April 19th, 2019 4:39 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
An important step to finding a home, whether you’re renting or
buying, is ensuring that you have a good credit history. The American Bankers
Association suggests the following tips to improve your credit score.
Your credit report illustrates your credit performance, and it
needs to be accurate so that you can apply for other loans – such as a
mortgage. Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of his or her 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. Note that you may have to pay for the numerical
credit score itself.?
Payment history makes up 32 percent of your VantageScore credit
score and 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The longer you pay your bills
on time, the better your score. Avoid missed payments by setting as many
of your bills to automatic pay as possible.
VantageScore’s scoring model, created by the three major credit
bureaus, will now weigh rent and utility payment records. This will allow it to
score as many as 35 million people who previously couldn’t get a credit score.
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.
FICO, closing accounts can never help your score and can in fact damage
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).
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