Your credit score impacts every major area of your life. With a high credit score, you can easily get approved for a home mortgage, new car or an apartment. If your credit score is low, it can keep you from borrowing money from a reputable financial institution.
A bad credit score doesn’t have to disturb your financial peace forever. Regardless of your current credit standing, there are specific actions that you can take to improve your situation. Here are 6 things you can do to improve your credit score in 6 months.
Review your credit reports.
The purpose of reviewing your credit reports is to know exactly where you stand. How can you improve your credit if you aren’t sure about the issues that need to be addressed?
Looking at your credit report can be embarrassing and emotionally painful. This is especially true if your credit report lists delinquent accounts or adverse actions such as bankruptcies or automobile repossessions.
Regardless of your feelings, this is an essential step. You must face your financial past if your goal is to enjoy the benefits of a good credit score.
Take notes as you review your credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Make a list of any delinquent accounts, late payments and current credit scores.
Make a plan.
It isn’t enough to have the desire to improve your credit score; you must develop a plan of action. Creating a plan helps you to stay disciplined throughout the rebuilding process. It also helps you determine the best strategy to take in order to reach your credit goals.
The good news is developing an effective plan doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, the most effective plans are simple ones that list specific actions that should be taken each day. Here are other things that you should know about planning.
- Your plans should be in writing. It doesn’t matter if you record them in a journal or on your smartphone. Written plans will guide you through the rebuilding process.
- Refer to your plans on a regular basis – daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
- Make adjustments to your plans if the need arises. View your plans as flexible guidelines – not rules that can’t be changed.
Develop new financial habits.
This is easier said than done. Unless your low credit score is caused by an illness or unemployment, your financial habits play an important role in your current financial situation.
When it comes to developing new financial habits, taking baby steps is the key. You can start by paying your bills on time. Another financial habit that you can build is utilizing a monthly budget.
Take an honest assessment of your financial habits. Are you able to detect any actions that are sabotaging your financial success? If so, make changes quickly.
Don’t close any financial accounts.
You may be tempted to eliminate the accounts that are hurting your credit score. However, you shouldn’t do it. Closing accounts that have balances can potentially lower your score.
Instead of closing your accounts, make the decision to pay the account balances in full. After your financial obligation to each account has been satisfied, you can close the accounts without lowering your score.
Dispute inaccurate accounts.
A recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that as many as 42 million consumers have inaccurate data listed on their credit reports. It’s likely that your credit reports could be one of them.
Look at your credit reports to determine if they contain errors. If you see information that looks suspicious, file disputes with the credit bureaus. Common credit report errors include:
- Identity issues
- Inaccurate late or delinquent payments
- Account information
- Incorrect balances or credit limits
Get a secured credit card.
Secured credit cards offer a way for you to rebuild your credit. After you have been approved for a secured credit card, you’ll be required to send a deposit to the financial institution. The deposit will be the amount of your credit limit.
It’s important to use your secured credit card responsibly. Your goal should be to keep your balance below 30% of the credit limit. If your card limit is $600, then you should keep the balance below $180.
Before you select a secured card issuer, find out if the issuer reports to the credit bureaus. Since your goal is to increase your credit score, a card issuer that doesn’t report to the bureaus won’t benefit you.
It’s time for you to take charge of your credit score and build a score that you deserve. Follow these tips to improve your credit score in 6 months.