Depending on how bad your credit is, it could take a while before you get your credit score to where you want it to be. You certainly can’t improve it overnight, and if you have any negative marks listed on your credit reports, they're going to impact your score until they're gone – and, although this lessens over time, it could take up to either seven or 10 years. However, you can take steps toward building and repairing your credit right now. Not sure what to do? Keep reading to find out.
4 Things to Do to Improve Your Credit
As we mentioned before, it takes time to rebuild your credit. If you’re starting from scratch, it can take even longer to establish a solid credit history.
Before you begin, however, make sure you check your credit score and look over your credit reports. Know where your score stands now, and what’s listed on your reports.
You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus, which you can request at www.annualcreditreport.com.
As for your credit score, most lenders look at your FICO score. If your bank, credit union, or credit card provider offers a free FICO score update, you can check there. If not, you can go to myFICO.com and pay to see your scores (yes, you have more than one) directly from the source.
Once you’ve done that, you can move forward in the credit-building phase, and can follow any of these four tips to fix your credit yourself:
- Dispute any errors – If you come across something that’s inaccurately listed on your credit reports, you can increase your score by disputing it with the reporting credit bureau. The credit bureau must investigate your claim, and come up with a decision within 30 days. If they don’t respond back, the negative mark is automatically removed.
- Pay down credit card balances – Ideally, your credit card balances shouldn’t exceed 30% of their credit limits. Pay off any outstanding balances, or keep them under the 30% limit, and you should see your score go up.
- Pay all bills on time – Payment history is the biggest factor in your credit score. Make sure you’re on top of all your monthly bills, and get current on any late payments.
- Apply for new credit with caution – Adding an additional line of credit can actually help improve your credit score. They key is to make sure you can successfully manage this additional credit line. If not, and you miss a payment, you could find yourself in even more trouble.
Consider a Credit Repair Company
If credit repair sounds difficult to you, you could work with a credit repair organization to get some professional assistance. These companies help credit-challenged consumers clean up their credit reports by disputing any errors for you. Credit repair companies charge a fee for their services, so keep that in mind.
These companies are easy to work with, and understand how time consuming and stressful it can be to try and clean up your credit reports on your own.
Need a Car with Bad Credit? We Can Help
Having bad credit is tough on its own, and it’s even more challenging when you need a big-ticket item like a car. The good news is that just because your credit isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you can’t get approved for an auto loan. You just need to work with the right dealerships – and we can help with that.
At Auto Credit Express, we can point you in the right direction by matching you with a local dealer that has the lending resources available to help you. All you need to do is fill out our car loan request form. Don’t be down in the dumps due to bad credit, get started today!