Illustration by: ivan petrov

Everyone knows that having good credit is essential to survive in this day and age. If you don’t have it you may get turned down for essential credit or if you are approved you may have to pay an inflated interest rate because to the lender you are a bad credit risk. So, what can you do to improve it and keep it healthy?

If you have had to file bankruptcy or perhaps you have a repossession on your credit report and it has been a while, try to obtain a secured credit card through a bank or Credit Union. Although it is very limiting and normally they charge a higher interest rate, at least being secured it will be easier to acquire. This will help you by rebuilding your credibility, just be sure that the company does report to the three major credit bureaus.

Try to get an infinity card; it is typically a Visa or MasterCard and in addition to the emblem it also has a logo of the company that issued the card all of which shows that it is indeed a real credit card. Although you will most often you have a very low balance available it is normally supplemented with some type of benefit such as points towards merchandise or frequent flyer miles.

Keep all of your revolving debt low to the actual available credit by keeping approximately 75 to 80% of the credit still available; in other words, when you do get a card do not go out and start charging it all the way, use it as little as possible because it is capable of increasing your score dramatically.

About a year after a bankruptcy or other major set back try to buy property. Property is a sound investment and with your debt to income ratio being lower mortgage companies see it as much less of a risk and perhaps you will not have such a high interest rate. If you are not able to purchase property then maintain a good rental history. By having at least 12 months history and paying utilities on time it is easier to qualify for a loan or any type of credit. Once this has been established you will have a much better chance of getting approved for a property (or something similar) loan the next time you apply.