Easy Steps to Help Yourself

At Emerald Credit Solutions, we think everyone deserves good credit.

We also know that the last year has been financially challenging for many people. Even people who once had great credit may be dealing with the challenges of having negative items on their credit reports.

Even if you cannot afford one of our plans, we want to help you get the credit score you need.

That is why we put together this list of things you can do to help improve your credit score.

Catch up on your bills. Missed payments can really ding your credit score. Catch up if you are behind on any bills. If you cannot afford to pay your bills in full, contact the billing agency or creditor to see if you can arrange a smaller payment plan until you are paid in full.

Prioritize bills and pay them on time. Payment history is the single biggest factor in your credit report. These bills include things like utilities and rent. Make sure you are paying your must-pay bills on time. If that means you do not have enough money to pay other bills, consider credit counseling to help you lower your other payments.

Check your credit. A surprising number of people do not know their credit score. You can get a free copy of each of your three credit reports every year. We suggest getting a different one every four months, so that you have free yearly monitoring. Look for errors. The majority of credit reports have them.

Report and correct errors on your credit report. If you notice errors on the credit report, contact the credit reporting bureau. If the creditor cannot substantiate the reason for the negative item, the bureau will remove it from your report.

Build your credit. No credit is not as bad as bad credit, but you do need a credit history. Start with a small credit card. If you do not qualify for an unsecured credit card, look into secured credit card options. Once you have established a credit history, see if your bank will change it to an unsecured card.

Keep your credit utilization small. Your credit score does not look at how much credit you use, but at what percentage of your available credit you use. Try to keep your credit utilization to under 30%.

Limit opening new accounts. Opening new accounts increases your available credit, but it includes credit inquiries. Opening a number of new accounts at the same time can lower your credit score. When you do need to open a new account or get a loan, try to plan all of your inquiries in a short period of time. Those are often treated as a single inquiry.

Do not close old accounts. The length of time you have had an account impacts your credit. We discourage people from closing their old accounts. However, if you have had a problem abusing credit in the past, closing those accounts may be a better long-term strategy.

Consider a freeze. If you are dealing with identity theft, consider freezing your credit. While this prevents you from using your credit, it can give you time to resolve issues from identity theft without further damage to your credit score.

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