A successful financial plan needs clean credit and a high FICO Score. Home and business ownership in the US is predicated on a positive credit rating to acquire growth capital. Often times wealth opportunities are missed because of poor credit. But with a process and patience, your credit can be washed clean for good.

Here are the 7 steps to clean credit.

1. Clean Up The Easy Mistakes

First, you want to do is check your credit report for incorrect information. 75% of all reports have errors related to identity, status, and balance owed. Dispute every single claim that you think may be incorrect. The Federal Trade Commission does a good job of explaining how to dispute credit reports errors.

Second, get rid of small balances that you forgot about. Set a threshold for small balances. Depending on your budget, this could be anywhere from $10 to $100. Once you know what you can afford, pay it off immediately.

To get a free copy of your report, go to annualfreecreditreport.com

2. Pay Every Bill On Time

35% of your FICO is attributed to payment history. It’s the most important component of your score. The easiest way to make sure you pay our bills on time is to set the payments on auto pilot.

Of course, you have to manage your accounts to ensure the funds are available on the day bills are debited. Envelope budgeting is a technique where you separate cash for each bill into its dedicated envelope for mailing.

The MoCaFi sub-card feature turns envelope budgeting digital by offering you up to one rainy day fund and four sub-card accounts off your primary account.

Give sub-card budgeting a try to stay on top of your bill payment credit history..

3. Eliminate Debts On Your Report As Soon As Possible.

Frequent flyer miles won’t make you a millionaire. You don’t need to show debt to build your credit. Simply budget your paycheck and pay your bills on time.

4. Keep Old Accounts Open

30% of your FICO score is your balance/lending ratio. Balance / lending ratio is the comparison of debt being used to the total amount of debt available. Before paying down the debt completely, be sure to keep this ratio low so that you don’t appear to be overextending yourself financially. But don’t cancel the account. If you already have the account open, canceling that account can lower your FICO score.

15% of your FICO score is your length of credit history. The older the account, the more weight that is has on your FICO score. For instance, if you have a credit card that has 10 years of history on it, you would want to keep that account open versus a card that only has less than one year of history. Creditors like seeing a long track record with which they can more effectively evaluate performance.

5. Use A Credit Counselor

Going to a credit counselor or a credit consolidation agency is not viewed negatively by FICO.

6. Steer Clear of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an long-term, impenetrable blemish on your credit report. 200 points can deducted right away and it stays on your report for 10 years. Bankruptcy is even harder to file for as a result of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention legislation passed by the Bush administration in 2005.

Avoid bankruptcy, work your plan, and adhere to the 7th and final step.

7. Be Patient

Nothing happens overnight. The path to wealth is a mindset. The process is a marathon, not a sprint.