There was a time when the credit repair industry was focused exclusively on sending dispute letters to the credit bureaus. Those days are over. There is no question that intelligent and well structured dispute letters are very effective in cleaning up erroneous derogatory information, and it is a thrill to see these bad accounts removed or corrected. But, as important as credit bureau disputes are, unless you put equal emphasis on building new positive credit you are missing the vast majority of benefit that is available from the credit repair process.
Money in Your Pocket
It is no exaggeration to say that well over fifty percent of the benefit of a smart credit repair program will come from careful building and management of positive credit. Why would you ever settle for a one hundred point increase in your score if you could get a two hundred point increase? The right approach to credit repair can easily mean a difference between loan approval and denial, or the difference between a low interest rate and one that will strain your budget. Over the last few years credit markets have shifted almost entirely credit score based pricing. Your credit score translates directly into dollars and cents, your dollars and cents.
Getting Secured Credit Cards
If hard times have left you with no open accounts you should get back on your feet with two new secured credit cards. Secured cards are the perfect credit repair tool. They will require a small savings deposit, usually two or three hundred dollars. This money is used as collateral to secure the limit on the card and will be returned to you when you close the account. Because these cards are collateralized you will not be denied unless you have previous unresolved issues with the card issuer. They are easy and cheap, and for credit repair purposes, they are every bit as good as a larger unsecured card.
Consider Authorized User Accounts
If you are interested in giving your credit repair program a little extra boost there is another credit building strategy you may consider. If you have a family member with excellent credit that would like to help your endeavor you can ask them to add you to one of their credit card accounts as an authorized user. Once they do this the account should appear on your credit report within sixty days and your credit score will inherit the full benefit of the account as if it were your own. On a cautionary note, you should not consider purchasing authorized user accounts as the software used to calculate your score has a way of blocking these brokered accounts.
If you were choosing between secured cards and authorized user accounts, secured cards are the best long term credit repair option for the simple reason that they belong to you. Authorized user accounts come with notable risks. If your card donor runs his balance up your score will tumble due to no fault of yours. And if for any reason the account goes bad you are likely to have trouble removing yourself, as card issuers usually will refuse to make any changes to the account until it is healthy again. But, if you have the ability to include both secured cards and trusted authorized user accounts in your credit repair program, by all means do it.
Picking the Right Type of Credit
When it comes to credit repair you should build credit with mainstream credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa. There are certain forms of credit that can harm your credit more than helping it. The credit scoring software that calculates your score has a built-in bias against consumer debt including store cards and furniture store loans. So do not assume that because you have a store card that you have the credit profile that you need. This type of credit can be convenient and may have certain benefits, but while you are in a credit repair program it should be avoided. Stick with the basics.
Managing for Credit Repair Results
Once you have your credit cards open it is crucial that you manage them properly. This is where you credit repair effort can really shine. The credit scoring model places great weight on the balances that you keep on your credit cards and the newer the card the more important the balance becomes. For the best score benefit use less than twenty percent of the total credit line on the card. If you let your balances run up to the limit your scores will fall, as much as one hundred points depending on the overall content of your credit report, so spend carefully. If you have this problem, do not worry. Just pay those cards down and your score will pop right back up. Good luck!
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