Payments should be top priority

For consumers with bad credit, cleaning up a credit report and getting a better score can seem like a monumental challenge. There are a wide range of ways to improve credit, but buyers should know that the most reliable and consistent strategy is making their payments on time.

That being said, there are also more than a few myths out there about strategies to improve a credit score. KIII Channel 3 in Texas recently profiled a few of them. One myth was that paying off old debts can improve a bad score.

Once a buyer has missed a payment, that will negatively impact their score for years to come, even if they later make the payment. For that reason, making payments immediately and quickly should be the first priority for buyers looking to improve their credit.

“That is the single most important factor in your credit score,” Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com told CNN. “And the good news is that poor credit isn’t forever. Those past missteps carry less weight with the passage of time, so if you are paying your bills on time and you are paying down your debt over time, those two factors constitute two-thirds of your credit score. You are taking two big steps in the right direction.”

Drivers with improved credit will have more choices when it comes to car loans, but even those with bad credit may be pre-approved if they apply online.