Ways to Improve your Credit Score

By: Jon Arnold

If more consumers realized the wide range of areas of their lives that are affected by a credit score, there would be a lot more people taking pro-active steps to watch their credit score. A poor credit score can affect your job, your chances of promotion, and even via some recent legislation, affect how much you pay for your car insurance. Based on all these areas of your life affected by your credit score, it would seem prudent to want to do whatever you can to keep your credit score as high as possible at all times.

Most consumers seem to think that their bad credit will clean up over time. While this is true to an extent, what happens if you need to get approved for a loan or a new line of credit somewhere before time has taken its course? The answer is that you either do not get approved, or you end up getting approved but at a much higher rate of interest that you would have had to pay if you had taken steps to clean up your credit score yourself.

One of the mysteries about cleaning up one's credit history is that it does not require an expert or an outside company. Although there are many such companies around willing to charge a fee for their service, most consumers do not realize that those companies cannot do anything that the consumer could not do himself. Those companies cannot offer any kind of guarantee that the consumer could not offer himself either. Like anything else, however, it takes the time, effort, and discipline to just sit down and do it.

If you are self-employed, use your business line of credit. If a credit card is listed in the business name, then the financial transaction will appear on the business's credit report, not on your personal one. This is a good idea anyway, since whatever you can purchase in the name of your business is a much more likely candidate for a tax deduction.

A lot of people seem to feel good about themselves because they have literally dozens of open accounts, usually a combination of Visa and MasterCard accounts, a couple Discover cards, maybe an American Express or two, and several department store charge cards. They don't feel bad about it because they claim that almost all the accounts have a zero balance. This is still not good, according to the most recent studies of the systems that compute one's credit score, because the banks realize that one could go out and charge all those cards to the hilt. It seems the optimal number of open credit card accounts is about 5 or 6 accounts.

With the accounts that you have open, do your absolute best to keep the outstanding balance to less than 30% of your credit limit. This seems to be the optimal percentage where you have plenty of credit available, yet you are actively using the account without being in danger of exceeding your credit limit.

Finally, keep on eye on your credit report. Gets a copy of your credit report separately from each of the three credit reporting agencies, because they each have an independent view of you and your credit history. Chances are better than excellent that there are errors on your credit report, and it is up to you to dispute those errors and have them removed from your credit report, where the end result is a higher credit score.

Don't take your credit score for granted. Your credit score is used in more places in today's world than you realize, and keeping it in as good a condition as possible should be your goal.

Credit Matters
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