured option. Secured cards still report, and it may only take a few months of timely payments to improve your creditworthiness.
6. Negotiate With Creditors
Instead of hiding from creditors, be proactive. Most companies are willing to work with you if you meet them halfway. Try to come to some sort of agreement that will allow you to repay the debt in exchange for the issuer agreeing to mark the debt as “paid in full” or “current” on your credit report.
7. Take a Look at Your Credit Limits
Are you aware of your full credit potential, or might you have a higher limit than you think? You can ask your credit card company to raise your limit. Be careful though – you always want to keep your balances low enough to pay off each month. Having a low balance with a high limit improves your credit utilization ratio.
8. Manage Your Credit Usage
Your utilization ratio accounts for about 30 percent of your total credit score. This number represents your total available credit vs. your used credit. If you can keep your credit utilization to about 25% or less, you should be in great shape.
9. Add Your Name to an Account
If you can become an authorized user of a parent or spouse’s credit account, this may help to improve your credit score. You want to make sure to partner with someone who has a higher score than yours.
10. Make Sure Your Accounts Are Current
If you have any back payments due, make paying them a priority. Once you do that, ask the card company to remove the late payment information from your report.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to improve your credit. If some of these steps seem overwhelming to you, you can also hire a professional to help you improve your credit score. Professional services are available to dispute credit errors and offer helpful advice on how to improve your score. Click here to find a credit repair professional.