First Step to Rebuild credit
First Step to Rebuild Credit
Stop the Bleeding. Pay at least the minimums from now on. Nothing is more important than being on time with your payments. Start a blemish free payment record going forward right now. This is the first step to rebuild credit. The rest will fall into place as you learn what is important and where to prioritize. Don’t get discouraged. The whole process of credit repair is interesting and even fun but it does take time. Anyone would benefit from some professional coaching in the beginning to look at your unique big picture and discuss your goals.
Have you just made a commitment to yourself to take the first step to rebuild credit? You’ve sworn to do it before but this time you mean it? Make a list of your financial obligations with special attention to your credit card and installment loan accounts. Are you late on any of these loans? If you are late on any of them pay them up to date immediately. If you have a family member or friend who will let you become an “authorized user” do it. This can do wonders if their card is well aged and paid in a timely way as well as carrying a low debt to available credit ratio. They do not even need to let you have a card. Their good credit flows to you but your bad credit does not flow to them.
On Time Payments are the Single Most Important First Step to Rebuild Credit
If you have late payments on your credit cards or loans in your past you must make sure that you don’t have them in your future if you want a high credit score. As the record of late payments ages those late payments hurt your score less. Eventually the negative entries will drop off completely as they are replaced by timely payments going forward. Make at least the minimum payment if you must. No one is going to advise you to just make minimum payments on your credit cards if you want to get ahead. Your statement will show you it would take a long time to pay it off this way. What I’m stressing is that the minimum payment keeps the all important track record of timeliness intact. A recent late payment has a very harmful long lasting effect on your score.
I’m in such a Mess I can’t even get a credit card to get started
No matter how bad your situation is the first step towards rebuilding is to begin to establish a good track record with the credit bureaus. Start with a secured credit card. Secured credit cards offering a line of credit equal to the amount on deposit are offered by many banks, credit unions and most major credit card issuers. With a minimum $200.00 deposit you can get a low APR of 7.90% with an annual fee of $35.00 with many companies. The interest is so low because there is no risk to the creditor. It is your own money you are spending. Use it for small purchases such as pizza and gas. Pay it on time while you work off the other negatives.
Take a First Look at one of your Credit Reports
There is a web site called CreditKarma.com that offers free TransUnion and Equifax credit report monitoring on line. There is no charge for this because the site is supported by credit card advertisements. If you need a secured card there are many offered on this site for you to choose from. If you want a better credit card they will tell you what the credit score requirements are for any particular card. There is no “catch” for this service. You don’t have to sign up for anything like credit monitoring, insurance or any of the other traps you will find on many sites. Other free sites for your first look include Bankrate.com, Credit.com, CreditSesame.com and Loanlove.com. These sites do not tell you your FICO score. Ignore the FAKO score they give you. Thiis score is for educational purposes only. It is not your FICO score. The credit monitoring is free.
Understanding a Credit Report
You can take your time studying these first free credit reports. Remember they are for educational purposes only. When your understanding and confidence increases you will be getting the free annual report you are entitled to from all 3 credit reporting agencies from annualcreditreports.com for further study. This is your real credit report. There will be differences between data reported by each credit bureau. Mistakes are common and we’ll talk more about what to do about each type of mistake as your understanding advances. Much about the credit scoring system is not intuitive so proceed cautiously. Patience and persistence will be rewarded in the end.
timely payments are critical while working to improve your credit score