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If you have a credit score under 700, we understand your frustration. Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, it’ll never inch its way over that 700 hump.
It’s not like your credit score is just some silly three-digit number, either. It influences big parts of your life, like where you live and what you drive.
Don’t give up just yet, though. Make these five moves to finally break into the 700 club.
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1. Craft a Love Letter
No, no. We’re not talking about writing a love letter to your long-lost sweetheart. Instead, write one to your creditors.
This is actually called a goodwill letter (not a love letter), and it’s perfect if you have a pretty solid credit history, save for a few missteps.
In the letter, you’ll want to:
- Explain how long you’ve been a loyal customer of the creditor.
- Own up to the mistakes that led to the blemishes on your credit history.
- Outline the steps you’re taking to make sure these mistakes won’t happen again.
- Ask for forgiveness but also make it clear you’re determined to do better moving forward.
The key is to keep your letter clear and to the point, and don’t forget to include important information like your account number and the date and amount of the missed payment you want removed from your credit history.
Once you’ve written your goodwill letter, address it using the information on the creditor’s website.
2. Let This Site Help You Improve Your Credit
If you think about it, your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different and for different reasons. One person’s credit score might be under 700 because there’s an error on their report, but someone else’s could be under 700 because of an unpaid bill.
That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start?
Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score.
Take, for example, Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana. She found a found a major error on her report by using Credit Sesame. The site helped her fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score nearly 200 points.
Then there’s James Cooper. His credit score was in the 500s because he didn’t know anything about it — had never even opened a credit card. Credit Sesame showed him the exact steps he needed to take to improve his score, and he broke into the 800s.*
If you want Credit Sesame to show you exactly how to get your score over that 700 hump, it takes 90 seconds to sign up and get started.
3. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All of it.
Chances are, your credit card company is ripping you off with high interest rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But a website called Credible is willing to help you out.
Here’s how it works: Credible will match you with a loan that you’ll use to pay off your debt. Then you’ll make monthly payments to repay the loan. Doing this could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
Credible won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
Now you can finally start effectively chipping away at your debt — and watch your credit score reap the benefits.
4. This Company Will Handle The Complicated Stuff For You
Now it’s time to take a look at everything you haven’t been able to address so far. You might need to call in reinforcements — especially if debt collectors are involved.
If you’ve been getting phone calls and mail from debt collectors, look into Collection Shield 360, a free service that helps people clean up their credit reports and deal with collection agencies. It will contact debt collectors on your behalf and negotiate to get marks on your credit report removed.
It helped 31-year-old server Tabatha Pankop deal with lingering bills from T-Mobile, Bright House Networks and Verizon. Her credit score jumped up nearly 200 points in just a few months.
See if Collection Shield 360 can help you improve your credit.
5. Pay Off Debt by Canceling Your Car Insurance
When you’re trying to raise your credit score, paying off debt is one of the most impactful things you can do. It might feel like you’ve already cut every enjoyable thing out of your budget so you can throw money at your debt, but the truth is, one of the simplest expenses you can cut is car insurance.
In most places, it’s straight up illegal not to have it, so you’ve probably accepted that you’re going to pay through the nose for it. But you don’t have to.
A free website called The Zebra will find the best deal for you — in just two minutes.
All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.
The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.
If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.
Now you’ve got five tactics you can use to get your credit score right where you want it. Good luck — you’ve got this!
* Like Buitureria and Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, FirstForWomen.com.