New Years resolution 2018: 3 steps to better your credit score
Have you ever checked your credit score and stare in absolute shock at the low-end number you see before you on the screen? This number probably makes you feel like you’re just not doing well enough financially. However, that’s not always the case and there are several other factors that may be affecting your credit score too. When in doubt, check these tips out:
- Step 1) Check your credit score. If you need help reading your report, you can check out how to read your Experian credit report. If you want to learn more about credit reports in general, you can also read about credit report basics. If you find incorrect information on your credit report, you can file a dispute at your convenience. Keep in mind, that items you don’t recognize on your credit report could potentially be signs of fraudulent activity — someone working to secure credit in your name for their own use. If all looks fine, then it’s time we look at step 2.
- Step 2) Check out your credit utilization rate. The general rule of thumb is to keep your credit card usage rate below 30%. Let’s say you have a $10,000 credit card limit across all of your credit cards, generally, you should try to keep your total balance below $3,000 to keep your credit utilization rate in good standing. There are a couple ways you can take care of over utilized credit cards. The first being – simply try and pay off debt and decrease your balances on each credit card. The second is to raise your credit card limit on an existing account if you can – this will help balance out your spend vs. credit utilization ratio as well. This brings us to step 3.
- Step 3) Take a look at your payment history. Have you ever been late on a car payment? Hospital payment? Or perhaps, you’ve missed several different payments? Well, payment history is one of the key factors in many FICO scoring models. According to Experian.com, having little payment history, or having only new credit can result in a lower FICO Score. It is not always from missed payments or maxed-out credit cards. Late and missed payments will likely reduce your scores, and being put in collections for missed payments can cause significant damage. Because negative information can significantly impact your credit scores for 7-10 years, it would be helpful to try and keep all of your future payments on time. You can set reminders in your phone so you know when it’s time to make a payment. In fact, we’ve found a site filled with different types of bill reminder apps that you can check out to help fit your needs here.
Be sure to remember that fixing your credit score is a process. Although you make payments on time and pay down credit cards, your credit report isn’t updated right away. It can take up to 30 days or more for your account statuses to be updated, depending on when in the month your creditor or lender reports their updates. Alternatively, you can also get a head start on using a LendingPoint personal loan to consolidate your debt today. Apply now to see if you qualify. We’d love to be a part of your financial journey!