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Can't Qualify for a Mortgage? Here's How to Fix Your Credit

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Here's How to Fix Your Credit

If you've been denied for a mortgage loan because of your credit, it's not the end of the world.  Millions of Americans have credit scores lower than they'd like, and typically anything under 620 can cause you to be denied for loans.

Granted, your credit score can't be fixed overnight, but there are some steps -- both short-term and long-term -- that you can take to improve your score.  If follow these guidelines, you can repair your credit over time and hopefully get approved the next time you meet with a lender!


1.  Check your credit report

You are allowed to check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) for free, once a year.  The easiest way to do that is to go to www.annualcreditreport.com

The bureaus won't provide your score for free (you have to pay them for that), but it is still important to see what information they have about your past credit transactions.  That way, if something is wrong, you can correct it.

After all, if you paid a bill on time -- but it was reported by a collection's agency as not paid -- you're going to want that false information removed.


2.  Make sure you have a credit card

There are two types of credit that are reported to the credit bureaus -- revolving and installment credit.

Installment credit is bills that you pay a certain amount towards each month -- like your car payments, mortgage payments, student loans, etc.

Revolving credit means credit cards. It's revolving because your balance due can change each month, depending on how much you charge to the card.

The bureaus like to see that you have both revolving and installment credit, and that you pay both of bills on time each month.

If you don't already have a credit card, apply for one. If your credit score is too low to obtain one, go to your local bank and ask for a secured credit card. That means you'll have to deposit money onto the card before you can use it.  It's not as helpful as a traditional credit card, but it still counts as revolving credit.


3.  Keep your credit card balance low

Credit bureaus like to see a large gap between your credit card's maximum limit and your current balance.  Typically, credit experts will tell you to try and keep your balance at no more than 30% of the card's maximum limit.

That shows that you have credit, use it, and pay it off, instead of the alternative -- that you are behind in payments or maxing out cards.

Even if you pay off your balance in full each month it's a good idea to keep charge amounts low because the total balance of the card is reported to the credit bureaus each month.


4.  Take out a small loan

If you take out a small personal loan from the bank, and pay it back over time, it can help your credit score.  
Once again, it will show all three major credit bureaus that you are responsible and pay your bills on time.

Typically, local banks and credit unions will give you the best deal on a small loan, so consider stopping by and seeing what kind of deal they can give you.


5.  Use more than one card

Having a seldom-used card can't hurt your credit score, but it also isn't helping you either.

Active credit accounts affect your score more, so instead of charging $500 to one card, put $250 on your normal credit card, and dig out that old one you barely use from dresser drawer and put the other $250 on it.

By charging to both cards -- and paying off both cards -- it shows credit bureaus that you have two accounts to which you are making on-time payments.
 


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