When many people think about credit repair, they think about “ removing negative“ from their credit report. Unfortunately, they stop there. What those people are missing is that there is more to improving your credit score than just removing negative items.
A portion of your score consists of credit utilization, for instance. So while removing negative accounts is great, you’ll be even better off if you can start building positive payment history too.
While many people focus completely on the “historical”aspect of credit repair (i.e. fixing things that have already gone wrong), a much better approach is to not only try to fix things from the past but also work on the future by attempting to rebuild credit.
And how exactly is that done?
Let’s say that you have some late payments, collections, charge-offs, and other negative items on your credit reports. It’s great that you’re attempting to clean up your credit by tackling those things, but there is a lot more that you can do that will help your credit score.
You might do something like…
1. Get a $5,000 or $10,000 line of credit added to your credit report using a merchandise card that reports to at least one major credit bureau. This will raise your high credit limit substantially and may help open the door for pre-approved credit offers.
2. Get a couple more credit cards, such as a sub-prime (high fee) Visa or MasterCard or a secured credit card. Whether you use one type of card or both, make sure that they report to the credit bureaus (as they are useless for rebuilding credit if they do not.)
3. Make regular purchases using your Visa/Master cards and run up manageable balances. Pay them off over the course of 10 months or so, and then do it again. This way you will build positive payment history. Do the same thing with the merchandise card to add to the positive payment history you are building.
4. Be sure to NEVER miss a payment or be late. If you do, you’re working against your goal of rebuilding credit. You must pay on time every time, period.
5. Make sure you are “OPTED IN” to marketing offers based on your credit and relationships with your creditors. This will help insure that you start receiving pre-approved offers as quickly as possible.
6. If you have any existing credit cards that are maxed out or have very high balances, consider moving the balances around or paying off some of the balance so that the usage isn’t so high (though the merchandise card account should help with this).
7. After you have started receiving credit card offers in the mail, pick a good one and apply. You can also try starting with a department store card as sometimes these cards will be easier to get approved for.
The whole point of this process of “rebuilding” credit is to build up payment history and add new positive accounts to your credit report so that your credit will look better to lenders offering loans and credit cards with better terms. Most people will find that their credit score goes up as a result of their efforts, and in anywhere from 3 months to a year they will be getting all kinds of offers in the mail for better credit cards with lower fees and higher credit limits.