High credit scores are the key to lower interest rates and can almost guarantee you car loans, credit cards and homeownership. If you have damaged your credit and are looking to repair it, you want it to be done as quickly as possible. Although there is no way to tell exactly how long it will take to fix your credit score, there are steps you can take to ensure that it is done as quickly as possible.
Review Your Report
In order to fix your credit score, you first need to know where you are currently. Obtain your free credit report from all three major credit bureaus (see Resources) and pay attention to every detail. If you find any discrepancies, dispute them with the appropriate bureau and move on. Unless your dispute is considered frivolous, the credit reporting agency must investigate your dispute within 30 days. Any information that is inaccurate is corrected or removed, which may improve your credit score instantly. The recent activity on your report has the most influence on your score, so pay special attention to these areas. Also take note of what items are soon to be removed from your report, as this will affect the score as well. Bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years while the other negative items should be deleted after seven years.
Fix Negative Items
After you have disputed all of the items that you believe not to be yours, confirm the amount of debt that you know is yours. You will have to address any items that are in the negative category. Ideally it is best to pay off these amount in full, but if you are unable to do this, make arrangements with the creditor to make payments.
Pay Down High Debt
Other than simply paying your bills on time, there are other factors that affect your credit score. These include the amount of high debt that you have on your report and how many accounts you have open. Keep the amount of credit you are using on your credit cards to a minimum. High outstanding debt on other lines of revolving credit affect your score as well, so make sure to pay down whatever you can to avoid these negative effects.
Keep It Simple
Although having a good credit mixture has a positive effect on your score, opening accounts just for this reason may affect your credit score in the opposite way. If you already have a lot of open credit, pay off your balances instead of moving them around and closing them. When you have higher balances with fewer lines of credit, this lowers your score more than having more lines of credit with low balances. Also, do not take loans when you do not need to as this only adds to your debt and can come back to haunt you in the long run.
Review Credit Reports Frequently
It is vital that you review your credit report on a regular basis, whether quarterly or annually. When you review your report frequently it is easier to catch any mistakes or identity theft. It is a lot easier to find a receipt from a bill that you paid a few months ago rather than trying to locate proof of payment from a couple of years ago.
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