North Brookfield Savings Bank’s 7 Suggestions to Improve Your Credit Score
A good credit score is an important requirement in many parts of life like renting an apartment, purchasing a car or home, or getting a loan for any reason.
“Whether you’re renting or buying, your credit score is important,” said Frank Amato, Vice President of Retail Lending. “It is important for you to responsibly manage your debt levels and maintain good credit reports so lenders will be able to provide you with the financing you need. Landlords often look at your credit score before agreeing to rent to you. They want to know that you are going to be a reliable tenant who pays on time.”
A credit score can be your best friend, or an awful reminder of what could have been. However, just because your credit score might not be optimal now doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make improvements for the future.
Here are some great tips for improving your credit score:
- Request a copy of your credit score report – and make sure it is accurate. Your credit report shows your credit performance, and it needs to be correct so that you can apply for loans. Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies, but you must go through the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228. However, you may have to pay for the numerical credit score itself.
- Set up automatic bill pay. Payment history makes up 32 percent of your VantageScore credit score (a credit score jointly developed by the three major credit bureaus) and 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The longer you pay your bills on time, the better your score. By setting up as many of your bills with auto pay it leads to less chances of accidentally missing a payment.
- Build credit through renting. VantageScore’s scoring model now uses rent and utility payment records which allows it to score as many as 35 million people who previously couldn’t get a credit score. Lenders, landlords and financial institutions use your VantageScore to evaluate creditworthiness so if you will need a mortgage to purchase a home this could be important.
- Keep balances low on credit cards and ‘revolving credit.’ Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30 percent or less of a card’s limit.
- Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Keep this in mind the next time a retailer offers you 10 percent off if you open an account. However, if you need a new line of credit, don’t jump at the first appealing offer; compare rates and fees offered through mail solicitation, on the Internet or at your local bank.
- Don’t close old, paid off accounts. According to FICO, closing accounts can never help your score and can in fact damage it.
- Talk to credit counselors if you’re in trouble. Using legitimate, non-profit credit counseling can help you manage your debt and won’t hurt your credit score. For more information on debt management, contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (www.nfcc.org).
We’re Always Here to Help.