A reader recently left a comment about her credit score that I thought was worth sharing. Here’s what she asked:
What can i do to build my credit if–
1. I cannot get a “real bank account” due to Chexsystem
2. I got denied for a secured credit card
3. I currently do now own any credit cards
It seems impossible at this point to raise my credit score. I’ve tried numerous things, and I keep getting rejected.
Is there anything i can do to raise my FICO score?
Before we dive into some suggestions, let’s look at the reader’s dilemma in some detail.
First, the ChexSystems she refers to is similar in concept to a credit score. The difference between ChexSystems and a FICO score, however, is that FICO grades your use of credit, while ChexSystems keeps tabs on how you use bank accounts. Bounce a lot of checks, for example, and your ChexSystems rating could disqualify you for a traditional bank account. At that point, your only banking options are a second chance checking account (which can be expensive) or a prepaid credit card that offers banking features like online bill
Secured Credit Cards
Second, the secured credit card the reader refers to is specifically designed for folks with poor to fair credit. Secured cards require a deposit in the amount of the credit limit to guarantee payment of future bills, so it’s a bit surprising she was unable to qualify for the card. If you are in a similar position, I’d suggest applying for another secured card. We list the best secured credit cards here .
Raising your FICO score
It can be disheartening when you want to improve your credit score, but nobody will extend you credit. If you or somebody you know is struggling to raise their FICO score, here are some suggestions:
There are other ways to improve your credit score. of course. For example, you’ll want to make sure there are no errors on your credit report, and get them corrected if there are. You also want to limit the number of credit applications you submit, as credit inquiries can lower your score.
If you’ve been in a situation similar to the reader who left the question above, tell us how you are improving your credit score. We love to hear about success stories!