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If you find yourself turned down for a loan or a credit card, it’s likely that it’s because your credit rating is bad, or at the very least, not as good as it could be.

Although it might seem devastating at first, all is not lost. You can recover from bad credit, but just like getting better from an illness, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do. Take the right action (or medicine) and recovery will be swifter and surer.

If you have been rejected for credit, you need to check your credit files to make sure they don’t contain any errors. If they do have errors, get them corrected straightaway.

This is vitally important, because if you make a further credit application and get rejected again (because of the same error contained in your files) your credit rating will plummet even lower. Lots of checks on an individual’s file can be hugely detrimental to their credit rating.

You need to start to repair any damage you have done in the past that has contributed to your bad credit score. If you’re turned down for a regular credit card, get one of the credit cards specifically aimed at those with a bad credit history.

The interest rates on these are significantly higher than ordinary cards, but what’s important to you is that you’re getting a second chance to prove yourself and you can check for the best deals on comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com.

Make sure you operate your new card perfectly. Never miss a payment and never try and exceed your limit. In this way you will put your past mistakes right and build up a respectable credit score over time.

Unfortunately, you may get saddled with a bad credit score just because you’re married to or living with someone else that has one. Although this might seem very unfair, it’s a fact. Get round this by making sure all your finances are kept strictly separate. This means no joint bank accounts, or joint utilities bills.

Lenders like evidence of stability. If you own your own home rather than rent one, or you are employed rather than being self employed, you’ll stand a better chance of getting credit.

Although you may not be a position to buy your own home, or you just happen to be self employed, there are other things you can do to show stability. For example, you should include your landline telephone number on your application rather than your cell phone. Evidence of living at the same address for a long time will help, as will having a longstanding bank account.

If you’re not registered as a voter, it is unlikely anyone will give you credit. Put this right and register yourself as soon as possible.

Check all the contracts you have for credit cards and cell phones. Even though you might not have used them for ages, if they have an old address on, it’s going to complicate any applications you make for credit.

Make sure you haven’t got a stack of credit cards lying around in a drawer. Even if you’re not using them, they will lower your available credit. You should cancel as many of them as you can.

If you have any savings, use them to pay off your debts. Prospective lenders will always check how much debt you already have and clearing it is one way of improving your credit rating.

Take the steps outlined above and there is a great deal you can do to recover from a bad credit rating. Just like a medical illness, it may not get better overnight, but follow the advice given and you will be on the road to recovery.