Credit is a crucial component of finance. It enables borrowing for home and auto loans. It may play a role in your ability to obtain a job or receive the lowest insurance costs. A poor credit score may lead to higher interest rates, unfavorable loan terms, and in some cases, loan denial. Yet, if you have poor credit, here are ways to repair it that may improve your chances of securing a loan in the future.
Start With Your Credit Report
The first place to start is obtaining a copy of your credit report. Check for any negative marks, such as collections, to make sure they are valid. Check for the accuracy of all information present.1 If you see any inaccurate data, you may dispute them to have them removed from the report. Get a free copy of your credit report one time every year from each of the three credit bureaus. Check one report every four months for accuracy. To dispute info, simply follow the directions provided by the credit bureau.
If possible, aim to settle debts. Pay them in full when possible. If not, ask for a settlement. In many cases, lenders may be willing to settle the debt for a fraction of the cost. While having the debt settled may not give you as much of a boost as paying it in full, it may still help to increase your score.3
Increase Your Credit Limit
Available credit is important to your credit score. If you are looking to boost your score from a fair to good range and have been staying on top of your payments, you may want to consider increasing your credit limit on one or more of your credit cards. Some lenders may do this if you are using a small portion of available credit or have a good standing with the lender. Extending your limit increases the amount of available credit-to-debt.3
Don't Cancel Old Cards
Keeping old credit cards open helps your credit score in a couple of ways. First, if it is paid in full, it boosts that credit-to-debt ratio. Secondly, it lengthens credit history, which also plays a role in your credit score.3
Once your credit score has increased, make sure you continue to keep it maintained so that it doesn't drop again. To do that, pay your bills on time. If you have new or high-interest accounts, pay those balances down first to pay less overall.1 You also want to avoid opening a lot of credit at one time. New inquiries and new accounts lower your credit score, and every point counts when it comes to improving your credit.2
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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1 How to Fix Your Credit, Lexington Law, https://www.lexingtonlaw.com/credit-repair/fix-credit
2 Credit Repair: How to "Fix" Your Credit Yourself, Experian, https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/improving-credit/credit-repair/
3 12 Simple Steps to Repair Your Credit and Increase Your Credit Score, Inc.com, https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/12-simple-steps-to-repair-your-credit-and-increase.html