Is there any three digit number quite as important as a credit score? Companies pore over it, lenders base interest rates on it, and people stress about keeping that number as high as possible. Whether you’re trying to purchase a home or rent an apartment, your credit score is a major factor in how “generous” lenders can be with you. So let’s look at some ways to help you achieve a higher score.
Building Positive Credit History
A person’s credit score is based upon a few factors, including your outstanding debt, the length of your credit history, how many credit accounts you have open, and if you pay your bills on time. Lenders want to see that you have paid your bills on time for a reliable period of time.
A few fiscally healthy habits to practice include:
Paying each bill on time. Along with being slammed with a late payment charge, which can be more than $30 a month, late payments can be incredibly detrimental to your credit score.
Eliminating your existing debt by paying above the minimum payment each month. Credit scores fall due to high balances. And did you know that spending more than 30% of your credit limit can cause your credit score to drop?
Credit Card Use and Your Credit
For most people, bad credit scores are established by the excessive use of credit cards. This results in a balance which cannot easily be paid off. The best thing that can be done is to stop using credit cards and eliminate the reliance on them by living on cash and becoming accustomed to immediate purchases.
Notice that we didn’t say start closing your accounts! While paying off your credit card accounts is important, closing accounts reduces your overall credit availability which can negatively affect your credit score. It’s absolutely essential that you do not panic or begin making hasty decisions. And by all means, beware of trying to solve one credit card debt by applying for a new credit card. Every time you apply for new credit, something called a “hard inquiry” is posted to your file. Too many hard inquiries may send a red flag to lenders that you are shopping excessively for credit which can also have a negative impact on your credit score.
Start a Simple Credit Diet
Much like losing weight, a perfect credit score is not achieved overnight. It requires small changes and patience over a long period of time. Ready to get started? Click here to learn your credit score, and then here to understand what that score means. Then, follow these tips and any others you find helpful at Credit.com.* Once you get started, you’ll no doubt see the results of your hard work will be well worth it.
If you are receiving structured settlement or annuity payments and would like to learn how you can use that money to pay down your debt, call SenecaOne at 1.800.513.1394 to discuss your options. We’ve helped countless customers eliminate debt and change their lives.
*SenecaOne does not endorse any products or services offered at Credit.com and they are referred to solely as a reference for our readers.