Even if you have made money mistakes in the past, you can rebuild your credit history and become a borrower in good standing. It is important to have a good credit history if you want to borrow money. The better your credit report and score, the better the terms of your loans and credit will be (e.g. lower interest rates).
However, you have harmed your credit history and score if:
- you did not pay at least the minimum balance on your debts
- you made late payments
- you went over your credit limit
- you missed one or several payments
- you stopped making payments altogether
- you have too much credit and you use it
- your debt was referred to collection
- you made a consumer proposal
- you declared bankruptcy.
A bad credit report and score can mean you do not get approved for a loan, or you do not receive the best loan terms (e.g. higher interest rate).
How to rebuild your credit history
- Make at least the minimum payment by the due date. If you cannot pay off your balance in full each month, make at least the minimum payment on each of your debts on time. Late payments will count against you and negatively impact your credit score and credit report.
- Do not apply for too many credit and loan products. Having too much credit can also negatively affect your credit report. Keep your available credit at a minimum. Do not fill in too many applications for credit and loans because every time you do, your credit history is checked. Each credit check can affect your credit score.
- Review your statements. When you are in debt, avoiding your monthly statements may cost you. Mistakes happen and you only have a limited time to correct them. Always review your statements to make sure there are no transactions charged in error and that your payments are recorded correctly. Report any mistakes as soon as possible.
- Check your credit report annually. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from the credit rating agencies. Check your credit report annually for errors and get them corrected as soon as possible.
Prepaid cards do not help you build credit. You may choose to use a prepaid card as a payment option, but its use is not tracked by the credit rating agencies.
Use credit responsibly
There are no quick fixes to repairing your credit history. You have to prove you are a responsible borrower to lenders, and that may take time. Whether you are rebuilding your credit history, or trying to maintain a good credit score, you should always use credit responsibly.