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Report Guarded: Fixing your credit report is first and foremost for financial future

When you hear the word “credit score,” you immediately have one of two reactions: pure positivity or sheer terror. Whichever runs through your body ultimately reflects exactly where you are financially.

If you’re in the former group and you have no problem seeing that three digit number, that means your credit score is pristine or, at the very least, fashionably favorable and an indicator of how you save money or deal with your debt.

Sadly, the majority of people aren’t interested in seeing the score they would like. And, the score they see is holding them back financially for goals such as buying a better home, securing a loan for a vehicle or just paying bills comfortably without worrying one paycheck to the next.

So how exactly do you go about fixing your credit score and subsequent report?
Chances are, you can make progress toward raising that score, but don’t expect a quick fix. Credit is something that needs repaired over time, but the good news is that fixing some of the minor issues on your credit report isn’t nearly as hard as you.

In the grand scheme of things, the easiest way to help your cause is to simply pay your bills on time. Anything listed as a late payment takes bits and pieces (and eventually chunks) out of your credit score. You can call your bank or credit card company and tell them that you’re sorry and promise to never do it again, and they’ll sometimes take off that late fee, but that doesn’t guarantee your credit score also will be repaired immediately.

You also want to take a look at each of your credit cards individually and pay off the ones you can with the highest interest rates. But, don’t go into full blown cancellation mode just yet. You want to keep your oldest credit cards open; creditors like to see some longevity with not only having credit but paying it off consistently over time.

On the flip side, don’t open a bevy of credit cards just to get a discount, even when enticed by department store incentives for a one time discount. Opening a slew of credit cards impacts your credit report by enhancing your credit exposure, but some consumers think they can beat the system by opening such accounts and cancelling the cards after benefiting from the incentives. Opening and closing card accounts is a sure way to limit improvements to your credit score.

A low credit score is never insurmountable given a little time. It merely takes some discipline to establish healthy debt and spending habits.

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