Man reviews his credit score at his desk

How do I fix my credit score?

The problem with credit ratings is that in order to improve your score you need to use credit – and if your credit is really bad you will struggle to even get any credit. So what do you do if some unfortunate circumstance (or just a lack of self-control) has left your credit score at rock bottom?

Well don’t worry, we can fix that, it might take some time though…

Debts must be top priority

The first thing you need to do is get rid of any collection accounts you might have, that’s any debt that has been sent to debt collectors. These items will stay on your record for around 6-7 years from the most recent activity, so until you pay them off in full they won’t start to ‘age’. If you are in this situation these debts must be your top priority.

Get on Experian (the most popular credit reference agency) and get unlimited access to your credit report and score. You should check what your credit status is right now so that you have some idea of what credit you might be able to get hold of.

You should also start checking regularly to see if any incorrect info is added, to see if Experian have any suggestions to improve your rating and to make sure that your score is actually increasing as a result of your efforts.

You current credit facilities

If you currently have any credit accounts you need to get them under control. Start by trying pay off any structured debt (loans, car finance, etc.) Closing these accounts successfully will give your credit a boost and make your finances easier to handle.

Other ongoing debt can stay open. Credit cards in particular are helpful for credit repair, although if you have more than a couple try to close some accounts ASAP. 1 or 2 credit cards is sufficient to improve your credit.

Above all else, cut your number of credit facilities down to a manageable number and from now on keep on top of your debts and get them paid on time, every time. Leaving standing balances on your credit cards is not useful either, so pay them in full and don’t let your balances add up.

Getting new credit

If you don’t currently have access to any credit then you need to try to get hold of some. Check your credit score and be realistic about what you might get accepted for. Don’t apply for products you won’t get because that will just leave more footprints on your file.

The easiest things to get approved for will be things like; mobile phone contract, credit on purchases such as electronics or furniture, store cards or fuel cards…

The ideal is to get a credit card, so start by looking into credit cards for people with bad credit. If your credit is so bad that you won’t get one of these then you will have to look into the easier options above.

Just start with one or two credit products and if you keep everything in line for 3 or 4 months you should be able to secure a credit card. From there your credit will steadily rise and within maybe a year or so you might have a reasonable credit rating.

Fixing bad credit takes time, but if you are disciplined and patient you will get there.

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