Ways to Improve a Bad Credit Score

by Shelley Frost, Demand Media
    Review credit use and your credit report.

    Review credit use and your credit report.

    Tying the knot also means tying your financial health together, "for richer, for poorer." If one or both of you has a poor track record with debt, the resulting bad credit score can hold you back from your financial goals. While a quick-fix for poor credit scores isn't available, consistent smart spending habits and credit management can boost your credit score to a more appealing range. Improved credit scores get you back on track financially for your happily ever after.

    Step 1

    Obtain your credit report to evaluate its accuracy (see Resources). Errors in your credit report could cause a lower credit score. Dispute any inaccuracies to get the necessary corrections made.

    Step 2

    Contact the credit reporting agency if some of your credit accounts do not show on your report, particularly if you were told you had an insufficient credit file. Certain credit cards aren't routinely added to your credit report, including local stores, gas cards and credit unions. You might be able to have those lines of credit added to your report to show a credit history.

    Step 3

    Write out a workable budget that covers all expenses, both fixed expenses and variable expenses, such as dinners out or car repairs. Use the budget to control your spending to avoid excessive credit card charges.

    Step 4

    Pay down your existing debt. Put any extra money toward the debt to pay it off faster.

    Step 5

    Pay all of your bills on time, especially you debts. Late payments might be reported to the credit bureaus and hurt your credit score.

    Step 6

    Limit charges on credit cards if you continue using them. Using a high percentage of the available balance on a credit card can hurt your credit score.

    Step 7

    Avoid applying for new lines of credit, such as loans or new credit cards, unless they are necessary. The inquiry into your credit report can lower your credit score.

    Tip

    • If you decide to close some of your credit card accounts, keep the oldest cards open so you have a longer credit history.

    Warning

    • Never use a service that claims it can erase negative data from your credit report. Accurate, negative information cannot be erased from your credit report by these companies. You lose money and your credit report will still reflect the negative information, leaving you back where you started.

    About the Author

    Shelley Frost started writing professionally in 2007. She specializes in parenting and education topics. Frost gained her experience in various positions in the education field, including classroom teaching and tutoring. She holds a BA in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images