Poor credit can raise your borrowing costs or eliminate your ability to borrow altogether, and it can even disqualify you from employment opportunities. If you have poor credit, take heart in knowing you can improve your credit score. Here’s how to start the process:

Understand Your Problem
Why is your credit score low? Do you make low payments or carry too much debt compared to your overall credit limit? These are two of the more common reasons consumers are denied credit, but you can increase your score now. Start by making it your mission to pay every bill on time. A recent history of on-time payments will help improve your score. If you carry too much debt, stop spending and start paying some of it down. Creditors want to see responsible customers.

Change Your History
Creditors also want to see a history of good credit habits, so your mission to improve your credit score will take some time. If you have little or no previous credit, you’ll also need to demonstrate at least a small history of good financial habits. You might start with a secured credit card.

Limit Inquiries
Credit card companies and other lenders may look at your credit without your intent to borrow. Don’t worry about these affecting your scores, but don’t add to your debt, either. Applying frequently for new cards or loans can also hurt your score.

Reading Your Credit Report
Your credit report affects everything from getting a charge card to getting a job, so it pays to know how to request and understand it.

Your Rights
Normally you have a right to see a free credit report once every 12 months – more often if you are refused credit during this time. But, due to the pandemic, the three credit reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – are allowing Americans to access their credit reports for free once per week until April 21, 2021. Get it online at https://www.annualcreditreport.com. You’ll need to provide personal information, including your date of birth and Social Security number, to receive the report.

What’s There
Once you receive the report, you’ll want to check for the accuracy of your personal information, credit accounts (including mortgages, loans and card balances), status (either negative or positive) and inquiries. It may also include any bankruptcies and liens. Make sure every account belongs to you and that the information for every account on each report is accurate.

If you find an error, the credit bureau and creditor that reported the error must correct it. Each credit reporting agency posts the steps you need to correct any mistake, but they usually start with putting your complaint and the specifics in writing.

You can get the answers you need, and more, in one place you already know.

Available exclusively for members like you and located at Crane Credit Union, the Crane Investment Services Program offers retirement planning and investment services, along with the advice and information you need to make well informed decisions regarding your financial future.

Whether you’re looking for help with just one specific financial issue today or a reliable source to create a life-long financial plan that addresses all your needs, Crane Investment Services can help you.

Get started on your financial plan. Call 800-692-3274 for your no cost no obligation appointment today.

Crane Investment Services advisors are registered representatives of CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. Representatives are registered, securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, which is not an affiliate of the credit union. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CUNA Broker Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty States of the United States of America.