Improve Your Credit Score!

Your Credit Score – The three numbers that can impact your life greatly. 

You need good credit to be approved for a home mortgage, receive low interest rates and be approved for higher credit card and loan limits.  Having a good credit score is critical for financial independence.  

Below are Six Tips for rebuilding your credit score.  Keep in mind, these are not the only steps you should take to improve your credit score.

 

1. Review your credit report for accuracy. 

The first thing you should do is pull your credit report and review it!  Make sure that everything being reported is correct.  What can you look for when doing this?

(1) Make sure the account open date is correct;

(2) Make sure the timeliness of your payments is correct; and

(3) Make sure all accounts being reported are really your accounts.

If something does not look right, then you should dispute it with the credit reporting agency where you found the mistake. Sometimes these mistakes can prevent your score from increasing. The mistakes can even cause your score to decrease over time.  You will need to file a dispute which each of the credit bureaus that list the error.

To file a dispute with Experian: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html

To file a despite with Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute/

To file a despite with TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit

2. Keep your balances low. 

Credit usage makes up for 35% of your credit score.  That means you should keep your balances low.  As a general rule, you should keep your usage on each account below 25% of the total credit limit.

For example, if you were granted a limit of $1,000 on a credit card, try not to let your balance exceed $250. This keeps your usage at 25% or lower.

3. Pay your bills on time!  

Late payments can have a significant impact on your credit and make it harder to improve your credit score.  It is important to pay your bills on time. If possible, pay off the entire account balance each month. This will allow you to avoid paying any interest and you will save you money.  This is easier to do if you keep your usage low.

4. Become an authorized user.

Get added to someone else’s credit card.  If the account holder has positive payment history that gets reported to your credit, then this could be an effective tool to increase your credit score.

Be careful! If the primary account holder has poor payment history, high usage, and/or high balances then this could actually hurt you.  Some credit card issuers report negative account information along with the positive information for authorized users.  In other words, if there are late payments or high balances on the account then those will be reported onto your credit.  In that situation, being an authorized user could end up hurting your credit score instead of helping it.

5. Open a secured credit card.

Lend yourself the money to begin the rebuilding process.  A secured credit card is one in which you pay a deposit which becomes your credit line.  A secured credit card can start for as low as $200/$300 depending on the card issuer.  This is a great way for you to establish positive usage and positive payment history.

Be sure to pay on time and keep your utilization low.  Doing so will maximize the positive impact that this account can have on your credit score. Do your research to find a secured card that works best for you.

6. Minimize credit applications.

Do not overdo it! Do not apply for too many credit accounts. Each time you apply for credit, there is an inquiry into your credit score.  Inquiries can actually cause your score to temporarily decrease.  This is especially troublesome for people with lower scores who are trying to improve, because each point matters in the quest to improve your credit score.

Be selective when applying for credit. While it is good to have open credit lines, do not apply for too many accounts in a short period of time.

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The six tips provided in this article are general information.  If you are looking for advice that is more specific to you, then you should consult with a professional.

At Jessica Nomie Law we work with our clients on credit rebuilding techniques and credit report disputes.  We help people rebuild their credit after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing. Even if you have not filed for bankruptcy, we may be able to help you rebuild your credit.

If you are looking for assistance with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and/or Credit Repair, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation.  We look forward to speaking with you to discuss whether we can help you achieve your financial goals!

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

 

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