Your credit score could either be a stepping stool to a whole new world or it could be a ball and chain. If you’re in the latter category, you are probably hoping for an alchemist to show up and transform your ball and chain into gold for you. Although some loans don’t require a perfect credit score, you never know when you are going to need a good score.
But credit repair isn’t a magical process. You can’t just wave a wand and make it all go away. But you can do something about it. The good news is that your ball and chain doesn’t have to be forever.
There are some simple and fairly reliable steps you can take to fix your credit score.
1. Credit Repair: Put Your Bills On Autopay
It used to be that you had to physically mail or drop off a check to pay your bills. In the age of the internet, this is no longer the case. In fact, over 60% of Australians use online banking. And you should too! It’s the best way to do some credit repair.
Most online banking is a free addition to a checking account. And some banks will give you a checking account for free.
Once you have an online banking account, you can quickly set up automatic payments to most of your bills.
If your bank doesn’t allow online bill pay, most credit cards will allow you to enter a bank account number and set up automatic payments over time. Just simply input your banking information, tell the company how much you want to pay each month and you will never forget to pay your credit card again.
Now, some credit card companies will only allow you to either pay the full amount or the minimum payment each month. In that case, set up the minimum payment and try to pay off the rest as soon as you can.
Only paying the minimum payment will cause you to rack up more debt as it doesn’t cover interest fees.
2. Get Your Free Credit Report
Not knowing your finances inside and out is like being blind and alone in a dark maze. You really don’t want to be in that situation because you will never know what’s coming at you or what’s around the next corner.
Don’t go into credit repair blind. Get your free credit report. You’re entitled to it for free once a year.
What’s inside your credit file that will help you with credit repair? Everything a loan officer looks at before making a decision on your loan acceptance.
The file includes things like your identity information. Your full name, gender, date of birth, address, employment history and driver’s license.
It also includes your public record. Things like court decisions, bankruptcies, writs and summons, and debt agreements.
Your monthly repayment history is in the file. This is the section that examines your credit accounts. Accounts such as your credit cards, loans, mortgages and other credit. This might also include how many times your credit has been accessed.
You want to limit how many times companies or rental companies or loan officers access your credit. Too many credit inquiries can damage your credit.
Lastly, you will find defaults in your credit file. These are debts overdue by more than 60 days.
3. Know Your Negative Impacts
You really need to know what might be negatively impacting your score before you can begin credit repair. There are several things that can impact your credit score in a negative way.
As we pointed out above, multiple credit inquiries will affect your credit score negatively. The people who check your credit score could include car dealers, rental companies, loan companies and anybody who might offer something on lease. Be careful with anything that requires a downpayment. Make sure you ask if they are checking your credit score.
Defaults are probably the second highest impact on your credit report. Loan officers want to know you are going to pay them back. They want their money. They aren’t going to give you money if they know you aren’t good to pay them back over time. If you are late on a payment for over sixty days, this tells lenders that you are irresponsible.
While maybe not as important as other aspects, court judgments will negatively impact your credit score. This is an area of credit you can actually repair. Sometimes records can get mixed up. Court judgments could end up on your report when you were never even in court. This is why it’s imperative you check your own credit once a year.
Missed payments on your credit accounts are probably the most damaging of all. This is where you should focus your credit repair. It’s why we started this article out with a way to set up auto payments on your credit accounts and bills.
Missed payments on your credit accounts stay on your file for two whole years. This is why you want to ensure that no more than one payment is missed per account. But you really should ensure you miss no payments.
4. Improve Everything!
Time is the great healer. But you can start now with credit repair. There are several things you can do now that you have the knowledge.
Broker A Deal
If you are struggling with paying your credit cards or loans, talk with your lender. Let them know you are struggling. They could negotiate a repayment plan that fits within your budget. And this will ensure you do not default again on payments.
One reason people have a hard time repaying debts: they can’t keep track of them all. This is absolutely understandable. And it’s absolutely fixable. You can consolidate your loans into one account. Talk with your bank and credit card companies. It might cost an initial fee, but it will make it easier to remember to pay.
As we pointed out above, your credit file may have some errors. This is probably the easiest way to repair credit. Contact the credit reporting bureau to have certain false listings removed.
You now have the tools you need to repair your credit and get your life back on track. Go out and make the best of it.