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Rebuild your credit

Take steps today to help improve your credit

Building and improving credit is an ongoing process. Whether you want to improve your credit score, or take your score from good to great, it’s possible to do with some careful financial planning.

First, check your credit report to see where you stand

Your credit score can tell a little about your credit situation, but to understand what is behind your score, you need to see what is on your credit report.

  • Order your reports.

    You can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) at
  • Review your credit report for accuracy.

    Look at the status of each of your accounts and identify the opportunities you have to help rebuild your credit or improve it.
  • Dispute any errors.

    If you find information that you believe does not belong to you or is inaccurate, contact the business that issued the account or the credit reporting agency that issued the report.
  • Track your credit score.

    Numerous websites offer access to educational credit scores that are aimed to give you an understanding of how you are doing creditwise. Wells Fargo customers can easily access their FICO® Score and Experian® credit report with Credit Close-UpSM. Checking your credit score with these types of service won’t affect your score in any way.


Instead of ordering all 3 credit reports at once, consider ordering from a different credit reporting agency every 4 months. That way you can check for issues more frequently.

Next, stabilize your situation

To prevent your credit situation from getting any worse, start by creating a budget that allows you to:

  • Bring any delinquent accounts current.

    Talking to your creditors can help you to determine exactly what you need to do to catch up.
  • Pay every account on time.

    Make at least the minimum payment, but also try to reduce the overall amount you owe by paying a bit extra — starting with higher-interest accounts.
  • Work on paying your balances down.

    If your accounts are maxed out, work on paying them down. It may take some time, but the general guideline is to try to use no more than 30% of each of your available credit lines. That means your balance should stay below $300 on a credit card with a limit of $1,000.
  • Practice self-discipline.

    Charge only what you can afford and keep your balances low. When you make a credit card purchase try using Online Bill Pay to transfer the payment amount to your credit card right away.
  • Avoid taking on any new debt.

    Try to minimize the amount of credit you use.


Don’t close your unused credit cards. This will impact the length of your credit file and your credit utilization ratio which factor into your score.

Next, start the rebuilding process

If you have no available credit, and your finances are stable, you should start working towards rebuilding your credit. Even though you may have fewer credit options now, it’s important to find ways to show positive credit activity.

  • Consider becoming an authorized user on the account of someone you know and trust.

    This could help you start building positive credit without an account of your own.
  • Consider applying for a secured loan or secured credit card,

    to help rebuild your credit. While Wells Fargo does not offer these products, some financial institutions may offer secured loan options or secured credit cards, which may be an alternative to help rebuild your credit history when used responsibly. These work like any other loan or credit card but require some form of collateral. Keep in mind, with a secured credit account; if you don’t pay the terms as agreed, you may be at risk of losing your collateral.
  • Apply for a store or gas card, which may be easier to qualify for.

    If you can’t qualify on your own, consider asking a friend or family member with strong credit if they would be willing to cosign. Applying for a credit card with a cosigner or co-applicant may help you qualify or acquire better credit terms, but remember that your cosigner or co-applicant also takes full responsibility for payment. That means the credit history will be reflected on both of your credit reports. Be sure to use the card responsibly, maxing it out or making late payments can do more harm than good.
  • Avoid pre-paid cards as a way to rebuild credit.

    Pre-paid cards don’t help you build a credit history. They simply let you make credit card-like transactions, like paying at the grocery check outs or at the gas station. They can be helpful if you don’t have a checking account or debit card, but they don’t report to the credit bureaus and can’t help build your credit history.
  • Protect against fraud:

    Only apply for credit with established banks and credit card companies, not through online or social media ads. Don’t pay upfront fees to apply for a credit card or loan. Be wary of companies offering to resolve your debt problems, especially for a fee. For more ways to help protect yourself, visit Fraud Prevention Tips.


Remember to use your new credit card accounts in moderation, make all payments on time, and keep your balances low.

Six tips help improve your credit

Improving your credit score takes perseverance, but it can pay off. A higher score (especially above 760) can give you more options — and better rates — if you ever need a car loan, mortgage, or home equity line of credit.

Here are six key points to consider that may help to improve your credit score:

  • Keep track of your progress.

    As you make changes, it will take time for your score to adjust. Scores update on a monthly basis so be sure to track them regularly.
  • Always pay bills on time.

    It may seem obvious, but a history of consistent on-time payments is one of the biggest factors in building credit, accounting for 35% of your score. This means making at least your minimum payment each month, on or before your due date.
  • Keep credit balances low.

    How much credit you have available is another important scoring factor, so keep balances as far below your credit limit as possible. Keeping your balances below 30% of your total available credit may help improve your credit score.
  • Keep unused accounts open.

    Open accounts with no balances mean you have more available credit, so it can help your score to keep them open even if you don’t plan to use them. It may be a good idea to use them sparingly to keep them active.
  • Be careful about opening new accounts.

    If you need a new credit account and can comfortably manage the additional payments, great. But avoid anything that might strain your budget.
  • Diversify your debt.

    10% of your credit score is determined by your “credit mix”. Creditors like to see a pattern of handling credit responsibly over time on a variety of account types, including both revolving credit and installment loans.


The only inquiries that impact your credit scores are those that result from applying for credit. Checking your own score through Credit Close-Up® does not hurt your credit.