Repairing your credit – getting rid of the negative credit report information and caught up on past due bills – will raise your credit score some. To raise your score to a level high enough to get loan approval and better interest rates, you’ll have to rebuild your bad credit – prove that you can handle credit responsibly. Getting started might be difficult, but once you begin to build momentum, you’ll be coasting your way to a good credit score.
Get New Credit
If bad credit has left you without any credit cards to use, the first step is getting one. If you’re credit score is low, you’ll have a hard time getting approval from a major bank. Fortunately, you still have some options.
- Department Store or Gas Credit Card
- Secured Credit Card
- Your Local Bank Branch
- Find Credit Cards for Bad Credit Scores
Be careful when you apply for new credit. Make sure you don’t put in too many credit applications. It will affect your credit score, making it harder to get approved for new credit.
Watch out for bad credit cards that prey on people with bad credit. These credit cards often have high interest rates and extremely high fees that make credit unaffordable. A lot of people find themselves right back in debt with damaged credit after trying to rebuild with one of these types of credit cards targeting people with bad credit.
You should also avoid prepaid credit cards. While you can get a prepaid credit card regardless of your credit history, they don't report to credit bureaus so using one won't help your credit.
Build New Credit Habits
As the saying goes, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” To build new credit, you must replace your credit-damaging spending habits with some new ones. Otherwise, you’ll end up back where you’ve worked so hard to get away from.
Gone are the days of charging things you can’t afford, making minimum-only payments, and skipping credit card payments. Improving your credit score means staying well below your credit limit and paying your credit card bills on time.
- Dos and Don’ts of Using Credit Wisely
- Charging Only What You Can Afford
- 5 Ways to Build a Good Credit History
Remember, what you used to do with credit cards led to bad credit. Get some better habits and watch your credit improve.
Replace Bad Credit With Good Credit
If practice really does make you perfect, the next step is to put your good credit habits into practice. Your bad credit won’t improve until you show your creditors that you have what it takes to build a good score. That means charging only what you can afford and paying your bill on time each month. During this rebuilding period, don’t take on too many credit cards as it can get hard to manage your balances and payments.