Deanna Valeo

Say Hello to Higher Credit

Hello to High Credit!
Credit scores can range from 300 to 850 and the higher your score is, a third of all consumers range from 749-799.  The higher your score the more likely you are to receive great rates and terms on lending options.  Building a strong credit score takes time and effort to make smart financial decisions the hints below can help you along the way to success.

Getting to high credit scores hinge on keeping credit accounts solid, making payments on time and being aware of credit pitfalls:  So how do I get my credit score into the upper third of the country?   There are no "quick fixes" or "secret ways" to boost your credit score, there are a few simple methods you should utilize and continue throughout your life.

  1. Keep Your Balances In Check: To put it simply- avoid "maxing out" your credit card. Remember also that a credit report is a snap shot in time.  You may want to avoid big purchases on your credit card right before applying for a major purchase such as a home or new car.  Try to keep your balances at 30% or less of your credit cards limit. While having a balance is not a problem (FICO found that those with the highest scores had an average of four cards with balances) keeping it in check should be your main goal.
  2. Always Make Your Payments: Did you know that your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score? Late payments could decrease your score by as many as 110 points!.
  3. Build Your History: This one is harder for younger borrowers, but the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score.  Keep this in mind as you manage the credit cards in your portfolio.  I had an American Express card since college, closing it would greatly reduce my length of history on my credit. 
  4. Be Careful With New Credit:  Having too many open credit cards (even if you're paying them on time) can actually hurt your credit profile. Also, having several companies pull your credit score all in a short period can hurt your score.  There are two exceptions to the amount of credit pulls, there are when shopping for a mortgage and shopping for a car.  These credit pulls within 15-45 days are all treated the same.  My experience is to keep your shopping within a 15-day period for best results.
  5. Mistakes will happen, financial or otherwise, and some of these mistakes may translate to your credit report.  A secret is often if you quickly address a mistake the creditor you forgot to pay, may forgive you mistake and keep this from hitting your score.  If you accidentally miss a payment; call and wait on hold and talk to a customer service representative.  Explain the mistake and ask that they do not report this to the credit bureaus escalate the issue and explain how this is how you normally operate your good payment history may help you.  

BTW:  FICO found that 1 in 100 consumers had a collection on their credit report and that this led to their score's decline. There are services that focus on helping you increase your score.  We particularly like this best represents what you mortgage credit score will look like.  

Building good credit requires patience and discipline, but few things are more important to your financial future than having a good score.  Keep on time and limit new credit and you will see your score soar. 

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