Self Help Credit Repair: 8 Tips to Get You Back on Track

By: Tom Kline

Many Americans run into financial problems that wreck their credit scores and make it hard to secure loans for new cars, homes, and other important investments. But given enough time and fiscal restraint, you'll be able to rebuild your credit and get the new car or home of your dreams. To get you started, here are 8 self help credit repair tips:

1. Pay your bills on time.Make timely payments on credit cards and installment loans. This is an important self help credit repair tip because a solid payment history will help improve your FICO credit score. If you can't make a payment, contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor.

2. Take out low credit score loans when buying cars.Why are low credit score loans important? In general, having installment loans or credit cards (and paying them off) will boost your FICO credit score. That's because you've proven you can handle credit. Establishing a good payment history on low credit score loans opens the door for better financing.

3. Don't transfer balances. Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit. Pay off debt rather than transferring balances.

4. Build credit with a co-signer. Get help from someone with good credit. Then create a debt and immediately pay it off in full. Repeat until you no longer need the co-signer. Just remember, the co-signer's credit suffers if you default.

5. Rate shop for loans in a focused timeframe.A FICO credit score distinguishes between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines. So if you're shopping around for the best car loan, do it quickly and do it all at one time.

6. Check your credit report. Many people mistakenly believe requesting their credit report negatively impacts their FICO credit score. Order your credit report directly from the credit reporting agency or through an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers. The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

7. Re-establish credit with a secured card. Avoid high-interest credit cards, and get a secured card instead. You set a predetermined sum from your bank account, which becomes your credit line.

8. Stay on track for 7 years. Recent financial information is factored into credit scores more heavily than old data. Most negative financial information-such as late payments-are removed from your credit report after 7 years. (Note: bankruptcy information remains for 10 years.)

Rebuild your credit today.Raise your FICO credit score by paying bills on-time, every time. In addition, financing a new car purchase is a great way to re-establish credit.

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