If your bad credit score is keeping you from qualifying for a bad credit home mortgage loan or even getting a job, it's time to take action to improve your credit rating. A bad credit history could be costing you thousands of dollars a year on everything from a home loan to a credit card or insurance bill. There are proven strategies you can implement immediately to start improving your credit score.

A poor credit report does not automatically mean that you cannot get credit since creditors will have different standards. However, having a good credit rating makes borrowing easier and cheaper so it's worthwhile to endeavor to fix your credit. Some of the strategies below may seem like common sense but they are practical and effective in resolving your credit problems. They are not quick credit repair secrets, just sensible tips to increase credit rating.

Strategy 1: pay your bills on time. Late payments are the most common bit of negative information that appears on credit reports and are responsible for sizable drops in credit scores. Making late or skipped mortgage payments and making late or defaulting on other types of loans will have a significant adverse impact on your credit score for years.

Strategy 2: keep your credit card balances low. Did you know that even if you make all your payments on time and consistently pay more than the required minimum, having a balance that is 35 percent or more of your available credit limit on each card will negatively affect your score? If possible, spread your credit card debt over several cards unless it is more cost effective to consolidate your credit card balances onto one low interest card.

Strategy 3: having a long history counts so don't close unused accounts. The length of time you've had good credit established with each creditor positively influences your credit rating, even if the account is inactive or not used.

Strategy 4: separate your accounts after a divorce. Be sure to pay off and close all joint accounts because a legal divorce does not release one or both parties from their financial obligations on a joint account.

Strategy 5: avoid excess inquiries. Every time you apply for a credit card or loan, the creditor will make an inquiry with one or more of the credit reporting agencies. Excessive inquiries in a short period of time will lower your credit score.

Strategy 6: negotiate with your creditors or collection agencies. Many creditors are open to negotiation if you openly communicate with them in a timely fashion. Depending on the level of your financial difficulties, your creditors may assist you by agreeing to reduce your interest rate, allow one or more skipped payments, or close the account and accept a lower settlement than the amount owed.

Strategy 7: correct inaccuracies within your credit reports. This is one of the easiest and quickest way to improve your credit report. Carefully review your reports and initiate a dispute to remove any erroneous or outdated information listed.

There are other strategies to improve credit rating but the above are solid tactics to get you a better credit score. If you find yourself in a situation where you would benefit from some much needed credit rating repair, learn how to repair bad credit yourself or consider the services of credit repair attorneys.