Steps for Rebuilding Credit
Know Your Starting Point
Obtain a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus so that you have a clear understanding of what is says about you and your current credit scores.
Develop A Plan
If there are errors on your credit report, have the credit bureaus investigate and correct them. Set goals and time frames for future major credit endeavors.
Bankruptcy Today – Homeowner Tomorrow
If you recently filed bankruptcy or if you don’t have any open credit, it is necessary to have new positive items being reported on your credit report. Try to obtain several new accounts or sources such a secured credit card, department store cards or being put on someone else’s account as an authorized user. The lower your starting credit scores, the more your need to have positive items reporting.
For secured cards remember the following:
- Never carry over balances as the interest rates are very high.
- Purchase one thing on credit that you would normally pay cash for – say for $20.00 and as soon as the bill arrives write the check and pay the bill. If paid in full during the 25 day grace period no interest is charged. Follow this practice consistently and NEVER miss a payment.
Keep Older Accounts Open
If you already have credit open, keep the accounts you have had for the longest period of time. Even if there were late payments on it in the past, pay it on time now and the length of time it has been open will help your credit.
Make Your Payments On Time
Pay Down Your Credit Card Balances
Target to have the total amount of outstanding revolving debt at 40%, or less, of the total available credit limits.
Once new positive sources are created, avoid all unnecessary inquiries – don’t fill out any additional applications for credit.
For home purchase or refinance, old collections/judgments/unpaid taxes/ unpaid child support/ must be dealt with. Look at the date of the item, compare to statute of limitations for that item, and plan a strategy to address each.