These are links to help you build your credit ranking and prepare for your future.
These are links to help you build your credit ranking and prepare for your future.
0% APR first year
Does NOT hit your credit if not approved.
The first step is to get your credit report so that you know what needs repair. You’re entitled to get one copy of your credit report free each year from each of the major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com, with additional copies available by purchase. You also can obtain updates on your Vantage 3.0 credit score free every 14 days here.
Once you get your report, the next step is to review it for negative items which are open to dispute. Look for items such as:
A significant percentage of credit reports contain errors, so you may be surprised by what you find.
The next step is to dispute any items you think are open to review. You can contact the three major credit bureaus through their websites, by phone, or by mail.
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
You should also contact the creditor or lender involved in the dispute. They may be able to correct an item for you. The correction may take 30 to 45 days or more to appear in your updated credit report.
Because late payments can have such a negative impact on your credit score, paying off late items is a priority for fixing your credit. The damage late payments do to your credit score increases the longer they go unpaid, so pay off any late items as soon as possible, and get in the habit of paying bills on time going forward.
For items that have been referred to collection agencies, you may be able to arrange to have the account reported as paid in full in exchange for a full or partial payment agreement, an arrangement known as “pay for delete.” However, a pay for delete arrangement doesn’t necessarily remove an item from your report, it only shows that you arranged to pay your debt. This can make creditors look more favorably on your credit report, but it won’t erase the item entirely. If you do seek a pay-for-delete arrangement, make sure you get an agreement in writing from the collection agency, or you run the risk of them taking your money without following through on reporting the payment.
High balances are another major item that can drag your credit score down, and paying them down can be a route to improving your score. When paying down balances, be strategic. Consider how much cash you can afford to put toward paying down debt without disrupting your budget. A general rule of thumb is not to allocate more than 20% of your monthly income toward debt repayments so that you still have enough left over for other bills and expenses. However, this may vary with your situation.
Also, consider which balances you should pay down first. Paying down balances with high-interest rates can save you money in the long term. Alternately, you may elect to pay off cards with low balances so that you can see your progress and get a sense of momentum.
Following the steps above should start to improve your credit. As your credit improves, if your credit portfolio has a limited range of types of debt, opening up new accounts can raise your score.
However, avoid the temptation to use your improved credit to apply for an excessive number of new accounts, which can hurt your score. Instead, be selective about which types of credit you apply for, and open new accounts gradually. For example, many banks offer secured credit builder loans that are easy to qualify for and designed to help you rebuild your credit.
Because the age of your accounts counts toward your credit score, keeping accounts open can help boost your score. Once you open an account, don’t close it unless there is some compelling reason. However, if you’re not using an account actively, be sure to keep an eye on it periodically to make sure you’re not being billed any fees in the fine print.
Credit report information is classified as either “positive” or “negative.” Positive information includes items such as bills paid on time. Negative information includes items such as late payments, third-party collection actions, loan defaults, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.
In general, negative items remain on your report for seven years. However, this varies with different types of negative items:
In addition, hard inquiries into your credit score can remain on your report for up to two years.
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