What do I do about my credit score?!

Every year for the past few years I have done my free annual credit check, looked it over, and then not thought about it again until it was time to do it again. This year, after looking over my credit report, I have decided to do something about my score. I know that I have a couple things that are in collection and my mounds of student loans, but where do I begin?

I have been paying back my student loans since about June of 2012 and I have not missed a payment. I know that this shows as good on my credit report. At the moment I cannot pay much more than the minimum, but would paying more be beneficial on my credit report? 

Another thing I have been considering to help build my credit is getting a credit card. I have done some research and have found that there are secured credit lines available for those that cannot get approved for unsecured lines of credit. At this point I am still a bit confused about which option would be better. I feel as though I can read as many articles as I want and I still won’t have enough information to suit me. 

Some questions I have:

  1. Are secured or unsecured lines of credit best for increasing your score?
  2. What cards or companies have the most recommendations and best customer service?
  3. Should I be paying off student loans faster?
  4. Is it best to leave the two accounts in collection or pay them off?

I am going to continue talking to people around me and searching for information. If you have answers to any of my questions or any suggestions based on things that worked for you please feel free to leave a comment. 

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