In order to get any type of loan, you need to have a good credit report and score. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and our credit history gets damaged or negatively altered because of it. If you want to start improving your credit history, this list provides a few ways to start this process.
Just remember that credit doesn’t improve overnight. It takes years of smart, responsible, consistent patterns. This list won’t magically make your credit score perfect but it will get you on the right track to financial stability.
Review Credit Report
Request your credit report from all three major credit bureaus. By law, these companies are required to provide one free credit report each year. Examine it for any errors. If you find an error on your credit report, dispute it, because it helps improve your credit score and may resolve a major issue.
Additionally, use the credit report to look at your credit patterns, because this helps you figure out what areas to tackle first.
Develop a Plan
Decide what areas are causing the most issues for your credit. Maybe you make all your payments but just have too many accounts open. Maybe you only have one account open but you originally thought your spouse was paying for it. Once you know the biggest problems on your credit report, you can start to think of realistic ways to handle these issues.
If you have too many accounts open, pay them all down. Then hide the rest of your cards, and only accumulate a new balance on one or two credit cards. If your spouse lack of payments is an issue, discuss with him how you both can contribute to lower the unpaid bill.
Pay Down Bills
Start by reviewing every one of your credit card and loan accounts. Look at what accounts have the highest interest rates, and then pay those down first. Next, work on reducing the accounts with the highest unpaid balance. Work your way through all of your late or unpaid accounts until you have paid off everything. Depending on your financial stability, this process may take a few months or a few years.
The best way to start seeing major improvement on your credit score is to develop a pattern of consistent payments, especially on accounts with high interest rates. Also pay off accounts that have already been sent to collection agencies. Just make sure to get a written agreement as proof of payments.
Do not close your accounts once you pay them off; closing accounts hurts your credit report. Therefore, just leave fully paid accounts untouched and open.
Become Financially Healthy
Pay all your bills on time. If you might miss a payment, immediately call the credit or loan company to negotiate a different payment date, a smaller minimum payment, or discuss waiving late fees. Nevertheless remember that any unpaid or late payment goes on your credit report, so avoid it at all costs.
Don’t use your improved credit score to open new accounts. Instead only open new accounts when necessary, and aim to get secured credit cards. These cards will help you build up your credit and encourage responsible money management. Additionally, work on spending less by using Groupon discount codes when making purchases at your favorites stores like Famous Footwear.
If you think you might need more help stabilizing your finances and credit, seek a professional financial adviser.