Credit Repair 101
If your credit score has taken some hits, there are several practical steps you can take to repair it. A strong credit score makes life easier - it can save you money on everything from interest rates to car insurance.
Review Your Credit Report
The FACT Act entitles you to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year through www.annualcreditreport.com. Review each credit report and ensure that there is no misreported information or evidence of fraudulent activity. Each credit bureau has a slightly different scoring and reporting system, so it’s important to check all three. You can also check your FICO credit score for free through Rogue's online banking or mobile app.
It’s estimated that one out of five credit reports has a material error – an error that would impact your credit score. Credit report errors are common and they’re often easy to fix. Contact the reporting credit bureau directly and dispute the error.
Know What Makes Up a Credit Score
There are five factors that determines a credit score. Understanding how these factors influence a credit score can help you understand how to boost your credit rating. The largest contributing factor to your credit score is paying your bills on time – if your bills are not paid on time, you will see your credit score take a significant hit. A large part of your score is influenced by amounts owed, or 'credit utilization', and is something to be aware of when working to raise your credit score. Aim to keep credit cards and lines of credit balances below 30% of the total credit limit.
Consider a Shared Secured Loan
If you have damaged credit, a shared secure loan is a great option to begin to rebuild and establish a positive payment history. A shared secured loan is a way for you to borrow against your savings. The loan is secured with your own money, and held in a separate account, then released when the loan is paid back in full.
Beware of Credit Repair Services
There are many legitimate resources, like Consumer Credit Counseling, available for folks who may need some extra help getting their credit and finances back on track. There are also many scammers out there so don’t fall for offers that promise a quick, overnight fix to repairing your credit.
Repairing credit takes persistence, smart borrowing and discipline. Commit to paying your obligations on time, paying down debt and monitoring your credit report. Over time, the hard work will pay off and the savings will be well worth it.
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