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A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a bankruptcy that completely destroyed our credit score. Those first few months after our bankruptcy were the hardest. We had such a hard time getting any credit that our scores were stuck in the low 400’s! With persistence and time we were able to raise our credit scores and repair our credit; getting our scores back into the 700’s.
How to Improve Your Credit Score for Free*
Improving your credit score will take time and patience, but you don’t have to pay someone to do it for you. With these simple tricks and tips, you can repair your credit score yourself.
If you found yourself here, you may also benefit from these financial post:
Don’t Stop Applying for Credit
Now this part is tricky. Whenever you have good credit, one of the worst things you can do is apply for too much credit. But when you have absolutely NO credit, one of the worst things you can do is not having any type of credit. To obtain credit, especially with a low credit score, it is going to take a lot of work. Many banks and lenders will deny your request for credit, but you have to keep trying until you get at least one type of credit to help boost your score.
Once you get this credit, your interest rate will be high, so try to keep this credit paid down or a low balance. Some lenders offer a secured credit card that may be easier to obtain, but this option requires money down to secure the card. ($500 secured credit card = $500 secured down).
Make All of Your Payments On Time
Whenever you finally get some sort of credit, one of the worst things you can do is make your payments past the due date. While payments less than 30 days late don’t get reported to the credit bureau, late payments usually equal late fees and higher payments. After 30 days, lenders will see the late payments on your credit reports and these will negatively affect your credit score.
Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
Many times your credit becomes negatively impacted because of errors in your credit report. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only legal way to fully look at all three of your credit reports from each major credit bureau. (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) Every year you are entitled to one free copy of each report, but this site is the ONLY one authorized by Federal Law.
Be sure to look over each report and dispute any and ALL inaccuracies.
Learn About and Understand Credit Card Utilization
You may think when it comes to debt, having all your debt on one credit card and 0 on another credit card looks better. Well, think again. If you spread your debt through more than one credit card, your credit score will usually be higher.
If you only have one credit card, being maxed out can negatively impact your score. Try getting (and not using) a higher credit limit or paying as much of your debt down as you can. The more available credit on a card – the more it helps repair your credit score.
Use Credit Monitoring Apps
Using credit monitoring apps like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma can help you keep track of your credit score, debt, and help you to monitor your credit. These apps are both free and both have great reviews. These apps do require you to sign up with your social security number, but according to both sites, neither of these will lower your credit score to use them.
While none of these tips will improve your score overnight, these tips should slowly help you to improve your credit scores.
I would love to hear any other tips if you have any in the comments below.
Crystal Carder is not a financial advisor. These are tips and tricks that I have personally done to help repair my credit. For financial advice, please consult a financial counselor. This post is not intended as professional advice. crystalcarder.com assumes no liability.