How I Fixed My Bad Credit
You may be wondering what gives me any right to tell you how to improve your credit score. To be honest, I created this website “MY shopping cart trick” to try and help out only with methods that I knew worked for me personally. After I graduated school in 2010, I didn’t pay too much attention to bills that weren’t too important to me…so they piled up. I’d be late 30 or 60 days regularly, and sometimes 90 days. Things got out of control, and I ended up having my credit score sink to an average of 374.
Not even my student loan was positive.
I started to look at what I could do to improve my credit, and it took me a few years, but I did manage to figure it out and get everything back on track. Now, looking back at my experiences, I have the gift of 20/20 hindsight. I’m just here to share what methods I know worked for me, and that I wish I had started earlier before my credit score got as bad as it did. However, the damage is done (and has been undone), so now I can share all my tips and tricks.
Follow the instructions in this guide and your credit score will go up by at least 100 points in about a month.
Step 1. Start Credit Tracking
The first step you’ve got to take is establishing where your credit is. This step can be a little scary – you may think your credit score is bad, but you don’t know exactly how much and would rather have over exaggerated than under exaggerated. I 100% understand that, but you need to know exactly where you stand so you can understand the severity of your situation and what steps you NEED to take.
There’s a difference between checking your credit score on something like Credit karma or getting a real three bureau report. Services like Credit Karma don’t pull your credit reports, they use public record data to give you an estimated score. These scores are not always accurate, and in-fact can be up to 150 points off of your actual score – who needs that? Plus the results from any changes you make are delayed.
You want to pull your real reports with real scores directly from bureaus. I recommend using Free Credit Click (they have a free trial period). Try and pick up a monthly service to keep track of your score.
Step 2. Establish Credit
Now, you need to pick two or three sources of credit – lock down a method you want to use to build up your credit and just stick to it. For a lucky few, just having a few credit sources will give your score the boost you need. My advice: lock down a few different no-credit check cards that will report each month – two or three is perfect.
Got a bad credit score? Don’t think you can get approved for a card?
Some credit/store cards are actually 100% guaranteed approval regardless of how low your credit score is. These cards have the drawback of not being fantastic as far as interest rates go, but you don’t need to keep them forever and you will be paying them off on time… right? These cards are pretty much made for people in bad credit situations who want to improve their credit score.
Here are my top recommendations for credit cards with 100% guaranteed approval:
Top Choice: Gold Horizon Card
– This is a fantastic card with a standard $500 limit that can sometimes be negotiated for more, and has an instant approval. It also doesn’t check your credit at all.
You can get it from their website: www.horizongoldcard.com.
Runner Up: Next Millenium
Good card with $1000 limit and no hard pull while checking your credit score. It’s good, but Gold Horizon is better.
Honorable Mention: Luxe Signature
A very solid card with a whopping $1500 limit, but such a high limit with a low credit score is borderline just…too tempting. Not for me.
Step 3. Eliminate Negative Marks
This is a pretty big reason as to why your credit score may be bad – negative marks on your report from unpaid bills or hard pulls from credit checks/applications.
You’re going to want to take these down using direct disputes, in which case credit agencies have to prove the debt on your credit report is yours, and they have 30 days to respond.
The trick here – it typically takes them longer than 30 days to verify the mark, and by that point they have to remove it by law. You’d be surprised how often records are just lost (by new interns or lazy workers).
There are some credit repair agencies that can also take on these tasks for you and help you get negatives removed from your account.
Step 4. Get A Better Card
By this step, after running through steps 1-3, you should have seen a greatly improved credit score. Negatives are gone, your score is higher, you’re making payments on time. Now, you can ditch the store cards I recommended and pick up a real credit card and keep up the good habits you’ve now developed.
My recommendation is the Total Visa Card, because they are willing to work with people whose credit scores aren’t excellent.
NOTE: Only apply for this card 30 days after building your credit score, as an application for this card results in a hard pull on your credit score.
Step 5. Live Your Life!
By this point, your credit score is like brand new. Time to reap the benefits.