Monday, August 16, 2010

6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

ACCION was a panelist at this year's SmartMoney Summit, and spoke on expert financing! Springboard (www.credit.org), was present as well and handed out packets that gave great insight into improving your credit score. Here is a an excerpt of that info. 

If you read this and would like more info on how to improve your credit score, leave a comment on our Facebook page and we'll be sure to send you some material.

  • Review your credit reports on a regular basis. You may obtain your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Dispute any inaccuracies as these may affect your credit score; you may use Springboard’s sample dispute letters in our Consumer Guide to Good Credit: http://credit.org/resources/materials
  • Pay bills on time. More recent negative marks are worse on a credit report than negative marks that occurred years ago. For example, an account that has been delinquent in the past six months will do more damage than a similar delinquency 3 years ago or even 7 years ago. Credit scores can improve over time.
  • Reduce your overall debt. The goal should be to NOT max out or use all of your credit card line of credit. By reducing the balances on your credit cards to below 50% of the line of credit or less, you will definitely have reduced the interest you have to pay on the card, but you will be improving your credit score at the same time. A good rule of thumb would be to only charge what you can afford to pay off within 20 days (a typical grace period for credit cards to avoid paying any interest on your purchase)You may use our Credit Card Payoff calculator to help!
  • Keep your older credit card accounts active. When choosing to close accounts any of your credit card accounts, of course consider the fees, but also take into consideration the length of history of your good OLD accounts as this will factor in the total age of your credit history. When credit card accounts go inactive (this is typically greater than 12 months of non-use) they will eventually drop off your credit report and you will lose that HISTORY!
  • Limit the number of inquires. Apply for accounts and credit cards sparingly, as these inquiries must report for two years and affect your credit score for the first year reported.

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