Bad credit? No problem.
Fixing your credit score might seem like an impossible task. It’s not. While it takes time for your credit score to make a full recovery, adding 50-100 points can happen relatively quickly. Here’s how.
Step #1: Know Your Current Credit Score
It’s hard to improve your credit score if you don’t know where you stand. Before doing anything else, you need to know your current credit score.
To get a good idea of your current situation, request a free credit score from Credit Sesame. Signing up is easy, plus you’ll also get free monitoring and alerts whenever something changes. I’ve used this app for years and will keep using it for many more. It’s simple, easy to understand, and can help you start building your score right away.
Step #2: Check Your Credit Report
Did you know that you’re entitled to 3 free credit reports every year? It’s true! Each of the three major credit bureaus are required to provide a free copy of your credit report once every calendar year. And, since there are three of them, you can check one bureau’s report every four months. Comb through that sucker, looking for any errors or marks against your credit that you didn’t know you had. Dispute any errors and negotiate to settle past-due accounts so that they don’t count as a mark against your score.
Step #3: Get a Secured Credit Card
If you want to build credit, you have to use credit. But how do you access credit when your credit score is low? Speed up the process by getting a secured credit card.
With secured credit cards, a company extends credit to you provided you put down a security deposit. By using your card in small increments and paying it off each month, you’ll prove that you can handle credit responsibly. The credit card company reports your responsible use to the credit bureaus, and – before long – you’ll start seeing an increase in your credit score!
The Best Secured Credit Card for 2017
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
There are dozens of secured credit cards available, but our favorite is (by far) the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. With no annual fee, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card allows you to earn cash back while you build your credit! You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $1,000 in combined purchases at grocery stores and gas stations each quarter. For everything else, you’ll earn a nifty 1%. Discover also matches the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, doubling your cash back total!
With this card, Discover also reports your responsible use to all 3 major credit bureaus and prints your FICO® score on your monthly statements. Even better, your minimum security deposit of $200 is eligible to be reviewed for a refund after 7 months. With all these benefits, we think the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is easily the best secured card around. Read here for more information!
Step #4: Pay On Time
To improve your credit score, you’ll need to fix any current credit problems. Your credit history accounts for about 35% of your score. So, if you’ve had problems paying your bills on time, fix it immediately. Get current on any bills that are past-due. Then, stay current. From this point forward, make sure to pay all of your bills on time (including your utilities, credit card bills, etc.) and your credit score will gradually start to improve.
Step #5: Wait It Out
You didn’t get into credit problems overnight, so you can’t expect them to be cured in a matter of minutes. You’ll need to wait at least 30-60 days to start seeing improvements. In the meantime, keep paying those bills on time and building your credit score will take care of itself!
Have you had success improving your credit score? What tactics have you used?