A bad credit score can hold you back from a lot in life including renting an apartment, buying a home, getting a line of credit when you need it. The list goes on and on…bad credit doesn’t make anything easy.
No matter how bad it looks now, you don’t have to be stuck with bad credit for the rest of your life. If you take the right baby steps, you could be on the path toward credit recovery before you know it.
Here are the four steps to take right away that are going to make a big difference.
1. Check Your Credit Score
You might not realize it, but it’s your personal responsibility to make sure the information on your credit reports remains accurate. If you don’t check your three credit reports for errors, no one is going to do it for you.
Unfortunately, incorrect information ends up on credit reports often — typically due to credit reporting mistakes or fraud. When negative information appears on your credit reports, it might damage your scores (whether the information is correct or not).
Use Credit Karma to instantly check on your credit score for free without hurting it. The app will also give you insights into what’s affecting your score, suggestions for how to improve it and personalized recommendations for ways to make better financial decisions with your credit. I repeat, all for free.
We don’t know about you, but a free credit score coach that fits in your pocket sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. Why would you pass that up?
2. Establish New Credit
Sometimes when your credit score is in the toilet you may find yourself without any open, current accounts on your credit reports. If this describes your situation, it may be time to consider establishing some new, positive accounts.
One of our favorite tools for finding a credit card is Card Cruncher. Not only will they help you find a credit card to start building up your credit score, they will help you find a credit card with rewards like cash back that can be really helpful as well.
Enter how much you are spending in the various categories below each month, and click view credit cards to see what the best options are. Remember, the key here when you get a new credit card is to make the payments on time every month, or you’ll be back to square one.
3. If You Don’t Qualify For A Credit Card Get This Company’s Help
You might find that because of your bad credit score you are unable to get a credit card, so you are going to need to look into other options for building up your credit. Self Lender is a really cool company that helps people with this exact problem. They offer something called a Credit Builder Account to help you get back on track.
Here’s how it works:
- Apply for a loan that is held by Self Lender’s bank partners.
- Decide how much you want to pay every month — can be as little as $25.
- Set the loan up paying an administrative fee of $9.
- Start paying the loan off over 12 to 24 months depending on what works for your situation.
- Each payment you make is building your credit history.
- After the loan is up, get back the money you have paid into the loan minus a small amount of interest.
- Voila! You’ve established a credit history.
The Credit Builder Account as you can tell is different than a regular loan — you don’t get the money to spend upfront, you get the money after you’ve paid off the loan. It’s a way to force yourself to save and build your credit. Experts say that if your credit is in the toilet to the point where you can’t get a credit card, this is one of the best options to get back on track.
4. Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, in 2018 alone nearly 16.7 million fell victim to identity theft.
You don’t want to work to build up your credit only to have someone trash it. When identity thieves get a hold of your personal information, they can wreak havoc on your personal finances, harm your credit and more. It is possible to recover from identity theft within a couple of months, but if you don’t act fast enough the damage that’s done could take years to fix, or you may even never fully recover.
Sign up for IdentityIQ and you’ll get world-class identity theft protection and insurance — up to $1 million of coverage for you and your family.
Here’s what they’ll do:
- Run daily checks on your personally identifiable information (PII).
- Provide fast alerts for suspicious activity made.
- If you become a victim of theft, you’ll have the full weight of IdentityIQ’s team of experts to help restore your identity and put you back on the right track.
For extra protection, IdentityIQ also offers comprehensive credit monitoring, with access to your credit score from one or all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Sign up today and only pay $1 for your first week. After that, pay $29.99 per month.
In today’s world where you use your personal information to sign up for just about anything and everything is hackable, this kind of protection isn’t something you want to pass up. Sign-up right now for IdentityIQ.
5. Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt At A Lower Interest Rate So You Can Pay It Down Faster, Upping Your Score
The amount of debt you owe accounts for 30% of your credit score, so carrying large balances on your credit cards doesn’t bode well for it. Paying down your credit card balances will help lower your credit utilization ratio, giving your score a big boost.
Consolidating your credit card debt with a personal loan at a lower interest rate can help you pay down your debt faster by reducing the amount of interest your debt collects over time. This will ultimately save you a ton of money and reduce the life of your loans.
Credible, an online marketplace that provides borrowers with competitive, personalized loan offers, can help you find the best personal loan option for you.
Using Credible, you can compare rates from multiple vetted lenders you prequalify for in just two minutes. If you find an offer with terms you like, apply for it through credible and you could get your approval decision within a few days.
Credible is so confident in its rates that they’ll give you $200 if you find and close a loan with a better rate elsewhere.
Borrow up to $100,000 with fixed interest rates starting at 4.99% (much lower than pretty much any credit card available). People with a credit score of 660 or above get the best rates.
Feature Image: Twenty20