Admit it. You've made some mistakes. However, you have really, truly changed. You've grown as a person and you want to put the past in the past and move forward into a truly healthy relationship with your credit. Luckily, it's never too late to make amends with your credit profile, and you won't even have to send flowers.
Stop Neglecting Your Credit Reports
If it has been a while since you've spent some quality time with your credit reports, now is a great time to get reacquainted. You only need to have the willingness to make the first move.
- Requesting your credit report(s) will cost nothing. You are entitled to receive one copy of your report annually from each of the three primary reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). Go ahead and request all of them if you are new to credit monitoring.
- A thorough examination of your reports could increase your score. While you are looking over your credit history, make a careful note of any item that seems incorrect. It's entirely possible that information has been inaccurately reported, or you may have been the victim of identity theft. Report any item that seems questionable to the appropriate agency. The bureau will investigate your claim, and if there truly are errors on your report, they will be corrected and your credit rating could increase.
- You will be able to identify opportunities for improvement. Certain items will remain on your credit reports for a set amount of time. For example, if you have a delinquent account that was sent to collections, information about this account will be on your credit reports for seven years. However, you can work to correct your financial behavior immediately. Do you notice that you've had a tendency to make late payments? Moving forward, make a plan to stay organized and on top of your bills so that your payments will always be on time.
If you know that your credit has been significantly damaged, confronting your issues can be the hardest part of credit repair. Yet, you will be amazed at how relieved you will be when you know what you have to do. Improving your credit is never an easy process, but all of your hard work will pay off when you start to see the results of your efforts in a gradually increasing credit score.
Rekindling the Flame: Building Credit
No relationship will ever work if it gets to be stagnant. It's great to repair your credit, but you have to work on building it and making it stronger too. How do you do this? There are a few ways to start.
- Apply for a gas card or a secured credit card. If you're able to be approved for an unsecured credit line, but past experiences have made you "credit shy," you may want to begin again slowly with a gas card. If you drive, you have to keep fuel in your tank, yes? Why not purchase this fuel with a credit card and pay the balance off every month? It won't cost you any more than what you are already paying for gas, but you will enjoy the bonus of improving your credit with every fill up.
If, however, your credit rating hasn't yet improved enough to make approval for a "regular" credit card possible, a secured line of credit may be a viable option. With these cards, you put up a cash deposit, and the amount of this deposit becomes your spending limit. Secured credit cards can be used to make purchases like any other credit card. And after you have made timely payments for a certain amount of time, you may be able to transition over to an unsecured credit line and a higher limit.
- Apply for a personal loan or an auto loan. Maintaining a line of revolving credit (a credit card) is good for your credit score, but you will eventually want your borrowing history to reflect a "credit mix." Prospective lenders will want to see that you can responsibly handle all types of credit, so you may want to consider taking out an installment loan. Both auto loans and personal loans will provide you with opportunities to make timely payments and improve your credit score.
- Have your rent reported. Historically, payments to landlords haven't been reported to any of the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming easier and easier for property owners and managers to participate in rent reporting. Ask your landlord if this is something that he or she may be willing to offer.
Love your credit, and your credit will love you right back. How? If you want to purchase a home or another kind of big ticket item in the future, having an excellent credit score will make loan approval a breeze, and you will also qualify for the best financing terms. So, this is definitely a relationship worth pursuing. You may even want to bring your credit home to meet your mom one day.
A Car: Better than a Box of Chocolates
If you are in need of access to reliable transportation, buying a car is the best thing you can do for yourself on Valentine's Day. And even if your credit is as remarkably imperfect as most "sweethearts," Auto Credit Express can help you get approved for financing. We'll play matchmaker by connecting you with a dealer who is qualified to find a loan solution that works with your situation.
Just fill out our fast and secure online application to get started today.