Get Smart About Credit

October 19, 2017

1) Check your credit reports & credit scores. You should periodically check your credit history to monitor for fraudulent activity and keep track of your score.

  • Find out if your credit card company offers free credit checks. If not, you can visit annualcreditreport.com to get a free credit report once every 12 months. 

2) Don’t charge too much on your credit cards. Having too much debt on your credit cards negatively impacts your credit score.

  • To avoid lowering your credit score, never max out your credit cards.
  • Try not to charge more than 25% - 30% of your credit card limits.
  • To have the highest possible credit score, limit your credit card balances to less than 10% of your available credit limits. 

3) Co-signing for someone else’s loan can also negatively impact your credit score.

  • Did you know? If the primary borrower is late or does not make their payments, you become responsible for the debt.
  • Also, even if the person does repay the loan, it might affect your credit in the future. If you need to eventually take out a loan on a car or a home, lenders will look at the overall debt-to-income ratio including loans you cosigned. If debts are too high, you may not get approved for the loan.

 4) Make sure to pay your bills on time.

  • If you are over 30 days late on making a payment, your credit score will decrease.
  • Try your best to pay your bills in full on time. If you can’t afford to pay in full, at least pay the minimum balance – it’s better than having a late payment on your credit report.

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