Consumers can take several actions to boost their credit standing entering 2013

Those consumers who are worried about their current credit standing may want to take some measures to ensure they can improve their situation. There are many ways to do this, and having a set plan will likely help increase the chances for success.

Before doing anything, consumers ought to ensure they actually know where they stand regarding credit. This is extremely important, as it can give them a starting point. Understanding their credit situation can allow them to set up a specific plan to not only pay down credit, but also increase the ability to help their credit score.

Knowing the amount of each payment they face each month is an ideal place to start the credit-bettering process. However, it is not a smart plan to just pay off the minimum balances. This won't help pay off loans and other debts, and only forces the consumer to pay more later, through the increasing interest levels. By coming up with a manageable payment structure, debt can be gradually paid off. However, it is necessary to not abandon the payments, and making these a high priority can pay substantial dividends for consumers in the long run.

There are a couple of ways that payments can be made easier. It is vital, though, that once payments are set up to be paid off via a long-term plan, consumers don't miss payments or allow their accounts and loans to fall into delinquency or collections. Setting up an automatic payment plan may help this situation improve. This will allow consumers to have their payments taken out of their accounts so they won't have to think about it. It also will help take their mind off of the issue, as long as they have the money to take care of their problem.

There is another way to pay bills, consumers can utilize – particularly for those who want a more hands-on approach to bill-paying. By making reminders to pay bills on a calendar or phone or via email, consumers may be able to pay their bills more easily. It may also make some feel like they are in more control of their finances.

Consumers might also want to avoid opening more credit cards if they are uncomfortable with the level of debt they need to pay down. Creating more accounts can lead to significant issues, especially if the person feels they don't have an ability to keep purchases to a minimum. This is especially true for department store credit cards. These should not be used unless a person pays them off in full at the earliest opportunity.

Improving credit scores possible with hard work
Even if a person had difficulty with previous credit accounts, there are ways to reverse the damage and help credit scores climb. According to Bankrate, it could take a long period to see major positive effects on a credit score, but there are some methods that could show quick improvements, albeit small.

Checking credit scores for errors is one way that could help a surefire boost in the score level, the website explained. There may be many issues with the score, such as incorrect late payments, incorrect outstanding debt levels as well as debts that are too far in the past. Most everything that comprises a credit score should be no older than seven to 10 years old.

"The mantra for getting a great score is pay your bills on time, keep account balances low, and take out new credit only when you need it," Craig Watts, consumer affairs manager for Fair Isaac Corp, told the website. "People who do that faithfully have very high scores. It usually means you're being conservative and cautious about credit. It's not a toy and it shouldn't be a hobby."

Watts added that consumers should not close accounts if they have hopes of improving their score. If these accounts are unused or seldom used, keep them open. This is because it will make it seem like more money is being used against a smaller level of available credit.

Another way to see an improvement in credit scores is to not miss any payments, Bankrate noted. This is vital, as there will be no way to erase the fact previous errors beyond time. However, ensuring a perfect record from now on will actually start to show improvement in the figures, overall.

Those consumers who are not confident that they have the ability to surface from credit debt issues on their own still have options at their disposal. Looking to a credit repair law firm to gain further help with reducing debt may be the best method. Credit repair measures could help ensure that a person can make a significant purchase in the future.