DIY Credit Repair
Prakrati March 14, 2024

Effective DIY Credit Repair: 12 Credit Repair Tips To Follow

16% of Americans have bad credit, and another 18% have fair credit, according to Experian data.

That’s not ‘good’. But does your credit score really have to be good or excellent? Only if you care about loan approvals, lower interest rates, better job opportunities, favorable insurance rates - yes, it does.

So, if you care about any of the above things, we suggest you start taking credit seriously. But can you DIY? Yes. In this blog, we'll share DIY credit repair tips and credit repair resources that'll enable you to nail DIY credit repair. Whether you are just starting to build credit, want to rebuild credit, or have good credit already and want to maintain it, these DIY credit repair tips will help. But first - is DIY credit repair even real? Straight to the point, shall we?

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Let's Get Real - Can You Fix Credit Yourself?

Yes, absolutely! With the right approach, credit repair resources, and by following the right DIY credit repair tips, you can fix your credit yourself. Additionally, credit repair is even easier if you have a DIY credit repair app, such as CoolCredit, to rely on.

How Does It Help? 

Well, a credit repair app like CoolCredit can help you at every step of the DIY credit repair journey - from retrieving your reports to monitoring the progress. 

  • Retrieve and review from all three leading bureaus regularly.
  • Spot errors in your report.
  • Generate evidence-based dispute letters using its AI capabilities.
  • Send letters to respective bureaus and track real-time progress. 
  • Seek expert assistance if you find yourself overwhelmed by credit complexities.

12 DIY Credit Repair Tips To Keep At The Top Of Your Head

1. Review Your Credit Score and Report (Regularly And Thoroughly)

Before you even begin your DIY credit repair journey, it's crucial to know where you stand, and more importantly, why. And that is precisely the reason to regularly check your credit score and report. It not only enables you to understand where you're lacking but also allows you to spot any errors or inaccuracies in your report that might be affecting your score. Additionally, you can identify your gray areas and scope for improvement. That said, reviewing your credit score is definitely atop our list of credit repair tips.

2. Identify And Dispute Inaccuracies In Your Report (No Matter How Trivial)

If you notice any inaccuracies or errors in your report, dispute them immediately. These could include:

  • Account Errors 
  • Duplicate Accounts 
  • Incorrect Personal Information
  • Wrongful Entries Of Late Or Missed Payment
  • Outdated Information
  • Closed Accounts Reported As Open

Disputing inaccuracies in your credit report is one of the most effective ways to accelerate your DIY credit repair journey, provided that they are fair. Various credit repair resources can help you understand the process of disputing inaccuracies effortlessly. You can find such free credit repair resources on DIY credit repair apps like CoolCredit. That's not all, CoolCredit also helps you generate impactful, evidence-based letters and send them to respective bureaus. So, be sure to explore it. 

3. Never Miss A Payment (Not Even A Single One)

You might think, 'What's one payment delayed by a few days going to do?' Well, it can take your credit down a few points at the least. That's not even the most concerning part; late payments reflect on your credit reports for seven years from the original date. Lenders may not approve of a history of late payment, regardless of the number of days you delayed it. Additionally, timely payments are one of the major determining factors for credit bureaus while calculating scores. 

So, when you decide on DIY credit repair, this is where you should start - with timely payments. If you find it hard to keep up with all the bills and EMIs, simply set up auto payments or reminders - anything that helps you avoid late payments. This credit repair tip may not lead to drastic or overnight improvement in your credit score but makes a considerable difference in the long run.

4. Keep Your Credit Utilization Rate Low (Below 30%)

Available credit doesn't necessarily mean use-it-all credit. And you shouldn't. Lenders generally favor individuals with a credit utilization rate below 30%, as it demonstrates a reliable ability to manage debt. So, it's wise to use available credit only if and when you need it, especially once your credit utilization rate exceeds a certain ratio. 

Moreover, a higher credit utilization indicates a greater dependence on credit and can negatively impact your credit by notable points. If you take these credit repair tips seriously, rest assured that your DIY credit repair journey will be smooth.

5. Stash Cash For A Rainy Day (Seriously, Do It)

According to a recent study, most Americans can't handle a $1,000 emergency expense. And that's concerning. This can lead to individuals taking on more credit increasing their credit utilization ratio. That's not it, inability to manage emergency expenses can also lead you to miss or delay payments. All of this, in turn, can contribute to a decline in your credit score. Saving up rainy day money can be quite a task, here are a few tips to keep at the top of your head: 

  • Budget wisely 
  • Cut unnecessary expenses
  • Set financial goals 
  • Cook at home
  • Avoid impulse spending

Out of all the credit repair tips, this can help you steer clear of excessive dependence on credit and keep you from falling back on payments.

6. Know Your Budgetary Limits (Follow the 50-30-20 Rule) 

Now, before you even start saving, it's important to set your budget in a way that allows you to save. While this is one of the most important DIY credit repair tips, it goes beyond just that and can also help you go a long way in your overall financial standing. So, analyze your income, create a budget, and stick to it. Exceeding your budget should be out of the question, at least until you're able to have a fair amount in your savings. This will enable you to make better use of your financial resources and possibly also pay off any overdue account, thus aiding you in your DIY credit repair journey.

One way to budget is by following the 50-30-20 rule, which suggests allocating 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. However, it's best to make your budget keeping in mind your finances. Hope this, among other credit repair tips, helps!

7. Pay Off Collection Accounts (Owe No One Nothing)

When a lender hands over an overdue payment to a collection department or agency, it's reflected in your credit reports as a derogatory mark. These marks can stay on your reports for up to seven years and have a prolonged impact on your credit scores. However, this does not mean you approach it with an "it is what it is" attitude. Be sure to prioritize paying off collection accounts as soon as possible. 

Doing so may not remove the derogatory mark from your report instantly but it will reflect annotations indicating that the debts have been paid off. This, in turn, will diminish its impact on your credit score over time. So, consider this as one of the top DIY credit repair tips to follow.

8. Get A Secured Credit Card (Prove Your Credit Competence)

Now, although taking on unnecessary credit is discouraged, it's still advised that you build a credit history. And this is why a secured credit card might pose a viable option, especially when you're building credit from the ground up or rebuilding it after a misstep or two. These cards live up to its name, as they are more secure compared to traditional cards. What does that mean? Well, these cards require you to deposit an amount, usually equivalent to your desired credit limit, to even get approved. These secured credit cards are often an ideal choice and sometimes the only option for those who want to establish a history of good credit behavior. This allows them to build or rebuild credit, qualifying for more credit in the future. 

9. Consider A Credit-Builder Loan (It's True To Its Name)

Well, take a guess, and we're sure you'll be right: credit builder loans do exactly as their name suggests. These loans pose a great option to those willing to build or rebuild credit. Here's how it works - you take on a small amount of debt and establish a history of good credit behavior. Credit unions and community banks offer such loans if you're a member or customer and can prove your income and ability to repay. 

Unlike traditional loans, when it comes to credit-builder loans, the lender retains the funds until you make the repayments, at which point they disburse the amount. However, this may vary based on the lender's policies and requirements. That said, these timely payments can contribute to your credit repair journey tremendously. Of all DIY credit repair tips, this can really help you in your DIY credit repair journey in the long run. That's not all, it can help you gain the trust of lenders by helping you demonstrate good credit behavior. 

10. Negotiate With Creditors (Bargain In Good Faith)

When it comes down to it, it's best to strike a bargain or appeal for kindness from creditors, especially when you find yourself in a tough spot. So, be sure to proactively engage with your creditors, explain your situation, and persuade them to find a middle ground. This way, you can figure out ways to repay your overdue accounts over time through easily manageable repayment plans, provided your creditor approves of it.

Here's how it works -

  • Review your outstanding debts.
  • Identify problems and areas of negotiation in your current terms.
  • Contact your creditors to negotiate the terms of the repayment plan (lower interest rates, extended payment periods, reduced monthly payments).
  • Be sure to approach creditors with a thorough proposal with evidence backing your financial stress and how the revised terms will not only benefit you but also be advantageous for them. 

These DIY credit repair trips go a long way in helping you pay off your overdue payments and gradually improve your finances, and as a result, your credit score. 

11. Good Scores Come To Those Who Wait (Patience!)

Besides the aforementioned credit repair tips, it's crucial to understand that DIY credit repair is a gradual process, and overnight results should not be expected. While disputing and getting errors and inaccuracies in your credit report resolved can accelerate your free credit repair journey, other credit repair tips may take longer to yield results. That said, being patient while implementing these credit repair tips is extremely important.

The DIY credit repair process can be overwhelming, and it is important to track your progress. You can do this easily on DIY credit repair apps like CoolCredit. This will not only keep you updated on the progress of your credit repair journey but also reassure you that the credit repair tips are actually working over time. 

12. Get Credit Educated (Learn All The Ins And Out)

DIY credit repair is easy, provided you know what you are doing. That is why it's imperative to gain a comprehensive understanding of how credit works. You should know how to check your scores, what factors contribute to the calculation of credit scores, how to identify and dispute inaccuracies, and all the ifs and buts of DIY credit repair. 

Don't worry; there are innumerable credit repair resources available on a free credit repair app like CoolCredit. These credit repair resources include comprehensive guides, walkthrough videos, and much more to aid your DIY credit repair journey. 

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How Long Does It Take To Repair Your Credit? 

Well, DIY credit repair is a gradual process, and the exact time it takes depends on the extent of the damage and how sincerely you follow the credit repair tips, among other factors, including: 

  • Nature of the negative items.
  • Severity of the derogatory marks.
  • The cooperation of the creditors.

Conclusion

DIY credit repair is a viable and achievable goal that can help you improve your credit score by and large over time. That is if you follow the credit repair tips diligently and consistently. Consider using free credit repair apps like CoolCredit to make your credit repair journey even easier, with its free credit repair tools, such as AI-generated dispute letter(s), credit repair library, and Expert Assist. 

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