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3 Ways To Improve Your Credit Report and Credit Score

If your credit score isn't very high--and your credit report has a few black marks--making some improvements can mean a big difference in loan approvals and credit card interest rates. Fortunately, it's easier than you think to improve your credit history. Just follow these three simple steps:

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Step 1. Get a free copy of your credit report

It's hard to improve your credit report and credit score unless you actually know all the information that's being reported about you! So obtain a free copy of your report by either contacting the three major credit reporting bureaus or searching for an instant copy online. The online version is the easiest and fastest because you simply fill out the form with your name, address and similar information, then click the "submit" button to get your results immediately. Just remember to print them so you have a hard copy of your report.

Step 2. Look for red flags

Phrases such as "non-paying," "charged off," or "default" are red flag signs that could be bringing down your credit score. Other negative notations include "past due," "unpaid," "delinquency," and "collections." All of these items indicate that you either haven't been making payments on time, or you haven't been making payments at all. Words like "repossession," "bankruptcy," or "foreclosure" are even worse, because they tell the creditor that you've allowed your delinquency to go for so long that someone had to take action.

Step 3. Take action!

If the black marks on your credit report are erroneous, contact both the creditor and the credit reporting agency to have the mistake fixed. If you actually have an account that's past due or delinquent, your best bet is to start making payments immediately--and keep making them every month. If you have a bankruptcy filing or foreclosure on your report, now's the time to start rebuilding your credit history by obtaining some secured credit and making regular, on time payments.

You can improve your credit report and credit score if you're willing to take the time to make changes. Errors and mistakes are typically relatively fast fixes--expect to have them removed from your report in 60 days or so. Legitimate negative items, however, will take a little longer to repair.


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