How and WHY to Improve Your Credit in 2024!

how to fix your credit to save you money

Knowing your credit score (whether it’s good or bad) can drastically help you get approved for a lease from a Landlord accepting Section 8 Vouchers. Even after you apply for your Section 8 Voucher, and you go through the entire approval process, that voucher only helps you if you get approved for a lease! So when applying, knowing your score upfront and being able to provide a credit report to that landlord helps them work with you. Can you imagine going through the ENTIRE section 8 process, getting approved, only to find out you can’t get a lease because of your credit score? Even if your score isn’t great, it’s always helpful to be upfront, so you can have an honest discussion with your prospective landlord on what’s hurting you, how you’re improving, and that makes them all the more likely to lease to you.

That’s why we’re providing this resource based on our own personal experience on how to improve your credit score. Having good credit is key to improving your financial future. And we’ve partnered with who will give you your FICO score and complete report from all three credit bureaus for free. You get an accurate score, credit monitoring, and full credit history so you know the complete story with your credit to help you get into the affordable housing you want!

I get it, talking about credit scores and FICO reports isn’t the most exciting topic. But you know what is exciting? Paying lower interest rates, banks offering you money to choose them, and having more money in your pocket at the end of the day. And I’m not exaggerating, when you have a solid credit score, you can literally qualify for free money because the banks want your business that badly.

I never paid attention to credit until way too late in my life. My idea of credit was that it was just something that got people into trouble, and so I never looked into it, and nobody ever talked to me about it. That is, until I was out at lunch with my friend Rob. He noticed me paying with a debit card, found out I’m not building any credit, and immediately lectured me on the benefits of having a good credit score. And this is what he asked me: How would you like a 3% raise RIGHT NOW? Or get a vacation to Rome for free? Because that’s what you’re missing out on by not caring about your credit.

That lunch has paid for itself hundreds of times over, and now I’m here to share the same wisdom with you that was given to me…

First things First: Figure Out Your Credit Score

The very first step I had to take was figuring out where I currently stood. You can’t win a game by standing on the sidelines, you’ve gotta know what the score is and get on the field. So I saw sites like CreditKarma offering scores, I pulled that, and returned to Rob. I quickly learned that there are different types of credit scores, and only one matters.

The two main credit reporting formulas are called the Vantage Score, and the FICO Score. Any credit agency you may want to use in the future for loans or credit cards uses the FICO model, and only the the credit report type sites like CreditKarma use the Vantage score, which makes them pretty much worthless.

FICO scores are compiled from the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. And these are the scores we are going to focus on repairing in this article, because these are the ones that determine your financial health in the future.

So, you need to figure out your credit score to get started. And Affordable Housing Heroes has worked out a deal for a free credit report from ALL THREE credit bureaus. It doesn’t just give you your score, it gives you every detail of your credit history, your accounts, your debt, and so on. It is the exact same report that a bank is going to look at when they’re deciding whether or not to loan you money, and how much they will charge you when they do. So before we go any further, pull that report here:

What is a Good Credit Score?

Ok, great. So you have your score, but is it any good? Where do you stand? A general guideline for credit scores looks like this:

  • Below 580: Poor. You will have trouble qualifying for loans and credit cards.
  • 580 to 669: Fair. You may qualify for things, but it will be at poor interest rates
  • 670 to 739: Good. You will qualify for most things!
  • 740 to 799: Very Good. You’re starting to get the best interest rates and offers!
  • 800 and above: The very best, and banks will fight for your business.

The higher we can get that score, the better off you will be. Lower interest rates mean more money in your pocket for the same purchases, and lower monthly payments. Qualifying for better credit cards means getting higher cash back amounts and rewards on every purchase, and sometimes getting up to $1,000 just for getting the card.

How Do We Get that Score Up?

Now that we know your score, we need to improve it right? Here’s the catch-22 that I ran into. I had almost no credit, so nobody would approve me for credit. How was I supposed to build credit history if nobody would approve my credit applications? I tried applying for some credit cards I wanted with great cashback rewards, and I was denied for all of them.

With a low credit score, or without much credit history, this is pretty common. And having a lot of companies pulling your credit score can actually hurt it even more, so it pays to be smart with who you apply for. It’s always best to apply for companies who you know will approve you.

A great way to start building credit is with secured credit cards. What this means, is you give a credit card company a set amount of money, say, $500. And then they hold that money and give you a credit limit of $500. Usually after a year of on-time payments, they will then give you your $500 back, and raise your limit to $1,000. And after that your credit starts to grow pretty quickly!

Other Ways to Improve Your Credit

When it comes to credit, the three bureaus really like to see a variety of different credit lenders and credit types on your report. This shows that you’re trustworthy many times over, and diversifying your credit is one of the fastest ways to build it. There’s a few additional offers that we’ve found for people looking to build their credit here.

We’ve vetted and worked with each company to make sure that they’re offering the best deals at the highest approval rates for our readers who are specifically trying to improve their credit to build a strong financial future. We’ve also made sure that they properly report to every credit agency so that you’re getting the maximum benefit out of these credit building methods.

What do you do with your repaired credit?

Great question! This is where credit finally gets exciting. Once your credit gets high enough, you’ll start getting all kinds of offers. This may be cash for signing up for a new card that gives you cashback, it may be airline miles, or hotel points. The best part, is that all credit card rewards are tax free. Now that I have good credit, I’ll typically get $1,000 in cash back every year just from regular spending. How much of a difference would an extra $1,000 make to you? I’ve taken trips across the world with points from credit cards, and we could all use a vacation, right? The most important thing, is that I’ve gotten all these rewards without paying a penny in interest, it was all free.

Extra money, free vacations, lower interest loans, cash bonuses, it can all be yours, just by repairing your credit. And we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Affordable Housing Heroes isn’t only here to help you with Affordable Housing, we want to help you with every aspect of your financial journey! Keep an eye out for more content coming soon on how to change your financial freedom.

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