Many of us have made money mistakes. Additionally, some of us have had financial disasters to contend with. In any case, once the debts start to pile up, and payments are missed, the damage to your credit can be substantial. If you have tried to get a credit loan recently, and you have poor credit, you probably know that your credit report can result in being turned down for a loan. Even if you aren’t denied, you will have to pay a higher interest rate in order to offset the risk you represent to the lender. Even applying for insurance with poor credit can mean higher premiums.
If you want to be considered for the best terms when it comes to loans, and if you want the best insurance rates, you need to consider repairing your credit. If you are serious about rebuilding your financial reputation, here are some steps you can take to make improved credit a reality:
1. Modify Your Habits
If you have made money mistakes, you need to acknowledge them, and then work to change your financial habits. If your poor credit is the result of an unforeseen disaster, you need to change your money habits so that you are building up a good emergency fund to serve as a safety net. You might also need to change your mindset to help you get out of your current funk. Begin practicing the basics of personal finance: spending less than you earn; setting aside money for emergencies and for the future; and paying down debt.
2. Start Small
Your next move is to try to obtain some small amount of credit. In some cases, you might be able to get approval for a credit card with a small credit limit of $250 or $500. In other cases, you might have no choice but to get a secured credit card. You have to be careful to ensure that your secured credit card is a true credit card, and that the issuer reports your regular payments to the credit bureaus. Be wary of fees, high interest rates and other costs. You should try to establish your credit so that you can move on from secured cards as soon as possible.
3. Show Responsibility
In order to rebuild your credit, you need to show that you can handle your obligations. If you get a credit card, use it once or twice a month to make small purchases. Then, pay off the balance. Make all of your payments, from utilities to rent on time and in full. If you can make regular payments, on time, this is the single most important factor in whether or not you have good credit.
Paying down debt is also an important part of showing your high level of fiscal responsibility. If you still have debt, figure out a payment plan to reduce what you owe, and get back on track with your finances. As you pay down debt, and make on time payments, your credit will improve.
These days, whether it’s fair or not, your ability to handle credit is considered one of the most important characteristics to have. If your credit is poor, you need to do everything in your power to improve it.