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55 Credit Building Secrets You Must Know Now

The Essential List to Boost Your Credit Score,  Save Money, and Ultimately Make You Rich


credit building secrets

The difference between a 650 credit score and a 700 can equate to thousands of dollars in lower interest rate savings over the life of your next home mortgage, auto loan, or personal loan.  


With so much at stake, it is no wonder so many people want to know how to improve their credit score.  That's why we created this comprehensive resource list of every credit building strategy that works in 2019.


But, we didn’t stop there... 


We also sorted the strategies into categories to make finding the best credit building tool for you all that much easier. 

 

Many of these credit tips will be found in multiple categories, as most do not just fall into only one. 


You can scroll through the entire list or choose to refine your search by selecting one of the categories below.

Check back often because we will continue to add newly discovered credit building options to this active resource list.  


Remember to bookmark this page for future reference and dive into the best credit building secrets that you need to know now! 

Free Credit Building Secrets


You don't have to shell out big money to improve your credit score.  Here are some of our top credit building strategies, which cost ZERO to implement.

Contact All Of your Tradelines & Request a Credit Limit Increase

Generally, existing lines of credit can be increased by the lenders without a hard pull on your credit.  Contact your existing tradelines (revolving accounts like credit cards and Fingerhut) and request they increase your credit line. 


Sometimes these tradelines will increase your credit limit without you even having to ask.  


Fingerhut increased my credit line from $1,000 to $1,300 after making just two payments and enrolling in their auto-pay program.  MyFico recommends that you keep your revolving credit utilization ratio as low as possible and an easy way to lower it quickly is by having existing accounts credit limits increased.  


Enroll in Experian Boost 


This is a new program offered by Experian where upon free enrollment the Experian Boost program scans your checking account for utility payments and phone payments and gives you credit for some credit score calculations.


This can help ‘boost’ (see what I did there?) your payment history which is a key factor in improving your credit score. 


To learn more, visit Experian here 

Experian_Boost

Review Your TransUnion Credit Report 

You are entitled to one free annual credit report from the three major credit bureaus.  


Review your free credit report by going to the government mandated AnnualCreditReport.com


Look at each of your account records with negative reporting and see if there are ANY inaccuracies, such as incorrect address, account number, missed spelled name, wrong balance, or incorrect dates, etc. 


If you can find anything that seems to be incorrect, it gives you the right to dispute that record. 


Which is our next step...


Dispute ALL Inaccuracies In Your TransUnion And Experian Credit Reports 

It is free to dispute any inaccuracies that you find in your credit report. 


The Federal Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute any inaccuracies in your credit reports for free


You can send a credit dispute letter to the credit agency requesting them to verify that all the information in a particular record is accurate.


If the furnisher of that information does not respond within 30 days of the dispute or if the credit agency cannot verify the accuracy of the record, it will be deleted.


Disputing negative remarks in your report, if successful, can improve your credit scoreYou can dispute them online or by mail by going to the TransUnion dispute page or Experian dispute page.


Learn how to submit a section 609 credit dispute letter today! 


Become An Authorized User 

For no cost and no credit check, a family member or friend can add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

 

They will still be responsible for paying the bill each month but their credit cards payments and history will  be reported to your credit file. 


We call this our 'Borrow-a-Kidney' strategy and a recent study conducted by Credit Knocks found that 46% of authorized users have a credit score of 680 or higher


This is an easy way to add a good tradeline to your credit file to help improve your credit score quickly. 


Review Your Equifax & Experian Credit Reports As Well

Transunion isn't the only credit bureau, and your credit history may have been reported differently to each bureau. 


Get you free Equifax and Experiean credit reports by going to the government mandated AnnualCreditReport.com 


Dispute ALL Inaccuracies In Your Equifax Credit Report 

Don't forget to dispute any inaccuracies in your Equifax credit report, also. 


The process should be the exact same with Equifax, as it is with TransUnion and Experian but you may see an initial credit score decrease with one of the most recognized credit scoring systems. 


You can learn about how my Equifax Dispute cost me over 75 points for a few days and why it happened. 


You can ask to have your records with mistakes to be verified by going online or by mail through the Equifax dispute page. 


Setup Payment Reminders On Your Calendar 

The number one killer of credit scores is delinquent and late payments. 


Anything that you can do to help remind you to make your payments on time is recommended. 


Setting up a reminder on your calendar to pop up a few days before your bill is due can help you make your payments on time. 


There are also a number of great apps you can download that are specifically designed to be bill reminder apps.  


No Credit Check Options


Some credit building strategies require good credit to qualify, or pull a "hard inquiry" on your credit, which can damage your credit score.  NOT THESE!

Enroll in Experian Boost 


This is a new program offered by Experian where upon free enrollment the Experian Boost program scans your checking account for utility payments and phone payments and gives you credit for some credit score calculations.


This can help ‘boost’ (see what I did there?) your payment history which is a key factor in improving your credit score. 


To learn more, visit Experian here 

Experian_Boost

Contact All Of your Tradelines & Request a Credit Limit Increase

Generally, existing lines of credit can be increased by the lenders without a hard pull on your credit.  Contact your existing tradelines (revolving accounts like credit cards and Fingerhut) and request they increase your credit line. 


Sometimes these tradelines will increase your credit limit without you even having to ask.  


Fingerhut increased my credit line from $1,000 to $1,300 after making just two payments and enrolling in their auto-pay program.  MyFico recommends that you keep your revolving credit utilization ratio as low as possible and an easy way to lower it quickly is by having existing accounts credit limits increased.  


Become An Authorized User 

For no cost and no credit check, a family member or friend can add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

 

They will still be responsible for paying the bill each month but their credit cards payments and history will  be reported to your credit file. 


We call this our 'Borrow-a-Kidney' strategy and a recent study conducted by Credit Knocks found that 46% of authorized users have a credit score of 680 or higher


This is an easy way to add a good tradeline to your credit file to help improve your credit score quickly. 



Apply For A Credit Builder Loan

Credit builder loans allow you to make payments to a lender that show up in your credit reports as payment history.


They are secured by a deposit you make with the lender.


Credit builder loans are a great choice for people with subprime credit or just starting out and have limited credit.  There is no credit check and the monthly payments can be under $20.  


Someone new to credit will enjoy the boost to their credit mix because you typically do not qualify for an installment loan until further down your credit journey


If you’d like to learn more, please check out our article titled, ‘What is a Credit Builder Loan & How Do They Work?’. 

What is a credit builder loan and how they work

Purchase a Tradeline 


If you cannot find someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card account, you can always purchase a Tradeline.  


You get to choose the credit limit and the number of years the card has been active without having to worry if the card owner is going to max it out.  


If you want to improve your credit score 50 to 100 points in 90 days, you may have to purchase multiple authorized user tradelines. 


We recommend getting your Tradeline from Tradeline Supply Company.   

Tradeline Supply Company Review

Apply For A Secured Credit Card 

Secured credit cards are a great way to start building credit because they have no credit checks and help increase your revolving credit utilization ratio.


Regardless of your credit history you will be approved for a revolving loan that will be reported to all three of the major credit agencies. 


The only difference between a secured credit card and a traditional credit card is that you are required to put down a security deposit. 


You will be able to use the credit card in the same manner as a traditional card and it will be reported just like any other revolving loan to the credit bureaus. 


Learn more about Secured Credit Cards and how they work. 

opensky secured credit card

Rent Reporting 

Do you pay rent? Did you know that most landlord’s or property managers DO NOT report your rental payments to the credit agencies?


You can have a rent reporting service report to the credit bureaus your monthly rent payment and even have them report 24 months of your back rent. 


This is a great way to add a positive tradeline and improve the ratio of your on time payments.  


For only a few dollars a month you can have your payment history reported to the credit agencies. 


Learn how Rent Reporting can improve credit file.


Reduce Debt To Income Ratio (DTI)

A big factor in determining loan eligibility from a lender’s perspective is your debt to income ratio (DTI). 


Now, what exactly does that mean?  


In this case, income is the amount of money you are paid each month from your job(s) and/or side hustles (including family, friends, and ex’s).  


Your debt is the total monthly household expenses it costs to pay all your bills including, keeping a roof over your head, feeding the family, and gassing up the car. 


This ratio is the difference between your total monthly income and your total monthly expenses expressed as a ratio. 


For instance, if you had a total monthly income of $5,000 and a your total expenses were $3,000, then your debt to income ratio would be 40%. 


According to Experian, ‘Depending on the institution, size, and type of loan, DTI ranges often vary, with some lenders accepting ratios of up to 50% and others capping DTI limits at 36%.’


Different types of loans require different ratios but it is safe to say that you want to keep your monthly debt obligations to a minimum to qualify for a future loan. 


Improve Credit Score Fast In 30 Days


Credit building doesn't have to take months or years.  These strategies work fast!

Contact All Of your Tradelines & Request a Credit Limit Increase

Generally, existing lines of credit can be increased by the lenders without a hard pull on your credit.  Contact your existing tradelines (revolving accounts like credit cards and Fingerhut) and request they increase your credit line. 


Sometimes these tradelines will increase your credit limit without you even having to ask.  


Fingerhut increased my credit line from $1,000 to $1,300 after making just two payments and enrolling in their auto-pay program.  

MyFico recommends that you keep your revolving credit utilization ratio as low as possible.


The easiest way  to lower it quickly is by having existing accounts increase your credit limits.   


Become An Authorized User 

For no cost and no credit check, a family member or friend can add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

 

They will still be responsible for paying the bill each month but their credit cards payments and history will  be reported to your credit file. 


We call this our 'Borrow-a-Kidney' strategy and a recent study conducted by Credit Knocks found that 46% of authorized users have a credit score of 680 or higher


This is an easy way to add a good tradeline to your credit file to help improve your credit score quickly. 



Get A Traditional Credit Card With A Co-Signer

A great way to improve your credit score is to obtain a new credit card because it will increase your revolving credit available. 


Your FICO credit score is broken into five categories that determine your total credit score. 


Your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score so any actions that increase your revolving credit limit without adding debt will increase your credit score. 


Credit cards are the most common way to increase your credit limit. 


However, sometimes you won’t qualify on your own and will need to get a family member or friend to co-sign on the account.

  

There are still many credit cards that will offer you a credit card with a co-signer.  


The main three lenders offering credit cards with a cosigner are; U.S. Bank , Wells Fargo , and Bank of America


Purchase a Tradeline 


If you cannot find someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card account, you can always purchase a Tradeline.  


You get to choose the credit limit and the number of years the card has been active without having to worry if the card owner is going to max it out.  


If you want to improve your credit score 50 to 100 points in 90 days, you may have to purchase multiple authorized user tradelines. 


We recommend getting your Tradeline from Tradeline Supply Company.   

Tradeline Supply Company Review - Buy an Authorized User Credit Card

Payoff All Credit Cards And Revolving Loans

Your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score


This ratio is calculated by taking your total revolving credit limit divided by the amount you owe. 


Revolving loans are more commonly associated with credit cards, department store card, and online catalog stores like Fingerhut


By paying off all of your revolving loans you can see a large credit score increase as each dollar owed costs you credit points regardless of your ratio. 


Apply For Fingerhut Credit

Fingerhut offers credit to people with no credit, limited credit, and bad credit. 


They offer credit for you to purchase products on their online store, just like a department store credit card but their store is online. 


A good way to improve your credit is to increase your revolving credit limit. 


Fingerhut offers the same type of credit as a credit card company which is a revolving loan. 


When I applied for Fingerhut credit I had a credit score around 575 and they gave me $1,000 of unsecured credit in 2 seconds


However, if I had applied for an unsecured credit card I would have been denied any credit. 


Fingerhut specializes in helping people like me who have had bad credit by extending credit to people when others won't. 


Since I signed up for Fingerhut they have increased my credit limit two times, all the way up to $1,600. 


Learn more about Fingerhut.

Fingerhut store catalog credit

Just Starting To Build Credit


Best strategies for people who are new to credit.

Enroll in Experian Boost 


This is a new program offered by Experian where upon free enrollment the Experian Boost program scans your checking account for utility payments and phone payments and gives you credit for some credit score calculations.


This can help ‘boost’ (see what I did there?) your payment history which is a key factor in improving your credit score. 


To learn more, visit Experian here 

Experian_Boost

Become an Authorized User 

For no cost and no credit check, a family member or friend can add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

 

They will still be responsible for paying the bill each month but their credit cards payments and history will  be reported to your credit file. 


We call this our 'Borrow-a-Kidney' strategy and a recent study conducted by Credit Knocks found that 46% of authorized users have a credit score of 680 or higher


This is an easy way to add a good tradeline to your credit file to help improve your credit score quickly. 


Find A CDFI Program (Community Development Financial Institution)  

In larger cities, local communities and banks will setup CDFI’s to increase the financial literacy and offer programs to help improve credit scores in lower-income neighborhoods.  


The benefits of having financial literacy help people make better budgeting choices and become more financially stable.


Many CDFI financial literacy programs offer classes on saving money, prioritizing purchases based on need, budgeting, paying bills, home purchasing, saving for college and planning for your retirement. 


Some of these programs partner with a financial institution who facilitates and reports to the three credit agencies; credit builder loans, peer to peer lending, and lending circle loans. 


You can learn more about Community Development Financial Institutions and where to find one near you by visiting the government website, here

cdfi_community_developement_financial_institution

Monitor Your Credit Records

There are two good reasons to monitor your credit records.  


The first is because merchants regularly report inaccurate information and if you are not paying attention, these mistakes can hurt your credit score.  


But it gets worse... 


Identity theft also known as ID Fraud are very real problems that most people don’t think much about until it has been stolen. 


To combat these problems, we recommend you purchase the top ranked and most comprehensive credit monitoring service we have been able to find online through MyFico.


  • Real time notifications of credit record changes 
  • Deep Dark Web black market scanning 
  • Only service that provides ALL 16 FICO scores for Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian

Apply For A Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are a great option to build credit for people with bad credit, limited credit, or no credit. 


A secured credit card has the same functionality and affects your credit just like a traditional credit card. 


The only difference is that you put down a deposit because your credit score is too low for lender's to give you unsecured credit. 


It is very common for peoples for credit experience to be with a secured credit card as they are easy to get and a good choice. 


If you are looking to get a secured card you will want to compare their annual membership fees and APR rates before deciding. 

green dot secured credit card

Rent Reporting 

Do you pay rent? Did you know that most landlord’s or property managers DO NOT report your rental payments to the credit agencies?


You can have a rent reporting service report to the credit bureaus your monthly rent payment and even have them report 24 months of your back rent. 


This is a great way to add a positive tradeline and improve the ratio of your on time payments.  


For only a few dollars a month you can have your payment history reported to the credit agencies. 


Learn how Rent Reporting can improve credit file.


Apply For A Credit Builder Loan

Credit builder loans allow you to make payments to a lender that show up in your credit reports as payment history.


They are secured by a deposit you make with the lender.


Credit builder loans are a great choice for people with subprime credit or just starting out and have limited credit.  There is no credit check and the monthly payments can be under $20.  


Someone new to credit will enjoy the boost to their credit mix because you typically do not qualify for an installment loan until further down your credit journey


If you’d like to learn more, please check out our article titled, ‘What is a Credit Builder Loan & How Do They Work?’. 

 How Much Do Credit Builder Loans Cost_

Create A Plan And Stick To It

I know it sounds cliché or to easy but if I had created a plan and stuck to it in the first place, I wouldn’t have ever ended up with bad credit.  


As it turns out there is a multiple step process to actually sticking to a plan.


There is an entire self help group dedicated to helping people reach this goal. 


Here’s a great video that I found motivational on how to stick to the plan.  


2019 Credit Builder Top Picks


For our top picks, we've chosen the strategies that overall are the easiest to implement, low cost, and have the biggest impact on your credit score.

Contact All Of your Tradelines & Request a Credit Limit Increase

Generally, existing lines of credit can be increased by the lenders without a hard pull on your credit.  Contact your existing tradelines (revolving accounts like credit cards and Fingerhut) and request they increase your credit line. 


Sometimes these tradelines will increase your credit limit without you even having to ask.  


Fingerhut increased my credit line from $1,000 to $1,300 after making just two payments and enrolling in their auto-pay program.  MyFico recommends that you keep your revolving credit utilization ratio as low as possible and an easy way to lower it quickly is by having existing accounts credit limits increased.  


Apply For A Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are a great option to build credit for people with bad credit, limited credit, or no credit. 


A secured credit card has the same functionality and affects your credit just like a traditional credit card. 


The only difference is that you put down a deposit because your credit score is too low for lender's to give you unsecured credit. 


It is very common for peoples for credit experience to be with a secured credit card as they are easy to get and a good choice. 


If you are looking to get a secured card you will want to compare their annual membership fees and APR rates before deciding. 

what is a secured credit card

Rent Reporting 

Do you pay rent? Did you know that most landlord’s or property managers DO NOT report your rental payments to the credit agencies?


You can have a rent reporting service report to the credit bureaus your monthly rent payment and even have them report 24 months of your back rent. 


This is a great way to add a positive tradeline and improve the ratio of your on time payments.  


For only a few dollars a month you can have your payment history reported to the credit agencies. 


Learn how Rent Reporting can improve credit file.


Purchase a Tradeline 


If you cannot find someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card account, you can always purchase a Tradeline.  


You get to choose the credit limit and the number of years the card has been active without having to worry if the card owner is going to max it out.  


If you want to improve your credit score 50 to 100 points in 90 days, you may have to purchase multiple authorized user tradelines. 


We recommend getting your Tradeline from Tradeline Supply Company.   

Tradeline Supply Company Review

Download Payment Reminder App

The number one killer of credit scores is delinquent and late payments.  


Anything that you can do to help remind you to make your payments on time is recommended.  


Setting up a reminder on your calendar to pop up a few days before your bill is due can help you make your payments on time. 


There are also a number of great apps you can download that are specifically designed to be bill reminder apps.  

Monitor Your Credit Records

There are two good reasons to monitor your credit records.  


The first is because merchants regularly report inaccurate information and if you are not paying attention, these mistakes can hurt your credit score.  


But it gets worse... 


Identity theft also known as ID Fraud are very real problems that most people don’t think much about until it has been stolen. 


To combat these problems, we recommend you purchase the top ranked and most comprehensive credit monitoring service we have been able to find online through MyFico.


  • Real time notifications of credit record changes 
  • Deep Dark Web black market scanning 
  • Only service that provides ALL 16 FICO scores for Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian

Apply For A Credit Builder Loan

Credit builder loans allow you to make payments to a lender that show up in your credit reports as payment history.


They are secured by a deposit you make with the lender.


Credit builder loans are a great choice for people with subprime credit or just starting out and have limited credit.  There is no credit check and the monthly payments can be under $20.  


Someone new to credit will enjoy the boost to their credit mix because you typically do not qualify for an installment loan until further down your credit journey


If you’d like to learn more, please check out our article titled, ‘What is a Credit Builder Loan & How Do They Work?’. 

How much does a credit builder loan cost?

Decrease Debt To Income Ratio (DTI)

A big factor in determining loan eligibility from a lender’s perspective is your debt to income ratio (DTI). 


Now, what exactly does that mean?  


In this case, income is the amount of money you are paid each month from your job(s) and/or side hustles (including family, friends, and ex’s).  


Your debt is the total monthly household expenses it costs to pay all your bills including, keeping a roof over your head, feeding the family, and gassing up the car. 


This ratio is the difference between your total monthly income and your total monthly expenses expressed as a ratio. 


For instance, if you had a total monthly income of $5,000 and a your total expenses were $3,000, then your debt to income ratio would be 40%. 


According to Experian, ‘Depending on the institution, size, and type of loan, DTI ranges often vary, with some lenders accepting ratios of up to 50% and others capping DTI limits at 36%.’


Different types of loans require different ratios but it is safe to say that you want to keep your monthly debt obligations to a minimum to qualify for a future loan. 

 


Apply For Fingerhut Credit

Fingerhut offers credit to people with no credit, limited credit, and bad credit. 


They offer credit for you to purchase products on their online store, just like a department store credit card but their store is online. 


A good way to improve your credit is to increase your revolving credit limit. 


Fingerhut offers the same type of credit as a credit card company which is a revolving loan. 


When I applied for Fingerhut credit I had a credit score around 575 and they gave me $1,000 of unsecured credit in 2 seconds

How I Raised My Credit Score Over 100 Points With Fingerhut

When I applied for Fingerhut credit I had a credit score around 575 and they gave me $1,000 of unsecured credit in 2 seconds


However, if I had applied for an unsecured credit card I would have been denied any credit. 


Fingerhut specializes in helping people like me who have had bad credit by extending credit to people when others won't. 


Since I signed up for Fingerhut they have increased my credit limit two times, all the way up to $1,600. 


Learn more about Fingerhut.


Largest Potential Credit Score Gain


If you're looking to improve your credit score 50 to 100 points in 90 days, these are the strategies that can get you there.

Purchase Multiple Tradelines 


If you cannot find someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card account, you can always purchase a Tradeline.  


You get to choose the credit limit and the number of years the card has been active without having to worry if the card owner is going to max it out.  


If you want to improve your credit score 50 to 100 points in 90 days, you may have to purchase multiple authorized user tradelines. 


We recommend getting your Tradeline from Tradeline Supply Company.   

Tradeline Supply Company Authorized User Tradelines For Sale

Apply For A Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are a great option to build credit for people with bad credit, limited credit, or no credit. 


A secured credit card has the same functionality and affects your credit just like a traditional credit card. 


The only difference is that you put down a deposit because your credit score is too low for lender's to give you unsecured credit. 


It is very common for peoples for credit experience to be with a secured credit card as they are easy to get and a good choice. 


If you are looking to get a secured card you will want to compare their annual membership fees and APR rates before deciding. 

first progress platinum select secured credit card

Get A Traditional Credit Card With A Co-Signer

A great way to improve your credit score is to obtain a new credit card because it will increase your revolving credit available. 


Your FICO credit score is broken into five categories that determine your total credit score. 


Your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score so any actions that increase your revolving credit limit without adding debt will increase your credit score. 


Credit cards are the most common way to increase your credit limit. 


However, sometimes you won’t qualify on your own and will need to get a family member or friend to co-sign on the account.

  

There are still many credit cards that will offer you a credit card with a co-signer.  


The main three lenders offering credit cards with a cosigner are; U.S. Bank , Wells Fargo , and Bank of America


Payoff All Credit Cards And Revolving Loans

Your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score


This ratio is calculated by taking your total revolving credit limit divided by the amount you owe. 


Revolving loans are more commonly associated with credit cards, department store card, and online catalog stores like Fingerhut


By paying off all of your revolving loans you can see a large credit score increase as each dollar owed costs you credit points regardless of your ratio. 


Apply For Fingerhut Credit

Fingerhut offers credit to people with no credit, limited credit, and bad credit. 


They offer credit for you to purchase products on their online store, just like a department store credit card but their store is online. 


A good way to improve your credit is to increase your revolving credit limit. 


Fingerhut offers the same type of credit as a credit card company which is a revolving loan. 


When I applied for Fingerhut credit I had a credit score around 575 and they gave me $1,000 of unsecured credit in 2 seconds


However, if I had applied for an unsecured credit card I would have been denied any credit. 

FingerHut Credit Card Review

Fingerhut specializes in helping people like me who have had bad credit by extending credit to people when others won't. 


Since I signed up for Fingerhut they have increased my credit limit two times, all the way up to $1,600. 


Learn more about Fingerhut.


Dispute ALL Inaccuracies In Your TransUnion, Equifax, And Experian Credit Reports 

It is free to dispute any inaccuracies that you find in your credit report. 


The Federal Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute anything that may be incorrect or inaccurate in your credit reports for free


You can send a credit dispute letter to the credit agency requesting them to verify that all the information in a particular record is correct and accurate.


If the furnisher of that information does not respond within 30 days of the dispute or if the credit agency cannot verify the accuracy of the record, it will be deleted.


Disputing negative remarks in your report, if successful, can improve your credit score exponentially


You can dispute records in your credit file by going to each credit agencies website; Equifax dispute page, TransUnion dispute page, or Experian dispute page .


Or you can dispute inaccuracies by sending an old fashioned letter which we explain the process in detail here...


Learn how to submit a section 609 credit dispute letter.



Takes Less Than 5 Minutes


Quick, credit building wins.  Easy.

Become an Authorized User 

For no cost and no credit check, a family member or friend can add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

 

They will still be responsible for paying the bill each month but their credit cards payments and history will  be reported to your credit file. 


We call this our 'Borrow-a-Kidney' strategy and a recent study conducted by Credit Knocks found that 46% of authorized users have a credit score of 680 or higher


This is an easy way to add a good tradeline to your credit file to help improve your credit score quickly. 


Apply For A Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are a great option to build credit for people with bad credit, limited credit, or no credit. 


A secured credit card has the same functionality and affects your credit just like a traditional credit card. 


The only difference is that you put down a deposit because your credit score is too low for lender's to give you unsecured credit. 


It is very common for peoples for credit experience to be with a secured credit card as they are easy to get and a good choice. 


If you are looking to get a secured card you will want to compare their annual membership fees and APR rates before deciding. 

green dot secured credit card reviews

Reschedule Regular Payment Due Dates

The single most recognized credit score killer is late payments. 


A great way to avoid paying your bills late is to reschedule their monthly due dates to dates after your payday. 


Start by creating a list of all of your bills organized by due date. 


Next, add a second column with the average amount of take home you get on each pay check by date. 


Most people find that most of their bills are all due at the beginning of the month. 


However, by shifting some of those bills to later in the month you are able to better balance your cash flow between paychecks. 


Apply For A Credit Builder Loan

Credit builder loans allow you to make payments to a lender that show up in your credit reports as payment history.


They are secured by a deposit you make with the lender.


Credit builder loans are a great choice for people with subprime credit or just starting out and have limited credit.  There is no credit check and the monthly payments can be under $20.  


Someone new to credit will enjoy the boost to their credit mix because you typically do not qualify for an installment loan until further down your credit journey


If you’d like to learn more, please check out our article titled, ‘What is a Credit Builder Loan & How Do They Work?’. 

How Much Do Credit-Builder Loans Cost_

Apply For Fingerhut Credit

Fingerhut offers credit to people with no credit, limited credit, and bad credit. 


They offer credit for you to purchase products on their online store, just like a department store credit card but their store is online. 


A good way to improve your credit is to increase your revolving credit limit. 


Fingerhut offers the same type of credit as a credit card company which is a revolving loan. 


When I applied for Fingerhut credit I had a credit score around 575 and they gave me $1,000 of unsecured credit in 2 seconds


However, if I had applied for an unsecured credit card I would have been denied any credit. 

my credit journey Fingerhut Credit Card Account

Fingerhut specializes in helping people like me who have had bad credit by extending credit to people when others won't. 


Since I signed up for Fingerhut they have increased my credit limit two times, all the way up to $1,600. 


Learn more about Fingerhut.


Rent Reporting 

Do you pay rent? Did you know that most landlord’s or property managers DO NOT report your rental payments to the credit agencies?


You can have a rent reporting service report to the credit bureaus your monthly rent payment and even have them report 24 months of your back rent. 


This is a great way to add a positive tradeline and improve the ratio of your on time payments.  


For only a few dollars a month you can have your payment history reported to the credit agencies. 


Learn how Rent Reporting can improve credit file.


Download Payment Reminder App

The number one killer of credit scores is delinquent and late payments.  


Anything that you can do to help remind you to make your payments on time is recommended.  


Setting up a reminder on your calendar to pop up a few days before your bill is due can help you make your payments on time. 


There are also a number of great apps you can download that are specifically designed to be bill reminder apps.  

More Effort But Worth It!


These strategies require more work, but pack a huge credit score punch!

Review Your TransUnion, Equifax, And Experian Credit Reports 

You are entitled to one free annual credit report from the three major credit bureaus.  


Review your free credit report by going to the government mandated AnnualCreditReport.com


Look at each of your account records with negative reporting and see if there are ANY inaccuracies, such as incorrect address, account number, missed spelled name, wrong balance, or incorrect dates, etc. 


If you can find anything that seems to be incorrect, it gives you the right to dispute that record. 


Which is our next step...



Dispute ALL Inaccuracies In Your TransUnion, Equifax, And Experian Credit Reports 

It is free to dispute any inaccuracies that you find in your credit report. 


The Federal Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute anything that may be incorrect or inaccurate in your credit reports for free


You can send a credit dispute letter to the credit agency requesting them to verify that all the information in a particular record is correct and accurate.


If the furnisher of that information does not respond within 30 days of the dispute or if the credit agency cannot verify the accuracy of the record, it will be deleted.


Disputing negative remarks in your report, if successful, can improve your credit score exponentially


You can dispute records in your credit file by going to each credit agencies website; Equifax dispute page, TransUnion dispute page, or Experian dispute page .


Or you can dispute inaccuracies by sending an old fashioned letter which we explain the process in detail here...


Learn how to submit a section 609 credit dispute letter.



Find A CDFI Program (Community Development Financial Institution)  

In larger cities, local communities and banks will setup CDFI’s to increase the financial literacy and offer programs to help improve credit scores in lower-income neighborhoods.  


The benefits of having financial literacy help people make better budgeting choices and become more financially stable.


Many CDFI financial literacy programs offer classes on saving money, prioritizing purchases based on need, budgeting, paying bills, home purchasing, saving for college and planning for your retirement. 


Some of these programs partner with a financial institution who facilitates and reports to the three credit agencies; credit builder loans, peer to peer lending, and lending circle loans. 


You can learn more about Community Development Financial Institutions and where to find one near you by visiting the government website, here

cdfi fund

Reduce Debt To Income Ratio (DTI)

A big factor in determining loan eligibility from a lender’s perspective is your debt to income ratio (DTI). 


Now, what exactly does that mean?  


In this case, income is the amount of money you are paid each month from your job(s) and/or side hustles (including family, friends, and ex’s).  


Your debt is the total monthly household expenses it costs to pay all your bills including, keeping a roof over your head, feeding the family, and gassing up the car. 


This ratio is the difference between your total monthly income and your total monthly expenses expressed as a ratio. 


For instance, if you had a total monthly income of $5,000 and a your total expenses were $3,000, then your debt to income ratio would be 40%. 


According to Experian, ‘Depending on the institution, size, and type of loan, DTI ranges often vary, with some lenders accepting ratios of up to 50% and others capping DTI limits at 36%.’


Different types of loans require different ratios but it is safe to say that you want to keep your monthly debt obligations to a minimum to qualify for a future loan. 


Remove Collections and Charge Offs From Your Credit File With Pay For Delete Letter

Collections and charge offs in your credit record can drive down your credit score 100 points or more. 


One way to get a huge credit score gain is to have those collections and charge offs removed with a pay for delete letter. 


The first step is to negotiate a settlement amount with the furnisher of the collection or charge off. 


Once you have agreed upon a final amount to settle your debt, tell them that you want them to remove all negative information furnished. 


Another wards, if you are going to 'pay' they will have to 'delete' all negative information furnished to the credit agencies about you. 


Never settle a debt without a pay for delete agreement in place regardless of what they tell you, they can and will agree in the end. 

 


Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.