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Rebuild Your Credit History in Three Easy Steps
[July 30th, 2013]
When it comes to credit, we all start out with blank slates. The first time any of us gets a credit card, takes out a student loan, or applies for financing on a car or other big-ticket item, we begin to write the story of our creditworthiness—otherwise known as our credit history. Based on that credit history, we’re assigned a credit score—a number on a scale of 300 to 850—that determines what loans we qualify for and what interest rates we’ll be offered.
Credit scores go up and down over time, and vary depending on who is issuing them. Besides FICO, which is fairly well known, each of us gets a score from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian—the three major credit bureaus. But in general, if you have a good credit score with one agency, you’ll have good scores across the board. Likewise, if you have bad credit with one, your credit score is likely to be low with all issuers.
A bad credit score can haunt you when you are looking to finance the purchase of a new car, be approved for a mortgage or a college loan, or even find a new job. Employers often check credit scores, as do landlords. After all, your credit score is meant to be a measure of how reliable you are when it comes to paying off your debts.
The problem arises when your credit score doesn’t reflect the whole story. Any number of things, from illness to divorce, job loss to accidents, can cause your credit score to take a hit. A bad credit score doesn’t always mean that someone is not a good risk and won’t be able to meet their financial obligations. If poor credit is getting in the way of doing the things you need to do, here are three easy steps to rebuilding your credit and getting the score you deserve.
- Step 1: Contact your creditors and get back in good standing. If you are delinquent on your credit card payments, mortgage, or other accounts, the first thing to do is call the credit issuer and tell them what’s going on. They are usually eager to work out a solution and will help you make a plan. From lowering interest rates to setting up automatic payments, there are always options.
- Step 2: Keep the terms of your agreements and make payments as agreed. Once you’ve made a deal with your creditors, be sure to hold up your end. When your account becomes current and you are once again in good standing, your credit score will start to rebound.
- Step 3: Apply for new credit cautiously and use it carefully. There may be some lag time between steps 2 and 3, but when you are ready, try applying for a new credit card. Look for one that has a relatively small line of credit and is targeted to customers with your level of credit. Check your credit report first so you know what your score is, and apply accordingly.
With continued careful use, your credit score will be back on track in no time.
[April 13, 2017]
If you’re planning a trip in the near future, you might want to look for a flight on Southwest Airlines and try to book a reservation at a Marriott Courtyard hotel.
The two companies just earned high ratings for customer service from the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, a yearly ranking of comp...
[March 30, 2017]
If you’d like to donate more money to good causes, but you never seem to get around to setting up the donations, a new app will make it easier to be generous.
The app, called Movements, lets users donate small amounts that come from their credit cards. Here’s how it works: people choose a pro...
[March 15, 2017]
Commuters who spend a lot of time in the car will be happy to hear that there’s a new way for them to fuel up fast and pay quickly and securely, without even getting out of the car.
Gulf Oil is launching a new mobile payment app, called Gulf Pay. This lets drivers drive to the nearest Gulf stat...