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Credit Information

Tips to Improve Credit

  • Remember that checking your own credit will not lower you score. Review your credit report for potential inaccuracies.
  • Make your payments on time. The best way to get on the road to a good credit score is to make at least the minimum payment on all debts on or before their due dates. A positive payment history weights the most heavily on how your credit score is calculated. If you are behind on any payments, do what you can to catch up, and stay current. Your late payments will remain a part of your credit history for several years--even if you pay off the accounts--but they'll weigh less heavily as time passes.
  • Pay Down Balances. Continually carrying high balances on revolving loans (loans that allow you to borrow and repay money as you need it) can negatively affect your score. This is because high balances can indicate a likelihood that you have over-extended yourself. Paying down these balances can increase your credit score and will allow you to save yourself money in interest charges as well.
  • Be patient. A good credit rating can not be established overnight. A portion of your credit score is calculated by reviewing the ages of your credit accounts. Try keeping revolving accounts open even after you have paid them off.  Use them periodically but keep the balances low and pay them off quickly. Accounts that have been in good standing over a long period of time will reflect well on your score, as it indicates that you are able to handle credit responsibly over time.
  • Avoid opening new credit lines unless absolutely necessary.  Apply for new credit only when needed. Avoid the "credit card shuffle"-moving balances from one card to the next to take advantage of low introductory rates --unless you will be disciplined enough to use the decreased interest charges to pay down the debt faster. Opening and closing several credit lines over short periods of time can lower credit scores.
  • Avoid credit repair scams. Steer clear of companies that claim to be able to quickly improve your credit by "deleting" derogatory information from your credit history for a fee. Review your credit report for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com and ensure the information is correct.  Information that is inaccurate or outdated CAN be disputed and removed. ...however, accurate information cannot be deleted.