Tips for Managing Your Credit Score

Strategies Designed to Improve Your Credit Score

1.  Ensure credit bureau data is accurate and dispute legitimate errors.  You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three credit agencies.  Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more information.

 

2.  Focus on bringing delinquent loan accounts current.  Don't allow current loans to go delinquent or to go further delinquent while using cash flow to pay on old collection accounts.

 

3.  Comparison shop for mortgage and auto loans within a 14-day period of time to minimize the impact of hard inquiries.

 

4.  Pay off and close "second tier" finance company trade lines.

 

5.  Pay down the credit cards first that are near their limits (assuming interest rates on all of your credit cards are close to the same).

 

6.  Pay down total revolving balances, but do not close these accounts.

 

7.  Move revolving balances to installment debt; but again, do not close the revolving accounts.

 

8.  Minimize new accounts.

Things That Are Sure to Hurt Your Credit Score

1.  Late payments and derogatory public records.

 

2.  A low level of "percent available" on individual revolving accounts and total revolving accounts (i.e. capacity, for example, carrying a balance on your credit card that is very close to the limit).

 

3.  Closing revolving accounts.

 

4.  Having a lender lower the limit on a revolving account or not reporting the limit on a revolving account.

 

5.  Multiple new revolving accounts in a short period of time.

 

6.  Settling a debt for less than the full balance (because the settled date is more recent than the original date).

 

7.  Having loans at "second tier" finance companies.

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