On Friday, July 8th I was a guest on the Today Show to talk about ways to boost your credit score. I had just released my new book, The 90 Day Credit Challenge and was so excited to have the time to reach so many people to help them understand a little more about credit. Also appearing in the segment was Farnoosh Torabi, author of Psych Yourself Rich. You can watch the clip of our appearance here.
It's summertime and time to relax a little bit... but not from your credit! Here are some tips to help you throughout the summer.
• Know your FICO score!
Make sure you pull your FICO score @ http://www.myfico.com. Don't be fooled by the other scores! Most lenders use the FICO score to determine your interest rate. It's important to watch the same score that they are looking at!
Once you have your score, you want to make sure it is the best it can be. Look over each of your credit reports from Experian, Equifax & Trans Union. Highlight anything you see that is incorrect. Verify your name, address, phone number, listed account balances, late accounts or accounts that may not belong to you at all. Highlight whatever your disputes are and call each credit bureau directly and enter a dispute. They do not share information, so it's essential to contact each one.
• Pay your bills on time!
If you have had late payments in the past, make it your goal to pay the accounts on time. This is essential in getting your credit score back on track. With consistent, on-time payments, your score will stop decreasing and will gradually start moving back up. This means even accounts with small minimum payments have to be on time. You may think since it is a store account with only a $10 monthly payment that it won't hurt your score much but you are wrong! It does and every point matters!
• Pay down your debt.
Start lowering the credit card balances you might have racked up. As you start paying them down your score will begin to move up. Do not close the accounts! Just pay them down ideally to 20% of the highest limit you have available. This will boost your score.
You also want to pull out some of the credit cards that you have had in your wallet but have not been using. I'm not saying to go on a shopping spree and build up more debt, but showing activity on an account you have not used in a while really can help your score.
This summer's objective is to get as many credit points as possible!
Please contact me and let me know your credit story or if you have a credit question Jeanne.Kelly@TheCreditOwl.com