Does a flat credit score have you singing off key? Tune that score with these 5 easy pieces.
Monitor your credit score.
If you’re like a lot of folks, you don’t know your credit score. No worries, we’ve all been there.
To orchestrate a credit score tune-up, you need to know your current score, credit history, and which accounts (if any) are negatively affecting your score.
Check out this recent comparison of top credit monitoring services to see which services best fit your needs. Many of them provide a free credit report, as well as daily credit monitoring and change alerts.
Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Rachel Bradley, can help you find and negotiate your first home. Check out her stellar client testimonials. And then call/text 503-936-3373. You’ll be glad you did.
Credit monitoring services keep your credit worthiness in perfect pitch and protect you from identity theft, which can take your score off key. Along with monitoring your personal credit information, some of these services, such as Identity Guard, offer personalized simulators that project how your credit score might improve with suggested actions. And how specific items in your credit history affect your score—positively or negatively.
Correct credit report errors.
Unfortunately, credit reports are prone to errors—simple, compound, and even fraudulent. And regardless of cause, errors can negatively affect your credit score. Credit monitoring services provide knowledgeable customer support, which can assist in filing disputes to credit bureaus.
More Tips for the First Time Home Buyer. Check it out.
Although every consumer is entitled to a free credit report each year from annualcreditreport.com, this report doesn’t include credit score, analysis, or monitoring for changes and possible errors. Thus, we recommend enlisting an ongoing credit monitoring service that tracks all three credit reporting services.
Lower your credit utilization ratio.
Lowering your credit utilization ratio is a key element in raising your credit score. Here’s the ratio: Credit Utilization Score = Credit Balance / Available Credit Limit.
A higher credit utilization ratio affects your credit score negatively, because it indicates that you are nearing (or perhaps exceeding) your credit limit. In the best credit scenario, you have a large amount of available credit.
To lower your credit utilization ratio:
- Don’t take your loans or credit cards to their limit. Or pay them down significantly.
- Don’t close old credit cards, even if you’re not using them. The moreunused credit you have available, the lower your credit utilization ratio.
- If you’re sure you’ll be approved, open a new credit card, preferably one with0% interest for 12-18 months. And don’t use it.
Stay current on balances and payments.
To keep your credit score in tune, get organized. Monitor your accounts online. Track your balances and payment deadlines. Pay on time, every time.
If you’re in default on a credit account, pay the minimum amount to get current. While a late payment history is damaging to your credit score, current late payments are lethal.
To avoid accruing interest, transfer your balance to a 0% interest credit card.
Get a secured credit card.
Having and using credit responsibly boosts your credit score. However, if you can’t get a regular, unsecured credit card because of limited credit history or credit issues, get a secured credit card that reports to the three credit bureaus.
With a secured credit card, you provide cash collateral, which becomes your credit limit. You use this as a regular credit card–making purchases and paying off the balance on time each month.
Using a secured credit card and making payments on time each month demonstrates that you’re responsible with credit. It reflects well on your credit score, and if you maintain a positive payment history on the card, you may eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card.
Copyright 2017 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.