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Fixing Credit is Easier Than You Think

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Do you want to pay less for loans and other purchases? Yeah, me too. Having a great credit score is something that can bring this dream closer to reality, sometimes a little bit — and sometimes a lot.

In today’s world, agencies and companies look at credit scores when deciding if they want to give you a loan, a good interest rate, or in some cases – a job. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 millennials get rejected for loans because of bad credit scores. 

Moreover, recent financial turmoil has been causing defaults left and right, making credit card companies cut credit limits with no warning. Only clients with excellent FICOs avoided this inconvenience, as well as many others. So, how does one go about increasing their score and getting all the benefits?

You already know that making timely payments and keeping your expenses low is a way to get a credit rating to the coveted 800+ zone – but that’s not all there is to it. More often than not, the agencies that determine your score make reporting mistakes. These errors can sneak up in your credit report unnoticeably and make it seem like you are less creditworthy than you actually are.

Do you know what it looks like if a big expense on your report has an extra zero because of a typo? Well… about 10 times worse than it actually is. Luckily there are ways to solve these issues and keep track of all your credit-related obligations easily, and without having to pay an expensive credit repair agency every month.

A more suitable solution than credit agencies for some is credit repair software, which you only need to buy once (or never if it’s free) – after which you can fix reporting errors quickly and keep your finger on your credit’s pulse, protecting yourself from any unpleasant surprises. This article is here to give you a hint as to how this stuff works and showcase what we think is some of the best credit repair software around today.

Some of these programs are free and can help you keep track of everything, and some are on the expensive side but allow you to fix errors almost automatically, increasing your score overnight. As the saying goes – sitting idly won’t raise your FICO. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some good credit-saving software, as well as some tips you can use to get your score where you want it to be.

Top Credit Repair Software


Our pick for the best credit repair software based on prices and benefits:

1. Personal Credit Software
    Best Overall
2. Experian Boost
    Best For Quick Credit Repair
3. TurnScor
    Best Price-Functionality Ratio
4. Credit Karma
    Best Free Software
5. Credit Detailer
    Best Bilingual Software (Spanish)
6. Intuit Turbo
    Best For User-friendliness

What’s the Best Credit Repair Software?

Since credit repair software includes different categories and different types of functionality, it’s hard to put one above all others. Some programs can help you settle disputes with credit bureaus, some can help you track your score, and some can do just about everything – but for a higher price. Let’s take a look at some very different pieces of software and see which one suits your needs best in terms of functionality and price. 

1. Personal Credit Software – Best Overall

The homepage of Personal Credit Software
Personal Credit Software is the best overall credit repair software you can find.

Pros

  • Probably the most comprehensive credit repair software
  • Partially automated report dispute system
  • Very easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • High price
  • Requires a bit of work from the user

Price: $400 ($199.97 with the current discount)

Best for: Clients looking for quick credit report fixes and an easy-to-use platform

Personal Credit Software, also known as Personal Credit Builder, may lack the glitz of fancy-looking modern software (and a memorable name), but more than makes up for it with functionality. Among other things, this software gives you a comprehensive overview of your credit as well as the ability to quickly find and resolve reporting errors.

Finding errors in reports is partially automated so you don’t have to be an accounting wizard to figure out if something is where it shouldn’t be. After you’ve spotted these errors, you can use templates for letters you need to send to the credit bureaus to fix the report. Making quick fixes is especially easy, as the platform is fairly automated when dealing with typical, simple reporting errors.

You can also set up automatic alerts to keep track of when all your payments are due. The toolset is very comprehensive but isn’t hard to use. This windows-based platform has 7 screens that you can navigate by clicking big buttons, making it very easy to get used to, even if you have no previous experience with such programs.

However, this well-rounded platform costs a hefty amount, namely, $400 – but you can use the limited discount offer and get this software for $199.97 at the moment. There are many cheaper alternatives, but this is a one-time payment after which you can install the software on 3 different devices and never worry about additional payments.

If you are a DIY-oriented person, this solution might seem a lot better than professional credit repair services which will cost you more in subscription fees after a year or so.

Personal Credit Builder will also give you educational materials, helpful legal tips, and tutorials on how to improve your credit. This will require a bit of reading but is a good investment – there is a lot to know about credit repair and most debtors are often unaware of many useful tips that can mean the world to one’s FICO.

Personal Credit Software might require some legwork, but gives you a complete toolset for keeping an eye on your score and you can use the professionally-made letter templates to dispute any and all mistakes in your credit report. Email customer support is available 24/7 if you need help fixing your score with this software.


2. Experian Boost – Best for Quick Credit Repair

Experian Boost Logo
Experian Boos is a great software for users who need to repair credit as quick as possible.

Pros

  • Can update reports very quickly to include positive credit factors
  • Updating a report can not decrease your FICO
  • Completely FREE

Cons

  • Only works for Experian reports
  • Very limited functionality

Price: FREE

Best for: Quick credit updates/fixes for Experian reports

Experian is one of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus where credit ratings are calculated, so it’s only natural it has its own credit repair software. Experian Boost is a program that you can link to your financial accounts, after which it will dig through all your bills and payments. And that’s how you get your boost.

If you’ve been taking care of your utility bills and credit payments on time, Boost will see these positive factors and update your FICO immediately. Luckily, the opposite is not true – if Boost finds you haven’t been making timely payments, it will not affect your score negatively.

So, how much can something this simple increase your score? According to Experian, users have experienced a 10 point increase on average. What’s more, users who have less than 5 accounts on their credit reports have seen a 19 point jump on average – not bad for free software.

That’s right, Experian Boost is free, so there’s no upside to not using it. This credit score boost works best for clients with average or low scores, as well as new credit users with no credit history. Someone with a great FICO won’t benefit much from Experian Boost and is better off getting a comprehensive credit monitoring software.

There is, however, a big drawback to keep in mind. If you’re using reports from the other 2 credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, you will have no use for this software. On the other hand, setting up a free account is very quick and easy, so it might be a good idea to check out Boost if you’re using Experian credit reports.


3. TurnScor – Best Price-Functionality Ratio

TurnScor Logo
If you need a low-cost software that provides excellent features , then TurnScor is the right choice.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Helps with sending credit report disputes
  • The platform is easy to use

Cons

  • Requires more legwork than similar competing software
  • Unresponsive customer support

Price: $40

Best for: Clients looking for an affordable, user-friendly platform

If well-rounded credit repair programs seem a bit heavy on the pocket, don’t worry – this one offers much and has a more relaxed price tag of only $40. TurnScor is the step below high-tier credit repair software in terms of functionality, but offers most tools you’ll need to manage and fix your score for a much more competitive price.

With this software, you can monitor your scores from all 3 major credit bureaus and keep a close eye on all credit-related expenses and events. The UI is designed for ease of use- if you ever get lost or confused you can click on the handy “T” icon, which will show you the next step you should take whatever you might be doing in the platform.

TurnScor also enables you to file disputes and send letters to credit bureaus using the professionally-made templates to make the process quicker. However, unlike the software on the top of this list, this one requires a lot more legwork from the user.

When you manually fill out these templates and make the letters, they will be saved in your account, through which you can track your correspondence with credit bureaus. The platform lacks some nuanced functions of its expensive competitors – but it is very easy to figure out.

The program comes with thorough tutorials and training videos, which will be very helpful for new users. 

The software uses a fun, race car-themed interface design and offers good functionality all-around. There doesn’t seem to be a trial version available at the moment, but you can get a free ebook explaining all the software’s functions in detail upon signing up.


4. Credit Karma – Best Free Software

Credit Karma Banner
Credit Karma will help you repair your credit for free.

Pros

  • Totally FREE
  • Helps you track your FICO and read reports
  • Has a credit simulator

Cons

  • Only provides TransUnion and Equifax reports
  • Will try to upsell you products occasionally

Price: FREE

Best for:  Users who want easy credit monitoring and a credit simulator

Credit Karma doesn’t give you the ability to dispute errors in your credit reports like some of the other names on this list but will provide you with most tools you’ll ever need to keep a close eye on your score. The software has become very well known for its ease of use and overall handiness – and on top of that, it’s completely free.

You can get regular credit reports – but rather than reading them in their convoluted raw form, they will be presented in a simple format that non-bankers will have no trouble understanding. Aside from intelligible reports, the platform will also give you a list of credit factors that can improve your score – you might even think of this as a to-do list if you’re intent on fixing your score as quickly as possible.

Probably the most interesting feature here is Credit Karma’s credit simulator.

Essentially, this is a little program that will tell you how certain actions like missing a payment will impact your FICO. It can also simulate events like opening/closing a credit card account, lowering your credit utilization, etc. Just input what you think you’ll be doing in the future, and see how the simulation plays out – this is quite handy for making credit-related plans.

This is a simple, yet useful platform you don’t have to pay for, but it has a few limitations. For one, you will only get reports from TransUnion and Equifax, which is not great if you need your Experian report for some reason. Although, if you just want to monitor your FICO, the two agency reports will give you a very precise estimate of where your score is at.

Even though it’s free, Credit Karma has to make money somehow – which brings us to another downside. As you use the software, it will recommend and try to upsell certain products like credit cards. These recommendations are based on what Credit Karma knows about you, so at least they’ll be something you likely need.


5. Credit Detailer – Best Bilingual Software

Credit Detailer Logo
Credit Detailer enables you to use its services in multiple languages.

Pros

  • Comprehensive toolset
  • Partially automated report dispute system
  • 30-day money-back guarantee and 7-day free trial
  • Software and customer support are available in Spanish

Cons

  • Expensive without a discount
  • More difficult to use than some competing software

Price: $400 ( $99 with the current discount)

Best for: Users looking for a comprehensive program and don’t mind a bit of complexity

Not unlike Personal Credit Software, Credit Detailer will be of great help when it comes to finding report errors and fixing them. You can use templates to compose a professional letter and send it to your credit bureaus so they can correct whatever mistakes there are on your reports. This way, Credit Detailer can give you an easy fix for common reporting errors that are dragging your FICO through the dirt.

The whole process from noticing to fixing the error is pretty much automated, same as Personal Credit Software. However, Detailer’s interface is much more difficult to navigate and requires more legwork from the user. 

Nonetheless, the software wasn’t named Credit Detailer for no reason. The toolset you get is comprehensive and can give you detailed information about your reports from all 3 major credit bureaus. The software and its customer service are also available in Spanish, unlike most other such programs that are English-exclusive.

The official price for the full program is $400, but Credit Detailer has frequent discounts you should always be on a lookout for. At the moment, the software goes for $99, which is a great price considering how many options you get for it.

If you want to test the water before buying, Credit Detailer has a 7-day trial, which is enough time to figure out what button does what if you’re interested. The platform is a bit more difficult to use, but there are free ebooks, as well as tutorial videos if you need help learning how to use this comprehensive credit repair software.


6. Intuit Turbo – Best for User-Friendliness

Intuit Turbo Logo
The Intuit Turbo software comes with an intuitive user interface and help you repair credit in no time.

Pros

  • Completely FREE
  • Very easy to use
  • Lets you keep an eye on your FICO and credit reports

Cons

  • Very limited functionality
  • Can help you monitor credit but won’t take any action towards fixing it

Price: FREE

Best for: Someone looking to monitor their credit on a very user-friendly platform

As you might have guessed from the name, Intuit has a credit repair software that’s, well… Intuitive. This means easy to understand and use. Turbo is geared toward clients who want all information given to them in a very clear and concise form – visual aids like green for good and red for not-so-good are also there to brighten up the software’s UI.

Intuit is a well-known company in the financial software circles and its credit repair software gets good marks for accessibility and a useful mobile app – letting you keep an eye in your credit wherever and whenever. However, with ease use comes a lack of functionality.

Unlike some of the aforementioned programs, Intuit Turbo can not help you with reaching out to the credit bureaus so they can fix the errors in your report. Rather, this software will only help you monitor your credit and let you have all relevant information at your fingertips.

A bonus to keep in mind is that Inuit Turbo is totally free. What’s more, it won’t try to upsell other products, so you can have a comprehensive free personal credit monitoring experience without getting swamped with ads and “awesome limited offers” all the time. This makes it seem like there’s no upside to not having Intuit Turbo on your phone.

Your personal data is well-protected too, as the software has user ID encryption, as well as face ID and touch ID if you want to enable them. Turbo will show you your debt-to-income ratio and precise FICO, but can not take any action toward actually fixing your score. This makes it a good tool for clients who want their fingers on their credit’s pulse, but not if you need something that will fix erroneous reports and give you a better sense of how to go about increasing your credit rating.


How Credit Repair Works

Essentially, paying off your debt and bills on time, borrowing well below your credit limit, and being debt-free in general should be the main guidelines for improving your credit. However, there are a few nuisances that can damage your score even if you do everything by the book and on time – and that’s where credit repair software comes in helpful. 

For instance, it’s not uncommon for credit reports to have errors like typos which can make it seem like you’re less credit-worthy than you actually are. More importantly, keeping track of all credit-related activity isn’t exactly fun and easy, especially if you are trying to balance 4 different credit cards, a mortgage, and an auto loan.

Whether it’s correcting report errors, keeping track of exact payment dates, or predicting what your score will look like in the future and what you can count on – a good software solution can be a great boon. Using a credit repair agency is also a good way to rid yourself of debt-related burdens, but they have subscription fees which all of us can do without.

Credit repair software, on the other hand, is either free or requires a one-time payment, after which your wallet is safe. It might require a bit of legwork from you, but this is a good opportunity to get acquainted with managing credit on your own. Let’s see how 3 main types of this software work, and how they can help solve your problems.

Credit Clearing Kits – Fix Flaws In Your Credit Report

Credit reports often have mistakes like typos, misreported amounts, or spelling errors which can do subtle, yet significant damage. For instance, a single decimal point more on an important number, and you suddenly owe 10 times more than you should – at least in the eyes of companies that read those reports.

Moreover, credit reports aren’t updated every day, so it’s quite possible for an outdated item you paid off months ago to still be there – messing up your total score. If you’ve fallen victim to identity theft without knowing, your report may contain debt that’s been put there by fraudsters and shouldn’t be your responsibility.

These errors can be very damaging for your score and are hard to notice, even for savvy credit users – which is why specialized software can come in very handy. A credit clearing kit can notice mistakes and help you fix them easily and without having to hire professionals to get them removed. 

One more benefit, especially for users who want to delve into the mysteries of FICO scores, is that these programs usually offer ebooks and other educational materials you can learn from. The educational content is usually updated whenever legislation changes, which means you can get good, relevant info if you are interested.

Credit Repair Software is a good choice if you go about fixing your errors and learn more about credit score management – although this includes a bit of legwork. On the other hand, if a quick, free fix is what you’re looking for, Experian Boost might be a better option.

Credit Simulators – Predict Changes In Your Score

Since there are a thousand and one things that can impact your credit score, it is nice to know what they are and how much they will decrease/increase your rating. Luckily, credit simulator software is abundant and can help you predict what effect a late payment or opening a new credit card will have.

These programs can also simulate paying off debt, staying away from your credit limit, getting a balance transfer (which we will explain a bit later), and just about all other activities that impact credit scores. This is why a credit sim is a must-have tool if you want to make a detailed strategy for improving your rating in the future. A reputable and free service you can use for this purpose is Credit Karma, which offers a credit sim, as well as a spending tracker and a few other benefits.

Keep in mind that simulators cannot pinpoint your future credit score with %100 accuracy – but still, they can help you get a pretty good idea where you will stand. Moreover, unlike clearing kits, sims won’t see errors or marks of identity theft, which means you’re better off correcting your report beforehand if need be. 

Credit Trackers – Be Up To Date With Your Credit Rating

Trackers, aka credit monitoring services, can keep up with just about everything going on with your credit, however, they usually have subscription fees. Depending on the service you choose, they can give you clear regular reports and keep vigil over your accounts for signs of identity theft. 

Although they can cost a hefty amount, some credit monitoring services can give you a full package of credit monitoring, identity protection, as well as insurance in case you need legal assistance to fix problems created by identity thieves. 

However, even a full package won’t spare you from doing most of the legwork when fixing your credit, but they are a good source of protection in a world of rampant cybercrime. If you like the idea of getting a comprehensive service for tracking and protecting your financial health, check out our list of the best credit monitoring services to see if they can give you what you need.

Is Credit Repair Worth The Money?

Credit repair is definitely worth it as it can help you get a loan, good interest rates, insurance, and in some cases – a job. If your score is already in the 800s you are in a very, very good place – but reporting errors and identity theft can still pop up and do a number on your score, and your overall mood.

What happens if you try to borrow money with bad credit? Well, depending on a few factors, you could be denied altogether. If you do get approved, you’re likely to be stuck with some sort of a bad credit loan featuring guaranteed approval. While these may be necessary in certain situations, it’s ideal to avoid them and their high interest rates.

To put things into perspective, you should be aware that millions of Americans have skipped their credit payments in the past couple of months. This means that credit card companies will have to raise their requirements soon and only lend to users with very high scores – clients which are the least likely to miss payments in this chaotic time. In a way, having a great credit rating is more important today than ever before.

So, if your FICO is top-notch and you can keep it that way with responsible spending, your only concern is keeping your accounts fraud-free and safe. On the other hand, a low score means you will be limited in many ways and charged higher interest rates than you would if you were considered very creditworthy.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can probably get through the process of credit repair without spending much money on expensive tools and services. On the other hand, the most comprehensive credit monitoring services can cost you an arm and a leg, so getting these is probably not the cheapest idea unless your FICO needs a serious overhaul.

How Can I Fix My Credit Fast?

To fix your credit score, you can buy services that will provide you with assistance and information, as well as software that can make your climb to the top scores less of a headache. However, in the end, your score depends on you. 

Basically, the less you are indebted, the more you’ll be considered creditworthy. However, there are a number of ways to improve credit and make it easier for yourself to meet all those timely payments. Here are some things you can do to fix your score over time regardless of whether you’re using a comprehensive credit repair service or not.

Pay Off Debt On Time

This might come as a no-brainer, but this is the single most important factor for your credit rating. Nothing will melt your great FICO like a few late payments, which is why it is so important to prioritize paying debt and other bills as soon as possible. However, if you just can’t make those payments on time, don’t worry – there are ways to get around this to some extent.

Balance Transfer

You can borrow money using one credit card to pay off the debt on another credit card. Essentially, you are “transferring” debt from one card to another that can be paid off at a later date, giving you time to spread out your payments and avoid being late – hence the name. 

So, is there another benefit to this? There can be – if card A has a 10% interest rate (which you have to pay if you’re late) and you transfer its debt to car B which has a 5% rate, you’ve just lowered the interest rate you have to pay. Doing the opposite would mean you would have to pay more, so always remember to use the card with the lowest rate for balance transfers.

Unfortunately, balance transfers include fees that are usually between 3% and 5% of the total amount you want to transfer. However, if you do everything right and use a lower interest rate card for the transfer, these fees will turn out cheaper than letting one card accumulate all your debt.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is that just because your 2 credit cards are different it doesn’t mean they belong to different companies. Two different credit card providers can have the same parent company, like a big bank – in which case you can not use one card to pay off the debt on another one. 

There is a way around this if you don’t mind the hassle, and that is – balance checks. You can request balance transfer checks from your credit card provider and use them to complete this transfer – even if both cards are owned by the same big bank. A balance check is a handy ace to have up your sleeve but requires you to have multiple open lines of credit, preferably cheap credit – which is why it might not be for everyone. 

Keep Your Credit Utilization Low

This might seem counterintuitive, but just because you can max out your credit, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, using most of your maximum credit will reduce your score almost immediately. 

If your max credit for a month is $1,000 and you use $500, that means your credit utilization is 50%. What you want to do is reduce your credit utilization to 20% or even lower. If you manage this, your FICO will see improvement very quickly – and you might even see it rise a few dozen points over the next couple of weeks.

Hand Holding a Credit Card Vector
Low credit utilization equals better credit score.

Clear Your Credit Report

This is a technical matter and will usually contribute less to your FICO than keeping your debt low and your payments frequent. Nonetheless, this is easy to do with a report clearing service like the aptly named Credit Detailer and can improve your score quickly because of two facts.

The first fact is that clearing will remove the errors and outdated items in your reports, which can increase your score almost immediately. The second fact is that it will update your FICO. Usually, FICO scores don’t get updated very often – sometimes a couple of times per year. Doing a few nice things for your FICO and then getting it updated means you will get the benefits of a high rating as soon as possible, rather than with a 6-month delay.

Credit Repair or Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation means taking out a loan to pay off other debt like credit card bills, student loans, etc. If you can get a favorable loan offer, debt consolidation can help you pay off your debt on time, as well as lower the interest you have to pay. How does this fit into the bigger picture?

Many things can help your credit score, and debt consolidation is one of them. However, it is not a solution, but a method that can buy you time and decrease the interest you have to pay if you can find a cheap, favorable loan to pay off your other liabilities.

So, should you get a credit repair service or try debt consolidation? It depends – these two tools have different uses. A credit repair service or software can help you improve and protect your money and rating over a long period. No credit repair service will give you a quick solution for a bad FICO, even though their ads might imply otherwise.

If you get a comprehensive credit monitoring service it can give you regular credit reports, clear your reports for mistakes, and protect you from identity theft. This is good stuff, but it will only benefit you in the long run.

Debt consolidation, on the other hand, can give you an instant one-time relief and is part of the whole credit repair process. If you are in debt you can’t handle, you can try debt consolidation to get out of a potentially sticky situation smoothly. If that goes well and you get to a more pleasant state of debt, getting a credit repair service can help keep your score under control and on a steady upward trajectory.

Is debt consolidation right for you? See our top debt consolidation loans report.

Credit Repair vs Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a complicated process that will not improve your score in most cases. The best-case scenario is: you file for bankruptcy, your property is liquidated to pay off your debt, you get out of debt completely, and you get a long-lasting negative statement in your credit report. It is possible to remove this negative statement from your credit report by disputing it, but that won’t work for everyone and you will probably need legal support.

There are many types of bankruptcy and you might not be eligible for the one you want. All in all, bankruptcy is a tool debtors use as the last attempt to get out of debt, and not a way to improve your credit score. If bankruptcy is something you’re considering, we recommend speaking to a good bankruptcy attorney rather than simply reading up on it online.

Credit Repair With Student Loans

If you can’t make your student loan payments in time that will lead to a default. As you might imagine, this will negatively affect your credit score which you will want to repair right away. Repairing your score from a default is possible but there are no quick solutions – such endeavors usually take a lot of time and organization. The first thing you need to do is get out of the default, and there are a few ways to go about it. 

Paying off your loan is the best thing to do, but it is unrealistic in most cases since most student loans tend to be well over $10,000. A more realistic approach might be borrowing money from a close friend or family member at a lower rate – this will relieve you of your student debt and give you a more relaxed obligation towards your new creditor.

Rehabilitating your loans is another way to make paying them off more doable. This means talking to your loan servicer or collections agency to restructure your debt into a series of reasonable monthly payments. This is basically stretching out your obligation to make paying it off easier.

Consolidating your loans into one is also possible, but only if you have federal loans. Essentially, your loans are merged into one big loan and they will be considered paid and get you out of a default. There are 2 ways to qualify for consolidation:

The first way is to make 3 on-time payments and then apply for a direct consolidation loan. The second way is to apply for an income-driven repayment program – this means your loan payments will be structured based on your income, leaving you with affordable monthly bills.

These are some ways to make getting out of a default more approachable. However, getting out of a default is only the first step – after that, you need to pay off your debt in time, stay far away from your credit limit as possible, etc. Do the things we talked about in the previous sections, rinse and repeat – fixing your score is something that always takes time but is easy as long as you are consistent and organized.

How Long Does It Take To Rebuild Credit?

Clearing reports and settling disputes can take up to six months on average because the credit bureaus need a lot of time to go through the whole bureaucratic process. However, if you have a couple of mistakes and clear them every year, this will likely take less than a month.

Fixing errors is only a part of the process, though. Making timely payments, cutting down on the number of credit cards, spending much less than your credit limit allows, etc. will determine the bulk of your credit score. If you do everything efficiently and on time, your score will likely increase a couple of points every week – or even more if you manage to pay off a significant part of your debt.

Credit Repair Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Not Doing Anything

First of all, nothing good can come out of postponing credit repair. A bad rating has an ugly habit of dropping even lower if you leave it unattended. Since credit repair is all about little victories over time, it is better if you take action as soon as possible.

Canceling Credit Cards

Not many people know this but canceling a credit card account can actually damage your credit rating. This is especially true if it’s an old credit card or a credit card with a balance. Although having fewer credit cards means less debt and a better score long-term, keep in mind that canceling one will decrease your credit rating immediately.

Overestimating Balance Transfers

A balance transfer might lower the amount of debt you have to pay, but it’s mainly there to postpone your payments. Since this is only a way to delay the inevitable, don’t think of it as a solution – a good strategy and consistency are needed if you want to fix your credit after a balance transfer.

Not Reading Credit Reports

Before starting to repair your credit, it’s best to have a good strategy. Credit reports will tell you what the critical areas are and where you should focus your efforts. Luckily, checking these reports is possible through many handy free programs, so there is no upside to checking them every now and then.

Declaring Bankruptcy

Although bankruptcy can help repair your credit in theory, it shouldn’t be used as a score-fixing tactic. Bankruptcy will negatively impact your score and it will remain on your reports for the next 7-10 years – remember, lenders really don’t like clients who have filed for bankruptcy in the past. Getting rid of this stain from your report isn’t easy, so it’s best to avoid bankruptcy if you have alternatives.

Conclusion

By following all the tips above, you’ll be able to restore your credit in due time. With better credit, you’ll be able to qualify for top low-interest personal loans and keep more money in your wallet.

Don’t get stuck with high interest rates — take responsible steps to fix your credit. Once you start seeing results, you’ll be glad you did.

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One of the biggest learning experiences a young person has when it comes to their personal finances is figuring out how to manage their credit cards. This can be a fraught process. First, for someone with no credit, like a student, getting a credit card is easier said than done. Then, once a student has a card, the temptation to overspend can lead to a financial hole — and it can happen fast. Luckily, there are options out there that are good for beginners — almost like cards with training wheels. These are student credit cards.

There are lots of reasons someone might consider a student card. First, being a student comes with a lot of expenses, and even a flush checking account may be no match for the seemingly endless list of books, software and other school supplies needed during a given semester. After all, college and high school students have returned to campus (or their virtual classrooms) for the spring semester already, and while school definitely looks different right now due to the global coronavirus pandemic, that just means that students need supplies beyond the typical notebooks and pens — think top-of-the-line computers, a new desk, and other work-from-home essentials to complete schoolwork.

However, perhaps the most pressing reason to pursue a student credit card is to build credit. After all, it’s hard to get good credit if you don’t already have it. And, if you’re a high school or college student with no credit at all — well, that reflects on a credit report and makes everything twice as difficult when working with a credit bureau.

While some people choose to build credit with a secured credit card — that is, a card where you’ve backed your credit limit with a cash deposit, student credit cards work a bit differently. These cards typically only offer a small credit line, sometimes just a couple hundred bucks. That way, the student can use the card to build credit without the risk of racking up too much credit card debt (which leads to bad credit), while the card issuer hopes that the card holder will transition into full-time employment and will use their card for everyday purchases for years to come.

There are a handful of good student credit cards out there. This list will help you figure out which one is the best student credit card for you.

Best student credit cards

Best overall Best for students without a credit history Best for students who plan to carry a balance Best for students with a co-signer
Discover It Student Chrome Deserve Edu Credit Card Chase Freedom Student Bank of America Travel Rewards
Annual percentage rate (standard / penalty) 17.99% variable, with 0% for the first 6 months / None 18.74% variable / None 14.99% variable / None 14.99% to 22.99% variable
Late payment fee Up to $40 Up to $25 Up to $39 Up to $40
Cash-back reward rate 2% on gas and dining (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), 1% on all other purchases 1% on all purchases 1% on all purchases; 4% cash back on Lyft until 2022 1.5% on all purchases
Eligibility requirements No credit history required, proof of income required No credit score required; no Social Security number required for international students Co-signers not allowed, proof of income required Co-signers allowed
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0

A typical credit card application requires a high credit score (around 650 or so) and at least a few years of credit report history. To get a student credit card, however, you don’t necessarily need either, though some proof of financial experience and responsibility helps when it comes to securing a credit card offer. The card issuer looks at sources of income — even from part-time work or deposits from parents — as well as information about checking and savings accounts to get a sense of an applicant’s saving and spending. Luckily, once a student is able to get a card, simply making everyday purchases is an easy way to build credit (so long as the student is able to pay off their purchases).

In addition to more relaxed eligibility requirements, the best student credit card will offer some of the following features:

  • Special rules for credit newcomers such as minimal late fees and no-penalty APRs
  • Lower credit limits — usually between $500 and $2,000
  • Cashback rewards program on spending
  • A “reasonable” APR — usually between 15 and 20%

We evaluated 19 credit cards marketed specifically to students. We selected four cards that stood out across a range of criteria, including APR, forgiveness for credit mistakes, cash rewards and lenient eligibility requirements. We urge students to consider important factors like interest rate, whether the card has an annual fee and if the card offers a cash advance before they make a decision. Check out our picks below as well as some answers to frequently asked questions about student credit cards at the end of this article. We’ll update this list periodically.

The best student credit card overall

  • Standard APR: 17.99% variable (0% for the first 6 months)
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 2% on gas and dining, up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter; 1% on all other purchases 
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Standout feature: No late fee for first late payment
  • Eligibility requirements: No credit history required, proof of income 

The Discover It Student Chrome offers a winning combination of cash back and other rewards as well as lenient terms for first-time credit card holders. You won’t get dinged by the credit card company for a late payment — at least the first one — or have to deal with an exorbitant penalty APR. And, of course, getting 1 to 2% back in rewards each month is a welcome bonus. Note that Discover offers another similar student credit card, the Discover It Student Cash Back credit card, but the rotating bonus categories make things overcomplicated, especially for first-time cardholders. 

Features and rewards

Most student credit cards offer 1% cash back. The Discover It Student Chrome card bests that with 2% cash back on gas and dining, plus a generous cash-back match at the end of the first year. The match effectively doubles your first year’s bonus rewards, so if you receive $75 in cash-back rewards during the first 12 months, Discover will chip in an additional $75. We also like that the Chrome student credit card incentivizes good grades: You can earn a $20 statement credit for each school year you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

Rates and fees 

Discover’s rates and fees are generally lower than competitors’. The APR charged on purchases ranges between 12.99 and 21.99%, and there’s an introductory six-month period with 0% APR. Students with the Discover It Student Chrome also don’t have to worry about a penalty APR, which some issuers will institute if a card holder misses a payment. There’s no late fee for the first late payment, but for the second instance the credit card company charges up to $40, which is comparable to what other cards charge. 

At the moment, most study abroad programs have been put on hold. That noted, the Chrome student credit card has no foreign transaction fees — though Discover isn’t as widely accepted outside of the US as Mastercard and Visa.

Best for students without a credit history

  • Standard APR: 18.74% variable
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $25
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 1% on all purchases 
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Standout feature: Low late payment fee
  • Eligibility requirements: No credit score required; no Social Security number required for international students 

Deserve Edu Mastercard positions itself as an alternative to the traditional banks and credit card issuers, and specializes in credit cards for students and first-timers. And the Deserve Edu student credit card checks many of the boxes: It offers 1% back on all spending, features a relatively low late-payment fee and comes with a flat 18.74% APR. While it offers a lower student rewards rate than others, its relaxed eligibility requirements are well suited for students with a brief or nonexistent credit history or other potentially disqualifying limitation — like not having a Social Security number, if you’re an international student. 

Features and rewards

The Deserve Edu student credit card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, which can be redeemed for statement credits in increments of $25. Card holders also get one year free of Amazon Prime Student — worth around $40 — and up to $600 of credit toward cell phone protection coverage when you pay your monthly bill with it. 

Rates and fees

The 18.74% variable APR is relatively low for a student credit card, and it’s not tied to your credit score, so you know exactly what the APR is at the outset. Rather, the APR is “variable” because it’s tied to the “prime rate” — a benchmark interest rate used by lenders that changes over time. With most other cards, you won’t know the exact APR certain until you’ve been approved, and if you have a limited or nonexistent credit history it could be on the higher end of the range of what the issuer advertises. If you miss a payment, there’s no penalty APR, though you may be charged a late payment fee of $25. (Still, that’s about $15 less than the fee charged by most other student cards.) Deserve doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Best for students who plan to carry a balance

  • Standard APR: 14.99% variable
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: Up to $39
  • Cash-back rewards: 1% on all purchases; 4% cash back on Lyft until 2022
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Standout features: Free, unlimited access to credit score; Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time
  • Eligibility requirements: No co-signers, proof of income

The student version of one of our favorite cash-back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Student credit card has a lot to offer. The 14.99% variable APR is one of the lowest available for student credit cards, and you get a $50 credit when you sign up, a $20 bonus every year and a credit limit increase after five on-time payments.

Features and rewards

Chase offers cardholders free and unlimited access to their credit score, which can be an important tool for those building credit from scratch. The credit limit increase is another nice feature as credit use is a primary factor in a credit score. Most credit experts recommend using less than 30% of your total credit available, so the higher the limit, the easier it is to keep your credit use low.

Its 1% cash back on all purchases is consistent with the category average and the 4% back on Lyft rides is nice (though less practical for many in the coronavirus era). The $50 sign-on bonus can be triggered by making a single purchase in the first three months so you need not worry about hitting a high spending threshold. And the $20 annual reward can be redeemed for five years — as long as your account remains in good standing.

Rates and fees

Every cardholder gets the 14.99% variable APR — so you know what you’re signed up for at the outset. It’s best not to maintain a balance month to month, but if it happens once or twice, the interest will be lower than with other cards.

A few words of caution: This card’s late payment fee can run as high as $39 for a first late payment; most other student cards have a lower penalty or no penalty for first-time offenders; and if you’re planning on studying abroad, this card will subject you to a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Best for students who have a co-signer

  • Standard APR: 14.99% to 22.99% variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 1.5% on all purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Eligibility requirements: Allows co-signers

Bank of America is one of the few card issuers that allows co-signers, who can be a parent, guardian — or anyone with a good credit score who’s willing to share the legal liability. On the other hand, any late or missed payments or high outstanding balances will also negatively affect the co-signer’s score. 

Features and rewards

This student credit card is essentially the same as Bank of America’s Travel Rewards card, which means it offers higher risks and rewards than most other student cards. You get a higher cash rewards rate — 1.5% back on all purchases — but fewer of the relaxed requirements for credit novices. And points can be redeemed only as statement credits against travel purchases; so, unless 1.5% of your spending is on taxis, Uber or Lyft, flights, baggage fees, hotels, rental cars, buses, trains, amusement parks or campgrounds, this card’s rewards aren’t particularly valuable.

Bank of America will grant you 25,000 points, equivalent to $250, when you sign up if you spend $1,000 during the first three months. That’s a higher threshold than you’ll find with other student cards, but also a higher reward. Bottom line: If you can time your credit card application with a large purchase, it’s worth it.

Rates and fees 

Bank of America offers an introductory 0% APR for the first year and no foreign transaction fees. That being said, this student credit card doesn’t mess around when it comes to penalties: The standard APR runs between 14.99% and 22.99% depending on your credit score, but if you’re late with a payment, you could be hit with the 29.99% penalty APR. That’s exorbitant — and it comes in addition to a $40 late payment fee. Students at risk of paying late should avoid this card at all costs.

What’s the best student credit card right now?

The Discover It Student Chrome is our pick for the best student credit card right now due to its lenient terms for first-time cardholders, including no penalty for the first late payment, and a combination of cash back and other rewards. The Deserve Edu Credit Card is best for students without a credit history, while the Chase Freedom Student is a sound choice for students who plan to carry a balance. If the student has a co-signer, we recommend the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

How does a student credit card work?

Student credit cards offer those with limited or no credit a way to start building credit and create a credit history. They generally come with lower credit limits than typical credit cards and don’t charge annual fees. And they often have novice-friendly features, including late payment forgiveness, incremental credit limit increases over time and credit education resources. Reward rates may be lower than for standard cash-back and travel credit cards, however, making student credit cards a lower-risk, lower-reward financial tool.

Are secured credit cards a good option for first-time credit card holders?

Student credit cards offer those with limited or no credit a way to start building credit and create a credit history. They generally come with lower credit limits than typical credit cards and don’t charge annual fees. And they often have novice-friendly features, including late payment forgiveness, incremental credit limit increases over time and credit education resources. Reward rates may be lower than for standard cash-back and travel credit cards, however, making student credit cards a lower-risk, lower-reward financial tool.

If you subscribe to only one CNET newsletter, this is it. Get editors’ top picks of the day’s most interesting reviews, news stories and videos.

What do you need to qualify for a student credit card?

Most credit cards require an applicant to have a credit score of at least 650 and a substantial credit history. Student cards don’t. Still, you may need to demonstrate some financial responsibility — including a source of income, even from part-time work or deposits from your parents. The card issuer may also want to see information about your checking and savings accounts to get a sense of your spending habits and confirm that you’ll have sufficient funds to pay the minimum monthly payment. 

How do cash-back rewards work?

For all the cards listed above, “cash back” refers to a statement credit that’s applied to your account to lower your balance. For the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, for example, you can only redeem rewards against travel purchases. But for most other cards, cash rewards can be applied toward a balance regardless of expense type.

Cards we researched

  • CapitalOne Journey Student Rewards
  • Discover It Student Chrome 
  • Discover It Student Cash Back 
  • Deserve EDU Student
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students
  • CapitalOne Secured Mastercard
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students 
  • Citi Rewards + Student
  • OpenSky Secured Visa
  • BankAmericard for Students 
  • StateFarm Student Visa 
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College 
  • Petal Visa 
  • Chase Freedom Student
  • CapitalOne Platinum
  • Discover It Secured
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Citi Double Cash Card
  • CapitalOne Quicksilver Cash

Disclaimer: The information included in this article, including program features, program fees and credits available through credit cards to apply to such programs, may change from time to time and are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please check the credit card provider’s website and review its terms and conditions for the most current offers and information. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

The comments on this article are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Bad Credit Credit Cards – Feds charge four more in alleged $31 million embezzlement scheme preceding 2017 failure of Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport | Fintech Zoom

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James Crotty, 41, of Tinley Park; Boguslaw Kasprowicz, 63, of Burbank, California; and Miroslaw Krejza, 62, of Chicago, were also charged in Thursday’s 67-page superseding indictment. All four new defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court March 4.

Bad Credit Credit Cards – Feds charge four more in alleged $31 million embezzlement scheme preceding 2017 failure of Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport

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Complaints of credit report errors have increased during the pandemic. Here’s how to protect yourself.

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Complaints about errors in credit reports have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began — and these errors can pose a host of problems for the consumer.

Roseann Palmeiri wanted to borrow money for some home improvement projects. But she was shocked to learn that her credit score had dropped by 200 points.

“I said, ‘How am I going to apply for a loan and get the good interest rates now? I might not even get the loan,’” she says.

Palmeiri says that she disputed a fraudulent charge on her credit card and that it somehow had been reported as a bad debt.

“To drop by almost 200 points? That’s ridiculous. And first of all, you really had no business reporting that until it was resolved,” she says.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says that there were 195,974 complaints about bad information on credit reports last year – almost as many as all other complaints combined.

Palmeiri’s credit card company fixed the mistake. But it is not always that simple.

“There’s more of a chance of bad information being put on your credit report than there is a chance of them fixing it. It’s a mess,” says Ed Mierzwinski, with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

Mierzwinski says that a mistake on a credit report can have serious consequences.

“If you’ve got a bad credit report and you can’t get it fixed, you’ll either pay more for credit or be behind credit or you could even be denied a job,” he says.

PIRG hopes that under the Biden administration, the CFPB will take a harder line on credit agencies that post bad information. But in the end, it is up to everyone else to make sure their credit report is accurate.

Experts say that people should check their credit reports regularly. They can get a free report once a year from each of the major reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. Anyone who sees an error should contact each agency, point out the error and provide evidence.

If the problem isn’t resolved, one may consider taking legal action against both the credit agency and the company that reported the bad information.

“Sometimes you should see an attorney before you write your letter because it may be a complicated matter that you need help trying to figure out how to articulate the information. That’s fine. But legal action can’t be taken until the credit reporting agency and the furnisher has an opportunity to correct the information,” says consumer attorney Craig Kimmel, with the firm Kimmel & Silverman.

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