Maintaining a good credit is one of the most important things that you can do in your life financially. With good credit, a person will be able to live how they want to live. Credit that is good will allow a person to be able to take out loans from lenders and receive a better interest rate on credit cards, loans, and so much more.
One simple piece of advice to maintain good credit is to check your credit report. Checking a credit report will allow the consumer to make sure that there is nothing on the report that should not be there. A credit report can be received for free once every 12 months from the three major credit bureaus( TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). A person can receive one copy from all three agencies under federal law for free. An individual may wish to order all three at the same time, or space them out over the course of a year to make sure that their credit is up to par. A higher credit score will tell lenders that there is less risk with this consumer, so it is in the best interest of the consumer to have as high of a credit score as possible. Know what a good score is. A score of 750 or more is considered to be an excellent credit score. A score of 720 to 749 is very good, while a score of 620 to 659 is fair, and a poor score would be anything from 619 to 300. Should you find something that is not correct on your credit report, it should be disputed as soon as possible. An inaccurate piece of information can lower a credit score, with just a late payment lowering a score anywhere from 60 to 110 points. Get a hold of the credit bureau that has the wrong information, and let them know why you believe the information is wrong. The credit bureau will have 30 to 45 days to repsond back. If there is nothing found, and the dispute can not be resolved, ask that a note be placed in your credit report with the information about the dispute so others can see it when they check on your credit report.
There are many things that one can do to maintain a healthy credit. First and foremost, always pay bills on time. For the amount that is due. Payment should be received by the due date to ensure that a late payment is not received and placed on the credit report. If a person has trouble remembering when payments are due, either have the payment automatically taken out of a checking account, or set up payment reminders from your bank. If neither of these options is available, do whatever it takes to get the bill paid on time. Cover the computer with sticky notes, have a small notebook or calendar with dates that bills are due and check daily. Or as soon as the bill arrives, make out the check and set it in a place that will be seen daily to ensure that delivery is made on time. If you should happen to be late with a payment, do not just skip it all together. Get it paid as soon as you can and then stay current with the bill. If you can not afford to make the minimum payment that is due, send what you can.
Next an individual will want to try to lower what credit they have out. A credit rating can be increased just by making sure that a balance of 20% or less is of the credit balance is maintained. Work on paying down credit and always work to pay down the account that has the highest interest on it first. Never max out a credit card, and keep balances on credit cards as low as you can. Making purchases on a credit card will raise credit utlization, which is the ratio between a credit card balance and your credit limit. This means that if you have a higher balance on credit cards, your credit score will be effected.
Did you know that if you open a bunch of new credit accounts, it can lower a credit score drastically? Even just applying for these cards can lower a score, so it is in the best interest of the consumer to apply for only one at a time. Many will also think that closing an old account will raise their credit score, but in reality, it can actually harm it. It is best to keep old accounts open, even if you do not use them. This will stay on your credit report, and can make it look better. It could be a wise move to use an old credit card, to help with improving the age of a credit history. If one must close an account, close the account that was just opened and leave the ones that are older open to improve the age.
Protect your personal information as much as you can. This includes a social security number, bank account numbers, checking account numbers, and anything else that can identify you. Fraud is a growing concern right now, and it is too easy for a person to steal from another person with this kind of information.
Do all you can to maintain a good credit score. With good credit, a person does not need to worry about being socked a huge interest rate, and will find that it is easier to obtain loans. Good credit can mean living life to the fullest, so one must take advantage of it, and get on the road to maintaining it.
*The above content is for informational purpose only. It does not constitute professional financial advice. If you have more questions, please reach out to a financial advisor for more information.