Growing up I never really understood the importance of credit and maintaining a good credit score until I started college. When it became time to get a car, apply for apartments, and other things I had absolutely no credit under my belt. That is until I went on a Spring Break trip my freshman year. I got a credit card and maxed it out, I was horrified. I’m writing this blog for all credit illiterate people like I once was, tips on how to repair your credit! I had to fall on my face a few more times and discipline myself before I finally got the hint. Here are a few DIY Credit Repair Tips to save your credit.
1. Know your score
First things first, you need to be aware of your credit score often! There are three different credit bureaus that manage and display your credit history for creditors: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You can access your credit score from each bureau, free of charge once a year. Request a copy and review your score for anything that you maybe able to dispute.
2. Build Credit
A great way to build your credit is to apply for a small credit card with a low limit. Make a few purchases and make your payments on time. My suggestion is to go to a retailer or a credit union and apply for a credit card. If you’re getting something from the store and already have the cash, use your card and then make your payment on your card right after your purchase so there is activity on your card. For Example, if you’re at VS and buy an outfit for $60, use your card for the purchase and while you’re still there use your $60 in cash for the payment.
3. Keep Score from Dropping
To maintain a good score and to even increase your score, make your payments on time! I will even go as far as to suggest you pay on your “Report Date”. This is the date that creditors report to the bureaus and will reflect your score. You can always call your creditors and obtain this information, sometime it is as early as week before your due date.
4. Dispute Errors
As I advised earlier, get a copy of your credit history, after that you should highlight each account that seems to be an error. There may be paid balances still on your accounts as unpaid or maybe things that do not even belong to you. Go to that specific bureaus website and dispute it online. Even if it is as small as a company pulling your score without your permission, dispute it because every point counts.
5. Add Missing Accounts
At times it may not hurt to add accounts such as your telephone bill or utility bill. If you’ve had this in your name for a consistent amount of time and you make your payments on time, it is a good look to add them. The catch is, you are asking a favor of these companies to do that, so they get lazy and may not report that you even make the payments on time, so this tip is important but may or may not be vital.
6. Do Not Cancel or Destroy Credit Cards
This is something I often hear from adults, to cancel or destroy your credit cards when you no longer need them. Every open line of credit is beneficial, closing or canceling the account may do you more harm than you think. Keep the Credit Cards open, even if you don’t use them the fact that they are open and can be open for years is beneficial.
I am not a Credit expert, I am still trying to rebuild my credit as a college student. It is a hard task but the earlier you start the better you’ll be off in the end. There are so many adults being denied on purchasing homes for their family from their poor choices when they were younger. Please educate yourselves more since this is not taught in school or college normally. Share these tips with your family as well, it’s never too late to be proactive to have good credit!