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If you’ve had an overdue student loan, years of high credit card balances, collections accounts, or even a foreclosure, unfortunately, you probably have below-average or bad credit.With poor credit, you may not be able to get approved for new credit products like credit cards.Although you may still be able to take out an auto loan or a mortgage, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate because of your low credit score.Compared to a borrower with good credit, someone with poor credit can pay ,000 more in interest on a mortgage.Over an entire lifetime, you could end up paying over 0,000 more in unnecessary interest just because of bad credit.The good news is—as you should know if you’ve read Money Under 30 for a while—that you can repair your credit score all on your own.It just requires a little bit of know-how and a good bit of patience. Before you begin do-it-yourself credit repair, you’ll want to get copies of your full credit reports from all three bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax).
You can also try free credit score tracking apps Credit Karma or Credit Sesame to get a sense of where you stand. A score of between 700 and 740, depending on the scoring method used, is considered “good credit” and usually enough to qualify you for the best credit cards and lowest mortgage rates.Related: How Credit Works: Understanding Your Report And Score The next step in credit repair is to dispute incorrect information on your credit report. Of course, sometimes bad credit is just your fault.You shouldn’t try to argue accurate information, but if you do see errors–even small ones—it’s worth cleaning them up.Here’s how: Once you have the copy of your full credit report in hand, check your identity information (Social Security number, spelling of your name and address), and credit history.Review the list of credit cards, outstanding debts, and major purchases.