When it comes to your credit score, slip-ups happen and are sometimes out of your control. Debt collections, bankruptcies, or overdue bills can hurt your credit in the short term, but not all is lost.
Once you check your credit report and see where you’re at, it’s never too late to repair your credit score and start fresh. There are steps you can take to rebuild your credit history and show lenders and credit card companies that you can use your credit responsibly.
Here’s where you start your new credit journey:
- Trying Brigit’s Credit Builder*, which is an easy, stress-free way to rebuild your credit and save money. It’s simple — we’ll help you apply for a 24-month loan and keep the funds in a locked deposit account in your name. This starts building your credit history and improves your credit mix. Since your payment history, which looks at whether you have paid your bills on time, is the largest part of calculating your credit score, Brigit’s Credit Builder targets the most important piece of your credit score and helps demonstrate a positive payment history when you make on-time payments. All you have to do is become a Brigit member and set aside as little as $1 a month.
- Check your credit report and dispute any errors on your report. Your credit report is a summary of your activity on credit accounts, including your payment history, types of accounts, and other information reported to credit agencies by lenders. You can check for common errors and then dispute any mistakes that you find.
- Pay your bills on time: that works wonders for your credit score. Your payment history, which looks at whether you’ve paid your past bills on time, is the largest factor in calculating your credit score. If a bill is overdue by more than 30 days, this negatively impacts your score. That’s why Credit Builder by Brigit builds a positive payment history for you — so you can sit back and let us build your credit score.
- Keep most of your credit limit available to rebuild your credit. The second most important factor in your credit score is your “credit utilization,” or what percentage of your total available credit you use. It’s best to use under 30 percent of your available credit, so if you have a credit card with a $100 monthly limit, try to charge less than $30 on it per month. Keeping your credit utilization rate as low as possible will help raise your credit score.
- Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, which means that you can piggyback on someone else’s credit and use it to build your own credit history. Choosing the right person for this, like a trusted family member or friend, is very important. Since their credit history will show up on your credit report, choose someone who uses their credit card responsibly — someone who makes their payments on time and doesn’t have a lot of credit card debt. Communicate with the primary cardholder about how you’ll use their card and pay them back so that you can both avoid credit card debt and hurting your credit scores.
- Get a secured credit card. Most credit card companies won’t issue a card to anyone with a credit score below 600, but secured credit cards don’t require a minimum score. Secured cards work exactly like regular credit cards, except that you have to put down a deposit of around $200 upfront in order to open one. If you pay all of your bills, the security deposit will be refunded once you close the account. Your credit limit on the card will usually be equal to the security deposit — so if you deposit $200, your credit limit will be $200.Making sure you practice good credit habits on the card, like paying your bills on time and using less than one-third of your available credit, is important to make sure that the card helps your credit score instead of hurting it.
*Impact to score may vary. Some users’ scores may not improve. Results will depend on many factors, including on-time payment history, the status of non-Brigit accounts, and financial history. Results show that customers with a starting credit score of 600 or below were more likely to see positive score change results. A Brigit subscription is required.
Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.