Tips to Repair Your Credit

  • Added:
    Dec 21, 2013
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Education Credit Counseling
Education Credit Counseling
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Financial professionals in the UK commonly recommend that consumers review their credit report periodically. Because of the ease with which you can obtain your credit report online, reviewing information in your credit file is a simple process. Of course, though, keeping track of credit report information does not necessarily equate to having a healthy credit score. If your score is lower than you would like it to be, you will need to develop a strategic plan to improve your creditworthiness. Although improving your score won't happen overnight, you will likely see gradual improvement that will increase your ability to qualify for loans and credit cards.

Take note of derogatory information. If you make a credit payment after its due date, this information will be recorded in your credit file. Similarly, you will incur negative entries if a creditor closes an account because of poor payment history. Other types of entries, such as bankruptcies and judgments, can also severely impact your creditworthiness.

You will not likely be able to have a legitimate negative entry removed from your credit file. Still, it is important to establish a baseline you can work from. As negative entries age, they will have a less dramatic impact on your credit score. For example, if you missed a credit card payment last month, your score might drop by 100 points or more. A missed payment entry that is three years old, conversely, will probably not reduce your score by more than 10 points.

Look for information recorded in error. Erroneous information can artificially lower your credit score and prevent you from obtaining loans or other forms of credit. For example, suppose that you paid off a credit card balance two years ago but the account is listed as in default. You would still suffer the financial consequences of the erroneous entry even though you paid the account in full.

If you discover erroneous information, file a dispute with each credit bureau that includes the error in its files. You can find instructions for disputing an entry on each bureau's website. After receiving the dispute, the bureau will investigate your claim and remove the error if appropriate. You can increase your chances of a successful dispute by including supporting documents with your dispute request. Using the example above, you could include an account statement showing that the account balance was paid in full and a bank statement showing the payment to the account.

Leave your credit cards at home. Your credit account balances significantly affect your creditworthiness, particularly if your balances are high in relation to your available credit limits. Continuing to use your cards will make it difficult to pay down your balances and improve your credit score. Instead of using credit cards for everyday or discretionary purchases, you can use a debit card that withdraws funds for purchases from your bank account. If you do not have the funds available for a discretionary purchase, you will simply need to delay the purchase until you can afford it without tapping into your available credit. Leaving your credit cards at home can go a long way toward helping you re-establish a high credit score.

Close unused accounts. When you pay off a credit card or line of credit, you might be tempted to leave the account open for additional purchases or financial emergencies. It is important to remember, though, that open credit lines can negatively impact your score. Potential lenders might assume that you will use open credit lines and might be unable to make your payments in the future. Ideally, you should have no more than one or two unsecured credit lines open at any given time.

Improving your credit score requires patience and discipline. You will need to develop a strategic plan in order to reverse any damage you have caused to your creditworthiness. Also, you can expect your credit score to take years to recover, particularly if you carry high unsecured debt balances. A financial adviser or debt management professional might be able to help you develop a plan to improve your score without straining your personal budget. Of course, periodically obtaining your credit report online will also help keep you motivated by showing you the progress you have made.

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Sam Jones advises people worried about credit repair that they can get a copy of the credit report online


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