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Take Charge

Want to boost your credit rating? Keep in mind that improving your credit is just like shedding those extra pounds: It requires time and patience. The best approach to restoring your credit is to manage it responsibly over time.

Here are useful steps you can take, but be patient if your score needs real improvement:

  • Check your credit report.
    Some studies suggest that as many as 80% of credit reports contain errors, so it’s smart to check your report for accuracy. While many credit report problems result from simple mistakes, others could be a sign of identity theft.
  • Pay your bills on time.
    Staying current with your payments will go a long way toward getting your credit in shape - and keeping it that way.
  • Keep balances low.
    Even if you pay off your balance every month, try to use less than 50% of your available credit on any one card.
  • Pay off credit cards.
    Paying down your revolving credit - rather than just moving it around from card to card — is one of the best ways to improve your credit.
  • Use credit responsibly.
    People who manage their credit responsibly tend to have better credit profiles than people who avoid credit altogether.

Fix it!

Responding to errors and other problems quickly can protect your good credit:

  • Step 1: Contact the credit reporting agency (CRA) about the problem.
    The credit bureau must investigate the problem and respond to your complaint within 30 days.
  • Step 2: If you’re applying for a loan, notify the prospective lender immediately.
    Tell the lender that you found an error and you are working to resolve it.
  • Step 3: Ask the CRA to send out a corrected report to potential creditors.
    Once the problem has been resolved, you can ask the credit bureau to send out your corrected report to anyone who has requested it in the previous 6 months.
  • Step 4: Write a statement if you can’t resolve the dispute.
    If you disagree with the credit bureau’s findings, you can write a 100-word explanation that must be included with your report free of charge.