11 Effective Ways to Fix a Credit Score Less than 600

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A credit score of less than 600 is not ideal, but it can happen. Over-extended credit cards, job loss, late payments, or just life can cause mishaps to your credit score. The good news is that you can fix it! Here are 11 ways to fix your credit score and bring it up. 

Check Your Credit Score

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Check your credit score with all three credit reporting agencies. It is important to check with all three agencies and ensure everything is accurate. You can get a credit report from each agency for free once per year. Checking your credit score is known as a “soft hit” and will not impact your score. 

Dispute Any Errors

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If you find any errors on your credit reports, it is important to dispute them with documentation to back them up. The credit agencies have 30 days to investigate, and upon resolution, you may see a big boost in your credit score. 

Get a Balance Transfer Card

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If you are drowning in credit card debt and payments, look into a balance transfer card with a zero percent or low interest introductory period. This way, you can consolidate your high-interest credit card balances into a single card and save on interest payments. 

Make Payments On Time

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Paying your bills late can negatively impact your credit score, but paying your bills on time consistently can raise it. If you tend to forget the due dates of your bills, consider setting up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about them. 

Catch Up Past Due Accounts

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If you have any outstanding bills that are behind, catching them up can improve your credit score. Getting all of your accounts up to date also stops any future late payment charges. 

Don’t Close Your Old Credit Cards

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If you have credit cards whose balances you have already paid off, don’t close them. Leave them open and maybe use them for a single purchase per month that you pay off to keep them active. Closing credit cards can lower your credit score, and keeping them open can improve it. This is because credit history length accounts for 15% of your overall score. 

Apply for a Secured Credit Card

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If you can’t get a traditional credit card because of a low credit score, try getting a secured one instead. A secured credit card is one where you put down a certain amount as a deposit, and your secured credit card limit will be the same. Over time, your credit limit will increase, and you may even be eligible for a traditional credit card. 

Limit New Credit Inquiries 

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Anytime you apply for a new credit card or a credit limit increase on a card you have, it is known as a “hard inquiry,” and it can lower your credit score. Multiple inquiries in a short amount of time will lead lenders to believe that you are a risky borrower. 

Make More than One Payment Per Billing Cycle

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You might not know it, but credit agencies can reward you for making more than one payment in a single billing cycle. These payments don’t have to be huge, even a small extra payment on your credit card a couple of weeks after your last payment was due can help. 

Lower Your Credit Utilization Rate

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Your credit utilization rate is calculated by dividing your total debt owed by your available credit limit. The higher your utilization ratio ( the more of your available credit you are using) the lower your credit score will be. The quicker you can pay off your debt and lower your utilization score and increase the credit you have available the higher your score will be. 

Resolve Any Collections

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If you have any accounts that have been sent to collections, you need to resolve them to improve your credit score. Most debt collection agencies will work with you on an affordable monthly payment to resolve your debt. 

12 Things To Never Buy with a Credit Card

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Having a credit card is a great way to build up your credit, and if you play your cards right, pun intended, you can rack up some pretty nice rewards, too. However, there are some things that you should never buy with your credit card. 

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Theresa Bedford is a travel and lifestyle writer with an obsession to simplify life and travel more. She writes about simple living, money, travel destinations, family-friendly activities, and more. Her work has been featured on the Associated Press wire, MSN.com, GoBankingRates, Wealth of Geeks, Savorteur, and more.

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