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Raising your credit score

If your fight to stay afloat has sunk your credit score, there are things you can do to attempt and raise the number on your own. A decent credit score can help you attain certain types of employment and afford housing, so it's important that you take care of your score as much as possible. If you are seeking debt relief from creditors, some of the techniques will be helpful in that regard as well.

The most important thing you can do is pay your bills on time. Keeping your bills current not only shows up as a positive on your credit report, it helps keep you out of debt. If you don't have bills that are past due, then you might not have to "rob Peter to pay Paul" and run the risk of not paying something that will show up negatively on your credit report later.

If you have a lot of credit card debt, talk to the credit card company and see if you can work out a deal to pay off the debt at a lower interest rate or principal amount. This can get your paid off faster, and many credit card lenders are willing to do it because they want to be paid. If you go this route, make sure the lenders report your account to the credit bureaus as "paying as agreed;" otherwise, it will not help your credit score.

You should check for errors on your credit report regularly to ensure there are no mistakes and that you aren't the victim of identity theft. This is a fairly common occurrence, so it's a good idea to keep a close eye on your report, just in case.

Do not cancel your credit cards. Canceling credit will lower the amount of credit available to you, and that in turn lowers your credit utilization score. So, keep the cards, but don't use them.

These steps can help you improve your credit score. If you want additional assistance or need more help than you can manage on your own, speaking to an experienced legal professional can help you find the solutions you need to your financial problems.

Source: Huffington Post, "Simple Ways to Raise Your Credit Score" Diane Davis, Nov. 07, 2013

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