All too often people only think about the importance of their credit score when they need it most — when they apply for a mortgage to purchase their dream home or need to upgrade their vehicle. Unfortunately, this can lead to heartbreak and a denied loan application due to low credit score and credit reporting errors.
Be prepared for your next life milestone and boost your credit score this summer with our quick tips:
Review Your Credit Report
The only way to know exactly what you need to work on, is to pull your credit report. You can pull your credit report directly from each agency – Transunion, Experian & Equifax – once every twelve months for free. Don’t worry – it’s easy. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get started.
Once you receive your credit report, you’ll have access to your payment history, open and closed loans, inquires, and bankruptcies and past-due accounts. You could also find errors or misinformation. You can dispute these errors by writing to the credit bureaus or the creditor who listed your account wrong. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s tips to correct credit report errors.
Pay Your Bills On Time
One of the most important things you can do to boost your credit score is to pay your loan bills on time. Your payment history determines 35% of your credit score, so even one missed or late payment could have a significant impact on your credit score.
Have trouble keeping track of your bills and making payments on time? Try USCCU’s FREE Bill Pay. With Bill Pay, you can set up automatic bill payments connected directly from your accounts, avoid late fees, and set up one-time or recurring payments.
Check Your Credit Utilization
Your credit utilization, or the balance of your debt to available credit, makes up 30% of your credit score.
It is calculated by adding all of your credit card balances and dividing that by your total credit limits. For example — if you have a $4,000 balance on all of your credit cards in total with a total limit of $10,000, your credit utilization ratio is 40%.
It’s recommend to maintain a ratio of 30% or less at all times to help maintain a positive credit score. If your ratio is higher than 30%, it’s time to get serious and knock out debt.
If you don’t have a credit card, this can be one of the easiest ways to get started building credit. You don’t have to carry a balance to build your credit score, and it can be a safe & secure way to make purchases. We recommend USC Credit Union’s low-rate Platinum Mastercard. It has no annual fees and has a 0% APR Introductory Offer! Apply Online to get started.
Still confused by credit scores or have additional questions? Check out Financial Focu$ - our free online learning center - or contact us today!