A study done by The National Foundation for Credit Counseling shows that more people are afraid of admitting their credit score than their weight or age. I get it… It’s embarrassing. Especially when you’re denied credit or loans due to a few blemishes on your credit report.
But having a poor credit score tells lenders that it’s risky business to lend you money and that they may or may not recover all funds borrowed… which puts you in sticky situation. So while there is no quick fix to drastically changing your credit score, there are things that you can begin working on now to improve it for when the time is right. Let’s review a few tips!
Pull Your Credit Report.
This is step number one.
Many people have not seen their credit report in months… sometimes years, and have no idea what may even be on there that could be bringing the score down. You can pull your credit report for free, once a year, at annualcreditreport.com. After answering a few questions, you will be able to see all the details of your credit history.
But don’t get this confused with your credit score. Let's discuss the difference...
A credit report spells out details of your financial history and provides information on what lines of credit you have, how long those credit lines have been open, the balances on those credit lines. The report also shows payment history, past due accounts, hard inquires against your credit and much more.
On the other hand, your credit score is the numerical value assigned to your credit report information based on some super complicated algorithm that is more commonly known as your FICO score. Think of it as something like a grade you’d receive in school… but just a financial grade... that lasts a lifetime.
Your FICO score can range anywhere from 300, on the very low end, to 850 being perfect credit. But girlfriends, between you and me, if your score is below a 500… you and I need to talk… immediately. Contact me, hunty.
Dispute Old or Inaccurate Items.
Whenever someone is just starting to clean up their credit, I always suggest disputing negative items that are old or inaccurate, first. By law, negative items are allowed to stay on your report for up to 7 years. After that, those delinquent items should fall off, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen. That’s why it’s so important to frequently monitor your credit report when you’re trying to boost your score because sneaky items can pop up anytime.
Need help disputing items? Check out thisstep-by-step guide from Bankrate.
Pay Off Any Items in Collections.
While some negative items might be old or outdated, there may be others where you just have to admit fault and pay up, sista!
The bad news is… these negative items are significantly bringing down your score, but the good news is… you can get them cleared up fairly quickly.
Usually by the time a debt has made its way into collection status, it has been charged off by the original debtor and sold to a collection company for pennies on the dollar. Therefore it’s much easier to negotiate a “settlement” with the collection company for a fraction of what you actually owe. But please note, your best bet for negotiating down your debt is having the cash in your account to pay that thang off right then and there instead of creating a payment plan, which will only prolong the process and cost you more.
Start Making Payments On-Time.
Making all bill payments on time should be a consistent habit that you start now and continue until forevermore. Why? Because on-time payment history is worth 35% of your credit score, girlfriend! That’s a huge chunk. Also, making payments on-time shows lenders that you are trustworthy and fiscally responsible.
So go ahead and take the first step towards bettering your credit. You’ll thank me later… promise!
Let me know how this works out for you.
Until Next Time,