5 Steps to Raising Your Credit Score

There are 3 credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and each of them has a credit file on you. These agencies pay very smart people to create complex algorithms to help lenders decide whether to extend you credit or not. These algorithms do NOT take into account your:
– Age
– Gender
– Income

There are 5 things that are weighted very heavily that go into determining your credit scores and they are completely under your control:

Bill payment history – Lenders are able to look at your credit report and see what accounts you have, debt amounts, and how often you have been 30 days, 60 days, and more than 90 days late. They can also see when your debts have been written off or transferred to a collection agency. If your bills aren’t paid on time it’s your fault and those notations will be taken into account.

Debt ratio – how much credit you are able to access divided by how much credit you have used. Lenders would like to see under 30% utilization.

Length of credit – The longer you have used credit, the more accurate the scores will be. Be strategic when choosing credit cards, store cards, loans, etc. Opening and closing accounts both take a toll on your score.

Types of credit – Lenders would like to see a good mix of types of credit. The two main types of credit are installment accounts and revolving accounts. Installment accounts are loans that the payment will be the same every month because both you and the lender have agreed on the terms of the loan. Examples of installment loans are mortgages and car loans. Revolving accounts are loans that vary from month to month depending your usage. Examples of revolving accounts are credit cards and store cards.

Hard inquiries – Every time you apply for credit cards, store cards, cell phones, etc. a “hard” inquiry is noted on your credit reports. Get enough hard inquiries and it will lower your score. You can look at your credit report, a “soft” inquiry, all day long and it won’t change your credit report scores.

Manage these 5 areas and your credit score will improve which will save you money on everything from loan interest rates to deposits for your utilities. To read more about how you can better manage your credit score buy Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook.

Money Management in 1 Minute: Don’t Sign Anything

This week’s radio show is about paying for college, so this week’s Money Management in 1 Minute tip is: don’t sign anything you haven’t read and don’t understand.

Many of us have taken on a feeling of, “they’ll tell me the important parts that I need to know” without realizing that the old adage is true “in life, you’re either selling or you’re buying”. Those that are selling us something (mortgage, loan, etc.) are trying to make sure that we sign the paperwork. It is up to each of us to make sure that we know what we are getting into.