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7 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score You Can Implement Now

It’s something you probably wish someone had explained to you earlier in life. Your credit score can make or break your financial flexibility. All it takes is a few money missteps. Suddenly, you have a credit score that has the bank looking at you as a liability.

It might be frustrating, but the good news is that a bottom-of-the-barrel credit score isn’t permanent. You can rebound. Reaching the golden 850 score takes time, but you can take steps now to start moving in the right direction. These seven strategies will help you recapture control of your finances.

1. Try a Secured Credit Card

Have you skipped a handful of due dates in the past? If so, you know how far (and how fast) your credit score can tumble. That makes it much harder to get a credit card. This may not sound like a big deal until you realize judicious card use is one of the key ways to raise your score. It’s a Catch-22.

With a low credit score, your card applications are more likely to be rejected, but don’t worry — you have another option. A secured credit card helps you improve your credit without requiring a bank to take a chance on you. After you make an initial deposit or transfer funds to the card, use it like you would regular plastic. Pay the bills on time, and your credit score will climb.

2. Keep Tabs on Due Dates

Whether it’s the 1st or the 15th, your bills come due on a cycle. Still, if you’re juggling work, school, or family responsibilities, a due date can fly under your radar. If you’re missing more deadlines than you’re remembering, it’s time for an automated fix.

Chances are you keep your calendar on your phone. Use it to schedule bill payment alerts that ping you a few days early. Paying your bills before the due dates will eliminate missed payments, and you’ll avoid late fees. It’s a win-win that boosts your credit score.

3. Avoid the Credit Pull

Did you know every time you submit a credit application, the company or bank checks your score? They want to pull your credit history before giving you the thumbs up (or down). Some of these, like a soft pull for a pre-approved credit card, don’t hurt your score. However, you’ll lose a few points with hard pulls, including applications for regular bank credit cards. For more information visit this site: superratmachine

The more credit inquiries you have, the more likely you are to get the side-eye from the bank. Applying for several credit cards within a short time can make you look financially desperate. And if a bank thinks you’re risky, application denials and a reduced credit score could be in your future. You can avoid the problem by being selective when applying for credit cards.

4. Apply for Store Credit

Making store credit cards part of that selective list may be a good idea. You don’t have to look hard for opportunities. Whether you’re in a specialty or home improvement store, a cashier will likely offer you an application at check-out. The forms are usually short, so give it a shot.

Getting approved for these cards is often easier than a typical bank credit card. They also usually have lower spending limits, so it will be harder to run up a super high balance. Keep in mind, though, that store cards usually have higher interest rates than bank cards. That means if you don’t pay the card off every month, you’ll pay more interest on your balance.

5. Find Other Ways to Showcase Your Credit History

Your credit history plays a big role in the strength of your credit score. If you’re younger and haven’t had much time to build a history of credit, the deck is stacked against you. Don’t stress. If you’ve been responsible, you can make even a short credit history work for you.

There are plenty of free and paid tools that help you track your financial activity and give it to the credit bureaus. UltraFICO uses your banking and online bill payment history to increase your score. RentTrack shares your rental payment history, and Experian Boost reports your utility payment history.

6. Become an Authorized User

It might be your credit score, but you may be able to get assistance rebuilding it. Ask a family member or good friend to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. If they agree, their length of credit and history of on-time payments can help give your credit score a boost.

Even if you don’t purchase anything with their card, you’ll still get the credit bump. Just by being an authorized user, you benefit from their credit score and payment history. Piggyback on their credit, and your score will start to heal.

7. Create a Debt Bundle

When you have too many bills, it may feel like a burden you’ll never overcome. Clearing your debt completely might seem like a pipe dream. You must be careful that you don’t let payments slip away from you. Bundling your debt together can make it easier to manage; more importantly it generally lowers your interest rate.

When you consolidate your debt into one lump, you’ll lose a few points off your credit score at first. However, it’s just temporary. If you only have one bill to pay, you will likely do a better job of making timely payments. Your credit score improves with these on-time payments, and you also pay down your debt.

Rebuilding your credit can be a long journey, so take the first step now. With these strategies, you’ll start to see your credit score inching upward. Soon your financial goals will be within reach.

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