April 20th, 2012

How Do I Improve My Poor Credit?

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In this new video series, Bethy and Ezra will answer some of the most frequently asked questions in the Credit Advice Center. Today’s video was prompted by one of the most popular questions (with more than 200 responses!), “I have really poor credit, how can I begin to fix it?

 

 

There are a lot of different reasons why you might have poor credit, so the first step is to narrow down the possibilities.

Pull your TransUnion credit report for free from Credit Karma and your other two reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Go through your report. If you see anything that looks wrong, dispute it! Errors in your credit report can negatively impact your credit score.

The most common errors are outdated personal info, mistaken or fraudulent accounts and incorrect account details.

We have a great article that tells you how to dispute errors on your credit report. Assuming everything in your report is correct, here are the big things you can address:

  • Keep your credit card balances to less than 30% of your total credit limits. Above that, and lenders get concerned you might not be able to pay it off, or that you’re relying too much on your credit cards.
  • If you’ve missed a payment recently, make sure that doesn’t happen again. That’ll cost you.
  • If you have a lot of new hard inquiries, stop applying for new credit. It makes lenders nervous.
  • If your score is low because you’ve never established credit, consider opening up a secured credit card to start building credit.

That should get you started, but also remember that improving your credit health can take a lot of time and patience. Stick to good credit habits, like the ones we mentioned, and you should see a gradual improvement.

Is there a question you’d like us to answer in a video? Head over to the Credit Advice Center and vote up your favorite question by clicking the “thumbs-up” icon. Stay tuned for more FAQ videos!

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Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

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