How to Repair Bad Credit
Bad credit has become a significant problem for millions of Americans. If you have bad credit, you might be wondering whether or not you should even bother applying for loans. Credit scores are calculated using information from your credit report. Your score ranges between 300 and 850 points, with higher numbers indicating better credit. Most lenders require at least 620 to qualify for a loan. The good news is that it is possible to repair bad credit. Here are some tips on how to fix bad credit:
1. Check Your Credit Score & Report
The first step in repairing your credit is to check your credit score. You can get an instant copy of your free credit report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. This site will also allow you to order a hard copy of your account if you prefer. According to Jordan Sudberg, three main factors determine your credit score: payment history, the amount owed, and the length of time since the last payment. A high number indicates a low risk of default. Thus, to improve your credit score, you must pay off any past-due debts and make regular payments on all other accounts.
2. Keep Your Credit Utilization Ratio Below 30%
Your credit utilization ratio is the total amount of debt you owe compared to the full available credit in your account. For example, if you have $10,000 worth of credit cards and only $5,000 available, your credit utilization ratio would be 50%. If you have no outstanding balances on your credit card accounts, your credit utilization ratio would be 0%. However, the lower your credit utilization ratio, the more likely your lender will approve you for a new line of credit.
3. Keep Old Credit Cards Open
Keeping old credit cards open will help build up your credit score because it shows that you are willing to use them. However, it is essential to keep these cards open only when used. For example, if you have two credit cards with $500 each in available credit, and one of those cards is opened due to a purchase made with the other card, you will harm your credit score. You should close this card once the transaction is complete. Jordan Sudberg recommends keeping just one credit card open at a time.
4. Pay Down Debt Before Applying for Loans
Applying for a loan before paying down existing debt will negatively affect your credit score. It is best to apply for a loan after making all current bills and then paying off any remaining balance. This way, you will show lenders that you are financially responsible. However, if you do not have enough money to pay off your debt, you may need to take out a personal loan.
5.Fix or Dispute Any Errors
Once you have checked your credit score, you should review your report carefully. If there are errors in your information, you should dispute them. Disputes are handled differently depending on which type of credit reporting agency (CRA) issued your report. Some cars allow you to discuss items on your account online. Others require you to send a written request to the CRA.
Improving your credit score requires patience and persistence. The key is to start small and work toward larger goals. Remember, a bad credit score does not mean you cannot borrow money. It simply means you must prove to lenders that you can repay loans.