First of all, congratulations on completing a major step to financial well-being by settling or discharging your unsecured debt. This is a big step completed.
You might be considering what you can do to improve your credit rating so that you can obtain credit in the future for a major purchase like a vehicle or a home.
Here, in no particular order, are things to consider;
- Your overall credit rating is scored on a number system ranging from 300(the worst) to 850(the best). To obtain a “good” rating requires a score of about 700(it varies a little based on which of 2 scales is used).
- Individual creditors who you are already dealing with such as your landlord, secured creditors, and utility companies, can rate your payments to them on the “R1 to R9” scale where R1 is the best and R9 is the worst. Make sure you make payments to these creditors on time for the full monthly payment and don’t miss any payments because these separate R scores influence you overall credit rating.
- It may be difficult at first, coming off a proposal or bankruptcy to obtain unsecured credit. It is easier to start by obtaining a secured credit card. A secured credit card is where you apply for a credit card that is limited to an amount equal to or less than a cash deposit with the credit card company so they have no risk in losing anything if you fail to pay. If you pay off the total charges on the credit card account each month on time the credit card company can rate you R1, and in many cases after a reasonable period without any account problems they will release their hold on the cash you have deposited with them and will consider increasing your limit. Having this unsecured credit with an R1 rating makes it easier to get additional credit accounts.
- Maintain or find a steady source of employment income. The higher the amount and the longer the duration the better. It takes time to establish that your work and income is steady which shows proof of ability to make payments for new credit which affects your credit rating.
- Do not overextend yourself. Obtaining too much credit and using it makes it easier to overextend yourself which was probably a factor in your proposal or bankruptcy. if you overextend yourself your credit rating can decrease which is the opposite of what you want.
- Do not apply for credit for the sake of proving you can obtain credit before your credit rating returns to a reasonable level. This often leads to extremely high interest rate credit which can be unforgiving and lead to financial disaster.
- Some individuals can improve their credit rating quickly which is in a year or two and others may take much longer. It will depend on your situation and your future dealings with future creditors.
With a bit of luck and some planning and patience, you can be on your way to a secure financial future.