Stuck with bad credit and wondering how to fix it fast? There is no doubt credit is a useful financial tool, but like a double-edged sword, it can cause a lot of grief if not properly managed. If you don’t know how to improve credit score quickly, you might get crushed under a mountain of spiraling debt.
Lucky for you, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your credit score – that is if you’re committed to being disciplined and building better credit habits. Let’s get right to it!
Know Where You Stand
If you’re in bad debt, know you’re not alone. Over 70% of Canadian families are in some form of debt. But first, you need to admit that you need help by first reviewing your credit reports. The consumer credit industry is driven by the information found in your credit report.
The good news is you have two free reports from TransUnion and Equifax. Both agencies collect data about your financial habits from creditors and third-party agencies, as well as public records. Because each agency operates independently of the other, it is crucial to review each report to check for errors and outdated information.
Understand the Basics
It is one thing to know the info on your credit report and another thing to understand how that information affects your credit score. Remember that what a bad credit score is for you might not be the same for others.
However, if you aren’t satisfied with what you see on your credit report, you should understand the credit scoring system. Once you understand the basics of the scoring system, you’ll be a step closer to fixing your bad score.
Correct the Errors
Now you know how the scoring system works, you are now able to detect errors and stale information on your credit report. Don’t take any detail on your report for granted. Minor mistakes like a misreported balance can have a devastating effect on your score.
It is possible to dispute the information in your credit report yourself, but you could also decide to consult a professional, especially where the errors or mistakes are worth thousands of dollars.
Pay off Balances
Because your credit score is affected by your overall debt as well as the leftover credit available to you, one quick-fix you can apply to improve your credit score is to pay off existing debt. This solution is really effective if you have high credit utilization.
Consult Your Creditors
One big mistake many Canadians make is defeatedly accepting their debt and its inevitable consequences. But this shouldn’t be the case as most creditors are willing to sit with you and work out a payment plan.
It is in their best interest to help you avoid delinquency, and the earlier you consult your creditors, the higher your chances of securing a better payment plan.
Increase Your Credit Limit
If credit utilization is anchored on your leftover credit and current balance, then it is possible to improve your credit by increasing your credit limit. And you can do this before you pay off your balance.
Please note that asking for a credit limit can also put a dent on your score because credit card companies typically use a hard check to assess your credit risk before accepting to increase your limits.
Consolidate Your Debt
In many situations, what gives you bad credit isn’t your spending but the interest rates. And this gets worse where the consumer can only pay the minimum monthly payments.
The minimum only goes towards the interest without touching the balance. But if you merge your debt under a single payment plan, you can end up paying less in interest rates. The essence of debt consolidation is to receive a lesser interest rate than you’re currently paying for your debt.
Automate Your Payments
Sometimes, it’s not the inability to make the payment that affects your credit score but your inability to make your payments on time. Automating your payments frees you from worry and helps you meet payments deadlines.
If you build your reputation as a punctual consumer, your poor payment history won’t hurt your credit score as much.
Be an Authorized User
Canadians with a bad credit score can give their score a little oomph when they become authorized users. An authorized user is a person who has access to another person’s line of credit.
For example, Parent A can make her son an authorized user on her credit card account so he could make purchases while looking for a new job. Just like increasing your credit limits, this process is based on the utilization rate.
The credit in the account will increase your credit utilization without adding more debt. And if the main account holder uses credit responsibly, the effect is bound to rub off on you and thereby improve your credit score.
Make Multiple Payments
Most people wouldn’t be reading this if they could make more than one payment each month, but if you can, then you can expect your credit score to be on the rise sooner rather than later.
Use Old Cards
Debtors who have passed through fire and brimstone to offset bad credit are usually inclined to destroy their old credit cards, or worse, abstain from credit for good. It is a bad idea to do both.
You need credit in almost every aspect of your life’s journey. From buying a car to securing your mortgage for your first home, credit makes your dreams come true.
You also need old credit because that’s the type of credit that gives creditors confidence. As a matter of fact, 15% of a Canadian credit score is determined by how long you’ve been using credit.
The longer the length, the better for you in the eyes of your creditors. The main reason for you to use old cards is to keep your old credit accounts open.
Most issuers close credit accounts that have not been in use for more than a year. If you’d like to secure a mortgage someday, it is in your best interest to keep your old credit cards safe and in use.