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Five Steps to a Better Credit Score

Learn how to manage your credit score and improve your creditworthiness!   Think of your credit score as a picture of your credit risk. This picture reflects your risk at a specific point in time. A picture does not change; however, when you take another one, you will probably look a little different. Similarly, when your credit information changes, your score will also change to reflect the updated information.

There are steps you can take to ensure that each time a new "credit picture" is taken, it shows your best side. By observing the following guidelines, you can influence your credit worthiness for the better:

  1. Be punctual -- Pay all your bills on time. Late payments, collections, and bankruptcies have the greatest negative effect on your credit score.

  2. Check your credit report regularly and take the necessary steps to remove inaccuracies -- Don't let your credit health suffer due to inaccurate information. If you find an inaccuracy on your credit report contact the creditor associated with the account or the credit reporting agencies to correct it immediately.

  3. Watch your debt -- Keep your account balances below 50% of your available credit. For instance, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, you should try to keep the balance owed below $500.

  4. Give yourself time -- Time is one of the most significant factors that can improve your credit score. Establish a long history of paying your bills on time and using credit responsibly. You may also want to keep the oldest account on your credit report open in order to lengthen your period of active credit use.

  5. Avoid excessive inquiries -- A large number of inquiries occurred over a short period of time may be interpreted as a sign that you are opening numerous credit accounts due to financial difficulties or overextending yourself by taking on more debt than you can easily repay.

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Quote of the Day
"A good reputation is more valuable than money." - Syrus (Publilius Syrus)
Tip of the Day
If you receive pre-screened credit card offers in the mail, but don't shred them after you decide you don't want to accept the offer, identity thieves could retrieve the offers for their own use without your knowledge. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out of receiving these pre-screened credit card offers. The three major credit bureaus use the same toll-free number to let consumers choose to not receive pre-screened credit offers.
Today's Story
"My purse was stolen in December 1990. In February 1991, I started getting notices of bounced checks. About a year later, I received information that someone using my identity had defaulted on a number of lease agreements and bought a car. In 1997, I learned that someone had been working under my Social Security number for a number of years. A man had been arrested and used my SSN on his arrest sheet. There's a hit in the FBI computers for my SSN with a different name and gender. I can't get credit because of this situation. I was denied a mortgage loan, employment, credit cards, and medical care for my children. I've even had auto insurance denied, medical insurance and tuition assistance denied." - From a consumer complaint to the FTC, January 2, 2001
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