Seeing the improvement has made it easier to stay focused.

I just moved into a new apartment in March. It’s a nice place in a decent area, and the rent is affordable — but it wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even my fourth choice.

My poor credit kept getting me rejected from the apartments I really wanted to move into.

But because of my new secured credit card, for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling optimistic about my credit and my own ability to improve it. My credit score is going up as I use it responsibly and seeing that improved score has encouraged me to do more.

Never took credit seriously

I should have expected to have lousy credit because I never took it as seriously as I should have. But not getting the apartment I wanted has been a wake-up call. In February, I signed for a secured credit card through my bank and put $300 into its value.

A secured credit card is different from a normal credit card because you have to make a refundable deposit. The value of your deposit determines your credit limit. So it’s not really a “credit card” at all, more like a debit card, but it gets reported like one.

And it might turn out to be the best money I’ve ever spent. Especially since I can get it back when I close my account.

But that’s a long way off. I might even increase the amount by an additional $100 — not so I can buy stuff I don’t need and can’t really afford, but so I can buy more of what I do need and use those expenses to improve my credit even further. After reading about opening additional smaller credit lines in another Debt.com article, I may even open another secured credit card with another bank or credit union.

I also signed up for a credit-monitoring service through one of the big three credit agencies. In the three months since I’ve had my secured card, I’ve seen my credit score slowly improve. Back in February, it was 567. In March, 582. Then April, 626. It’s definitely slow going, but I hope that by the time I’m ready to move out of my current apartment my credit will be good enough to allow me to get the place I really want to move into.

Hooked on improving my credit

Future financial benefits aside, seeing that slow but steady improvement of my credit score has kind of turned me into a bit of an addict. Every month, I eagerly look forward to seeing my new score come in.

Seeing the improvement has made it easier to stay focused and stay positive. Instead of procrastinating and waiting the entire month to pay off a credit card purchase, or even worse not at all, I’m paying off purchases within a week. It’s made easier by the fact that I can pay off my balance with my checking account because both are through the same bank. Making everything as convenient as possible has definitely helped keep me on track.

For me, because I’m paying off my credit card faster than is required, it’s more like a second debit card with the benefit of improving my credit.

I’ve also made it a point to pay very close attention to the personal loan I took out. I’ve set my smartphone to give me reminders about when my monthly payment is due. I also pay a little more than the minimum monthly requirement.

Meet the Author

Michael d’Oliveira

Michael d’Oliveira

Writer

Michael d'Oliveira is a native South Floridian and journalist who has written for several publications, including The Pelican Newspaper, South Florida Gay News, and Forum Publications.

credit cards, credit score

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Article last modified on July 23, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC .