If you are like many consumers and don’t know your credit score, there are several free places you can find it. The Discover Card is one of several credit card sources that offer free credit scores. Discover provides your FICO score, the one used by 90% of businesses that do lending. Other credit cards like Capital One and Chase give you a Vantage Score, which is similar but not identical. The same goes for online sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Quizzle.
The Vantage Score comes from the same place that FICO gets its information – the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – but it weighs elements differently, and there could be a slight difference in the two scores.
Once you get your score, as Homonoff suggested, you might be surprised if it’s not as high as you expected. These are ways to improve the score.
You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three reporting agencies, and requesting one has no impact on your credit score. Review each piece of information closely. Dispute any errors that you find. It is the closest you can get to a quick credit fix.
A government study found that 26% of consumers have at least one potentially material error. Some are simple mistakes like a misspelled name, address, or accounts belonging to someone else with the same name. Other errors are costlier, such as accounts that incorrectly are reported late or delinquent, debts listed twice; closed accounts that are still open; account with an incorrect balance or credit limit.
Notifying the credit reporting agency of wrong or outdated information will improve your score. About 20% of consumers who identified mistakes saw their credit score increase.
Write down payment deadlines for each bill in a planner or calendar and set up reminders online. Consistently paying your bills on time can raise your score within a few months.
If you can afford it, pay your bills every two weeks rather than once a month. It lowers your credit utilization and improves your score.
Do this immediately to set up a payment plan if you miss payment deadlines and can’t afford your monthly bills. Quickly addressing your problem can ease the negative effect of late payments and high outstanding balances.
Although it increases your total credit limit, it hurts your score if you apply for or open several new accounts in a short time.
The age of your credit history matters, and a more extended history is better, if you must close credit accounts and close newer ones.
If a debt is “charged off” by the creditor, they do not expect further payments. Paying a charged-off account reactivates the debt and lowers your credit score. It often happens when collection agencies are involved.
If you use multiple credit cards and the amount owed on one or more is close to the credit limit, pay that one off first to bring down your credit utilization rate.
Your credit mix — mortgage, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards — counts for 10% of your credit score. Adding another element to the current blend helps your score as long as you make on-time payments.
10 Quick Loan Shopping
If you have bad credit and can’t find any other way to improve your score, you could consider taking a “quick loan.” Typically, loans for small amounts — $250 to $1,000 — get repayment history reported to credit agencies and can become positive on your credit report. T is the last resort.
Several companies offer cards with 0% interest on balances, but there are caveats. There can be a fee for transferring the balance, and the 0%offer is only suitable for an introductory period, typically 12-18 months. It usually takes an excellent credit score to qualify for one of these.
There could be a temporary drop in your credit score if you enroll in a debt consolidation program, but as long as you make on-time payments, your score quickly improves and eliminates the debt that got you in trouble to start.
Your credit utilization rate is the amount of revolving credit you use divided by your available revolving credit. It makes up 30% of your credit score and is often the most overlooked method of improving your score. For most people, revolving credit means credit cards, but it also includes personal and home equity lines of credit. A reasonable credit utilization rate never exceeds 30%. So, if you have a credit limit of $5,000, you should never use more than $1,500.
Real Credit Deal is a credit repair company. We help people rebuild their credit, so they can buy the things they need and want in life. Our mission is to educate people about credit, help them understand their credit reports, and provide them with the tools they need to improve their credit scores. We believe everyone deserves a second chance and are here to help people get started on their journey to better credit.
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