1. Start by getting your current credit picture.
  2. Educate yourself about credit and credit scores.
  3. Set a plan that focuses on fixing your specific credit problems.
  4. Keep tabs on your credit so you know if your plan is working.

Step 1 - get your current credit snapshot. If you were beginning a diet you wouldn't guess at your weight right? It's the same with credit; it's important to know your starting point. You already have your scores so mark this step as complete - you're a quarter of the way through this credit plan already!

Step 2 - get smart.  So, unless you are a credit expert, don't go about trying to improve your credit blindly. Start by understanding the basic do's and don'ts of credit management.

Step 3 - build your plan. After you've become knowledgeable, then you can really attack your credit problems. In your case, you already know what is in your score- and that your length of credit history and payment history are areas of your credit profile that need improvement.

After doing some research on these factors, you know that your credit history looks at your oldest account, your newest account and the average age of your accounts.

So, you may want to avoid opening a lot of new credit accounts. As for your payment history, you probably found out that this is one of the biggest components of your FICO score so you really need to focus on keeping current with all of your bills. Understanding how to deal with each credit problem starts with education and continues with a well conceived plan.

Step 4 - check your status. You'd be surprised to know how many people only check on their credit when making a major purchase. If there's a problem, finding out just before a purchase doesn't leave much time to fix the problem. You'd likely step on the scale every couple of days to see if your diet is working, right? Do the same with your credit, especially if you've created an improvement plan. We recommend checking your credit twice a year and at least 6 months before making a major purchase.

I hope this 4 step plan helps you get your credit into shape this year. Remember, there's no easy fix for building good credit - it takes a sensible approach that you can maintain for as long as you plan to use credit. 

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Educate yourself about credit and credit scores.


You have to have credit to build credit — which can be hard if your income is low or you're unemployed and lenders aren't willing to take a chance on you. If you're in this situation, you should get a secured card to build your credit.

Banks and credit unions offer secured credit cards, which act like traditional credit cards but require a deposit that acts as your line of credit

avoid opening a lot of new credit accounts.

If you have a limited income, then a secured card is a very good option.

If you can save for a deposit for a few months and then open the card, in as little as nine months, you can establish a credit score or add enough positive information to increase your score


Credit Scores

Payment History

Amount of debt

Length of credit history

Credit Mix

New Credit