Having strong credit significantly expands your financial opportunities. But if your credit scores have taken a hit from past issues, the path to rebuilding can seem long and daunting. The good news is there are proven techniques and the latest Credit Repair Apps to help you restore your credit step-by-step.
With diligence and smart money management, you can demonstrate responsible habits and make measurable progress within 6-12 months.
Top Credit Repair Apps to Rebuild Your Credit Score in 2023
This comprehensive guide will explore what goes into calculating your credit reports and scores so you understand how to maximize them.
You’ll discover the immense benefits of becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account. We’ll also break down the leading apps and services to leverage based on your situation and needs to rebuild credit.
With the right tools and patience, you can get your credit back on track and save thousands in interest costs over time. Let’s get started!
Understanding Your Credit Reports and Scores
Your credit reports and scores provide potential lenders and creditors insight into how you’ve managed debts and obligations in the past. The higher your scores, the less risky you appear for new credit.
Some key factors that shape your overall credit profile include:
- Payment history – The records of your on-time or missed payments for all credit accounts. This is the most important factor, so consistently paying all bills on time is crucial.
- Credit utilization – How much you currently owe across accounts compared to your total credit limits. Using more than 30% of available limits will hurt your scores.
- Credit age – The length of time your accounts have been open. Having established accounts helps, so avoid closing older accounts if possible.
- New credit – Opening many new accounts in a short period temporarily lowers scores. Apply for new credit judiciously.
- Credit mix – Having different types of credit like car loans, mortgages, and credit cards demonstrates responsible use which helps your profile.
Checking your credit reports frequently for errors or discrepancies is also essential to maximize accuracy. Make sure to dispute any identified issues with the credit bureaus for correction or removal.
With credit rebuilding, monitoring your reports and scores lets you see progress over time as your hard work compounds.
Becoming an Authorized User
If you have a family member or spouse who has years of positive credit history and maintains low balances, ask them to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit card accounts.
As an authorized user, their entire card payment history gets added to their credit reports to help rebuild their scores, even without them actively using the card.
However, it’s important to avoid becoming an authorized user on accounts with consistently high balances since that can negatively impact your credit utilization. Make sure the primary owner pays their bill on time every month without fail.
When leveraged judiciously, being added as an authorized user can be one of the quickest ways to establish old, positive credit records to start rebuilding your scores. Within a month or two you should start seeing results from this strategy.
Using Secured Credit Cards
Secured credit cards require an upfront refundable security deposit that becomes your initial credit limit. The deposit shows creditors you have “skin in the game” and represents collateral if the account goes unpaid.
The key benefit of secured cards is the opportunity to demonstrate responsible credit management that gets reported to the major credit bureaus each month like any other card. Making on-time payments in full every month helps build a positive payment history to boost your scores.
When researching secured cards, try to find ones with low (or no) annual fees. Compare terms closely. Avoid cards with very high fees, which diminish the rebuilding benefits.
With consistent, prudent use of a secured card for 6-12 months, you can start re-establishing positive credit records to enable approval for unsecured cards in the future.
Leveraging Credit Builder Loans
Credit builder loans and services demonstrate you can responsibly manage recurring payments, a key factor in credit scores. But unlike traditional loans, you aren’t borrowing money upfront to pay back with interest.
With credit builder loan apps like Self, you set aside monthly payments toward a growing savings account owned by you. The apps report these on-time payments to the credit bureaus just like a loan.
At the end of the term, you get back your money deposited minus fees. So you build a positive credit history without debt.
Making larger monthly payments and choosing longer 12-24 month terms results in more significant credit profile rebuilding. With self-discipline, credit builder loans are extremely effective for establishing the payment records you need.
Signing Up for Rent Reporting
Some rental payment reporting services will share your positive rent payment records directly with credit bureaus each month. The caveat is your property management or landlord has to actively participate and provide payment data.
Companies like RentTrack and ClearNow offer this option. Check to see if your rental property utilizes one of these rent reporter services. If so, signing up allows your timely rent payments to further boost your credit profile.
Not all landlords work with rent reporters yet. But it can provide another way to demonstrate responsible bill management if available in your area.
Top 8 Credit Repair Apps for Credit Rebuilding:
Specialized apps provide easy methods to start rebuilding your credit by demonstrating prudent money management. Here are the top credit-rebuilding apps and services to consider leveraging:
As mentioned previously, Self works similarly to a credit builder loan, allowing you to build a payment history that gets reported to credit bureaus without taking on debt.
Self allows you to set aside monthly payments from $25 up to $500 for a term of 12-24 months in an FDIC-insured holding account. The payments are then reported by Self as on-time installment account history.
At the end of the term, after all, payments are made, you receive your money back minus a one-time $9 administrative fee and monthly interest charged. So you aren’t borrowing money; the payments come from your funds.
With consistent monthly payments over the term, Self can generate a significant on-time payment history to rebuild your credit responsibly.
Best for: Building credit without debt
The Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured credit card lets you build a positive payment history without paying fees or interest. It works by allowing you to deposit funds from $200 up to $1000 as collateral into a secured account.
Your monthly credit card purchases get paid from that secured account balance, essentially making it function like your spending limit. Each month, you pay your bill using the funds you already deposited.
As you make on-time payments, Chime reports them to all three major credit bureaus. There are no credit check requirements to get started.
With diligent card management, Chime Credit Builder is an easy route to start rebuilding credit records through reported payment history.
Best for: No fee, interest-free credit rebuilding
Experian Boost provides a quick way to potentially improve your credit scores by incorporating your phone and utility payments already happening on autoplay directly into your Experian credit report.
When you securely link your bank accounts, Experian Boost scans your transactions to identify recurring phone, utility, streaming, and other subscription payments. It adds these bills to your Experian credit profile if they help demonstrate positive payment habits.
Experian finds that users frequently see significant score improvements soon after adding these existing payment records through their service. And there is no charge for the basic Boost service, making it an easy potential quick win.
Best for: Fast score improvement with Experian
Credit Strong offers an active path to rebuilding credit with their credit builder loan product combined with monitoring and financial education resources.
Their credit builder loans allow you to deposit funds up to $5,000 into a savings account and make monthly payments over 12 months as low as $25. The payments get reported by Credit Strong to all three credit bureaus as installment loan accounts.
At the end of the term after completing all payments, you receive your money back minus fees. So it builds payment history without debt.
Credit Strong also provides access to an Experian credit report and score so you can monitor rebuilding progress. Financial tips and a budget planner help instill strong money management habits.
Best for: In-depth credit rebuilding
TomoCard offers an alternative way to build credit history by using your own money as collateral without requiring a credit check.
With Tomo, you fund your prepaid debit card account with an initial deposit of between $200 to $5000. Those funds essentially become your available spending balance.
Each month, Tomo reports your payments toward your debit card transactions to all three credit bureaus. So over time, you can build payment records despite starting with no credit. There are no hidden fees.
For those new to credit, TomoCard provides an accessible on-ramp to demonstrate responsible usage and start accumulating a positive history.
Best for: Building credit without credit checks
Axos Bank offers a secured credit card that provides the opportunity to graduate to an unsecured card over time by exhibiting prudent financial habits.
The Axos Bank Secured Visa Card requires an upfront refundable deposit starting at $200 which becomes your initial credit limit. Payments are reported by Axos to help build your credit records.
Responsible cardholders may qualify to have their security deposit returned and their credit limit increased after as little as 7 months. This “graduation” path can help rebuild from damaged scores.
There is an annual fee of $35 after the first year. Approved cardholders can also access free credit monitoring tools.
Best for: Rebuilding credit to an unsecured card
Kikoff provides multiple product offerings focused specifically on helping consumers with limited credit histories build or rebuild credit profiles.
With Kikoff, you can open a starter credit builder account with a $500 – $1500 credit line to purchase items through their online shop. Monthly payments made over the 12 or 24-month term are reported by Kikoff as tradeline history.
For those who prefer access to a true credit card, Kickoff also offers a secured Visa card backed by a refundable deposit you provide. Responsible usage generates positive payment records.
Whichever product you choose, Kikoff is transparent about pricing and provides educational resources on building credit the right way.
Best for: Versatile credit rebuilding options
For full access to your latest credit reports and scores, the myFICO platform is very useful for monitoring your credit rebuilding progress.
With myFICO, you can purchase complete copies of your credit reports from all three bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Updated FICO credit scores sourced from each report are also included.
The detailed reports will highlight your payment histories, credit utilization, and any negative marks to give you visibility into what areas need focus. You also gain access to different FICO score versions.
Pricing starts at $19.95 monthly for one bureau’s report and score. For all three reports with scores, costs range from $29.95-$39.95 based on features.
Best for: Complete credit report and score access
When researching apps, compare costs closely and read user reviews. Consistent responsible usage over at least 6 months will help strengthen your scores. Don’t get discouraged by slow progress at first. Rebuilding takes time and diligence.
Other Rebuilding Strategies
In addition to leveraging the latest apps and services, some other key strategies to focus on for rebuilding credit include:
- Pay all bills early or on time – Payment history has an enormous impact on your scores. Set up autopay and reminders if needed so you never miss payments.
- Keep credit balances low – High balances hurt your credit utilization substantially. Try to keep balances under 30% of total credit limits.
- Don’t close older accounts – Having long open accounts improves credit age metrics. Avoid closing old accounts if possible.
- Limit new applications – Too many new accounts or inquiries lower scores temporarily. Only apply for necessary credit judiciously.
- Negotiate pay-for-delete settlements on any collections – If you pay off old collections, try to negotiate deletion from your credit reports for maximum benefit. Get agreements in writing.
- Dispute any credit report errors – Incorrect or outdated information can significantly hurt your scores. Leverage free annual credit reports to identify and dispute mistakes with the bureaus.
- Sign up for credit monitoring – Monitoring alerts you quickly to suspicious activity or unauthorized credit applications made in your name so you can take preventative measures.
Rebuilding damaged credit takes patience and diligent money management habits. But with the right focus and tools, you can remove negative marks and demonstrate responsible behavior to see your scores improve month over month. Be persistent and let your hard work compound.
Credit Score Ranges and Factors
Your credit scores represent a snapshot of your creditworthiness. Here is what the score ranges indicate along with the main factors that contribute to your scores:
|Below 579||Very Poor|
Main factors impacting your scores:
- Payment History (35%)- Pay all bills on time
- Credit Utilization (30%) – Keep balances low
- Credit Age (15%) – Maintain old accounts
- New Credit (10%) – Apply judiciously
- Credit Mix (10%) – Vary credit types
Different lenders have their standards, but you’ll typically qualify for the very best rates and terms at scores above 700. Rebuilding up above 750 is a recommended milestone for prime financing.
Credit Report Review Checklist:
Checking your credit reports from each bureau at least once yearly is crucial for identifying any issues needing dispute or discrepancies hurting your scores.
- Accurate personal information.
- All accounts are positively yours.
- No duplicated account listings.
- Closed accounts show as closed.
- Hard credit inquiries match your applications.
- No late payments are incorrectly listed.
Dispute-identified problems with the respective credit bureau either online or in writing. Be persistent until resolved satisfactorily.
When Do Negative Items Fall Off Credit Reports?
Here is when common negative items fall off your credit reports if not manually removed earlier through dispute:
- Late Payments – 7 years
- Collections – 7 years from first delinquency
- Foreclosures – 7 years
- Bankruptcies – 7-10 years
- Repossessions – 7 years
- Hard Inquiries – 2 years
Credit Monitoring Services:
Signing up for credit monitoring provides alerts when new accounts are opened or hard inquiries are made so you can take action to prevent identity theft damages. Some top-rated options include:
- IdentityForce – Plans starting at $8.99/month
- PrivacyGuard – Plans starting at $9.99/month
- IdentityIQ – Plans starting at $6.99/month
- Credit Sesame – Free basic plan or $16/month premium
Rebuilding Credit FAQs
- What is the fastest way to rebuild credit from scratch?
Some of the fastest ways to rebuild credit include becoming an authorized user, using secured cards responsibly, leveraging credit builder loans, and signing up for rent reporting if available. Consistent on-time payments will quickly demonstrate financial responsibility.
- How long does it take to rebuild credit from fair to good?
Rebuilding credit from fair into the good range of 670+ typically takes about 6-12 months with diligent financial habits. Get secured cards or credit builder loans, keep balances low, pay on time, monitor reports, and limit new applications.
- Should I accept a credit limit increase while rebuilding credit?
When rebuilding, it’s generally wise to accept moderate credit limit increases as it keeps your utilization ratio lower. But make sure to avoid the temptation to use the additional available credit and increase balances.
- Does getting denied for credit hurt your score?
Too many recent inquiries from denied applications can lower your scores temporarily. But a single denial here and there minimally impacts most profiles as long as overall financial habits remain prudent.
- How do you rebuild credit after bankruptcy or foreclosure?
After bankruptcy or foreclosure, continue meeting obligations on time, get a secured card to establish a positive history, keep balances very low, and wait for the negative event to fall off reports after 7 years. Time and good habits will rebuild scores.
- Is it better to pay collections or wait for them to fall off?
It’s often better to wait for unpaid collections to naturally fall off reports after approximately 7 years if possible. However, negotiating pay-for-delete agreements in exchange for payment can remove them faster. Get these agreements in writing.
- Can authorized users hurt your credit?
Being an authorized user helps credit through added history, but the primary user’s habits can also hurt. Ensure the primary user pays on time, keeps low balances, and avoids new inquiries. Remove yourself as an authorized user if issues arise.
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The Bottom Line
- Rebuilding credit takes diligence, patience, and using the right tools and techniques. But it pays major dividends long-term through better loan rates.
- Payment history and low utilization have the biggest impact on credit scores. Focus on those factors.
- Credit rebuilding apps provide easy ways to demonstrate responsible habits that get reported to credit bureaus.
- Check your credit reports frequently and dispute any errors for maximum accuracy.
- Building good credit again takes time. But you will see measurable progress each month by sticking with positive financial behaviors.
Don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at first when rebuilding credit. Consistency with prudent money management habits, leveraging the top apps and services, monitoring your credit profile, and letting your efforts compound will get your scores trending upward. Use this period to rebuild even stronger credit than before.