Rebuilding Your Credit

There are several ways to rebuild your credit history.  Here are some ideas and suggestions:

Get a Secured Credit Card

For consumers who have recently gone through bankruptcy, it is wise to obtain a secured credit card.  Secured cards require that the applicant open a bank account with a balance matching the credit limit of the secured credit card.  Typically, the limit will amount to $500 maximum. You must be careful about using the card too often and limit your charges to no more than approximately 30 percent of your credit limit.  Focus on light, regular use of the card to help rebuild your credit.  It is important that your credit card is reported to the credit bureaus, but try to prevent having it reported as a secured card.  Also, don’t just grab any secured card that is available.  Take a close look at possible upfront charges and annual fees, which can be enormous.  In addition, ensure that your payment history is being reported to the three major credit bureaus:  Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Open a CD

Using a certificate of deposit (CD) as a method to rebuild credit is another option.  A small personal loan is used to open a CD for a minimum of one year, and the loan payments that are made on-time will show good credit history during the length of the certificate.  This strategy is helpful to re-establish credit without having the temptation of a credit card.

Installment Loans

Student loans (not typically dischargeable in bankruptcy), can be used to rebuild your score with timely payments. Paying more than you owe, if possible, will help even more.  Other types of installment loans that can help rebuild your credit include auto loans (expect a very high interest rate initially) and a high-rate mortgage, which is sometimes available in as little as six months after your bankruptcy case is closed.  Just make sure you can really afford a home before buying it.

Additional Ideas

  • Pay every bill on time
  • Check your credit reports regularly
  • Save as much money as possible
  • Minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report