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The Best Ways to Fix Your Credit

Last updated on December 14th, 2020

If you want to fix your credit, you need to know where you stand.  There are several reasons why you may be dealing with bad credit. You might have missed numerous credit card payments. Maybe you recently filed for bankruptcy.

You may have applied for a lot of credit cards, resulting in multiple hard inquiries. Or perhaps your credit profile is in its infancy and you’re still building your score.

Whatever the case may be, building or trying to repair your credit is not an impossible task – as long as you’re equipped with the right tools. Below are some of the best strategies you can employ to confidently set you on your way towards a good credit score and a robust credit report.

Know What Your Credit Score Is By Getting Your Free Credit Report

Understanding where your credit score stands is one of the first steps you should take. This will help you build your strategy towards a higher score.

Services like CheckFreeScore.com not only provide you with a free copy of your FICO credit score; they also give you a fresh credit report from the three major credit bureau: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Plus, they offer monitoring so you can stay informed whenever new activity takes place on your credit.

Your credit report will provide insight into all your credit accounts, including any collection accounts, from collection agencies, open revolving accounts, and other details. Closed accounts and late payments continue to feature on your credit report for seven years.

Checking all items on your credit report for each of the credit bureaus allows you to dispute errors and begin fixing your credit score.

Improve Your Credit Score with a New Credit Card

Having less-than-perfect credit limits your options when applying for new types of credit, like a new credit card, but there are a number of offers that are specifically for people on the rebuilding path. As long as you practice responsible spending and always pay back your balance on time (at least the minimum amount, though the full statement balance is preferable), you should see positive outcomes like a higher credit score, higher spending limits, and a wider pool of card offers that you may be eligible for.

Prequalify for an Unsecured Credit Card

Applying for a new credit card often comes with a hard inquiry on your credit report, which will slightly lower your score. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you’ll get approved, and that hard inquiry will stay on your report for two years. However, you can take pre-emptive measures and pre-qualify for a credit card so you can know ahead of time whether you’re likely to get approved or not.

The Milestone® Gold Mastercard® is a great option that gives you a pre-qualification decision almost instantly – with no impact to your credit score. Plus, applying takes just a few minutes. Once you’re approved, your responsible card use is reported to the three major bureaus, so you can increase your chances of raising your score.

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

No Credit Score Impact When You Apply

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.9%
  • Annual Fee $35 to $99
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Fraud liability
  • Price protection
  • Reports to major credit bureaus
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.9%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $0 during the first year; after first year, either $5 or 5% of the amount of transaction
  • Penalty APR: 29.9%
  • Annual Fee: $35 to $99
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: Up to $40
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The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is another recommended pre-qualification choice. Like the Milestone, this issuer reports your card’s use for a potential boost to your credit score. Because it’s a Mastercard, it’s accepted at thousands of merchants around the world (more than 200 countries, to be exact). And, as an added incentive, you can choose your card’s design once you’re approved.

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Choose Your Own Card Design

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.9%
  • Annual Fee $0 to $99 depending on the card issued
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Great for demonstrating responsible use of credit
  • Short and easy-to-complete pre-qualification form
  • 24/7 mobile account access
  • Choose your card design free of charge
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.9%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $0 during the first year; after first year, either $5 or 5% of the amount of transaction
  • Penalty APR: 29.9%
  • Annual Fee: $0 to $99 depending on the card issued
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: Up to $40
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Consider a Secured Credit Card

An alternative to an unsecured credit card, a secured card usually has higher approval odds. The main difference is that you supply your own credit limit via a security deposit. Our pick is the OpenSky® Secured Visa®.

One of its biggest advantages is that it requires no minimum credit, so you’re bound to see an approval, even if you have no credit history at all. The amount of money you put down as your security deposit serves as your credit line. And, like any good card should, it reports your activities to the top bureaus, helping you fix your credit.

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

No Credit Check to Apply

OpenSky® Secured Visa®
  • Regular Purchase APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $35
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Build credit with on-time payments
  • Reports to the three leading credit bureaus
  • Credit limist between $200 and $3,000
  • Visa benefits and protections
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $6 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
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Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report

If you’re aiming to build credit, you also need to protect it. Credit fraud and identity theft are dangers for both novice and veteran borrowers. Luckily, the big three credit reporting bureaus do more than compile your credit report. They also provide monitoring and protection tools of their own.

TransUnion, for instance, offers Instant Alerts whenever a lender requests your report. This grants you a clear layer of visibility so you can stay on top of your report’s progress – especially in spotting activity that wasn’t made by you.

Bottom Line on How to Fix Your Credit

Fixing your credit takes time, but there are ways to make the journey easier. Opening a new card account so you can prove your budgeting and repayment skills is a wise move, and being armed with credit reporting and monitoring tools regularly keeps you in the know about the health of your credit. As long as you stay consistent, make payments on time, don’t spend more than you can afford, and remain vigilant of your finances, you’ll be on your way to achieving a successful credit overhaul.

Related Article: How to Fix Your Bad Credit to Buy a House

About: Allan
Allan Guzman Chinchilla

Allan is the Managing Editor at BestCards.com. In addition to leading a robust team of writers in the pursuit of thorough credit cards expertise, he is an avid fan of films, food, traveling, and Star Wars.