If you have, or fear you might have, bad credit it can be an all consuming concern that might make you want to bury your head in the sand… but it’s a bit like getting a medical check-up, it’s better to know where things stand and be in the empowered position to deal with them and resolve issues rather than let them spiral out of control. The main consideration is that repairing credit is a journey that takes time; similar to losing weight and getting physically fit, it’s not going to happen overnight. However, there are three main principles to follow when looking to repair your credit status.
1. FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE: CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT
The first step is to check your credit report, and if your score is less than desirable, consider using a service like repair.credit that can help you take immediate action to start repairing your credit score. The first thing is to check for errors; some credit reports contain many errors due to simple administrative error or complex issues such as identity fraud; be sure to check there are no late payments incorrectly listed for any accounts and dispute any errors you do find with the credit bureau.
2. DAMAGE MANAGEMENT: GET BACK ON TRACK
If you have missed payments, then stop worrying about this – the damage is done – all you have control over is the current moment which will directly affect what happens next; and the best thing you can do moving forward is to ensure your bills are paid on time.
It can feel overwhelming, once you’ve fallen behind to get back on track, and this is when most people start drowning or burying their heads in the sand – they let things spiral out of control rather than addressing them; but think of a car with no driver… the longer that car is left to drive without direction the more likelihood of a horrific disaster. The trick is to get back on track by getting up to date with your bills, even if that involves negotiating payment terms so that no further damage is done to your credit file – and then stay on track. If you have a few red crosses, then the remedy to that is to create many more green ticks; there is no remedy in burying your head and letting things spiral no matter how tempting it may feel.
3. BUILD UP YOUR SCORE: USE CREDIT CARDS
There are many myths around credit cards, but one of the best way to build up your credit score is to use your credit card often and pay off the balance in full each month. Think about it, financial organisations want to feel assured that you can manage your finances and repay credit on time; they don’t see it as a good thing that you don’t have debt – they see you as an unknown quantity, which from a bank’s perspective, spells out major risk!
The more you use your available credit, and pay it off, on-time each month the higher your score will be… because it shows a pattern of good behaviour; rather than “no behaviour” at all. The misconception that having no credit, or not using the credit available to you, is perceived as a good thing can be quite afronting when you check your credit report to find out you have a low score due to not previously having (or using) available credit.
In summary, this article is clearly not a comprehensive guide to repairing your credit, but hopefully these universal principles will point you in the right direction as they apply to almost all people looking to repair their credit score.
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