Top Tips for Cleaning Up Your Credit

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

According to myFICO, it’s important to note that repairing bad credit is a bit like losing weight: It takes time, and there is no quick fix. In fact, out of all of the ways to improve a credit score, quick-fix efforts are the most likely to backfire, so beware of any advice that claims to improve your credit score fast.

Here are some of the top tips to raise your score.

  1. Pay off all outstanding debts.
  2. Write letters to creditors explaining any payments that were more than 60 days late. Request that the creditor share that information with the credit companies.
  3. Pay your bills on time.
  4. Cancel any credit cards or department store cards that you don’t use. Be sure to put the cancellation in writing so the account will be show you cancelled it versus the credit card company.

Be careful about tainting your good credit with debt incurred by someone else with lower credit quality than you, such as a new spouse. Help your partner clean up his or her credit before you begin co-signing on additional credit.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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