Credit Tips

Following these best practices can help you build a stronger credit profile.

Benefits of Good Credit

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Increased credit card limits

Borrowing power can increase tremendously when you prove to creditors that you can effectively handle more credit. You can ask your credit card company to increase your limits, and they often will. It’s important to remember that your ratio of available credit to used credit takes a role in calculating your credit score.

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Improved loan approval rate

A high credit score can also help you improve your chances of being approved for a loan. Of course there are some other factors as well, such as income and current debt, but your approval rates will still be much better.

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Lower mortgage and refinancing rates

If your credit history is clean, and you have a high credit score, you are more likely to receive lower mortgage rates. You will be considered as a prime customer to lending institutions.

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Lower auto/boat/rv/atv rates

Looking for a new car? A new toy perhaps? Interest rates for lending on these items are set based on your credit history. Much like mortgages, the higher your credit score, and the cleaner your credit history, the lower your interest rate will be.

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More negotiating power

Negotiating power is strengthened, allowing you to shop different offers, and leverage potential offers against one another. More offers and options open up to you if you have a high credit score.

Car

Better car insurance rates

Auto insurance companies say that people with poor credit tend to file more claims, and are often penalized with higher insurance premiums. With a good credit score, you are likely paying less than similar insurance holders.

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Get reduced or waived deposits

Many services require deposits, including: electric, gas, cell phones, TV, internet, etc. Often times these deposits can be reduced, or even waived for those with good credit. This can save you hundreds of dollars when you are moving to a new location.

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Getting a job

It may seem odd to think that your credit could affect your ability to get a job, but the truth is that more and more employers take your credit into account when deciding whether to hire you. People with good credit tend to be more trustworthy and responsible, and these are qualities that employers want.

Credit Tips

History

Payment history

Contributing 35% to your score's calculation, this category has the greatest effect on improving your score, but past problems, like missed or late payments, are not easily fixed.

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
  • Be aware that paying off a collection amount will not remove it from your credit report.
  • If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors or see a credit counselor.
Cash

Amounts owed

This category contributes 30% to your score's calculation and can be easier to clean up than payment history, but that requires financial discipline and understanding the tips below.

  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other "revolving credit".
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
  • Don't close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
  • Don't open a number of new credit cards that you don't need to increase your available credit.
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Length of credit history

If you have been managing credit for a short time, don't open a lot of new accounts too rapidly.

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New credit

  • Do your rate shopping for a given loan within a focused period of time.
  • Re-establish your credit history if you've had problems.
  • Note that it's OK to request and check your own credit report.
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Types of credit use

  • Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
  • Have credit cards - but manage them responsibly.
  • Note that closing an account doesn't make it go away.

Build your credit by paying your monthly rent on time!

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