How To Build Your Credit If You Have Bad Credit
We all know that our credit scores can have an impact on our monthly bills; the lower our score, the more likely we are to pay more for everything from credit card interest to insurance premiums. It’s a problem that millions of people face, with credit scores so low that it’s hard to qualify for a mortgage, among other things.
“A bad credit history can also make it difficult to rent an apartment, go to college or even get a job,” said Lisa Gill, editor of Consumer Reports.
Here’s the kicker: if you want to build up your credit, you have to get credit. But how do you get credit if you have bad credit?
Consumer Reports first says that you need to open a bank account, take out several small loans, and make monthly payments on time, which over time should improve your score.
Next, consider applying for what is called a secured credit card, which means you have secured the card with cash. You can also ask a family member with good credit to add you to their credit card. Just make sure you have a good relationship with the person because if you miss or are late with a payment it can hurt both your scores.
And, if you have a debt that is in the process of being collected, pay it off as soon as possible. Make sure you pay all of your bills on time to avoid collections in the first place.
Consumer Reports says it is wary of any quick credit service that offers help for a fee. You don’t have to pay to repair your credit. It just takes a solid financial plan and some time.
“Once you’ve paid off any debt in collection, many credit scoring systems won’t weigh them down heavily when calculating your score,” said Gill.
And finally, be sure to check your credit report carefully. You are entitled to free weekly reports of the big three credit bureaus until April 2022. Dispute any errors you may find by sending a certified letter with evidence to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. They have about 30 days to respond.
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