Did you know that 60% of your credit rating is based on the activity within the last 24 months? You may be lamenting over those old collection accounts or an old bankruptcy filing, but if you have since gotten back on track, or plan to get back on track, then there is a silver lining for you. Borrowers can eradicate bad credit scores by establishing a short and long term financial plan aimed at mitigating bad debt and maximizing good debt.
Improving credit scores involves avoiding many things. In the order of importance, they are late payments, high credit card balances, closing credit card accounts and having too many in-store charge cards. Late payments carry 35% of the weight in terms of your credit score, so do not take them lightly, even if it's just a store charge card, a cell phone bill or a rent payment.
Your credit score can drop by as little as 20 points or more than 100 points, depending on how often you are late and how many accounts you're late on, as well as whether you are 30, 60, 90, or more than 120 days late. Secondly, your credit usage should be no more than 40% of what is offered to you.
If your credit line is $1,000, then you should owe no more than $400, and that goes for all lines of credit you have open. If you have any maxed out cards, then pay them down until you hit the 40% mark! Some people think they should close out their accounts to "do the right thing" or "prevent overspending," although this will decrease your overall credit offering and will reflect negatively on you.
Instead, work on paying those balances down and once you're finished, aim to purchase one thing a year on those cards to keep them active, and pay them off right away. Lastly, opening and closing store charge cards just to get that 10-15% initial discount is a signal of irresponsible credit behavior and will not result in high scores for your credit.
There are also many things you can do to fix a poor credit rating. To get back on track, the first real step is, of course, paying down your debts. You'll need money to get there, though, so you might have to pick up a second job, find a new job, work more hours or borrow a safety cushion from friends or family. You can't dig out unless you have the funds to do so.
Secondly, look at your monthly budget and figure out how much you're willing to spend on all of your debts each month, allowing yourself an emergency fund cushion if you can. Then list your debts from lowest balance to highest balance, or lowest interest to highest interest, and begin by paying all minimum payments, with every extra penny going toward the highest rate balance. Once that one's paid off, go to the next balance. The sooner your debts are paid off, the sooner you can begin thinking about how to improve credit scores.
To get a better credit rating, you may want to call in and ask that new, updated information be added. Lenders like to see that you have steady employment, so including your current employer could be an asset. You can also include your date of birth, checking account and current residence.
If your credit report is missing accounts you regularly pay on time, then you can send the credit bureaus recent statements and payment history records to prove you're re-establishing your credit score. You can also use a Chevron credit card to buy gas each month and pay it off in full right away.
Mike Selvon's portal will expand your knowledge on the credit rating. Visit us and leave a comment at our credit score factors blog where a free gift awaits you.