Credit Repair Guide

People with a history of paying back what they borrow and with very high credit and FICO scores (numbers that indicate how likely someone is to repay borrowed money) are easily given the chance to borrow more money when needed, whether it's for a house, a car, etc. Meanwhile, if you have a history that is marked with a lot of debt or repayment issues, this can keep you from getting financial assistance. 

Bad credit can make it difficult for you to take out an advance during an emergency, to get a vehicle or home loan, to get a credit card, or even to lease an apartment. So if your credit is less than stellar, it is crucial that you learn where to get your credit report so that you can review it and start taking steps to fix your credit score. 

Where can I get my credit report?

You can get free credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These are the 3 credit reporting bureaus, and they each allow you to receive one free credit report per year. You can ask for all three at one time. You can also ask for them at different times during the year. The best part is, you get your credit reports online. 

The credit report can be explained as an extensive rundown of all credit-related data and then some. The credit authorities review numerous elements such as your payment installment history, account types, recent inquiries into your credit, and more in order to give you a 3-digit credit score.

This score essentially tells any companies you intend to borrow/lease from in the future how "likely" you are to repay what you borrow.

Another element to look out for on your credit report is the balance-to-rate ratio or credit utilization rate, because it will also be considered by any potential lenders. If possible, you should try to keep this number to below 30 percent. To calculate your current rate, add your total revolving debt and then simply divide it by the total amount of your credit limits.

Now that you know about credit reports, take a look at tips for improving your credit in the sections below. 

1. Review Your Credit to Report Credit Fraud

The reason why you want to get your credit report is to see what accounts you have open and to make sure that all the information is accurate.

For example, if you see that there is an account on your report that you never opened and it is damaging your score and making you look unreliable, one effective credit repair method is to report credit fraud (if applicable) to the credit bureau and potentially fix any negative effects this had on your score. 

2. Pay Your Bills on Time

You can do various things to keep your FICO score and your credit report in good standing. One step that can help you improve your credit over time is to always pay your bills on schedule.

One late payment can leave a bad scar on your credit report, and it'll be what lenders pay attention to more so than the payments you made on time in most cases. So be sure to set up reminders on your phone, on post-it notes, etc. to make sure you always remember to pay your bills ASAP. 

3. Pay Off Accounts in Full

Any time that you can pay off an account in full, you will be able to boost your credit score. An easy way to do this is to start with smaller accounts that you can pay off fast. Don't have any accounts that you can pay off for quite some time? That's OK. 

One thing you can do is take out a secured credit card. This credit card functions like a debit card because it only has as much money as you decide to attach to it from the get-go. By opening this account and keeping up with the bills every month (paying everything you owe), you can show lenders your reliable borrowing history. 

4. Hire Credit Repair Companies

Oftentimes, credit repair doesn't happen overnight. The above steps take some time to implement and see results. But there are credit repair services available from different companies online. These credit repair companies can help you to improve your score through the following measures: 

  • By reviewing your credit report and working with the credit bureaus to remove any potential errors that are damaging your score. 
  • By settling debts with lenders for less than the full amount that you owe, in some cases. 
  • By working with past lenders to take away negative notes on your credit history.