5 Tips For Improving Your Credit Score
Here are 5 tips to help improve your credit score.
1. Get copies of your credit report —then make sure the information is correct.
Go to the Annual Credit Report web site. This is the only authorized online source for a free credit report. Under federal law, you can get a free report from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months
You can also call 877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) web site and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
2. Pay your bills on time.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your credit score is pay your bills by the due date. You can set up automatic payments from your bank account to help you pay on time, but be sure you have enough money in your account to avoid overdraft fees.
3. Understand how your credit score is determined.
Your credit score is usually based on the answers to these questions:
Do you pay your bills on time? The answer to this question is very important. If you have paid bills late, have had an account referred to a collection agency, or have ever declared bankruptcy, this history will show up in your credit report.
What is your outstanding debt? Many scoring models compare the amount of debt you have and your credit limits. If the amount you owe is close to your credit limit, it is likely to have a negative effect on your score.
How long is your credit history? A short credit history may have a negative effect on your score, but a short history can be offset by other factors, such as timely payments and low balances.
Have you applied for new credit recently? If you have applied for too many new accounts recently that may negatively affect your score. However, if you request a copy of your own credit report, or creditors are monitoring your account or looking at credit reports to make prescreened credit offers, these inquiries about your credit history are not counted as applications for credit.
How many and what types of credit accounts do you have? Many credit-scoring models consider the number and type of credit accounts you have. A mix of installment loans and credit cards may improve your score. However, too many finance company accounts or credit cards might hurt your score.
To learn more, see the Federal Trade Commission’s publication on credit scoring at their web site.
4. Learn the legal steps you must take to improve your credit report.
The Federal Trade Commission’s “Building a Better Credit Report” has information on correcting errors in your report, tips on dealing with debt and avoiding scams—and more.
5. Beware of credit-repair scams.
Sometimes doing it yourself is the best way to repair your credit. The Federal Trade Commission’s “Credit Repair: Self-Help May Be Best” explains how you can improve your creditworthiness and lists legitimate resources for low-cost or no-cost help.
5 Ways You Can Avoid Costly Credit Card Late Fees
Credit card late fees are a fact of life for some consumers, but they don’t have to be for you. Legally, credit card companies can hit you with pretty much whatever fees they want. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay them, but only if you avoid them in the first place. Here are five sure fire ways you can avoid costly credit card late fees:
1. Pay Before the Due Date. Of course, this makes the most sense. However, this is also the single most important reason why people get socked with fees: they receive their bill and immediately forget about it! When you get your bill, open it up and pay it promptly. Waiting means forgetting and forgetting about your credit card bill will cost you money.
2. Pay on the Internet. If you have access to a computer, then paying online is the best way to make certain that your payment gets to your credit card provider on time. Be careful, as there is still some lag time from when you authorize funds to be released from your checking account and when that payment is finally credited to your credit card account. The gap between the two can be as long as one week!
3. Schedule Automatic Payments. Some credit card providers allow for you to set up a scheduled deduction from your checking account which is then automatically sent to your credit card provider. You should set it up to take money out of your account well before the due date to ensure that your funds are received on time. You can always send in a separate, extra payment if you want to pay down your debt faster too.
4. Question a Late Payment. Even if the credit card company claims that your payment was late, it doesn't mean that you must be charged a late fee. Contact the company and ask them to reverse their charge –- which usually runs between $29 and $39 -- and to expunge their records of your tardiness. You not only want to avoid any fees, you want to avoid their possible notification of your lateness to the three major credit report agencies [Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax]. Any information supplied to the credit reporting agencies can work against you in the form of higher interest rates on current cards as well as on future loans!
5. Go with the Citi Simplicity Credit Card. Now, consumers have a new option to help them avoid late fees: Citi’s new Citi Simplicity card doesn’t charge late fees. Please click the link below for more information about this breakthrough card.
Taking the appropriate action can help you to avoid late fees and allow for you to keep more of your money in your pocket. Become better informed and start saving money today!