Probably 90% of all US adults have a credit history. The only way to not have a credit history is to have never bought a single thing on credit during your entire life. Today, most college students already have a credit history because they have credit cards. Some high school students even have a credit history. Before long, maybe even middle school students will have a credit history. Credit is just that pervasive here in America
Your credit score
It’s very important to have good credit, which means having a high credit score. Whenever you apply for credit, whether it’s to get a new credit card, to buy a car or even rent an apartment, the first thing your lender will look at is your credit score. If you have a score of 800 or higher (on scale of 300 to 850), you’ll get that new credit and at a very attractive interest rate. Conversely, if your score is below 500, good luck at getting anything except one of those credit cards for people with bad credit.
Get a free copy of your credit report
The first thing you need to do to improve your credit’s health is get a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. By federal law, you’re entitled to one free credit report a year and this is where to get it. It’s also the easiest way to get your credit report because you’ll get reports from all three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Experian simultaneously.
Look for and challenge any incorrect information
If you find errors or incorrect information on any of your three credit reports, contact the credit bureau that has the information and request that it be deleted from your credit file. The credit bureau is required to contact whichever of your creditors reported the incorrect information. If that creditor does not respond within 30 days, the item must be removed from your file and the credit bureau must send you a corrected report.
Protect your identity
When someone else uses your credit it has a very negative effect on your credit report. Go to the site www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/micro-site/IDtheft to learn what steps you could take to protect against identity theft.
Manage your credit effectively
It’s important that you manage your credit profile, which begins with developing a realistic budget and paying your bills promptly. If you’re having any problem making payments on time, contact your creditors right away to discuss the issue. If you are forced to miss any payments, make a repayment plan and then do what you can to stay current. It also helps if you create automatic payments from your bank accounts to make sure you pay your bills on time. If possible, pay more than the minimum payment on your bills – especially your credit cards.
Cultivate a good relationship with your bank
Get acquainted with your banker or the personal banker where you bank and make sure that he or she knows and understands your personal situation.
Get guidance from reliable sources
If you have had a problem with your credit and it needs to be repaired, make sure you get help from a reputable source that is free or where the cost is manageable. Stay away from credit repair or high-fee loan scams. (You can get good information about choosing a credit counselor at www.ftc.gov/help/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre26.shtm.
When you’re facing a mountain of debt
If you’re facing a huge problem with debt, it’s bound to affect on your credit. This means one of the best things you can do is get that debt back under control. Our debt consolidation providers are so sure they can help you get out of debt within a reasonable amount of time that they actually offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Don’t let debt rule your life. Call our toll-free number for immediate help or fill in the form on the top of this page for a free debt analysis and estimate.