The first step on the road to recovery can be difficult. But with the right information at the right time, you can recover from a bad credit card experience. In this important article, we will take a look at five actionable steps you can take to build your credit and bring you to the next level.
Review your credit statements
The most important step to recovery is to know where your current credit stands. If you are running behind on your monthly payments, keep in mind that a creditor normally only reports a late payment when it is 30 days past due. That being said, late payments leave a bad mark on your credit report for seven years so you'll want to avoid this as much as possible. If you are more than 30 days late on your payment, you will need to review and save your current statements to keep track of what amounts are due.
Create a customized plan
Once you've reviewed your current state, write out your credit balance, interest rate, and contact information for the creditor. Review your monthly expenses like rent, mortgage, auto and student loans and prioritize the most important bills and cut extraneous costs. Calculate how much you have left to pay towards your balances. Save any budgets, unemployment checks, employment offers, or job search activity. Summarize your current situation and create a detailed solution. For example, "Based on my current financial state, I can pay $95 each month."
Check your credit report
If you have made payments on time in the past, but have experienced a setback of late, you can provide creditors with a copy of your credit report. Check your credit report for free each year online from each of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. On the other hand, if you struggled to make payments in the past, keep your reports — but only for your records.
Make the call
Pick up the phone and call the creditor. Before you begin to explain, ask to confirm if the representative has the ability to change any terms of your credit line. If they do not, ask to speak with a manager. Maintain composure and be polite. Creditors are more willing to work with you if you are calm and collected. Explain your situation and customized plan. Provide documented proof of your current budget, credit reports, and any current attempts to increase your income. Once you complete your call, ensure that all documentation is provided.
Open a secured credit card
Open a secured credit card. This card requires a small deposit, but with on time payments you can rebuild past credit mistakes. Ask your local banker what deposit amount you can expect back and any additional fees.
Repairing your credit takes time so be patient. Monitor your credit score online to track your progress. Most of all, remember that taking action today will help you reach your long-term financial goals.