Oh no! Your credit score is in the 500s, the poor category! Now what? Read on to discover ways that you can increase your score and keep it there.
One way to improve your credit score is through a credit builder. Building credit in a safe, steady manner quickly increases your score and allows you to continue living your life. Using a credit building company or secured card also leaves most work up to them and permits you to keep your free time. Professionals usually contact and update the credit bureaus more often as well, which means quicker results and less hassle for you.
Paying off credit cards and loans is one of the quickest ways to alleviate poor credit, but this option is not often feasible. Still, it is a good idea to pay down what you can, and making only minimum payments is not recommended, so try to do more whenever you can. Also, focus your efforts on just a few accounts and pay those down first. Once you have those paid off, refocus on a few more and repeat the process. Try to keep those accounts paid off or low and your credit used versus credit available ratio reasonable. No matter what payments you are making, always make those payments on time because late payments often have a huge negative impact.
Check and recheck your credit score at minimum once a month so that if anything changes or seems off, you know about it right away. Several free options exist to view your report, including visiting websites and mobile apps by third parties or requesting copies of your report from the credit bureaus, though you can only do this once per year per bureau. Keeping track of your score and understanding the changes that appear on it also helps you figure out how to raise that number instead of watching it fall.
If specific items on your credit history are lowering your score that you believe are mistakes, you always have the option to fight back. Negative elements on your credit are always frustrating, but they become infuriating when you believe they are errors. So what can you do about these blemishes? You can dispute any mistakes with the credit bureaus and the businesses that provided the misinformation. To report these errors, you must write to and notify each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) and the business involved. Your notice must include information about when the error occurred, when it appeared on your credit, what it is, where it came from, and why it is wrong. It is also helpful to include copies of your report highlighting each inaccuracy and documents that show it was not you or that it never happened.
Bad credit scores can ruin your life, but they do not have to. If you have bad credit, correct it by building good credit, paying down your debt, keeping up with your scores, and fighting back against any wrong information. At the end of the day, you are not your score unless you do nothing about it.