If you’re having a difficult time getting approved for credit because you have a low credit score, working to improve your credit score can seem like a task that can take years to solve.
There are few quick shortcuts to improving a credit score, but there are some big moves that can raise it dramatically.
Here are some of the biggest moves you can make to improve your credit score:
Know your credit score
Start by checking your credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com for free. The three credit reporting companies must give you a free report once a year, so you can either get all three at once or spread them out by getting one every four months.
The score you receive represents your credit risk at a point and is meant to measure your future credit risk. Scores from the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, are most widely used, with scores ranging from a low of 300 to a high of 850.
The higher the score you have, the more likely you are to be approved for credit and get the best loan rates for auto loans, home loan and credit cards, among other things.
Here’s a breakdown of what the scores generally mean: ...continue reading
Keeping a $20 bill in your pocket can seem like an enticement to spend it. That cash can also help you have less credit card debt by not having to swipe a credit card for small purchases.
A recent study by the Urban Institute found that using cash when a purchase is under $20 left the consumer with $104 less in revolving debt, on average. That dropped their credit card balances 2 percent below their baseline average.
For young people, the $20 cash rule led to more savings. People under 40 who were reminded "Don't swipe the small stuff" and to use cash on purchases for less than $20 had $173 less in revolving debt. ...continue reading
Opening a bank account should be a pretty straight-forward process. You give the bank some money, provide a photo ID and give it some personal information and then you're done, right? The savings and/or checking account is opened and you can bank like the rest of society.
Not so fast. You're credit score is being checked by a bank before it allows you to open even a simple savings account. The bank wants to make sure you manage your credit well and that you won't cost them money as a customer. It doesn't want new customers, or any customers, to abuse overdraft privileges, have an unpaid negative balance, or have fraudulent activity on previous accounts.
Without at least decent credit, you may be denied service or asked to add a spouse or other family member to your account who has good credit.
Or it may offer you an account and a credit card, but the interest rate on the credit card will be a lot higher than it would be if you had good credit.
But applying for a credit card is another issue entirely. Opening a savings or checking account has its own problems if you don't look out for them. Here are three things to check on before and while opening a bank account: ...continue reading