How To Improve Credit Score

4 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Credit Score

If you have bad credit, you may feel like you're trapped in a hopeless situation. However, you can turn things around. There are steps you can take, starting right now, to begin rebuilding your credit score.

1. First, you'll want to get a copy of your credit report. You won't know which part of your credit needs to be fixed until you see what it looks like. The three reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, are each required to send you a copy of your credit report at your request, once per year.

If you find any errors on your report, you should dispute it immediately. Your report should contain contact information and instructions on how to dispute any item on your credit report. Removing erroneous penalties from your report can instantly improve your credit score.

2. One of the simplest lifestyle changes you can make to turn your credit around is to stop using credit cards. Devote your energy towards paying off your cards with the worst interest rates, and do not charge anything more on credit. Pay everything with cash if you have to. And because past payment history constitutes 35% of your credit score, settling delinquent accounts, getting current on all payments, and continuing to pay all bills on time can greatly improve your credit score.

3. While you're trying to rebuild your credit, it's best not to apply for any new debt. You may be turned down if the lender considers you too risky, and the credit application could easily hurt your score. Similarly, it's often not in your best interest to close credit lines, even delinquent ones. Closing the accounts won't remove them from your credit report until seven years have passed, and in some cases, closing an old credit line that makes up a substantial portion of your credit history may even hurt your score.

The amount of debt you're carrying relative to your maximum credit available, also known as your credit utilization, constitutes 30% of your credit score. The faster you can pay down your debt, the faster your credit score will improve.

4. If you're seriously having trouble making ends meet, try getting in contact with your creditors directly. Really! They have every incentive to work with you to assemble a payment plan or hardship program, because they don't get anything from people who stop paying all together or go bankrupt. You should also consider professional credit counseling or similar financial assistance. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you find a reputable credit counselor.