Over 30 million Americans have less than perfect credit report ratings. There are a lot of consumers out there looking to increase their credit scores. You can tell this simply by observing how many advertisements there are out there for quick and easy credit repair. These companies are hoping that you are looking for a quick fix to your problems.
But there is no quick way to change your credit report. If it is accurate, then you can't remove the negative. No company can repair your credit rating simply by you paying them.
The rules are the same for everyone. You simply have to understand what makes up your credit rating.
Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that shows your credit worthiness. If you have a low score, you are at high risk for defaulting on a loan. If you have a high score, chances are you won't default. Your lenders, landlords, insurance companies and others use your credit score to determine whether or not to do business with you.
You should start by looking at your credit report. Many people have much better credit than they assume. You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – once a year. You can go to annualcreditreport.com for more information.
Contrary to popular belief, each credit reporting agency does not have the same information about you. You must look at all three reports. Each agency gets information from different lenders and different lenders report to different agencies. There are often mistakes that show up one one report, but not the other two. You need to look at all three to make sure they are accurate.
Once you have your credit reports, make sure all the information is accurate. If something is wrong, you need to take the time to correct the information. Once everything is correct, you can start improving your rating.
The number one thing that will improve your credit score is paying all your bills on time. This accounts for up to 35% of your credit score. Your recent payment history can have more effect on your score than your past history. This means that if you pay all your payments on time, you can improve your score in as little as a year. This is the easiest way to get a higher credit score.
It goes both ways. If you miss a couple of payments, your score will go down. Even those with perfect records can see their score drastically drop if they miss a few payments. Many credit card companies will use what is on your report to raise your interest rate. So you don't have to miss a payment to them, just to anyone who reports to the credit reporting agencies. You have to make your payments on time.
The second thing you can do is to start reducing the debt you have. The less debt, the better your score. For those of you who use credit cards for the rewards, but pay off the balance each month, you could still be hurting your credit report. The card company may be reporting your outstanding balance before you bill is paid. This shows you have debt, even though you don't. This will lower your score. So if you use your card, you should stop for a few months before you apply for a loan.
You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time and reducing your credit card debt. That's all that will work. It won't cost you anything. Just get to work and over time, you will see your credit score increase.