If you’ve recently applied for credit and been rejected, a poor credit score could be the cause. Did you make late loan payments, have an outstanding judgment against you, or been a victim of fraud or identity theft? Whatever the cause, you’re probably looking for ways to get back on track. Here’s some credit Dos and Don’ts to help improve your score.
Do: Determine your actual credit score
If your credit application has been denied, find out why. Each credit reporting agency—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—is required to provide a complimentary copy of your credit report annually, upon request through annualcreditreport.com. If you apply for credit and receive an “adverse action” notice, you’re entitled to copy of your credit report within 60 days.
Do: Review your report and dispute errors
Dispute all credit reporting errors in writing with the credit bureau and the creditor. Clearly identify each inaccurate item, include supporting documents, and ask that the erroneous information be corrected. In addition to submitting the dispute online, also send a signed copy by certified mail.
Don’t: Expect a “quick fix”
There are no “quick fixes” for damaged credit! Improving your score takes time, lots of hard work, and patience. First, make a simple budget to track expenses. Identify how much you can spend each month, don’t go over that amount. Routinely living “beyond your means” today will cause more hardship tomorrow. Also, remember that you don’t need a credit repair company to “fix” your credit. You can act on your own behalf and avoid paying them unnecessary fees.
Do: Take real steps toward repairing your credit
Take a careful look at which habits are generating the unfavorable score.
- Making late loan payments: Consider setting up automatic bill payments.
- Rethink your spending habits: Trim your expenses wherever possible and never shop on credit.
- Consider debt consolidation: For debt that has become unmanageable, combine your obligations into a new loan with a fixed payment.
- Put your cards on “ice”: Closing open credit lines can lower your score even further. Consider placing all your cards in a plastic cup of water and put them in the freezer. If you really need to use your card, you’ll have to wait until the ice melts to access your credit lines.
- Talk to your creditors: Contact creditors directly to work out a more reasonable payment plan.
- Contact your Credit Union: Our members can apply for any of our loan products to simplify their finances. We offer debt consolidation, secured credit options, and our exclusive Lend A Hand loan.