If you have credit card debt and poor credit, there’s never been a better time to get started on improving your credit score and your financial situation than right now.
Don’t know where to start?
No problem! This guide can help you in all three of these areas—credit score, debt, and life upgrades—by giving you actionable advice that anyone can follow to improve their finances. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
Improve your credit score
We’ve discussed credit score a lot on our site, but in case you need a refresher, here’s a quick rundown. A credit score is basically a number that helps determine whether or not someone can get approved for a loan or credit card. It’s calculated by using certain information from your credit report: how much debt you have, how often you pay your bills on time, etc. The most common type of score is a FICO score (that’s what your lender uses), and it ranges from 300-850. In general, if you have any kind of outstanding debt—including things like student loans and medical bills—it will negatively impact your credit score.
However, there are ways to improve your credit score! One of which is paying off debt. For example, let’s say you have $15,000 in debt spread across two different cards. If you pay off one card with $7,500, that could dramatically increase your credit score because now instead of having four separate accounts with balances (one being $15k), you only have one account with a balance—and it’s only half as big! Another way to improve your credit score is through utilization rate.
Improve your credit score - Fast
If you’re looking for a way to quickly improve your credit score, your first step should be to look at your accounts and figure out where you’re using bad habits. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see our own bad habits, so we need a third party opinion. It could be that you close credit card accounts too quickly or maybe you don’t make payments on time from time to time—and those are two huge red flags! Regardless of how you got there, first decide what kind of score you want (we recommend 750+), then figure out how much debt load (not total debt) and credit utilization is acceptable in order for that number to happen. Next, make a plan based off these numbers and get started!
Once your credit report hits those targets, do another check-in; if everything looks good—you’ve improved your credit score! Now pat yourself on the back because upgrading your life can lead to many great things such as new opportunities, cars, homes & jobs – whatever you dream about having. So go ahead and take care of business so you can take care of living well!
Remove negative items from your credit report
Over time, it’s possible for minor blemishes like a late payment or collection account to drag down your credit score. To fix that and ensure you have solid standing when you’re ready to buy your first home, pay off any lingering debts and dispute any negative items on your credit report by speaking with a representative at each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Start with Equifax, which is one of three major credit reporting agencies—the others are Experian and TransUnion—and disputing items online is easy. Once you register for an account, log in and select dispute an item from the navigation bar.
On your dashboard, choose add a new item to dispute. Then fill out all of your personal information (name and address will be auto-filled if pulled from your address). Under section I have specific information about why I believe the item should be removed, write why you don’t think what’s listed is accurate. Click continue to review your submission and click again to send it in. An investigation into whether or not information is inaccurate takes 30 days; after that period, Equifax will notify you if they agree there was an error so you can take action accordingly, according to their website. You’ll receive your free annual credit report once per year from each bureau; however, there are other ways to monitor your scores frequently for free if desired.