Repairing damaged credit is much like losing weight. It is not a process that happens overnight. Instead, it takes time and effort. Quick-fix efforts to fix a damaged credit report usually backfire and end up making your credit score worse in the long run, just like many fad diets end up resulting in you gaining more weight in the long run. If you want to begin working on repairing your credit, there are three essential steps that you must take first.

1. Check your credit report. Credit repair begins with knowing exactly what your credit report says. You can request a free copy of your credit report since you are entitled to know what is on it. If your credit score seems lower than it should be, sometimes the problem can be attributed to errors on your credit report. Everyone should request his or her free annual credit report and check it for errors every year. If you find any errors on your report, dispute them as soon as possible.

2. Setup payment reminders. One of the biggest issues that can cause you to have a lower credit score is not making your credit payments on time. Even if you pay the amount owed every month, but pay it late, it counts against your credit score and lowers it. Setting up payment reminders can be helpful for some people. Some banks offer payment reminders through their online banking portals, but some people might simply want to set up reminders on their cell phones. Alternatively, you can also choose to sign up for automatic payments in which your payments are automatically drafted from your account every month to ensure that it is always paid on time. The only downfall to automatic payments is if you don’t have the funds in your account when a draft is scheduled, it could result in fees and fines from your financial institution.

3. Reduce the amount of debt you owe. Reducing the amount of debt you owe is sometimes easier said than done, but one way you can help contribute to reducing your debt is to stop going into more debt. Stop borrowing and stop using your credit cards. Work on paying off the debt that you have already accumulated before you begin racking up more debt.

These are perhaps the most essential steps you can take to begin repairing your credit on your own. Some people find that they benefit from the services of a credit repair agency that is experienced with helping consumers handle such matters. There are various reviews online to help people select a company as well, such as