If your credit score took a hit after declaring bankruptcy or you have a low credit score because of late payments and maxed out credit cards, you still have opportunities to repair your credit. Fixing bad credit may take some time but there are some very specific things you can do to give that credit score a boost. Being more mindful about your spending is a necessary first step. Here are six easy ways to fix your credit:
#1: Pay Down Credit Card Balances
Clean up your credit card act by paying down credit card balances as quickly as possible. If you have some money in a savings account, consider using a portion of savings to pay down debt quickly or selling items for cash so you can take care of a payoff. Bringing down credit card balances down to below 30% of your available balance on all credit cards could be all you need to bump up your credit score.
#2: Pay All Bills On Time
Make paying bills on time a higher priority so you don’t get stung by late payment fees and a report to the credit bureaus. Create a payment calendar for all your bills so you can keep track of due dates or use a budgeting app that is set up with reminders to avoid late bill payments each month.
#3: Check Your Credit Report for Errors
Pick up your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com or take advantage of perks offered by your credit card company to order a free credit report and credit score. Check your report for errors and notify creditors and the credit bureaus of mistakes that need to be corrected. Even something as simple as a typo on a reported balance or records of late payments that weren’t actually late can hurt your credit score.
#4: Stop Applying for Lines of Credit
If you’re still stuck in the cycle of living off credit cards or finding it impossible to live within your means so that personal loans become your financial cushion, it’s time to revisit your spending and money management habits. One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to fix your credit is to apply for another credit card or a personal loan. Every application will take a few points off your credit score and show up on your credit report as an inquiry. Find ways to save money so you aren’t stuck in the debt cycle.
#5: Keep Accounts Open
Even if you have a couple of credit card accounts with zero balances, don’t be tempted to close down the account entirely. Having open lines of credit can actually help you — as long as you aren’t using them. Even when you manage to pay down some of those credit card balances, it’s a good idea to leave the accounts open and in good standing since they will contribute to your credit utilization rate.
#6: Use a Secured Credit Card
Apply for a secured credit card where you make a deposit that the card issuer uses to create your credit limit. You use this card for various purchases and responsibly pay off your balances in full each month. Consistently paying off the balance or making at least the minimum payment each month can help you rebuild your credit.
Rebuilding your credit history can take some time but there are several things you can do to fix your credit. Use the six strategies to improve your credit score no matter what type of situation you may be dealing with and get yourself on a healthy financial track.