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Take Charge of Your Credit Score
The bad news is that you've come out of the recession with shaky credit but the good news is that poor credit is only temporary. Many Americans have suffered a serious financial setback in recent years. Remember that you're not alone and it's not as embarrassing as you might think. But, it's time now to own your credit score and take charge of your financial health. Several steps can get you on the road to improving that fledging score into something that is much larger and more powerful in the eyes of lenders.
- Take a look at the damage. Obtain a copy of your credit report from all three agencies. More often than not you'll find reporting inaccuracies. Here's your chance to instantly improve your credit score. Dispute any inaccuracies with the respective lender. Often credit card companies are unable to provide proof of the negative occurrences and will be required to reverse the entry with the reporting agencies. Continue to periodically review your credit history to identify inaccuracies and monitor your progress.
- If you still have any open credit cards look for those with unfavorable characteristics such as being over the credit limit. By bringing balances within the credit limit or preferably lower you'll see an improvement to your credit score. Ideally a credit balance is maintained at 30% of the available credit or lower to get the praises of credit card companies.
- If you can't afford the minimum monthly payments on your existing credit cards many companies are willing to talk to you about creating a payment plan. This will not improve your credit score but will help stop the bleeding.
- If you don't currently have any credit cards open in your name look for those that are designed for people in your situation. Secured credit cards that report to all three agencies are going to be your best option to directly improving your current credit score. Of course, that's only if you spend responsibly and make monthly payments on time every month with no inconsistencies. When choosing a credit card make sure you're mindful of the fees associated with the application process and any annual charges. Often you'll have to live with fees associated with these types of credit cards but make sure to identify the costs ahead of time.
- Utilize your new credit card each month but do so in a responsible manner. You'll get the biggest credit score boast by regularly using your credit card while keeping the spending down and paying off the balance each month when possible. You don't have to buy frivolous goods with your credit cards - use them to pay every day expenses such as cell phone bills or grocery purchases.
Taking charge of your credit score, after a rough patch, is a great way to get yourself and your credit history back on the road to financial strength. Consider opening a new credit card to prove to lenders that you can be a responsible consumer if given the chance.
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