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How to pad your credit report if you have negative items


Get positive credit accounts reporting to counteract negative accounts.

Making plenty of money does not take the place of a bad credit report. Banks, employers, insurance companies and landords don’t care how much money you make if you have a history of failing to pay bills on time.

If the dispute process does not appeal to you there are several ways to overcome bad credit. One way is to pad your credit report with positive accounts to help counteract the negative accounts that are reporting

Here are several ways to beef up your credit reports with positive information.


Establish a recent history of on-time payments.

Recent information has a greater impact on credit scores than old information. Credit scores are primarily based on the last 2 years of recent information. Even if you’ve been through difficult credit problems, it’s important to establish current, positive credit references that can boost your credit scores over time.


Show stability on credit reports.

Creditors like to see evidence of stability in your file. Clear up any discrepancies in your name, birth date, social security number, date of birth, current and former residence, and current employer. The only time you may not want all of your personal information on credit reports is when a creditor or collection agency is owed and you think you may be sued or when a creditor already has a judgment. Current employment information may be a green light for a wage garnishment. Get more credit fix tips.


Add your telephone number to credit reports.

Believe it or not, something as simple as a telephone number could make or break a credit application. If you haven’t given the credit bureaus your phone number, a creditor may not be able to verify your identity. A creditor who cannot verify a telephone number may be reluctant to grant credit. But keep in mind once your telephone number is on your credit reports, any debt collector who wants to collect from you will be able to reach you. If you are not yet ready to deal with debt collectors, you may not want to add a telephone number.


Request credit bureaus include all positive information.

Often, credit reports don’t include the same accounts on all credit bureaus. Sometimes creditors will only send information to one or two of the major credit bureaus. If one report has credit information missing from others, send a copy of the more complete report to the other credit reporting agencies with a cover letter asking that the missing information be included in your file. Do the same if you’ve worked hard to clean up one report, and now want the others to reflect accurate information as well.


Revolving credit can show creditworthiness.

Revolving credit is the easiest way to pad your credit reports. Credit cards, secured and easy approval cards, credit accounts at retailers like the Gap or Stoneberry and even gas cards like Chevron can help pad your credit reports with positive information. With revolving credit, it’s important to maintain a low balance and never use your total credit limit. FICO scoring formula seems to favor using 30% or less of your available credit limits. In fact, FICO said consumers with the 800 and above scores never use over 7% of their available credit limits.


Secured Credit Builder Card.

A credit builder card is designed to help consumers build or rebuild credit. Getting approved for a secured credit card can be easier than getting a traditional credit card; but many credit card issuers will check your credit report for red flags like past bankruptcies or a history of missed payments. Once you pay the deposit on a secured card, you can use the card just like any other credit card. If your credit history is shaky, you can qualify for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card with no credit check and no bank account.


Features and Benefits

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • No credit check to apply. No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved.
  • You set the credit limit. Your credit limit is defined by your refundable deposit, as low as $200 and up to $3000.
  • Use your card for everyday purchases. Use your card to make purchases like gas or groceries, or for recurring bills like your phone.
  • Report to all three major credit bureaus. Monthly reporting to Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.
  • Free credit score. View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account.
  • Credit line increase. Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required.
  • Deposit insured. The deposit is held in an FDIC-insured account, and the full amount will be returned to you if you decide to close your account.


Open a credit builder loan at a credit union.

Credit builder loans generally range from $500 to $3,000 with repayment terms up to 36 months. They are considered installment loans that are repaid over time with regularly scheduled payments. Installment loans diversify the types of debt you accrue and can positively impact your credit score if paid on time. Types of credit used make up approximately 15 percent of your FICO score. Check out your local credit union to see if they offer credit builder loans.

The catch with credit builder loans is that you don’t actually get the loan proceeds. The credit union makes a loan then freezes the money in an interest-bearing savings account in your name. You then make payments, with interest, until the loan is paid off. At the time of payoff, you get the money, along with whatever dividends have been earned on the savings deposit. Borrowers have an excellent chance to build a positive credit history if payments are made on time.


Use a Debit Card That Builds Credit.

The Extra1debit card reports to major credit bureaus builds credit and earns rewards points just like a credit card except there’s no credit check and no deposit required. Every purchase builds your credit. Purchases made with the Extra Debit Card are tallied up and reported to credit bureaus to help build your credit history. You must connect your bank account to the Extra Card because your spending limit is based on your bank balance.

Generally, the more purchases you make with Extra the more your Spend Power will increase. Because the Extra Debit Card temporarily extended credit for the purchases, you build a positive credit history showing payments made in full on Experian and Equifax credit reports. The Extra Debit Card carries the Mastercard logo and works anywhere Mastercard does (except outside the United States, Extra only works within the US).

Extra Card

Features and Benefits

Extra Debit Card
  • No credit check to apply. No credit checks.
  • You set the credit limit. At the end of every month Extra totals up all of your purchases and payments and reports them to credit bureaus to build your credit.
  • Use your card for everyday purchases. Use your card to make purchases like gas or groceries, or for recurring bills like your phone.
  • Report to major credit bureaus. Monthly reporting to Experian® and Equifax®.
  • Free credit score. View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account.
  • Credit line increase. Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required.
  • Annual Cost. Choose from 2 plans - the Basic Credit Building Plan is $149 and the Rewards Credit Building Plan is $199.


Don’t waste hard credit inquiries.

When applying for credit most lenders will perform a hard credit check to review your credit history. A hard credit inquiry could lower your credit score by as much as 10 points and will affect your credit score for 12 months. Plus, when you have many hard credit inquiries banks may consider you as a credit risk.

You can minimize the impact of hard credit inquiries by avoiding applying for a lot of new credit all at once unless you apply with a lender that only performs a soft credit inquiry. Soft inquiries don’t affect your score.

If a hard inquiry is performed and you are denied, ask for reconsideration. In many instances, credit card applications are processed without any human eyes ever reviewing them. Requesting an underwriter review your application may result in approval if there is some issue that can be clarified.

Final thoughts

The effects of good credit go beyond getting approved for a credit card or loan. Potential employers may request your credit report as part of the hiring process, in most states credit scores impact insurance premiums, and if you’re looking to rent an apartment or if you are self-employed and need to lease office space, you can pretty much expect a credit check to occur. Get positive information reporting.

1 Extra is a technology company. The Extra Debit Card is issued by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Mastercard USA. Extra reports on time and late payments, which may negatively impact your credit score. Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors, including your other financial transactions. Extra reports to Experian® and Equifax®. Please refer to for additional details.

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