If you’re planning to apply for something that requires a credit check in the next few months, repairing your credit will be essential. When your credit or FICO Score isn’t in the best shape, your applications may be turned down or when they’re approved, you may have to pay a higher interest rate. This article includes some steps you should take to repair our credit.
Don’t Expect Immediate Results
When it comes to credit repair, patience is key. It can take up to 10 years for certain negative items to drop off your credit report for good. But that doesn’t mean your credit score can’t improve. It just won’t happen overnight. Keep in mind that paying off negative accounts is helpful, but doesn’t remove the negative items from your credit report.
As with many major goals, having the right mindset is key in credit repair. You’ll have to improve your financial habits so you can repair and maintain your good credit score. Going forward, it will benefit you to create a monthly budget and focus on sticking to it. Switching from credit cards to cash can help you better manage your money and ensure you spend with your means.
Get Help If You Need To
If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of debt you have, you may need to call in some help. A consumer credit counseling agency can help you get your finances on track and work with your creditors to negotiate a lower monthly payment. The credit counselor can even help you work out a payment arrangement with stubborn debt collectors.
Don’t Avoid Your Creditor
You may not want to talk to your creditors, but doing so is actually in your best interest. Your creditors want to get paid and are generally willing to help customers who are having trouble making payments. You may be able to work out a payment plan to get caught up on what you owe and reduce your payments going forward. But you have to talk to your creditors if you want to be able to work something out.
Stay Current on All Your Monthly Payments
Once a missed payment is on your credit report, it will stay there for seven years. While you’re working to repair your credit, be careful not to miss any of your credit card or loan payments. These missed payments will only hurt your credit score and make it tougher to get your credit on track.
Avoid Applying for New Accounts
When you make an application for credit, an entry is added to the “inquiries” section of your credit report. Since these inquiries are included in your credit score, applying for new credit can hurt your credit score temporarily. You may have to open up new accounts in your credit repair journey, but avoid applying for several accounts all at once. Space out your applications so your credit doesn’t take much damage.
Mix Up the Types of Accounts You Have
Your credit will improve when you show that you can successfully manage multiple types of debt. Aim to have both credit cards and loans on your credit report because this shows you can handle revolving debt and installment loans.
Keep a Paper Trail
When you’re working out payments with creditors and debt collectors, it may be helpful to send a check rather than make a payment on the phone. If there’s ever an issue over whether you satisfied the account, a copy of the cancelled check will prove that you actually did make the payment.
Leave Accounts Open
Avoid closing accounts, even if they have some negative information associated with them. Catch up on the payments on these accounts and continue paying on time to improve your credit score. Closing your accounts won’t remove them from your credit report and can actually hurt you, especially if these accounts have a long history.
Make Your Payments Early
It’s enough to make your payments on time each month, but paying early has its benefits too. For example, if you go ahead and make your payment, you won’t have to worry about whether the due date is approaching and if you make your payment on time. You can set up payments on your creditor’s website or through your bank’s online bill pay.
Reduce Your Credit Limit
If you want to avoid the temptation to use your credit cards, you can ask your creditors to decrease your credit limit. This leaves you with less available credit to spend and forces you to live within your means rather than relying on your credit card. It also helps you avoid creating more debt than you can afford to pay.
As you work to improve your credit score through credit repair, keep each of these ideas in mind. Combining these tips and strategies will help you successfully repair your credit – something that’s much-needed for buying and renting things in today’s society.