If your credit score has been damaged over the last few years, you’re not alone. You may have had to close some credit card accounts or had some closed by the lender. To rebuild your credit, the right secured cards can help you start over.

Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card will take some leg work on the borrower’s part. Setting up your secured card will require you to put in some legwork. If your credit score is damaged enough that you have had to go back to cash, you may find that saving process a bit easier.

Consider directing your current paychecks into a bank that will allow you to apply for new credit cards based on your regular income rather than just your payment history.

Monitor Your Credit Utilization

While saving for a secured credit card, take out the existing cards in your wallet and call to determine your current credit utilization. If your current cards are maxed or close to maxed, getting your available credit limit raised but not using it can raise your score by a few points at least.

Build Up Emergency Savings

One of the best ways to avoid credit troubles in the future is to set up an emergency savings account that is easy to load but hard to empty.

Setting up an online savings account and losing your password once you have created an automatic deduction and loading time is actually quite an effective method of saving for an emergency. To get money out, you will have to set up a new password and withdraw the money. It may also take time to transfer the money, which can give you time to reconsider a purchase.

Work On Improving Your Credit Score

Late payments are a common source of credit problems. To avoid having both the pain and payments of late fees, get in a weekly habit of paying your bills each week.

You may only be able to make the minimum payment at that time. Note the amount of each payment made and set any bills that you want to pay more on later to the side. If you can pay more on the debt later, you can avoid the interest and protect yourself from the late fees.

Once you have a steady payment history on at least the minimum due each month for 6 months, give the lender a call to see if you can get a 0% APR offer. Consolidating small debts in such a card can reduce both the interest that you have to pay and give you more time to get on top of the debt. In the case of the SoFi credit card, as per their experts, “Make 12 monthly on-time payments of at least the minimum payment due, and we’ll lower your APR by 1%.”

Steady payment history and a bit of emergency savings can go a long way to boosting your credit score. With savings, a secured credit card can be made available. A healthy habit of bill paying on a regular basis will reduce both your expenses and protect your score.

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