Five Ways to Rebuild Credit With Credit Cards

If you want to rebuild credit, you can do so with the right credit cards. After applying for a card, you can develop habits that will help increase your score. Once you have a better rating, you'll find more financial opportunities. Here are five ways to rebuild credit and improve your future.

1. Check your score.

You may have a general idea of whether or not you have good credit, but do you know exactly where you stand? Most lenders and banks use a number, known as a credit score, to help them decide whether or not to approve card applications. If you're not sure what your score is, find out now. And if the number does not seem right to you, look to see if there are any errors in your credit report.

2. Apply for the right card.

A portion of your credit rating is based on how many accounts you have open, so applying for a credit card can be a step toward raising your score. As you look for a card, think about what type of credit you currently have. Then find an option that fits your needs. Once you get approved for it, you're ready to take the next step.

3. Make small purchases.

When the credit card arrives in your mailbox, take a planned approach toward using it. You might consider using it to buy a very small item, in the range of $15 to $30. After making the purchase, set aside the money you'll need to pay it off. Then, when the bill arrives, you'll be ready to pay the full balance.

Repeat this process a few times, or until you feel comfortable using the card and paying off the balance right away. In doing so, you'll build solid credit habits. You'll also start to see your credit score rise after a steady flow of on-time payments.

4. Build slowly.

Once you're able to make small, regular purchases, you can start thinking about moving on. You could try a bigger purchase, but before you do, think about how you will pay it back. Then make the purchase, and keep paying your bills on time.

If you're able to, pay more than the minimum amount due each month. Better yet, try to keep the balance on your account at zero by paying the full amount on the bill every time. If you have trouble remembering when the payment is due, set up a reminder system. Mark the date on your calendar or sign up to have email reminders sent to you a few days before the due date. All of these habits will help build your score over time.

5. Keep it under control.

As you increase the activity on your credit card, remember to keep your spending in check. Find out what the limit is on the card, and don't spend more than 30 percent of it. Let's say your limit is $10,000. You'll want to keep the total amount of your purchases under $3,000. By doing this, lenders will see that you use your credit wisely and don't get carried away. In time, your score will rise. When that happens, you'll be able to apply for more types of credit cards.


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