Having bad credit is a common problem. Maybe you made a few mistakes in your earlier years that you haven’t had a chance to reconcile, or maybe you’ve just had some financial troubles and haven’t been able to keep up with your debt. Either way, having bad credit can hurt your financial future.

The good news is that there are things you can start doing right now to get your credit score moving up. With just a little planning and some personal responsibility, you can begin good credit practices so the next time you need a loan, you won’t be paying outrageous fees or get turned down all together. Here are a few helpful things you can do to get your credit score back to where it needs to be.

Start Paying Your Debt

The first thing you should do, because it is the most important thing, is to begin paying off all of your debts as quickly as possible.

Credit Score Checkup: Fast and Easy Ways to Raise Your Numbers

If you have any debts have gone to a collection agency, do whatever you can to settle them right away. Debt collectors will often settle your debt for pennies on the dollar, so talk to them and find out what you can do to resolve the problem.

Next, look for any loans or credit card debts that you have missed payments on and throw everything you can at those. If you’ve been missing them because you have too many bills already, you’ll either need to tighten up your spending, or you can get rid of a some smaller debts to free up the extra money. Missing payments is one of the worst things you can do, so you need to stop missing them as soon as possible.

Consolidate Debt

If you have a lot of debt across a couple of different credit cards, then you may want to look into consolidating all of them to one card.

Credit Score Checkup: Fast and Easy Ways to Raise Your Numbers

Many of the major credit cards will offer a time period with no interest if you sign up. You can take this offer and pay off all of your other credit cards with it. This way, the payments may be more manageable and you will see the balance go down every month, giving you confidence.

If you choose this method, don’t use your other cards again until you are safely on your way to being debt free.

Hire Legal Help

If you have a lot of negative things on your credit report or if your debts are just too far over your head, you can hire an attorney to give you options and a legal defense to negotiate terms.

Credit Score Checkup: Fast and Easy Ways to Raise Your Numbers

A lawyer may be able to negotiate with your debt holders and find you a more manageable monthly rate or find you a buyout price you may be able to afford. Either way, an attorney may be able to find a way out of debt if you can’t on your own.

Don’t let bad credit wreck your future. Fix your score as soon as you can.