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Rebuilding Your Credit

How to Improve your Credit Score

Most negative information on your credit report remains for 7 years. While there is no legitimate way to erase that information any sooner, there are some things that you can do to help improve your credit score in the meantime:

  • Pay bills on time. Late payments hurt your score more than anything, except not paying at all, or bankruptcy.
  • Pay more than the minimum due each month.
  • Keep credit card balances low.
  • Apply for new credit accounts only as needed.
  • If you have a negative payment history with your existing credit accounts, open a new credit account and pay responsibly.
  • Consolidate inquiries. Every time you apply for a credit card or loan the creditor or financial institution requests to see a copy of your credit report. Each such request is considered an "inquiry". Too many inquiries can hurt your credit score. Since credit bureaus do distinguish between a search for a single loan versus a search for multiple new credit lines, you should try to consolidate inquiries within a 14-day period if you are shopping around for a loan.
  • Inspect your credit report and correct any errors. One study found that 29% of credit reports had serious errors. For information on how to obtain your credit reports, click here.