5 Tips to Repair Your Credit

Whether your credit rating is in the gutter or just lower than you need it to be, there are steps you can take to repair your credit. You will have to make sacrifices and give up some things, but the payoff will be a great credit score.

Getting Started

Before you can start repairing your credit, you need to get copies of your report and check it for errors. Any mistakes in personal information must be corrected as well as any errors in payment information. There is a specified period of time that negative credit information remains on your credit report. Late payments, Chapter 13 bankruptcies, foreclosures, collections, and public records remain approximately seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on your report for 10 years. Once you get your reports in hand, use the following tips to start rebuilding your credit:

Monitor Your Credit Score

TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are the three credit bureaus who keep and update your reports. You are entitled to receive a free copy of each report once a year. Go to the website of each company and request your copy. There are also some free services such as Credit Karma and Free Credit Report where you can see your credit score online. When you receive your reports you can see the information used to create your credit score. Late or missed payments, collections, and other credit related information is listed. Don’t get upset by any negativity on your report because you can turn it positive. Keep following these tips to improve your credit score.

Dispute any errors you find

Collections and judgments should be cleared up first as they damage your report the most. You can dispute errors through each credit bureau or through any of the free services. Most creditors are willing to remove mistakes immediately. You may have to agree to make a payment resolution to the creditor to get old debts removed. If you owe the money and the company offers a settlement amount to remove the mark from your report, you should pay that as quickly as possible. Take whatever time you need to get all negative remarks removed from your credit report.

Pay all your bills on time each month

Late payments show up on your report and will bring down your score. Don’t max out your credit cards, even if you are making payments on time. Try to keep balances at twenty percent or less of your card’s maximum allowance, and pay them off each month. Get a secured credit card, and charge a small amount on it each month. Pay the balance in full each month. It will increase the amount of credit that is unused, and it looks good on your report. You need to display a good sense of financial responsibility every month when bills come due. On time payments build your score back up.

Accounts that are past due

Tackle past due accounts, and get them paid up to date before they reach 180 days late. Charge-offs take place at 180 days, and these look very bad on your credit report. Give up eating out, movies, a new phone, and other things to get past due accounts paid off.

Get a Long-Term Loan

Lenders like to see a variety of accounts in your credit report. Types of accounts might include auto loan, credit cards, retail business accounts, installment loan, mortgage, and student loans. It’s not necessary to have all of these account types, but it is helpful to have at least two. If all you have is credit cards with high balances, it can appear that you are living beyond your means. A lender will hesitate to give more credit even if your payments are made on time.

You can improve or repair your credit with some effort and a little sacrifice. If you plan to purchase a new car or home in the next year, you want your credit to be as good as possible. Follow the tips, and start getting your credit rating to a healthy high number.

About the author

judith hayes

Judith Hayes is a freelance writer, photographer and web designer. After working in broadcast journalism for many years, she got serious about her writing. She is the ghost writer, as well as editor, of several books, and was the editor of the "Journal of Health" magazine for several years.

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