Where would the best credit repair hacks come from? For our purposes here, the definition of “credit hack” has a lot to do with legal ways to fix your own credit without resorting to having to pay a third party. So who has the best credit repair advice?
How about the credit bureaus themselves? The three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian all have official pages with credit education resources that can help you learn more about how to fix your credit the right way.
Don’t waste your time and money paying third parties to do “credit repair” on your behalf; instead, read the advice the credit reporting agencies have to offer and save your cash for things you really need.
Credit repair is something you don’t have to rely on someone else to do.
Credit Repair Hacks From TransUnion
In addition to the usual “review your credit balances” advice, TransUnion warns customers that the first step towards doing your own free credit repair is to immediately bring all accounts up to date and make sure ALL payments on all financial obligations are done on time, every time for at least a full 12 months before applying for a new line of credit.
According to TransUnion, “Although late payments remain on the credit report for seven years, the further in the past they occurred, the less they will affect you” and over time your most recent 12-24 months of payment history will count for a great deal.
Credit Repair Advice From Equifax
Equifax reminds consumers they will NOT have a single, “master” credit score or universal credit score. You will have multiple FICO scores in normal circumstances and any lender on a major line of credit will likely use an average of the scores to determine your FICO score for that loan.
Equifax also warns consumers not to close old credit card accounts thinking that will show up as a plus on your credit report. It does not. From the Equifax official site:
“…closing a paid-off credit card account may not positively impact your credit scores. Closing the account may affect your debt to credit utilization rate (the amount of credit you’re currently using compared to the amount available to you) as well as the average age of all your credit accounts and the age of your oldest credit account. Both of those may be factors used in calculating credit scores…”
Credit Hacks From Experian
The credit agency Experian says the top habits of those with the best credit scores include paying on time (see above), checking credit scores regularly (see above), but also being careful about credit utilization and opening new accounts.
“People with good credit scores typically have a good mix of credit. That means they carry a diverse portfolio of credit accounts, which demonstrates to lenders that they know how to handle various types of debt.”
According to Experian, it is recommended to carry more than one credit card or multiple lines of credit, but to avoid carrying balances above the 50% line toward your credit limit. A limit of 30% of the card’s limit for each card is idea.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.