How are your credit scores affecting your life? Do you know what your credit score is? Are you losing money because you don’t have a good credit score? Do you know other ways your credit score may be affecting your life? Let’s examine your credit scores and how they may be causing clutter in your life.
This blog was inspired by our car purchase. We both had credit scores in the 800s and were able to get 0% financing for four years. If we had bad credit, we’d be paying for it in interest.
Many of us are seeking financial abundance. How can the universe deliver if you aren’t doing your part? Our financial clutter is just as important as any other clutter.
Don’t panic; know you can improve your score.
Why should you care what your credit score is?
- You’ll get higher bills because you are viewed as a risk—cell phone, insurance, etc. may charge you fees or higher interest rates.
2. Housing. Your credit profile/ score is the second-most important factor when reviewing a rental application or a landlord may not want you as a tenant. It also affects your mortgage rate!
We have 3.5% interest which is really good and we are still paying thousands of dollars each year. Imagine if that were double. Or if you found the house or apartment of your dreams and couldn’t get it? One of the reasons we downsized was because I had a previously high-interest rate of 5.75% because I was self-employed.
Dating and your love life. A recent Bankrate survey found that nearly four in 10 adults say knowing someone’s credit score will affect their willingness to date that person. Your credit score could also affect your relationship. A strong score may translate to a stronger relationship according to a 2015 report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
4. Loan approval. Your credit score is the biggest factor in determining your auto loan rate. Higher interest rates with bad credit.
Most employers in the United States can run credit reports before they hire you. While it’s not as detailed as what may be shown to a bank, it gives enough information that it can affect whether or not you get hired. Employers are looking to reduce employees who potentially might steal or embezzle and reduce their liability.,
What’s your credit score?
Do you even know your credit score? You might not and it is important that you find out. I talked about an auto loan.
A FICO score is a type of credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use borrowers’ FICO scores along with other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit.
Your FICO Scores only look at the information in your credit report. Your credit score is calculated from your credit report.
Most of this information comes from the consumer financial protection bureau. https://www.consumerfinance.gov
Do you know your credit score? Has a low credit score cost you anything? Has a high credit score benefited you in any way? What’s most important for you in having a good credit score?
There are four main ways to get a credit score:
Check your credit card or another loan statement. Many major credit card companies and some auto loan companies have begun to provide credit scores for all their customers on a monthly basis.
Talk to a non-profit counselor. Non-profit credit counselors can often provide you with a free credit report and score and help you review them.
Use a credit score service. Many services and websites advertise a “free credit score.” Before you sign up to try one of these services, be sure you know what you are signing up for and how much it really costs.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to view your credit score once per year. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, every person is entitled to a free credit report once per year from each of the major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can also request these reports by calling 1-877-322-8228.
How to improve credit scores
- Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit”.
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
- Don’t close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your scores.
- Don’t open a number of new credit cards that you don’t need, just to increase your available credit.
- Dispute errors. Mistakes happen. You can dispute errors online through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Negotiate. You can’t deny that you stopped paying a credit card bill when you were unemployed. But you can ask creditors to “erase” that debt or any account that went to collection. Write a letter offering to pay the remaining balance if the creditor will then report the account as “paid as agreed” or maybe even remove it altogether. (Note: Get the creditor to agree in writing before you make the payment.)
You might also be able to ask for a “good-will adjustment.” Suppose you were a pretty good credit card customer until that period of unemployment, when you made a late payment or two – which now show up on your credit report. Write a letter to the credit card emphasizing your previous good history and ask that the mistake be removed from the credit report. It could happen. Be kind, do all you can and then let it go.
- Check your limits. You don’t want it to look as though you’re maxing out each month. If the card issuer forgot to mention your newly bumped-up credit limit, request that this be done.
- Get a credit card. Having one or two pieces of plastic will do good things to your score – if you don’t charge too much and if you pay your bills on time. In other words, be a responsible user of credit.
6. Under-use your cards. Don’t use plastic to pay for everything. The “credit utilization ratio” should be no more than 30% and ideally even less. A 10% credit utilization ratio will “maximize this part of your FICO score.”
If your Visa has a $1,500 limit and you routinely charge a grand a month. It doesn’t matter if you pay it all off before it’s due. What matters is the credit bureaus think “Using two-thirds of his credit! What a spendthrift!”
- Raise your credit limit. Ask your creditors to increase your limit, i.e. making that Mastercard good for up to $3,000. Be careful with this one, though: It works only if you can trust yourself not to increase your spending habits accordingly.
- Don’t close any cards. Canceling a credit card will cause your available credit to drop, which doesn’t look good to a bureau. One way to keep a card active is to use it for a recurring charge such as a utility bill.
- Pay your bills on time. Your payment history – including the ones you pay late or skip altogether – makes up 35% of your FICO score.
What would you like your credit score to be? What can you do to improve your credit scores?
Take Actions from the decluttering blog on improving your credit scores:
- Find out your credit score.
- Can you determine if your credit score has negatively affected your life?
- Research your credit report for errors and take any action to correct.
- Choose one thing to improve your credit card scores right now.
DIY Options to Clear Clutter
Purchase Julie’s books on how to clear clutter from your life: https://reawakenyourbrilliance.com/shop/
Subscribe to Clear Your Clutter Inside & Out Podcast https://reawakenyourbrilliance.com/life-coaching/podcast-coaching/self-help-podcast/
Check out more of my decluttering tips and how to get organized on my YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/SeibertRadio?feature=watch