No one is immune to money troubles - most of us have been in a tight financial spot at least once in our lives. Whether it's because of unemployment, illness, divorce or other family issues, or gotten in over your head due to student loans, medical bills or other expenses, your credit score may have suffered. But good news - no matter how far your score has fallen, there is always a way to raise it.
Some of the most preferable options are to get a secured credit card, become an authorized user on another account or simply get a prepaid card. While the last way won't lead you to the credit improvement directly (prepaid cards help you form a habit of managing your finances wisely), the first two can become your first step towards good credit.
Despite the fact that you are drowning in debt and thinking that you are completely and utterly ruined your credit score, there still is a credit card you can apply. In fact there are several options to rebuild bad credit. They are:
These cards give you a line of credit on the condition that you put down a deposit to act as collateral. That protects the lender in case you default. The deposit is usually equal to the line of credit you will be granted. Most secured cards report to credit bureaus, so your regular payments and good use of the card will help your credit score go up. Just make sure the secured card you choose reports to credit bureaus - and beware of high fees. Choose a card that charges reasonable fees.
Think of it like getting someone to cosign a loan for you. If you have a family member who is willing to apply for a credit card and add you as an authorized user, your careful and responsible use of that card can help your credit score. This is known as "piggybacking", and it's a legitimate way that many people give their credit a lift when they get stuck with a low credit score.
Constantly shopping on line you probably thought about getting a credit line from your favorite or one of the popular retailers, like Walmart, Fingerhut, Gettington or some others. Rebuilding credit with shopping credit cards is as real as ground under your feet. Wise and responsible credit use always works when it comes to credit repair. So applying for a shopping credit card to rebuild credit can be a good choice.
Although these cards do not help your credit get better, they are a good option if you cannot get another type of credit card due to damaged credit. They offer the convenience of a credit card but are available to anyone - no credit check is needed. Use a prepaid card while you get back on your feet financially for those situations where you really need to pay for purchases with a card.
Small purchases, on-time payments, responsible use
Rebuilding credit takes patience and diligence. The key is to find the card that works for you and use it carefully and responsibly. That means doing a few things over several months or years, depending on how damaged your credit is. Make small purchases and pay off your balance on time to be more creditworthy.
Making small purchases means not spending more than you can easily pay off each month. If you get a secured card or get a card as an authorized user - you do need to use the card to make purchases to fix your credit history. Avoid the temptation to make purchases you cannot afford to pay off.
Always make payments on time - this is very important when you are repairing credit. It is a good idea to set up automatic payments so you never miss a due date. Depending on the card you use, you can also often set up text and email alerts so you know when a payment is due.
Using your card responsibly means staying under the credit limit and abiding by the credit card agreement. In time your credit score will bounce back and reflect your responsible use of credit. Credit card issuers will see that you are a good risk and that you are very likely to pay your debt.
Once you raise credit score, you will be eligible for lower rates, more rewards, and different credit cards. But you do have options to repair your credit, so take advantage of the one for you now.