If you have bad credit, at some point you'll need to take measures to rebuild your rating. After you've become current with your bills and have dealt with old debt, you may want to start actively using credit again. It's understandable if you don't want to rush back into credit. In fact, taking it slowly at first is probably a wise move.

However, you also shouldn't be credit-shy for the rest of your life. After all, engaging in responsible credit use is the only way to build or rebuild credit. So, if you don't currently have a credit card, you may want to apply for one. But you'll need to be careful. Applying for credit cards the wrong way can actually make bad credit worse.

Limit the Number of Your Applications

credit card, bad credit
The "throwing spaghetti at a wall" approach should never be used when you're trying to get approved for credit. While it may be tempting to just apply for several credit cards at once in order to increase your approval odds, this is not a good idea.

Every time you apply for credit, the lender will check your credit history. This type of check is known as a hard inquiry, and it will show up on your credit report. Hard inquiries also cause your credit score to drop by a few points. So, if you fill out several applications and get an equal number of rejections, those lost points can add up. In the worst case scenario, you may end up with a seriously dinged credit score and still no credit card.

Also, it isn't uncommon for credit card providers to look deeply into your credit history. If they do this and see that you've had inquiries from several different companies in a short span of time, they won't be impressed. In fact, they'll probably just add their own rejection to your growing collection.

Always Follow Up with Rejections

No one likes rejections, but if you're denied credit, you need to follow up with the lender. Granted, the lender is required to send you an "adverse action notice" that explains the denial. However, it's also a good idea to call the company and speak with an actual person about your application.

It may be the case that the person who processed your request made a mistake when keying in your information. Or, your rejection may have something to do with your income, and not your credit. If you find out that the denial was the result of an error, the issuer may be willing to accept your application. On the other hand, if you're told that your income is the culprit, you'll know that you can reapply when your job situation improves.

Find the Right Card for You before Applying

This goes back to the first point about limiting the number of applications you submit. It's much easier to do this if you simply apply for the right card the first time. By doing a little research, you'll quickly discover that there are a lot of different credit cards out there. Some of them are for consumers with good credit, but others are meant for those with less than perfect ratings.

So, what's your credit score? You can get a score (though not necessarily your FICO score) through TransUnion, Experian or Equifax by paying a small fee. Or, there are several versions of your score available on free websites like CreditKarma.com. Some banks even offer free FICO scores to their customers, so find out if this is a service that your bank provides.

Once you know your credit score, it's much easier to find a credit card that matches your profile. If your score is very low, your best bet might be to apply for a secured credit card. In order to do this, you'll need to provide a cash deposit, and the amount of this deposit will become your spending limit.

After you've received your secured card, you can use it to make purchases just like you would with an unsecured card. Then, if you make a small purchase every month and pay your balance on time, your credit score should gradually increase over time. After several months have passed, the issuer may allow you to transition into an unsecured credit card with a higher spending limit.

How an Auto Loan can Help You Rebuild Bad Credit

If you need to buy a car, financing this purchase can give you an opportunity to improve your credit. This is because your loan and payment activity should be reported to the credit bureaus. In fact, after you've made timely payments for a few months, you should start to see an improvement in your rating.

But if you're worried that your low credit score will prevent you from getting financed, Auto Credit Express can help. We can match you with a local dealership that can work with unique credit situations. Also, our service is free of charge and contacting us places you under no obligation to purchase anything.

You really have nothing to lose except a chance to get better credit while buying the car you need. So, fill out our simple and secure auto loan request to get started today.