How to Improve, Maintain, and Protect Your Credit Score
Your credit score is more important than ever in today’s world. Of course, banks and credit card companies have always looked at your credit score in determining whether or not to borrow you money, but now it is used more and affects many aspects of life today.
- Many employers run a credit check before deciding on employment opportunities.
- Your insurance rates are based almost as much on your credit score as they are on your claims history!
- Do you want the latest cell phone and wireless plan? Better have good credit.
Bad credit can make employment more elusive, and can make life less convenient and more expensive. Here are some simple things to keep in mind for your credit, no matter what your score is currently.
If you are looking to improve your credit score or perhaps have no credit at all, start with your local bank or credit union. If you have zero credit, you may be able to arrange a secured credit card where you deposit a lump sum (say $300) into the bank, as collateral, and they in turn give you a credit card with a $300 credit limit. Use this card once a month and pay it in full when the bill comes due and you will see some improvement in credit opportunities before you know it.
Rebuilding Damaged Credit
If you have missed a few payments here and there, or perhaps ran up the debt beyond original intentions, then it is time to develop a plan. Sit down and establish your monthly income and expenses. Develop a plan to make regular monthly payments above the minimum. Look at your credit card statements to see how long it takes to pay the balance in full when only paying the minimum payment. That should be enough motivation to develop a more aggressive payment schedule!
Maintaining and Protecting Credit
Only use your cards when you really need them or when you intend to pay the entire balance off at statement time. Pull all three of your credit reports (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax). You can access all three of your credit reports FOR FREE once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Pay your bills on time and only get a new card if absolutely needed. Do NOT let others use your card and do not incur debt on behalf of others.
It can take time to build or re-build credit, but that is an even better reason to start right now. If you develop a good plan, execute it, and be diligent, you should be able to establish a credit score that will get you all the privileges that go with excellent credit. Smart phones, better employment opportunities, and lower insurance premiums are just the tip of the iceberg of possibility. More and more reasons for credit checks are being thought of every day!
Create a step-by-step plan to improve your finances and credit with one of our Certified Financial Counselors. Call LSS at 888.577.2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE NOW. Take action TODAY to reduce financial stress and create a better tomorrow...you can do it!
Author Malcolm Johannessen with LSS is a Certified Financial Counselor and specializes in Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.