Having a great credit score is an integral part to securing the top of the line credit cards that we often feature on PursuingPoints.com. We realize that not everyone has the best credit, but fear not, we’re here to help! In todays post we’re going to look at 8 ways to build and/or rebuild your credit. Whether you’re just starting out, recovering from past financial mistakes, or well on your way to obtaining the Sapphire Preferred, there will be something here to suit you!
1. Get a secured credit card
If you’re just starting out signing up for a secured credit card can be a great jumping off point. Unlike traditional cards, secured credit cards require the borrower to put up the money equal to their desired credit limit. Meaning that if you give the bank $200, they’ll then extend you $200 in credit. This is valuable because the bank will report your activity to the credit reporting agencies. So long as you make your payments on time, and in full, this is a great way to get started. Popular secured cards include the Capital One Secured MasterCard, Discover it Secured, and the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit card.
2. Report your rental payments
Services such as Rental Kharma and RentTrack offer paid services wherein your rent payments are reported to credit agencies. If you’re making your rent payments on time and in full, these services can be a great way to further boost your score.
3. Apply for a credit builder loan
If your bank offers such a product, you can try applying for a credit builder loan in order to boost your credit. With these loans the money borrowed is secured in the member’s savings account while regular payments are made. In general, id recommend starting with a secured credit card, but if thats not an option for some reason then a loan like this can help.
4. Check your credit report for errors
If you’re a bit more established and you’ve got a credit score you should be sure to check it for any errors or remarks such as “affected by natural disaster“. Try checking your score on a site like CreditKarma.com and if you see something that looks out of place, call the credit bureau associated with the report. You don’t want incorrect information holding you back.
5. Pay all bills on time every month
Whether you get a secured credit card, a regular credit card, or a credit builder loan, one thing will remain constant. If you’re not paying your bills on time every month then you’re not going to see the positive effects on your credit score that you’re looking for. A large portion of your credit score is calculated based on whether or not you pay on time, so its imperative to maintain a clean payment history.
6. Keep your utilization low
Credit utilization is another big piece of your credit score. It is the percentage of credit used relative to all credit available. This means that if you’ve got $1,000 in available credit and you’ve got $500 in outstanding bills, you’re utilizing 50%. The general rule of thumb is to keep this number below 10%. Of course, one way to decrease the number is to maintain your outstanding balance but sign-up for another credit card to increase your total available credit.
7. Keep oldest card(s) open
Credit age is an important factor when calculating your credit score. As you begin your journey, you’re going to want to get a card that you can keep for many years into the future. In the case of some secured credit cards, they’ll grow into regular cards over time. If you’re able to sign-up for a “regular” card right off the bat, be sure not to cancel it once you’re at a comfortable credit score level.
8. Find a co-signer
If you’re able to get a co-signer then chances are you can skip over the secured credit card part altogether. In the event that you’ve got a co-signer, you should be able to get a no fee card through a traditional bank with which to build your credit. Remember, don’t cancel this card as its going to have the biggest effect on the age of your report!
Have questions about how to implement any of what we covered? Be sure to contact us and we’ll do our best to help out where we can!