"How do I repair my credit?"
"Is fixing my credit report and scores really that simple?"
"My credit scores are in the toilet. What do I do first?"
"BAM! My credit scores are a mess. I need a loan but can't get one. Where do I start?"
Got problems with your credit score?
The following 7 credit score tips will show you how to deal with those negatives on your credit report - permanently.
Also, if your credit record is poor, you have missed payments and made a lot of loan applications, please read on.
Have ALL mistakes been corrected?
If there are mistakes on your credit reports, write to the credit bureau and have them corrected immediately.
Provide as much proof or evidence to support your case as you can.
Sometimes even if they do not agree that it was a mistake, you can add a comment onto your report to explain the situation. Be sure to keep your comments very objective (do not accuse anybody of lying, for example). This is a very important step to take as some mistakes may either be moderately or severely hurting your credit scores.
What's your financial plan?
The only way to improve your credit score after taking care of ALL mistakes and errors, is to start to manage your finances in a different way.
Set a budget and stick to it. Allow yourself a small amount of 'mad money' each week that you can spend on whatever you want. Beyond that, only buy what is truly necessary.
Do you have credit cards?
The fastest way to build a good credit score is to have a good payment history on your credit cards, so don't cut them up. Just be sure only to use them for necessary purchases.
A good number of cards to have is two to four. With only one you will not be able to repair your score quickly, but if you have more than four it looks bad. If you have too many cards with large balances on them all, you would probably be better off financially and for your credit score if you consolidate some of your debts into a lower interest loan. However, be careful not to keep doing this (see #7).
If you need to reduce your number of cards, drop the newest ones first. A card that you have had for a longer time will count for more points as you start to build up a good credit history again.
Do you miss payments?
Never miss a payment on any loan or bill that will show on your credit report.
Even if a loan company or credit card company offers you a month or two 'grace' where you would not have to make payments, do not accept this offer. It may still show as a missed payment on your credit report.
So keep on making those payments, and be sure they will arrive by the due date.
Do you pay more than the minimum payment?
Send more than the minimum payment for credit cards any time that you can.
This will help your credit rating, save you interest, and bring you closer to the goal of having the debt paid off.
Also, don't max out your cards. Keep the balance well below your credit limit. This will improve your credit report.
Your debt to credit ratio is important and is looked at.
Do you apply for loans and credit everywhere?
Something that will quickly flag you as a possible 'problem payer' is if you make a lot of loan applications, often switch credit cards to take advantage of offers, or take out new loans to pay off old ones.
If you need to consolidate your debts, only do it once. While you are shopping around for the best terms, try to avoid giving your name and address.
Have you picked up the phone?
Everybody hates to pick up the phone and call somebody that they owe money to, but it is much better than waiting for them to contact you. There is no point hoping they will not notice that you are missing payments. If you don't call them they may start with the collection agencies, and that's about the worst thing that can happen for your credit score.
When you call them, explain your situation truthfully but briefly. However difficult your situation, they have heard it before. Decide what you could afford before you call, make them an offer and be prepared to negotiate.
Help them to create a payment plan that is realistic for you, even if it is a little more than you hoped. If they offer you a couple of payment-free months, say 'No thank you, I would prefer to keep paying a little every month'. This prevents missed payments showing on your record (see #4) and proves that you really do want to get this debt paid.
When you have a payment plan worked out with them, try asking them if they would agree to stop reporting on you, so that you have a chance to repair your credit score. Many companies will agree, provided that you do not miss any payments on your new plan.
Following these 7 tips will not only improve your credit score, but it will also teach you a better way to manage your finances to help you become and stay debt-free in the future.
You will find it very empowering as well as bringing peace of mind.
Remember: review your credit reports once per year and report any errors immediately.
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