– Request your credit report. In Canada this means contacting Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. In the US this means contacting Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Many people are unaware that a poor credit rating could be due to clerical errors. Typos and duplicate entries on a credit report are not uncommon. Once you have your reports, review them closely to ensure that there are no errors. If there are errors, dispute the charges with the reporting agency and you could be back to an acceptable credit rating sooner than you think.
If you have established that your credit report is accurate, and would like to improve it, the following should be your next steps:
– Pay all of your bills on time. If you can’t pay the bills on time, call the company(s) you will be late in paying and let them know when you will be paying. Some companies will note these calls in your customer file and it may prevent them from reporting a non-payment. This will not always work, but it’s worth a try.
– Don’t cut up your credit cards. Many think that if they don’t use credit for a while their score will be fixed and this is not the case. You must use credit to gain credit. Reduce the amount of available credit on each card and reduce the number of cards you carry. Don’t just cut up a card, but call to have the account closed. Call or write to your credit card companies and ask them to reduce your interest rate. Paying a yearly fee for a lower interest rate on a card on which you carry a balance may be well worth it in the end. Again, if at all possible, be sure to pay your bills on time.
– If you have no cards, try to obtain a secured loan, or a secured credit card to re-establish your credit. Asking a friend or family member to co-sign on a loan or credit card is another method, but beware, if you don’t pay this debt, you may lose a lot more than a good credit score, so this should be a last resort.
Fixing your credit score is not impossible, but it does take patience, persistence and commitment. Following these steps should help you to improve your credit rating.