Debt, for many Canadians, is an everyday issue. But it isn’t only debt that can be problematic - even when you get rid of your debt! If debt has caused your credit score to plummet it might be time to think about getting it back in shape. There are a number of ways that you can work on rebuilding credit, but we thought we’d provide you with some of the best ways to do so.
Here are some good strategies for rebuilding credit:
o Keep balances low on all credit products. When you pay off a credit card, or pay it down significantly, keep it that way. However, if you can’t pay off a big chunk at least try to keep the balance low. The typical rule of thumb is no more than 65% of your total available credit. This shows that, although you have access to the credit, you are not relying on it, demonstrating that you are not necessarily living outside of your means.
o Avoid applying for too much credit. When you apply for any type of credit product, this gets reported to your credit report, and when you continually apply for credit this negatively impacts your overall credit. This is because it looks as though you are a credit seeker – someone who can’t afford to live without credit, but also has a hard time qualifying for it. Try to limit the number of applications you submit, including those done by current creditors (ie. credit limit increases).
o More than minimum payments. Minimum payments are mostly interest, so in an attempt to rebuild credit try to make more than the minimums, even if it is only a little more than what is required. This has the added benefit of helping you pay off the total balance faster.
o Keep an eye on your credit report – but don’t go overboard. It is always smart to know what is going on with your credit report, so checking it periodically is a good idea. With that said, checking it every other week is largely unnecessary, and even though your own inquiries are reported to your credit report as ‘soft’ inquiries, they are still reported, and any activity can have an impact on your score. Resist the temptation to check on too regular a basis – perhaps limit it to quarter-annually.
o Get a secured credit card. With a secured card you, as the cardholder, make a deposit onto the card and this becomes your limit. At the same time, you are required to make regular payments to the card (to pay off your ‘balance’), but if you default the money comes from that initial deposit. Keeping up the regular payments helps to rebuild credit as it shows positive credit activity.
Rebuilding credit can take time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t just assume that because your debt load has decreased, your score has increased significantly. Use these strategies to bring that score back up.
For more about methods for rebuilding credit please contact DebtCare Canada today at 1 (888) 890-0888 or visit us online at www.debtcare.ca