Ironically enough, as more and more began acquiring and using credit cards, the increased strain on their budget caused their reliance to those cards to increase that much more. This has led to nothing short of a credit pandemic in America, with the majority of households in debt, many owing to the use or overuse of those credit cards initially meant to be great conveniences. Breaking out of the vicious cycle is extremely difficult, but with the right approach anyone can repair their credit back to good standing.
A credit score is a statistical method for calculating your likelihood of paying back borrowed money on time. This factors into your history with any number of companies in the past, and every transaction conducted through them on a credit basis. Different credit bureaus calculate their scores in different manners, meaning your credit score may be good with one of these companies but marginal or poor with another. The general categories that are rated to determine your score include your credit payment history, your past and current debts, the length of time you’ve had a credit history, the types of credits you’ve had and your frequency for applications for new credit lines, which could indicate a poor financial state. How these categories are weighted provides the different credit scores, as some companies weigh different categories more heavily than others. Scores range between 350 and 850, the higher the number being better.
So how do these bureaus obtain this credit information on you? Well whenever you borrow money or set up any form of agreement with a company whereby you’ll receive products or services for payment at a later date, that company will this information along to the credit bureau detailing all aspects of the agreement and the final result. All of these reports are then calculated to give you your current credit score. If your score is low with many bad items listed on your report, repair to the damage should begin immediately.
Even if you’re not currently in debt, which is one of the factors that makes up your score, the category generally given the most weight in your score is how quickly you paid off your debts in the past. This makes you very attractive for a line of credit, showing you rarely get in over your head and manage your money well.
When applying for a line of credit through almost any source, the company will consult your credit report to determine whether or not it’s in their best interests to bestow a line of credit upon you. The target score each company is looking for varies, and they may consider other factors or weigh certain categories more heavily as the different bureaus do.
In some instances you will be granted a line of credit, but with a risk premium attached to it. This means you’ll be paying higher rates than someone with a lower score to make up for the increased risk you pose to the credit giver.
Being aware of your credit score and working to improve it may be necessary to convince credit lenders to put their faith in you. This will certainly entail paying off your old debts, and may also force you to take on risk premium loans with the major intent being to make sure you pay the loan back in good standing and increase your credit score, allowing you to continue receiving lines of credit in the future without the risk premium attached.
Some tips to maintain or improve your existing credit score:
– Make all payments on time, even if not doing so incur minimal penalties. The largest penalty will be in the reduction of your credit score.
– Avoid overextending yourself. When juggling multiple lines of credit this can be difficult to achieve. Consolidate all of your debt into one or two centralized payments if possible to better keep track of what you owe and when.
– Avoid applying for every credit card under the sun. Even if you plan to use them sparingly, the simple act of placing so many requests for credit makes you appear at risk and lowers your credit score. If you’re in desperate need of a new line of credit, send out one request at a time and wait for a response, then move onto the next option if necessary, as opposed to sending out five requests at once, then choosing only one and ignoring the rest anyway.
– Begin building your credit as early as possible, even if you don’t really need to. The longer your credit history extends, the more appealing you’ll be when you may need that line of credit in the future.
For all the potential reasons you may need for a line of credit in the years to come, it’s imperative to keep your credit score in good standing and achieve to lower your score. By better understanding how credit scores are calculated and some of the tips for lowering, you should be on your way to doing just that.