1. Do not close credit cards or revolving accounts. It can be tempting to cancel credit cards or revolving accounts once you pay them off or get that balance close to zero. Closing accounts can actually help lower your score, so it is not recommended. The reason it lowers the score is because it appears that one has less available credit since a canceled credit card is no longer available for use.
2. Obtain a free credit report at least once per year. It is helpful to obtain a copy of your credit report at least six months before applying for any large purchase. This allows ample time to verify all entries on the credit report as well as correct any errors if any exist. Also, check to make sure that your social security and personal information is listed correctly. These are items that are red flags for identity theft, so personal demographic information should be verified immediately to ensure that your identity has not been compromised. Every consumer is eligible for an annual free credit report.
3. Dispute any errors on the credit report. Review the credit report for accuracy. Often one person’s social security number can be transposed and it erroneously appears on another consumer’s credit report. Therefore, check for accounts that do not belong to you as well as accounts that are reporting incorrectly. For example, verify that paid accounts are reflected as such and verify that balances are correctly stated. Each credit bureau offers a dispute process. Typical, one can initiate this process online. The credit bureau will investigate the item in question and get back in touch with the consumer with their findings.
4. Make sure to pay each bill on time. Credit reports show monthly updates. Therefore, it is important that one pays their bills on time each month because any month that is not paid on time will be reflected on the credit bureau report. Obviously, the longer a bill is not paid, the larger impact that a consumer’s score will have. Not surprisingly, bills such as cable and electric are also reflected on ones credit report if they are never paid even though these are not revolving credit accounts.
5. Refrain from carrying high balances on credit cards. It is not good to carry large balances on credit cards. Obviously, if one is having financial struggles and has no other alternative then there is nothing else to do with the balances, but if possible, one should pay down large balances. Maxed out credit cards are simply detrimental to your credit score. As soon as possible, one should focus on lowering the outstanding credit card balances. Consumers will see extreme increases in their credit scores by doing this. One simple strategy of doing this is to pay double the minimum payment each month. Ultimately, the overall balance gets paid a lot faster and less interest is accumulated.
Catharine is a credit specialist at Kanetix, and is in the process of saving for a new home. Husband Jeff and the three kids can appreciate having a thrifty mom, as Catherine plans regular vacations and created home-made healthy treats.
- Five Ways to Rebuild Credit (fastswings.blogspot.com)
- Low Debt is Good, But a High Credit Score is Better (debt-consolidation-2u.com)