Take Action Today to Repair Bad Credit

More than one quarter of all Americans are now categorized as having “bad credit.” So if you are one of those 43 million consumers whose credit score has fallen below 599, you’re certainly not alone.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action to raise your score.

As you know, negative information stays on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. Unless it’s a mistake, there’s nothing you can do to remove it, so you may feel that you just have to live with those low scores and let time run out.

But that’s not altogether true. You can begin raising your scores sooner by using the “dilution effect.”

Every time your credit report shows positive information, it dilutes the effect of the negative information. As long as no new negatives appear, over time the positive reports will begin to over shadow the negatives, and your score will continue rising.

Picture your “blackened” credit report as a cup of strong black coffee. Every time you add a drop of cream in the form of positive information, it becomes lighter and lighter.

If you managed to stay current with one or more accounts in spite of your difficulties, or if you were able to catch up and have been current for several months following some late payments, that’s a good thing. Keep making those payments on time each and every month.

But what if all your accounts went into default or collections?

The only way to dilute the negatives is to open a new account and begin making on-time payments. That’s not an easy thing to do when your credit scores are under 600 – unless you choose a secured credit card.

Secured credit cards require you to deposit the funds to secure your account, so you are in effect financing your own credit. You become your own bank.

That sounds a little bit silly, until you consider that secured credit card accounts are reported to the 3 major credit bureaus. Every time you make an on-time payment, you will be re-establishing yourself as a responsible consumer and your credit scores will rise.

But be careful…

Remember that part of your credit score consists of how much of your available credit you actually use. To get the most benefit, use only 10% of your credit line, but always stay below 30%. Charging to “the max” each month will be a detriment to your scores, even if you pay the bill in full each month.

Why? Because the card will report your credit line and your current balance at the time your statement goes out. If you have a $200 credit line and charge $195 each month, your credit report will continually show a balance of $195.

Once you’ve raised your scores to a level that allows you to qualify for a standard credit card, go ahead and get one. But keep your secured card for a while so that your credit report will show two accounts in good standing.

Remember that just because you have credit available doesn’t mean you need to use it. Your goal in having these cards is to rebuild your credit score, not to overspend.

Even if you get the secured card and don’t use it at all, it will report as open and in good standing, which is a positive on your credit report. So if you don’t trust yourself not to over-spend or to make payments on time, deposit the minimum $200 to get a secured card, then stick it in a drawer or freeze it in a block of ice so you aren’t tempted to use it.

Check your credit report and scores today. If your scores are too low, first go over all the entries to make sure there are no mistakes. If you find mistakes, follow the instructions to correct them.

Then choose a secured credit card and get to work on rebuilding your credit.

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by CreditScoreQuick.com as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.