There is a colossal difference if you boost your credit score by 20 points. From a consumer point of view, this number may be minimal but it will positively influence your credit standing.
A credit score is based on the data in your credit file representing your credit worthiness, or how likely you are to settle a loan on time. In this regard, the higher your score, the better your chances of getting considered and approved for a loan application.
With the recent fluctuations in the economy, the goal is to boost your credit score. Here are some pointers that will help you channel a good credit standing:
- Scan through your credit report. Several websites offer credit reports, either for free or for a certain fee. One of the most trusted sites is AnnualCreditReport.com, which was created by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three national credit bureaus. Look for any discrepancies and actively take steps to have them removed from your credit file. For instance, you may send a formal letter to the agency if you wish to challenge the validity of previous debts. Credit reporting companies normally remove such items if they fail to validate the debt within a month.
- Maintain a punctual take on credit card payments. And apart from paying your credit card bill before the due date, it helps significantly if you pay more than the minimum payment owed. Note that the credit score generated by online parties are modeled after the FICO score and this approximates 35% for your Payment history. Paying bills on time and in excess of the minimum will improve your score.
- Deactivate any accounts without outstanding balances. Financial advisors say it is best to keep a maximum of four accounts open under your name. Prevent these accounts from pulling down your credit score by closing them off.
- Settle old credit card charge offs. Although collectors may have long given up on your unpaid credit card debts, this unsettled credit still weighs down your credit score. Try to manage and settle these negative outstanding credits.
- Cease multiple credit applications. Inquiring into your credit often and looking to open more lines of credit are practices that hurt your credit score. Lenders consider ‘Recent search for credit’ and it accounts for 10% of your FICO score.
- Use credit responsibly. Pay your credit card bills on time, and in a matter of months this good habit will reflect on your credit score. Do not open more lines of credit than needed. If you have multiple credit cards, seek to decrease your credit limit for one or two of the accounts. Large credit card companies will view that as a responsible use of credit and will make up your scores in no time.
These practices are good first steps toward building a strong borrower’s credibility. Think of your credit score as a measure of how likely your neighbor might let you borrow a power tool, or a decent soup bowl for a party you’re throwing. If you establish yourself as a responsible borrower, they won’t have to think twice.