5 Steps to Improve Your Credit

Rebuilding credit can seem like a daunting task, but with a few adjustments to life and a careful eye on your habits, you can rebuild your credit. 

Here are 5  steps to help you:

1.  Review your credit report

Reviewing your credit report is the first step. Look for any discrepancies and if you find one, commit to clearing it up immediately. You can get a free credit report on AnnualCreditReport.com weekly through the end of 2022.

2.  Be timely 

Make timely payments if  you have existing credit card debt or loans. This contributes to 35% of your FICO score.  If you don’t have credit, obtain a secured credit card. (see below)

3.  Keep credit usage low 

Keep your credit card usage as low as possible. The key is to stay below 30%, but ideally the closer to 0% the better. This makes up 30% of your FICO score.

4.  Be proactive 

  • Ask to be an authorized user of someone you trust and has a  responsible financial history.
  • Sign up for Self Inc. – this company allows you to open a savings account for a sign up fee and monthly interest, but will report timely, monthly payments  to all credit bureaus and, at the end of your term, you have access to your savings.
  • Self-report your rent.  Experian RentBureau is free but only reports to Experian. There are others which report to Equifax and Transunion but  come with a fee. You will have to reach out to your landlord as it’s their responsibility to report.
  • Use Experian Boost to self-report your utilities,  internet, phone. This is a free service.
  • Open a secured credit card – you can start as low as $200. Most credit cards have this option.

5. Don’t close credit cards

The length of your credit history matters – 15% of FICO score. Don’t close any credit cards instead autopay a small purchase like Spotify and autopay the credit card monthly.

Mindful Reminder

Rebuilding your credit is not a quick fix. It takes diligence and patience. Use mindful tools to help you along the way.  Incorporating a daily walk, awareness of breath, or beginning a home meditation practice can all be helpful to ease the tension.  Review How to Create Mindfulness Around Our Finances.

References:

Michelle Black, U.S. News  (2021). 5 ways to lower credit card utilization. Retrieved from: https://money.usnews.com/credit-cards/articles/ways-to-lower-credit-card-utilization 

Bev O’Shea, Nerdwallet. (2022). 6 ways to rebuild credit. Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/ways-to-rebuild-credit

Haar, Ryan, NextAdvisor (2021). How to self-report to credit bureaus.. Retrieved from: https://time.com/nextadvisor/credit-cards/how-to-self-report-to-credit-bureaus/