Full credit repair is no seven-year journey; with the right efforts, you could increase your FICO score by more than 100 points in just six to eight months.
If you’re trying to repair credit problems, don’t turn to bankruptcy. In fact, even if you’re unsure how to repair credit, the best route is debt management.
Take a look below for more details on what actions you should take, which include: using secured credit cards to repair credit, fixing credit report errors to remove penalties, shifting away from heavy revolving debts and taking credit limit increases when possible.
How to Improve My Credit Score
In less than a year, you can go from bad to great credit. It’s just going to take some work. That means building new credit, paying old debts and fixing any delinquent accounts. But if you have bad credit, how exactly will you do this?
The best thing you can do is forget everything you thought about secured credit cards. It’s never a good route if you have other options – but a secured card works wonders when you’re trying to repair credit.
How to Repair Credit with a Secured Card
It’s simple – get a secured credit card in your name and start using it. After 12 to 18 months of responsible paying, the card issuer will upgrade you. Some cards only increase in security funds and others switch to unsecured cards.
Aim for the latter and shoot for the highest credit limit you can get – the bigger the collateral you can provide, the better. The best convertible secured credit cards allow for a $5,000 to $10,000 secured credit limit.
The only other thing is to avoid using the secured card for all your monthly expenses. It’s not good to be that active – after all, the more debt you carry on the card, the worse your credit utilization rate will be. This is an important variable to keep under control; your outstanding debt levels amount for 30 percent of your FICO score calculation.
Building Credit by Fixing Errors
Another way to see a fast increase in points is by fixing errors on your credit file. If there’s an inaccurate entry, it could plague your score by 100 points or more. In fact, a FTC study from 2013 found that 1 in 250 consumers have a 100 point or higher deficit due to reporting errors. Beyond that, another 1 in 20 files contain errors amounting to lower scores by 25 points or more.
You can request a copy of your credit report from each bureau individually, or through the AnnualCreditReport.com website. Take a look at it for any signs of inaccurate or missing information. If anything is spotted, when the bureau acts on it your new FICO score will be higher.
You can report errors on your file through the credit bureau websites. TransUnion also lets you send your report by mail. It’s best to contact all three, but once you notify a single bureau they’re obligated to tell the others. If the issue is due to identity fraud, and not a recording error, then an FTC affidavit and police report might be required.
Consolidating Your Revolving Debts
Revolving debts weigh more on your credit score than installment debts. This means short-term loans can help. If your credit card debts are high, you could use a consolidation loan to lower your debt-to-credit ratio. The installment debt created by your loan won’t drag your score as much, so your score will go up once your file updates with the change.
This is why debt repair services are actually a hidden gem. You can avoid bankruptcy and pay back what you owe on your own schedule. In the end, you might be able to repair your credit score within six months to a year. It’s just a matter of organizing your debts and optimizing your file based on how FICO calculates your score.
Take Any Limit Increase You Can Get
When you are offered a higher credit limit it means you’re given the chance to take on even more debt. This shows that you’re trusted with a higher amount; until you spend it, your debt-to-credit ratio will be improved.
Therefore, taking on credit limit increases as they come is a fantastic idea. It’s just a matter of having the willpower to not blow all the new funds. Long story short, if you can manage this, then the greater credit limits will help boost your credit score.
Credit repair is a scary subject – where the only happy ending seems to come after you go through bankruptcy or if you win the lottery. This doesn’t have to be the case, and there are ways around bankruptcy, but it will take a real commitment.
The journey begins with figuring out what you’re doing wrong as a borrower. In most cases, it’s carrying too large of a debt on credit cards. Deleverage this by getting access to loans and by consolidating your high-interest debts.
Then work on sustaining the best credit utilization rate you can manage. Your FICO score will show real changes after only three to six months of good stats getting reported to the credit bureaus.