No Quick Fixes for Improving Credit Scores

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					Presented by Daniel Toriola
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No Quick Fixes for Improving Credit Scores By John Rasor

There are no quick fixes for improving your credit scores. However, you can increase your scores over time by demonstrating that you consistently manage your finances responsibly. Take a peek at these ten tips to live by if you want a good credit rating: 1. Pay your bills on time. This is the most obvious and best way to improve your scores, and it's never too late to start. Even if you've had bad credit in the past, those will count less over time if you keep paying your bills on time. 2. Keep credit card balances low. High outstanding debt can pull down your score. Never max out your credit cards or carry balances that exceed more than half of the total credit limit. 3. Check your credit report regularly for accuracy. It's possible that there may be inaccurate information on your credit report that can be easily cleared up If this proves to be the case, then you should contact one of the three credit reporting agencies-TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. On-line dispute for each bureau: EquifaxDispute online ExperianDispute online TransUnionDispute online 4. Pay down your debt rather than transferring balances. Consolidating your credit card debt onto one card or spreading it over multiple cards will not improve your score in the long run. It may save you interest charges temporarily though. The most effective way to improve your score is by simply paying down the amount you owe. 5. Do not close any credit card accounts. In general, having credit cards and installment loans that you pay on time will raise your score. This is what we refer to as credit depth. Even if you don't use them, keep them open as this will demonstrate stability. Someone who has no credit cards tends to have a lower score than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly. 6. If you have no credit history, don't open too many accounts to soon. Opening too many accounts in too short of a time period can look risky because you are taking on a lot of possible debt. Try secured credit cards to quickly establish a history of credit for yourself. 7. Enroll in identity theft protection. You don't have time to constantly monitor your credit. Leave that to the watch dogs at Identity Guard. Or choose one of several services designed to protect your credit.
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8. Don't live beyond your means. Make paying your bills and buying only essential items your main priority. Carefully weigh the importance of all new purchases against the greater importance of reestablishing your good credit. Getting a handle on your spending, paying bills on time, and paying down credit cards takes a long-term commitment and strong self-control. It won't always be easy, but the effort will pay off once you see your credit scores improve. 9. Know what's on your credit report and resolve any discrepancies. Even if you believe you have a good credit score, it is still wise to check with credit reporting agencies to make sure they contain a similar view of your credit history. It's also wise to make sure there are no errors on your report, such as name misspellings or incorrect addresses. 10. Consult with a reputable consumer credit counseling service if all else fails. This won't improve your score immediately, but the sooner you begin managing your credit well and making timely payments, the sooner your score will get better. Plan to pay your bills on time and follow through. If you have a history of poor credit or think that you might, it's important that you find out and take the steps to improve it. It will take time, but with discipline, you may expect to see improvement in as little as six months. You see, creditors are interested in a track record. You'll have to prove that you consistently pay your creditors on time and that you can effectively pay down your debt. Paying down your credit card balances will not only improve your credit rating over time, but you'll be in a better position to negotiate a lower interest rate for your cards. In general having good credit will get you better rates on just about everything you can think of from Home loans to insurance rates. What's your credit score?

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Before You Go House Hunting - You need your free credit report By John Rasor

You may be thinking "Why do I need my free credit report right now when my lender is going to get it before I can get a loan?" Because you need to be prepared. You need to know what that credit report says and how your credit scores stand before you talk to any lenders. That's because every time a lender checks your credit on your request, your credit scores take a little "hit." You should never let any lender, landlord, or service provider check your credit until you are ready to move forward. Do call the lender and discuss the scores that will qualify you to buy a home. Ask him or her about the differences in interest rates offered to consumers with different credit scores and find out where your scores need to be before going forward. Note that when you do decide to buy, you can "shop" different lenders and they can all pull your credit report without doing you harm - as long as it's done in a very narrow time frame. The credit bureaus do recognize that consumers shop for loans just like they shop for homes or cars. But back to why you need your free credit report first. If you find mistakes - and as many as 7 in 10 credit reports have errors - you'll have time to get them corrected and raise your credit scores by having negative information removed. This can take 30 to 60 days, so you don't want to wait until you're trying to be approved for a loan. If you find an old debt that you dispute and did not intend to pay, you'll have to decide if not paying it is worth the damage its doing to your credit scores. If it's a $50 charge and it could make a difference of even $10 a month in your 360 month mortgage, you might want to bite the bullet and pay the thing. By checking your own credit scores, you'll see if you need to make some improvements before you shop for that house. Strange things can affect your scores. For instance, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt and it is all on one card with an $11,000 limit while 2 or 3 other cards carry zero balances, you can raise your scores by spreading the debt between all the cards. And of course, if you can pay down the debt your scores will go up.

http://www.creditscorecowboy.com is the #1 source on the planet for a free credit report, identity theft software and a blog with a wealth of information writtten by lending professionals that know about credit and what determines ones creditworthiness.

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Patricia Johnson Patricia Johnson Management Consultant
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