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  • Writer's pictureColleen

5 Tips for Working on your Credit Score

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Navigating your credit score

Learning about a credit score and how to change it is a whole game. Yes, I said game, because if you look at it any other way, you are just going to drive yourself insane. So that’s the first rule. We are now playing the credit score game! Now that we have established that this will be fun and even competitive if you and your partner or friends are all working on your own scores at the same time. Let’s get into it. Everyone’s starting point is going to be slightly different depending on what areas of your credit score health is doing well and what areas need your focus and help. If you haven’t yet, I would sit down and talk with someone about your credit health. This is more than just looking at your credit score, its kind of a deep dive into your life. Your needs, goals, spending habits, and income all play a part in what your score should look like and how to get there. Here are 5 different starting points to help boost your credit score.

1. Credit Monitoring app: Downloading a credit monitoring app is going to be your first step. Although it’s not always 100% accurate, credit monitoring apps can get you a good idea of your credit health. These will show you a breakdown of your Equifax and TransUnion scores, for a FICO score you can check with your bank or credit card agency to see if they offer that as a service, but it is not normally included in the free apps. Having this app won’t change your credit score, but it can tell you what areas you need to work on to improve your score. Things like how long you have been working on your credit, or had credit, what percentage of your monthly limit are you spending, how often are you paying on time, and how many credit accounts do you have open just to name a few. Being able to check on your credit health and see what areas need your attention first is necessary, plus in many cases these apps will help offer you tools that will help you with whatever you need to focus on for your credit.

2. Credit Cards: Before my husband and I bought our first house my score was horrible, mainly because I grew up terrified of credit cards. I watched as adults all around me lose their homes and other assets due to bad credit card debt and I was terrified of the same things happening to me and being that school nor my parents ever took the time to clue me in on the right way to use a credit card, I thought that using a credit card would ultimately result in an overwhelming amount of debt and the loss of everything I had. Needless to say, I had no credit cards, and a very bad credit score because of it. If you are like me and you have never had a credit card, or you don’t have a great credit score for other reasons, this will be difficult because you are probably going to have to pay a monthly fee for your card. There are a few cards I like to recommend because of my own positive experience with them in the past, and different strategies for how much to pay off and when that will help your score go up even faster.

3. Finance something: If you have never financed anything or never taken out any kind of loan, your first step will be to finance something. I told you this was a game, see- sometimes acquiring debit is what you need to do. If you have never financed anything before, then maybe this is your sign. Whether it’s a car, boat, or something smaller financing is a great way to build credit because it will show that you are a responsible borrower if you make regular payments on time. Now just like everything else there are loopholes to what type of financing gets reported so make sure you check if it will be reported. This is when working with someone like me can be beneficial.

4. Paying off Debit: I didn’t put it first because I feel like this can be a scary one, but one of the best things you can do for your credit score is to pay off your debit. This can be tricky if we find ourselves with a large amount of debt, but luckily there are many ways of working around this. Credit amnesty is one option, but each credit company and collections agency have loopholes and workarounds to help you out, so keep that in mind and try not to panic.

5. Removing Errors from Accounts: There was one time that I got some debt that went to collections and about a year after I paid it off, I started to get collections notices again from a different company. Not knowing what to do I paid it off a second time, and a year later I started getting the notices again. I checked my credit score, and it was showing up now as 3 separate unpaid accounts which was pulling my score way down. This time I talked to someone and got some advice on what to do. To this day I still get notices trying to collect on this debt, but as far as my credit score goes and to anyone who is checking for a loan approval, it’s been removed and no longer exists. These kinds of errors can prevent your score from going up and in some cases, you can be awarded damages. Always stay on top of what’s on your credit score and if it’s an error, have it removed.

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