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Improving your score

POSTED IN ADVICE ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2021

Use these steps to repair your credit.

A low credit score can keep you from reaching your goals in life. Scores below 560 may prevent you from becoming a homeowner, purchasing a car, getting a job or renting an apartment or house. If your credit report contains specific things that are keeping your score low, you’ll need to take care of them before you can start to rebuild your score.

Start by getting your free credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You can download all three at annualcreditreport.com. Review your personal information, loan accounts, balances, payment histories and credit inquiries. If you find any errors or fraud, contact the reporting company to dispute it. If the error appears on multiple reports, you’ll need to dispute it with each bureau separately.

Stay away from new loans if you’re trying to repair your credit. A new inquiry, often called a hard pull of your credit, could have a negative impact. When paying off accounts, start with the newest. Older accounts in good standing can help show that you’re creditworthy in the long term. Pay down high credit card balances, but don’t close the loan. Increasing your available credit can help to improve your score.

Continue making on-time payments so nothing new gets added to your credit report. If you do get behind, try to work out a payment plan before your debt is turned over to a third-party collector. If your debt does get turned over to a third party, see if you can negotiate a settlement and have it removed from your report.

Services that offer to repair your credit don’t make negative accounts disappear. They simply follow these strategies to improve your credit over time, which you can do yourself for free. Use a free credit monitoring tool to keep track of your progress. Your credit union or bank may offer one, but ensure that it does a soft pull of your credit, which won’t affect your score. That's how Veridian's Credit Central works, which lets you track your score for free in online banking and our mobile app.

For more advice about your individual financial situation, fill out the form below.

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