Knowing your credit score and keeping on top of what is going into your score can literally save you thousands of dollars when it comes to buying a house, a car or any other large purchase. It can also affect whether or not you get qualified for the lowest rate credit card and can even keep you from getting approved for an apartment.
Here are some simple steps to take that can be done quickly and will dramatically increase your score or will keep the credit score you have now in good standing.
Get the Data
- Because credit scores are based on credit reports, you need to know what’s in those reports. To get your FREE Credit Report I recommend checking it online with Credit Sesame. They offer a completely FREE report and will not ask you for any credit card information. Most places say the offer a “FREE Credit Report” however it’s a trial offer and you will have to provide a credit card
Fix Reporting Errors
- Errors can include such negative marks as paid debts that are listed as unpaid or any defaults more than seven years old. (Federal law requires most negative items to be dropped from a report after seven years.) If you see an error on your report contact the company and discuss with them what needs to be done to get this off your record. Sometimes it may be as simple as a phone call to complete.
Don’t push your Credit Limits
- Credit bureaus look favorably on people who use less than 30 percent of their available credit. Example: If a credit card has a $1,000 credit limit, you shouldn’t carry a balance higher than $300, even if you pay it off in full as soon as the bill arrives. This shows the credit card companies you can handle debt.
Keep accounts open and in good standing
- Untapped credit on your credit score looks great however don’t race around applying for cards at myriad retailers. Instead just keep existing accounts open, preferably with small or zero balances. The best advice would be to put the card in a drawer and don’t carry it around with you as you will be more tempted to spend.
Pay all bills promptly
- Thirty-five percent of your credit score is based on payment history, which may include everything from credit lines to parking tickets and library fines. To let any bill become 30 days overdue is a demerit on a credit score. Manilla is another great program that you may want to check out as Manilla provides you with an automated, organized view of all your account information, and will send text and/or email reminders to pay bills!