Lets talk FICO! Your credit score represents you. Lets fix it!
If you are interested in fixing your credit score, then more than likely you have come to the time in your life where you are most likely looking to invest. It may be buying your dream home, or that beautiful car you envision cruising down the highway. Whatever the reason may be, CONGRATULATIONS! This is a huge first step.
Why is your FICO score so important?
Our FICO score is our report card in financing during our adult life. FICO scores range between 300-850. Scores between 670-739 range indicate fairly “good” credit. This score is calculated on several different factors, which allow the lender to have an idea of our financial responsibility. This information is then grouped in five categories: Amounts owed, payment history, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix (hard inquiries, delinquencies, etc.)
The 3 main credit unions used for lending purposed are Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. These credit unions update periodically and rarely at the same time. Depending on the lending institute that you will be using, they will select a particular credit union to work with and pull credit reports. If you are interested in taking control of your credit I would suggest getting a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. From here you can see your open and closed accounts, and be able to dispute any charges that may not belong to you. I would highly suggest downloading the www.creditkarma.com or simply search it in your phone apps as Credit Karma. I have used this app for many years and it has helped me take control of my score. There may be other apps out there that work just as good but I am basing it off my personal experience.
So how can you increase your FICO score?
There are several ways you can achieve this. But step #1 is to STOP using your credit cards. As tempting it may be to shop for those gorgeous high heels, or book that so needed vacation, don’t do it! If you have no left over cash to make that purchase, then its probably best you wait to make that purchase. Eliminating debt is a big part of increasing your score. Using your credit app, or credit report, begin by paying off those smaller amounts. Every time you pay down a debt, you will boost your credit score a few points. Keep focused. If you happen to have a zero interest rate credit card on hand, than transferring all those balances from high interest rates may be your best bet. This way, every payment you make goes toward your principal and not disappear into the world of interests. Another thing you want to stay away from is applying for more credit. Every time you submit an application for a credit card, it is considered a hard inquiry, and it lowers your credit. Keep in mind that a new credit card with not so great credit will have a high interest rate and your $500 credit line will take years to pay off. Is this really worth it? Lastly and most important is to always pay your debts on time. Not a day late. Try to always pay more than your minimum amount due as this will have a good impact on your creditor and open doors to higher credit limits, hence increasing your score. Ideally you should keep your debt to a max of 30%(of your total credit limit) combined in use. Using more than 30% of your credit limit will impact your credit negatively. Keep focused and you can achieve your high FICO score in a very short time. Good Luck!