6 Simple Secrets to Boost Your Credit Score
It’s easy to pass the plastic without a second thought, but beware: your credit rating could pay the price. Here are some inside tips on keeping your credit rating in tip-top shape.
1. Don’t Be a Credit Card Collector
Never apply for more than two credit cards at any one time. If a credit bureau sees that you have applied for three or more cards in a short period of time, the company will probably assume you’re in desperate need of cash-and desperate people do not make good credit risks. An even worse scenario: The credit bureaus think your identity has been stolen, which would also send your credit rating down the tubes.
2. Ask for Leeway
The quickest path to a low credit score is making late payments on your credit card, mortgage, or car payment. But if you’re coming up short this month and have been a good loan customer up to this point, there’s an easy solution: Call the lender and ask for an extension. Or ask if you may make a smaller payment this month. If you have a good track record, chances are you’ll get a free pass and be able to keep your credit rating high.
3. Never Use a P.O. Box
Oddly enough, using a post office box can harm your credit rating. When credit rating companies see that your bills are headed for a P.O. box, they worry that you have either lost your home or that someone has stolen your identity. Both scenarios raise a red flag.
4. Shred Your Financial Statements
The one surefire way to see your credit rating head south is to get your identity stolen. So how do you avoid this mess in the first place? Don’t throw your mail away-shred it. This includes bank statements, credit card bills, and anything that has even one iota of financial information on it.
5. Don’t Be Ruined by Late Payments
Did you know that if you miss a deadline on your car or credit card payment, your other lenders can jack your rate up to the default rate? This clause is called “universal default,” and you want to avoid it at all costs. If you are more than 30 days late on any payment, all of your credit card lenders earn the right to treat you like a financial pariah. Your low zero or three percent credit card deal can skyrocket to a default of 20 per cent or 30 per cent.
6. Watch Your Credit
Identity theft is a multibillion-dollar business now, and hordes of thieves are hoping you won’t do this. But if you check your account on the Internet religiously, you’ll spot any criminal spending quickly and you’ll be able to take action. Check your hard-copy statement or go to your credit card company’s website for information on how to get online access to your account.