My situation is this, I’ve been working on getting my credit at a good level for several years. I applied for cards. Got one or two but not getting that score to go up at all. Pay in time for six or eight months and notice the score is one point higher. I have a mishap and my score will drop 50 points. One late payment cost you more than not having credit at all. I’m just trying to figure it out. Help.

Hey, @donald.tobias! Ah — I’m sympathetic. A number of community members have expressed something similar. What you wrote here reminds me of something Warren Buffet was quoted saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” I suppose I think of credit scores as a financial reputation. It takes time and consistency to build it back up. Like you wrote, a late payment can really affect your score.

Are you enrolled in any programs that can analyze your credit score? I know some major banks have the service (e.g. Chase, BOA, Capital One) — they typically provide your credit score and the breakdown on how to improve it.

If not, I’d highly recommend enrolling in something that can help you understand your score. On The Penny Hoarder, we often recommend our partner Credit Sesame for that sort of thing. Here’s an article from The Penny Hoarder on Credit Sesame and how it can help: Credit Sesame Review: Can Your Credit Score Benefit From the Free Service?

Once you have a grasp on why your score is the way it is, you’ll better be able to form your action plan to improving your score.

Keep us posted on your progress. We’re rooting for you!

Also, I wanted to share a few more links from The Penny Hoarder around credit scores. Hope these help!

10 Tips if Your New Year’s Resolution Is a Better Credit Score in 2020

These 5 Factors Are What Actually Matters When It Comes to Your Credit

What is a Credit Score? Here are the Facts Behind Your Number