The basics of building a strong credit score are fairly straightforward: obtain and use credit, pay your bills in full and on time, etc. How to actually meet those goals – or to recover from missteps – can be quite a bit more complicated, however. If your credit score is on the weak side, here are some tips to help give it a boost.
- Look into a secured credit card
If you have no or poor credit and can’t obtain a regular credit card, a secured credit card may be a useful tool for improving your score. Look for a card with no annual fee and be sure to use it responsibly.
- Become an authorized user
If you’re having trouble getting approved for a credit card of your own, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account can be a smart move. This can help strengthen your credit score is often most effective for those with short credit histories.
- Consider automatic bill pay
If remembering to pay your bills on time is a challenge, automatic bill pay can save your credit score from the damage of late or missed payments. Set up automatic billing through the companies that bill you or through your bank’s own bill pay service. Just be sure to keep a sufficient balance in the account you’ll be paying from.
- Ask creditors for proof of debt
If you have debt that’s in collections, you may be able to get it removed from your credit report if your creditors are unable to properly provide proof of debt. Read up on your rights in these situations, and push back when you can.
- Get out of student loan default
If you have student loans that are in default, the U.S. Department of Education offers ways to get out of default, such as loan consolidation. Removing defaulted loans in this way can provide a dramatic improvement to your credit profile.
- Have tax liens removed
Tax liens can do serious damage to your credit profile, so getting them removed is an important priority. If you’re subject to a lien, look into the available ways to get paid and unpaid liens deleted.
Building up your credits score take times, but if you follow these tips and other best practices, you should reach your goal sooner.