Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to repair your credit rating

Your credit score may seem like an arbitrary number, but those three little digits can pack a big punch in terms of what types of loans you'll be approved for, and what type of interest rates you can expect to have to pay - and that's assuming that you'll even be approved for a loan in the first place. Many consumers with poor or even fair credit scores (generally any number lower than 700 is fair, and anything under 620 is poor) find that they can't get even a small loan or line of store credit; or, if they can, a hefty down payment and/or a co-signer is required. But even if you're not currently thinking about buying a car or a house, what if you want to replace your roof, or your kid needs extensive dental work? The kind of funds necessary for those things can be hard to come by, and personal loans can be very difficult to obtain without at least a high "fair" credit score.

First thing's first: find out just how bad your credit really is. You can't fix the damage if you don't know the extent of it. Get your credit report, and make sure you have copies from all three credit reporting bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Next, get your actual credit score. You'll probably have to pay for the number, but the money will be well spent, since you'll have an exact starting point.

Now it's time to figure out where you went wrong: take a look at your expenses and your income, and work on a budget that gives you a little more wiggle room each month. And the money that provides that wiggle room? Sock it away in a savings account. Try to set up an interest-bearing account, but even if you can't, just having it in a separate account will be sufficient in keeping you from being tempted to spend it. And if you are tempted, just pull out that credit score and remind yourself of how hard it's going to be to get any line of credit with a number like that.

Finally, tackle your credit report. Go through each item that's listed and read the details. If you find entries that don't match up, or your credit report is a lengthy mess, consider contacting a professional credit repair firm, such as These firms have the professional knowledge, expertise, and resources necessary to help you clean up your credit. Together you'll be able to chip away at the list and get outdated entries removed, erroneous entries fixed, and negotiations worked out on outstanding debts so that in a matter of months, your credit score could be looking much better.


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