7 Ways to Rebuild Your Credit
Having good credit is necessary for several reasons. Without good credit, it can be very difficult to buy a house, get a new car, or open a new line of credit. Your credit score and credit history can even impact your chances of getting a new job. If your credit is less than great due to bankruptcy, missed payments, or any other reason, you need to start rebuilding it. Here are seven ways you can do so.
Keep Current with Your Bills
Paying your bills on time is one of the best things you can do to rebuild your credit. It shows that you’re responsible and that you can manage your finances and your debt. Missing a single payment, especially if it’s for your car, mortgage, or credit card, can do more damage to your credit score than you might think. If you stay current on your bills, you should start seeing your FICO score slowly increase every month. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, making it the largest factor in determining your score.
Do remember that some bills don’t affect your credit score at all. Utility bills, for example, aren’t considered credit, so they won’t have any impact on your score. Only loans, including mortgages, car loans, and credit cards, are what affect your score. But that doesn’t mean you should get behind on your utility bills, though.
Pay Down High Balances
Another 30% of your credit score is determined by your credit utilization. This is the amount of charges you’ve made on your credit cards, also called revolving credit. If all your cards are maxed out, you have 100% credit utilization. That’s going to greatly impact your score. Those with outstanding credit ratings will usually have a credit utilization of less than 10%. Anything under 30% is acceptable, though.
The best way of dealing with high credit utilization is to make regular payments that are above the minimum required amount. This helps to pay down your balance faster since a good amount of your minimum payment simply goes to cover the interest every month.
Only Open New Lines of Credit When You Must
Another factor that makes up 15% of your credit score is the average age of your lines of credit. Opening new lines of credit lowers this average, which hurts your overall score. Do what you can to avoid getting new credit cards while you’re working to rebuild your credit. Those with high credit scores have a credit age of 11 years, while those with very low scores have an average credit age of about six months. The more credit cards you have, the more you’re likely to be tempted to use them. By not opening new lines of credit, you’re keeping yourself from racking up more debt. However, it is helpful to have one older line of credit on your account. When paying off your debt, keep the credit card account you’ve had the longest, that will impact your credit score in a positive way. And once you pay off other cards, cancel them.
Inquiries Do Affect Your Score
When you apply for a new line of credit, the creditor does what’s referred to as a credit inquiry. This gives them access to all of your credit history and other information, so they can see if you’re likely to be able to pay your monthly payment. Each time someone does a credit inquiry, it temporarily affects your score, dropping it a few points. Inquiries make up 10% of your FICO score, so it’s a fairly small impact; however, the more credit inquiries you have, the lower your score will get. Do your best to avoid applying for any type of loan or credit card, especially if you don’t really need it.
See a Credit Counselor
If you’re having trouble getting a handle on your expenses and credit on your own, you can see a credit counselor. These experts can assist you with prioritizing which credit cards to pay on first and help you understand how your credit score is affected by everything you do. They can help you make a budget that covers all your necessary expenses, lets you start tackling your debt, and still leaves you a little bit of money every month for fun.
Beware of Scams
Watch out for scams that promise they can quickly fix your credit. These companies say that for one small fee, they can wipe out anything negative on your credit report and up your credit score without you really doing anything. That’s simply not true at all. There’s no quick and easy fix for a low credit score. It takes time and dedication to rebuild your credit. Also, remember that things such as foreclosures and defaulting on debt will be on your credit report for seven years or more. There’s no way to remove them before that, and anyone who says otherwise is not being honest. While it’s unfortunate that nothing you do can speed up the process of removing these things from your credit, it’s simply something you have to accept.
Watch Your Credit Score
If you’re working on repairing your credit, you’re likely watching your FICO score like a hawk. That’s a good idea since you’ll be able to see how your actions are affecting it. However, don’t obsess too much or get too depressed if it seems like your credit score isn’t increasing as quickly as you’d like it to. It will take time. Also, be sure to check your credit report every year. You can obtain a free credit report yearly from each of the three main credit reporting companies, and it’s a good idea to do so. This will let you see what’s been reported to credit monitoring companies. If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, this is one of the best ways of catching it. You may see something on the report that you didn’t know about. If it’s a line of credit you didn’t open, you can go about contacting the credit company to close the account.
These seven tips will help you rebuild your credit. Again, it takes time, and it won’t happen overnight. With a little bit of dedication, though, you can do it.
Fairless Motors is a family-owned used car dealership with more than 30 years of experience helping people just like you get the financing for your ideal pre-owned vehicle. Our bad credit auto loans make financing available to all drivers, regardless of your credit score or history. Our friendly professional team will work out your ideal loan amount, the payments you can afford, and the right term for your loan. It’s quick. It’s simple. It’s fair. And making your car loan payments on time every month will go a long way towards raising your credit score.