That’s right. It’s doable. What seems like a rainy cloud that will loom over head for eternity is actually beatable. Boosting your credit score can be done, and it can be done quicker than you think.
It could be anything that got you there. Loss of a job, tax debt, student loans, medical bills. According to Experian’s 2015 VantageScore reports, 30% of all Americans have poor to bad credit. And this isn’t including those American who have no credit at all.
The truth is, if you have bad credit, you are not alone. But that doesn’t mean we should sit back and do nothing about it. The solution is easier that you might expect.
It’s important to know your credit score.
Consequences of bad credit
To financial lenders, having bad credit means that you are not trustworthy. Poor credit history – or no credit history – shows a lender you are not capable of paying back money you borrow.
If you want to buy a car, lease an apartment, open a credit card, borrow money for holiday spending, all these scenarios involve creditors looking at your credit history and judging your credit worthiness on this. This is often unfair as they don’t take into account your personal situation.
You find yourself in a loop. No one wants to give you a chance to get build a credit history because you have bad credit, so you remain with bad credit.
But don’t worry, we’re going to fix this issue.
A familiar story with an unfamiliar ending
You’re ready to apply for a line of credit, say a credit card for example. You go to the bank and they run your credit only to find out that it is below their approved credit score for credit card approval.
Maybe the conversation went something like, “You have lost your job, you have no credit history and have a unsettled debt in a few different places. We cannot extend a line of credit to you at this time.”
So maybe you move on to the next bank and receive the same feedback. What do you do?
Step one – Stop applying for credit.
If you have an educated and friendly banker, the first thing they would tell you is, “Stop applying for credit.”
Why? Every time a lender runs your credit it is a hard credit check. This means it can negatively affects your credit score.
The second thing they would tell you is simple; get yourself a Secured Credit Card
Step two – Getting yourself a secured credit card.
is the recommended move by many financial advisors. The logic behind a secured credit card is wonderful.
When you apply and get approved for a card, the credit card company will ask for a cash deposit up front. Think of this like a deposit when you rent an apartment. But unlike an apartment, a secured credit card has a flexible deposit amount.
The deposit amount will most likely reflect the line of credit they offer you. If you put down $250 deposit, the lender will allow you to spend $250 with the secured card.
The lender will use this deposit as collateral against your risk. So if you do not pay your credit card balance, they will just take your deposit. Sounds risky! But it doesn’t have to be..
When you use your secured card and pay it off, the credit card company will report this activity to the credit bureau’s as a positive transactional history. Over time, you will gain more positive points than you had negative points. And voila! You’re improving your credit score!
Secured credit cards are free to apply to. But they will have annual fees and relatively high APR. It’s important to do your research and find the right secured card for you.
We suggest applying to more than one secured card as that will give you the best options.
Step three – Maximize your secured credit card.
Having and a secured card is already a step in the right direction. Maximize your benefits by using it wisely.
THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is always pay your secured credit card on time.
This is a no brainer. If you are late on payments, this counts negatively towards your credit report.
Another huge tip to pay attention to is how much credit you actually put on the card.
Do not max out the credit card. If you have a $1,000 credit line, don’t use 100% of it. Don’t use 90%. Don’t even use 500% of the card. Why keep the credit usage low? And how low?
Credit lenders factor in your responsibility with credit. Use it sparingly. Put 10-20% of your credit line. This way you are always sure you can pay it and the credit lenders are more likely to raise your credit line.
Follow these steps and you will be able to turn your bad credit history around.
- Spend what you have: After you receive my secured card and start spending, make sure you only spend money you have before the next pay period.
- Pay your balance off monthly: You can even pay off your secured credit card four times a month to ensure you never carry a balance from one month to the next.
- Know your limits: Always keep your credit usage below 20% if you can. Most secured credit card companies offer online portals and mobile apps you can keep tabs on your spending.
- Make purchases: Make steady and small purchases over the lifetime of the card.
- Stay consistent: Building your credit is a marathon. Don’t be upset if you don’t see immediate results. But after 5 to 6 months you will be shocked by how your credit has improved.
Congrats, you have good credit! Now what?
Earning a good credit score allows you to do the unthinkable. You can purchase a car with a loan at an affordable APR. you can qualify for rewards or cash back credit cards at thens of thousands of dollar credit limits. And even qualify to purchase a home. Even a 40 point difference in your credit score can save you thousands of dollars.
Improving your credit score is not a dream anymore. You can do it today by applying for a secured credit card.