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Keep Your Credit Score on Track with These 5 Tips

Posted on 2015-09-03 16:05:00

Friends with thumbs upAlthough there are many credit scoring models in use today, all are designed to quickly and objectively predict your creditworthiness. These 5 tips can help you keep your credit score on track. #1 Pay your bills on time, every time. Why it matters: More than anything else, lenders want to know how you pay your bills. So, your payment history usually carries the most weight with any scoring model. While a single late payment may have little impact on your credit score, a trend of late payments will not go unnoticed. Delinquent accounts and bankruptcies can cause your credit score to drop significantly.

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#2 Keep credit card balances below 20%. Why it matters: How much you owe is another factor that typically carries a lot of weight with most scoring models. Creditors are interested in how much credit you have already committed to, especially in relation to your credit limits. If you are near or over your credit limits, prospective lenders may be hesitant to issue more credit. Even if you pay your bills in full each month, your credit score may factor in a large balance that you have not yet paid. If you have a high balance, considering paying the balance down before the statement closing date. #3 Don’t close old credit card accounts without good reason. Why it matters: A longer credit history is viewed favorably by lenders. For that reason, it is rarely a good idea to close old accounts, even if you aren’t using them. Closing an account can also lower your available credit, and that can raise the percentage of available credit you are using. #4 Don’t apply for credit you don’t need. Why it matters: Most credit scoring models factor in applications for new credit by looking at “hard inquiries” on your report – those that result from an application you initiate. Unless they are excessive, inquiries usually have a minimal impact on your credit score, but too many can cause a significant credit score ding. New accounts will also lower the average age of all of your accounts which could negatively affect your credit score. #5 Know what your credit report says about you. Why it matters: Credit report mistakes are common. Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report. You are the only one who will know if the information on your credit report is accurate. Review your credit report periodically, and consider a credit monitoring service that will alert you whenever there are significant changes to your credit report.
Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256

The Truth Behind 5 Popular Credit Score Myths

Posted on 2015-07-30 09:00:51

There is no shortage of myths when it comes to credit scores. Here we expose the truth behind 5 popular credit score myths. 1. Checking your own credit report will hurt your credit score. This myth is potentially self-destructive. Ordering your own credit report counts as a “soft inquiry.” Soft inquiries have zero impact on your credit score. Zero. They are not even visible to anyone else who may look at your credit report. Consumers can and should review their credit report periodically. It has the information used to calculate your credit score. Make sure your credit report is accurate.Two beautiful women laughing over a cofee at the river side terrace 2. There is only one “real” credit score. There are hundreds of credit score models in use today. There are even multiple versions of the FICO credit score. Creditors often use industry-specific credit scoring models. An auto loan company, for example, may want a credit score that puts more emphasis on how you have handled past auto loans rather than an emphasis on how you have paid credit card bills. Consumers usually see a more generic educational credit score. The most important thing to consider is how you rate on the scale being used. Then look at the factors affecting your credit score.

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3. Co-signing a loan does not affect my credit score. Whenever you co-sign for a loan, you are accepting full responsibility for the loan. If the other party bails, you are still responsible in full for the debt. Details of the account will appear on both individual’s credit reports, and therefore be factored into both individual's credit score. If you have co-signed a loan, pay close attention to how the other party is handling the obligation. 4. High credit card limits hurt my credit score. High credit card limits can actually work in your favor when it comes to your credit score as long as you don’t overspend. Most credit score formulas will consider how much of your available credit you are using. Less is better. When you lower credit card limits or close accounts, you are lowering the amount of available credit. That automatically raises the percentage of available credit you are using. 5. Carrying a credit card balance helps your credit score. This myth is costing consumers money unnecessarily every single day. Your credit score does not benefit one bit when you make payments instead of paying a balance in full. Credit card issuers typically report your statement balance to the credit bureaus. Nothing indicates whether you made a minimum payment or paid in full. It is always better to pay in full and avoid paying interest.
Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256

Check Your Credit Report for These 5 Common Errors

Posted on 2015-07-22 09:00:30

If you think credit report mistakes only happen to others, it’s time to take your head out of the sand. Credit report mistakes are common, and some mistakes can affect your credit score. The two best eyes for reviewing your credit report for accuracy are your own. If you’ve never looked at your credit report, change that today! Here are 5 common credit report mistakes to check for.Pretty smiling woman using laptop 1. Incorrect Personal Information Mistakes in the spelling of your name won’t necessarily affect your credit score, but it could if the mistake is because your identity has been confused with someone else’s. If you find inaccurate information in your name, address or Social Security number, dispute it with the credit bureaus. You have the right to accurate personal information on your credit report. 2. Erroneous Accounts If your credit report lists accounts that don’t belong to you, they need to come off—even if you think they are helping your credit score. Your credit report should reflect your credit history. You can never be sure when someone else’s account may go delinquent. Accounts that are duplicated may appear harmless, but it can give the appearance of having more open credit or higher debt than you actually have. Clean up erroneous accounts by disputing them.

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3. Inaccurate Account Information If you spot errors with your credit limits or the date you opened an account, dispute those items. Mistakes in these areas could affect your credit utilization ratio (the amount of available credit being used compared to your credit limits) or your credit history. 4. Closed Accounts with Wrong Reason If you closed a credit card account, your credit report should indicate you are the one who closed it. If it says “closed by grantor,” dispute that. An account closed by a grantor can negatively affect your credit score. 5. Old Bad Debts Before you dispute old bad debts, know that legitimate bad debts will remain on your credit report for 7 years. After that, except for certain types of bankruptcies, they should drop off. Any debts discharged in a bankruptcy should not be listed on your credit report, but the bankruptcy itself will be. Don’t let a mistake on your credit report keep you from getting credit at the best terms. Know what your credit report is saying about you, and dispute inaccuracies so your credit report is telling the right story.
Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256

5 Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Credit Score

Posted on 2015-07-15 09:00:30

Excited happy couple enjoying on a road tripYour credit score matters! A higher credit score can save you money each and every month through lower interest rates and better credit terms. It can add up to thousands of dollars over time—money that could be in your pocket instead of a creditor’s. Yet everyday people make mistakes that hurt their credit score. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid. 1. Late Payments Late payments will put you on the fast track to a low credit score. Not only will you have late fees to pay, that black mark on your credit report is a red flag to other creditors to beware. Always, always, always make your payments on time. If you are the forgetful type, set up a calendar reminder or automatic payments to ensure that your payments aren’t even a day late. 2. Charging Too Much Creditors like to see some leeway between your credit limits and the amount you actually charge. Most experts recommend you keep your balances below 30%; some recommend even lower. Just know that the ratio between how much you owe and your credit limit can account for about 30% of your credit score. Keep balances low for a better credit score.

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3. Opening Too Many New Accounts Don’t be a credit card collector. When your credit report starts showing an excessive number of inquiries from creditors wanting to review your credit report, it sounds an alarm, and your credit score could drop. Most credit score algorithms are somewhat forgiving for multiple inquiries for the same line of loan within a short period of time. But never apply for credit you don’t truly need. 4. Ignoring a Parking Ticket or Other Bill Don’t try to pull a fast one by not paying a parking ticket. It could come back to haunt you. Some cities send unpaid parking tickets to collection agencies. And that’s when it can show up on your credit report and cause your credit score to plummet. Some utility companies do the same thing. 5. Failure To Know What’s on Your Credit Report The information on your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. Mistakes can affect your credit score. It happens more often than you might think. Check your credit report for accuracy. Consider a credit monitoring service that will notify you whenever there are significant changes to your credit report that you should know about.
Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256

7 Tips for Safeguarding Your Identity While on Vacation

Posted on 2015-07-08 09:00:59

Vacation woman smiling on tropical beach summer holidays with palm trees. Portrait of pretty happy female model eating exotic Asian Dragon Fruit.Vacations are meant for relaxing and forgetting the cares of the world. But when you travel, your risk of identify theft goes up. Most people let their guard down while on vacation, and identity thieves take advantage of that and are at their busiest during the summer months. Here are 7 tips for safeguarding your identity while on vacation. 1. Don’t leave telltale signs that you are on vacation. Make arrangements to stop mail and newspaper delivery while you are away. Remember that mail often has information of great value to an identity thief. 2. Travel light when it comes to your wallet. Old-fashioned pickpocketing is still used by identity thieves. Don’t carry unnecessary cards in your wallet that make a thief’s work easier.

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3. Use caution at ATMs. Identity thieves use ATM skimming to capture account numbers and PINs. ATMs at a bank branch tend to be more secure. 4. Wait until you return to share your vacation on social media. You may think you are sharing with trusted friends, but the truth is it is hard to know where your privacy stops and starts on social media sites. Wait until you are home to broadcast that your home was vacant. 5. Limit information on luggage tags. Really, you just need a phone number for an honest person to reach you if your luggage goes astray. Having your home address visible not only lets someone who steals your bag know your address (and that you are not home), but that same information is visible to many people who are standing or sitting near you. 6. Don’t leave personal information in a hotel room. It may be inconvenient to take your laptop, credit cards and other personal information with you every time you leave your hotel room, but it’s the safest way to safeguard your information. You simply cannot control access to a hotel room. 7. Monitor your accounts while you are away. If possible, use a secure connection to check your bank and credit card accounts while you are away. But if your only option is an unsecured Wifi, it is not worth the risk. This could be a perfect time to try a credit monitoring service that will alert you by email to any significant changes to your credit report.

Improve Your Credit Score. Free Consultation. Proven Results. (877) 882-2256