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5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

How Could You Be Hurting Your Credit?

The more you know about how credit works, the better your score will be. This is because, without a lot of background knowledge, your own logic and reasoning will oftentimes fail you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your credit score, so trying to make decisions when it comes to your credit without studying up first can be tricky. There are five big mistakes a lot of consumers often make because, without any background knowledge, they all sound perfectly reasonable.

1. Close A Credit Card

Just because you don’t really use your card does not mean you should close it. Closing a credit card will stop any subsequent reporting of positive credit and payment history and positive credit utilization. Keeping a card open, even if you rarely use it, can be beneficial. Be sure to use your card every once in a while, be it for a cup of coffee or a drive through sandwich. This will keep activity on the account and keep the card holder from deactivating the account.

2.Believing that Paying on Time is All You Need for A Good Credit Score

Yes, paying off all your credit card debt on time is good for your credit score, but that is not all it takes to have what is considered a quality credit score. If you are using a huge portion of your credit limit every month, even paying it off completely and on time will not be as beneficial as lowering your credit utilization ratio would be. Your credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors that goes into creating your credit score, and the lower is it, the better your credit will be. So, keeping your utilization ratio under 30 percent per credit limit will benefit you even more when it comes to your credit.

3. Pay Off A Loan Early

It definitely can benefit your finances to pay a loan off early, especially if you are paying a very high interest rate on the loan, but this can also hurt your credit score. It would be very easy to think that paying a loan off early would help your credit, but in reality, it lowers your credit mix and therefore lowers your credit score. So, if the interest rate on your loan is not burdening you financially, then you will actually benefit from not paying a loan off early.

4. Reject Higher Credit Limits

The only reason you should reject a higher credit limit is if you know you will not be able to stop yourself from overspending because of it. Otherwise, keeping your spending at a consistent rate while also increasing your credit limit will raise your credit score because your credit utilization ratio would then be lower. So, accepting a higher credit limit will in most cases raise your credit score if you can keep yourself from overspending.
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5. Send in Partial Payments

Paying off a debt partially does not put you in better standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. You will still be reported as paying late and are at risk for a delinquency on your credit report. So, if you are struggling to pay your minimums every payment cycle, talk to a credit counselor before trying to appease the creditor by only paying partially.
Other Factors Causing A Drop
  1. Late payments
  2. High Balances
  3. Too many Inquiries
  4. Late reporting (possibly your credit cards reporting at different times to the credit bureaus. An easy fix to this is call your credit card and ask them when they report to the bureaus so you know when to make payments so your score reflects better)
  5. Paying an old collection (there is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity)
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.

5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make With Their Credit

How Could You Be Hurting Your Credit?

The more you know about how credit works, the better your score will be. This is because, without a lot of background knowledge, your own logic and reasoning will oftentimes fail you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your credit score, so trying to make decisions when it comes to your credit without studying up first can be tricky. There are five big mistakes a lot of consumers often make because, without any background knowledge, they all sound perfectly reasonable.

1. Close A Credit Card

Just because you don’t really use your card does not mean you should close it. A lot of the time consumers will close a credit card because it is not getting used, but that actually will raise your credit utilization ratio, and thus hurt your credit score. So, keeping the card open, even if you rarely use it, can be beneficial. Make sure you use it at least every once and a while though in order to protect yourself from the card issuer closing the account for you due to inactivity.

2.Believing that Paying on Time is All You Need for A Good Credit Score

Yes, paying off all your credit card debt on time is good for your credit score, but that is not all it takes to have what is considered a quality credit score. If you are using a huge portion of your credit limit every month, even paying it off completely and on time will not be as beneficial as lowering your credit utilization ratio would be. Your credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors that goes into creating your credit score, and the lower is it, the better your credit will be. So, keeping your utilization ratio under 30 percent per credit limit will benefit you even more when it comes to your credit.  

3. Pay Off A Loan Early

  It definitely can benefit your finances to pay a loan off early, especially if you are paying a very high interest rate on the loan, but this can also hurt your credit score. It would be very easy to think that paying a loan off early would help your credit, but in reality, it lowers your credit mix and therefore lowers your credit score. So, if the interest rate on your loan is not burdening you financially, then you will actually benefit from not paying a loan off early.

4. Reject Higher Credit Limits

The only reason you should reject a higher credit limit is if you know you will not be able to stop yourself from overspending because of it. Otherwise, keeping your spending at a consistent rate while also increasing your credit limit will raise your credit score because your credit utilization ratio would then be lower. So, accepting a higher credit limit will in most cases raise your credit score if you can keep yourself from overspending.  
free credit repair consultation

5. Send in Partial Payments

Paying off a debt partially does not put you in better standing with the debt collectors or the credit bureaus. You will still be reported as paying late and are at risk for a delinquency on your credit report. So, if you are struggling to pay your minimums every payment cycle, talk to a credit counselor before trying to appease the creditor by only paying partially.
Other Factors Causing A Drop
  1. Late payments
  2. High Balances
  3. Too many Inquiries
  4. Late reporting (possibly your credit cards reporting at different times to the credit bureaus. An easy fix to this is call your credit card and ask them when they report to the bureaus so you know when to make payments so your score reflects better)
  5. Paying an old collection (there is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity)
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.

How To Empower Your Credit

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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