Every so often I like to do a reminder on credit. It’s kinda important, ya know.
So, your credit score, also called a FICO score, is a number based on the information in your credit file that shows how likely you are to pay a loan back on time. You’ll want your number to be higher, rather than lower, because that show’s you’re less risky (not to be confused with risqué).
Consumers with scores above 700 are usually charged pretty low rates, but those with scores above 760 are charged the lowest rates. So, what should you do if you have less than stellar credit? Jeannie Bolger at Nova Home Loans has come to the rescue with some of her top tips for improving your credit score.
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
According to Jeannie, “The best way to raise your credit score is to develop a positive history of using credit to outweigh the old, bad credit history.” If you’ve made any late payments, establishing or re-establishing a good track record of making timely payments will raise your score.
KEEP YOUR BALANCES LOW
Jeannie also suggests that you keep your current credit card balance at 30% or less than the maximum credit limit. High outstanding debt can affect your score and maxing out your credit cards could lower your average score by as much as 70 points.
Visit www.optoutprescreen.com to tell the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) to stop selling your credit history. You’ll be able to opt of “pre-approved” credit card offers for a period of five years or indefinitely.
GET A SECURED CREDIT CARD
A secured credit card (one that requires you to make a deposit against the card’s credit limit) is a great way to develop a positive credit history. Jeannie cautions that you should not max it out. Instead, maintain a very small balance each month and be sure that the card reports to all three credit bureaus.
GET IT IN WRITING
If you’re paying off an old collection or charge-off, speak to the creditor about removing derogatory information on your credit report in exchange for payment. And don’t forget to get it in writing.
Jeannie Bolger can be reached at Nova Home Loans at email@example.com or (602) 550-8674