Now is the time to get rid of the negative credit information that is disgracing your credit report. Now is also the time to get caught up on past due bills. Both of which will raise your credit score. To raise your credit score to a level high enough to get loans approved and better interest rates, you will, no doubt have to rebuild your bad credit. In other words, you must prove that you can handle credit responsibly. It is an earned privilege.

Getting started could prove to be somewhat daunting, but once you start the process and your credit score is increasing, well, that’s encouragement enough. Besides, you’re going to love your new (much higher) credit score. This could very well be the best Christmas present that you ever received!

Where to start? If your bad credit situation has left you without any credit cards to use, your first move it to acquire a new credit card. If your credit score is too low, there is a good chance that you will have a hard time getting approved for a credit card from a major bank. Good news, there is hope! Department store credit cards and gas credit cards are great for re-establishing credit. The terms and conditions may seem outrageous, but you can learn to use these credit cards to your advantage.

First of all, you should have no more than two (one department store card and a gas card). In other words, do not have too many. We are an excessive nation…which is alright, but let’s not be excessive when it comes to credit cards. It’s just not smart to have too many. Isn’t that what got you started in the first place, too much credit?

Keep your balances less than 20%. Normally we recommend 30%, but that’s for consumers who use credit wisely. If you lack control, keeping your credit card balances under 20% is a smart move. Remember, higher credit card balances lowers your credit score. And we all know that higher balances are more difficult to pay off. If your credit card limit is $500.00, you should owe $100.00 or less on it.

Keep in mind that because you are seeking to rebuild your credit, the type of credit card that you will qualify for may have high interest rates. Therefore, carrying a balance could be costly. A word of caution: every time you pay a finance charge, you put money into the credit card company’s pocket; you pay for their yachts, their planes, their island homes…are you getting the picture? That money should go in your pocket, not theirs. To avoid finance charges, pay your balances in full. Paying your balances in full each month increases your credit score tremendously.