Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to start on our resolutions for the year. My group of friends all discussed what we want to work on this year to better ourselves and the lives we live. A couple of us are looking to hit the gym more frequently while Eric wanted to work on his hobbies. As we talked over our drinks, my good friend James said “I want an 800 credit score!” We all looked at him and asked what his game plan was to get his credit in order…his response… “I have no idea where to even start.”
James, this blog is for you to go over 4 easy steps to begin empowering your credit and hopefully, get you closer to that 800 credit score!
Step 1- Be Informed
If I asked you off the top of your head “what is your credit score” you would probably respond with a broad range of numbers; ” I am around six or seven hundred maybe?” The first step to credit empowerment is to become well acquainted with your credit score and the items associated with it. Thankfully, there are many different sites out there that can provide all three bureau reports along with each items listed information. Credit Armor is a wonderful sight that provides all three bureau reports, debt negotiation options, in depth item information and identity theft protection to assist you while empowering your credit.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can claim a free credit report once every 12 months from all three credit bureaus as well! (Note: You can claim free weekly reports through April 2021 in response to the COVID.) To get your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com!
Step 2- Start Correcting Your Errors
Now that you have an full copy of your report from all three bureaus, it’s time to start correcting your errors! Did you know that over 70% of Americans have a reporting error listed on their credit report? These errors can be anything from incorrect addresses to manner of payment issues. Any information on your account that is listed incorrectly could be harming you in an area that you have never noticed!
Step 3- Make Your Payments
There are many factors on your credit reports which can influence your FICO Scores such as your credit mix and types of credit . But the most important information that can hurt your score is your payment history . Payment history affects over one-third of your FICO Score—35%, in total!
To build yourself up for success, be sure to make these payments on the date and track your payments made. If needed, review your financial obligations and make a payment calendar to keep track of when exactly a payment is due and the funds are withdrawn from your account!
Step 4-Tackle Your Debts
Now that you have review your items that are listed incorrectly and assessed your financial situation, it is time to deal with your existing debt. Your credit utilization rate (the amount of credit you use from your credit cards) has a significant impact on your score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization rate as low as possible and make payments higher than the minimum to keep those low rates.
Keep in mind that the credit card balance that is appearing on your credit report could be different than your actual account balance. Many credit card issuers only update your account information with the credit bureaus once a month.
There is much more that goes into building your credit that just paying your cards and disputing some infractions, but that is a subject for a different blog. This is meant to be the starting point for James and all of those out there that do not know where to begin.
Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.
If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.
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