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Bad Credit Repair

How to Repair Bad Credit

The first thing to remember is that you won't repair your credit over night. But it will happen. Only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.

Identity Theft

If your credit is bad because of identity theft, help is available to recover your credit and good name. The task can be daunting, but there are companies which specialize in credit repair after thieves have invaded your life. One such company is My ID Fix™. Unfortunately, even though you are the victim, it is your responsibility to prove yourself innocent. My ID Fix™ will walk you through the steps you need to take so your life can return to normal. Their one time fee has no recurring or hidden charges.

Denied? Due to bad credit? Click here.

What If There Is Inaccurate, Misleading or Incomplete Information In Your Credit Report?

If you find that there is erroneous, misleading or incomplete information on your credit report, you can fix it yourself, but it may help to check out the services of a reputable credit repair company. Getting that information corrected can be complicated, time consuming and frustrating. A company which specializes in that service can help you work with your creditors and credit bureaus to get harmful and/or erroneous information removed from your credit report.

Better Credit Score = Better Interest Rate

Your credit score, of course, determines what your interest rate will, whether it's your mortgage rate, a different type of loan (car loan, for example) or your credit card interest. A lower interest rate can make a significant difference in what your payment will be. To find out exactly how much difference your credit rate makes, click here to use our mortgage calculator. This calculator can be used for any other type of loan calculation.

Bad Credit Repair

Use the following guidelines to reestablish your credit:

  • Pay bills on time. This is the single biggest factor in your credit score – 35% is based on payment history.
  • Maintain a savings account. That way lenders can determine your ability to manage money.
  • For checking accounts, we recommend a service called “overdraft protection.” This is a feature banks offer so that your checks do not bounce and your ATM and debit card transactions go through. You will still have to pay an overdraft fee to the bank for each item. But, most importantly, your check will go through, the merchant will be paid and you will avoid the merchant’s returned-check fee.
  • Balance your checking account routinely.
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Don’t max out your credit cards.
  • Don’t keep a lot of open accounts, but be careful about closing older accounts as this can negatively affect you, too. The longer the history, the more confident a lender can be about your financial behavior.
  • Pay your utility bills and mortgage/rent on time for at least a year.
  • Stay away from payday loans. These are usually given at high interest rates and are a “bad credit” trap.
  • Live within your means. This includes not making unnecessary purchases on luxury items that you really don’t need. Your payments on consumer debt should equal no more than 20% of your expendable income after paying for housing and a vehicle.
  • Request your credit report and inspect it for errors to determine whether accounts have been opened without your knowledge or consent, and to see what entities are requesting your credit history. If there is an error, write to the bureau and ask to have the mistake fixed. It might also help to contact the creditor who reported the error. Some creditors will contact the bureau on your behalf.
  • If your credit report has bad marks for outstanding debts, repay them as quickly as possible.
  • Check your credit report about every three months. This is a good way to check the shape of your credit by knowing what bad financial habits, such as late payments, are present in your credit report. Regular check-ups also help you guard against identity theft.

More Steps You Can Take

After you have had your bank account open and in good standing for a few months, apply for a department store credit card or a gas credit card. These cards are relatively easy to obtain and are a good way to start building your credit. However, it is very important that you use your credit wisely. Begin by charging only a few small purchases. Then, when the bill arrives, make sure you pay it off completely and on time. The balances on your credit cards are a form of unsecured debt and such debt, when paid off, will build your good credit history.

Bad Credit Repair

After several months, apply for a credit card from one of the major companies. Try to find a card that does not have annual fees and offers the lowest interest rate. Again, once you have the card, use it responsibly. Only charge what you can pay off at the end of each billing cycle. After all, you don’t want to just build credit, you want to build a good credit history and credit score.

When you have paid your monthly payments on time every month and have had the same job for at least six months, you may be ready to apply for a larger purchase, for example a car loan. First, get a copy of your free credit report to see what your credit-to-debt ratio is - you'll see a list of all your unsecured debt. To calculate your credit-to-debt ratio: Debt Used divided by Available Credit = Debt Ratio. Find more information on your FICO score.

If you are a married woman, it is important to have credit in your own name. Not only is it important, it is your right. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you have the right to “Have credit in your birth name (Mary Smith), your first and your spouse’s last name (Mary Jones), or your first name and a combined last name (Mary Smith-Jones).” Women are often penalized when applying for credit due to weak or limited files since all the accounts were in their husband’s name. Having credit independent from your husband will protect you should you get a divorce or in case your husband dies before you. Unfortunately most women don't earn as much as their husbands do and find out after a divorce that they cannot qualify for the same amount of credit as they did when they were married.

If you stay on your best behavior for seven years, you will have overcome a significant challenge. That's when the negative information is removed from your credit report. All those late payments, accounts not paid, or court judgments disappear. There are some exceptions to the seven year rule, such as bankruptcy which remains on your report for ten years, but all that hard work will pay off. Of course, you won’t have to wait the full seven years see the affects. Creditors will see that you have changed your habits much earlier in the game and will put weight on the fact that the most recent good credit history overshadows the older negative credit history.

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