You can’t boost your credit score overnight, but you can take steps toward improving it over time. Curious as to how you can fix your credit? Keep reading to find out.
How to Raise Your Credit Score on Your Own
You don’t need outside help to rebuild your credit score. If you’re not sure where to start or what to do, follow these six steps:
- Check your credit reports and scores – Knowing where your credit stands and what’s on your credit reports is the first step to take. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. Look them over carefully, and if you see any errors, dispute them immediately. Your credit score can be accessed in a number of different ways, but you also have more than one of these. You want to look at your FICO credit score, which is the one used by the majority of lenders. Many credit card providers provide free access to your FICO score, but you can also pay a small fee to get it from www.myFICO.com or the credit bureaus.
- Recognize where you need to improve – Why is your credit score what it is? If you have multiple missed payments, make sure you focus on catching up and paying your bills on time each month. If it’s due to a bankruptcy or repossession, your credit score is affected for a longer period of time, but the effects decline over the years.
- Reduce amounts owed – Reduce or eliminate any credit card debt you currently have. You should see an increase in your credit score once your credit card balances are 30 percent or less of your credit card limits.
- Consider payment reminders – Whether they’re written on a calendar or on your smartphone or computer, set up payment reminders so you know when to pay and how much. This way, if something does happen, you have time to come up with an alternative way to pay the bill.
- Be consistent with payments – Your payment history makes up 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The more consistent you are with on-time payments, the better your score is going to be.
- Consider adding a line of credit – Adding a line of credit, whether it's revolving or installment, can increase your credit score, but it only works if you keep up with the payments and keep balances low. If you slip, you could lower your score even more.
Other Credit-Building Options to Consider
Although you don’t have to use outside help to rebuild your credit, you certainly can. Here are three options for you to consider if you want some help building your credit score:
- Use a credit repair organization – These are credit repair companies that can clean up your credit reports for you. They charge a fee, and some are better than others. Make sure you check different credit repair organizations and confirm their reliability before signing up with one.
- Take out a credit builder loan – A credit builder loan is exactly what it sounds like: you sign up for a loan to build credit. Credit builder loans act like an additional savings account. You make payments each month until the loan balance is paid off, and when completed, the money is yours and you have a “paid on time and in full” loan on your credit reports.
- Become an authorized user – An easy way to build credit is by becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account. You get the benefits of having a credit card showing as paid each month with the credit bureaus, while not actually being responsible for the account.
Considering a Car Loan?
One way you can help yourself build or rebuild credit is by taking out a car loan. Even with less than perfect credit, you can often get financed. The key is to work with the right lender. But where do you find one of these subprime auto lenders? We’ve got that covered.
At Drivers Lane, we can help you get connected to a local dealership. We work with special finance dealers all across the country that are experts at helping people with less than perfect credit get financed. We'll work to match you with a dealership near you if you start the process by submitting our free and secure auto loan request form.