A Guide to Your Credit Rating

Your Credit Score's Contents

Your credit score holds your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, your birth date, and your current employer. It also holds all the credit-based accounts you have opened and when you opened them. It also tells whether or not the account was paid off and how many late payments you have made.

Free Copy of Your Credit Report

Always have an extra copy of your credit report. You must always make sure that all your history is correct on it. Having a copy of your credit report is especially important if you need to apply for a new loan or credit card. If anything does not seem accurate on your credit report, make sure you dispute it as soon as possible to have your information right again.

Equifax, Experian, and Transunion are three major credit agencies that store, collect, and sell the details of your credit history based upon the information they receive from smaller regional agencies or from credit card companies and lenders.

With one of these three credit agencies, you get one opportunity a year to receive a free copy of your credit report. From Experian, you can also get a free online copy of your report.

Importance of Credit Monitoring

Identity theft is a rapidly growing crime in this country today. Identity theft does not only happen when your credit card or identification card

gets stolen, but also when someone can get the knowledge of your date of birth, Social Security number, or even your name! People can use this information to open your credit card accounts, obtain loans, or drain bank accounts.

To protect yourself against identity theft, you may consider storing all your personal information in a very safe place. Also, giving your personal information to anyone should never be done, unless you are sure they are a legitimate service or company.

A very good reason to check your credit report often is to make sure you have not been a victim of identity theft. You can also enroll in a credit monitoring service, which gives you plenty of tools to monitor, manage and protect your credit and identity information.

The Components of a FICO Score

35% of your score is your payment history. This percentage of your credit score determinates weather you make your payments on time.

30% of your score are the amounts of money you owe at the time. This could include credit cards, car loans, mortgages, personal loans, and other loans you may have.

15% of your score is derived from the length of your credit history. This percentage of the credit score determines how long it has since you started purchasing on credit.

10% of your credit score is additional credit that's pending. This may be new loans or new credit cards you have just applied for.

10% of your score are the variety of credits you have with different people and companies. Although this percentage exists, it does not necessarily mean that you have to have many types of credit to be accepted for a credit card, a loan or anything else. This percentage only really becomes important when there is not enough information disclosed about the other factors.

How third parties can use your credit report

The people and institutions you do business with; Lenders, renters, real estate agents,

or any company you decide to make a purchase from all have access to your credit report. Some institutions also check your credit report once you have already obtained a loan, for example, to make sure you still meet their credit standards. Companies oftentimes look into new employee's credit history as part of a background check.

There are many laws that prohibit discrimination due to finds on your credit report such as age, gender and race. Certain laws make it illegal for creditors to refuse or disqualify credit based on discrimination. There are other laws that also protect you from similar creditor wrongdoings.

Improving Your Credit Score

One sure way to increase and better your credit score is by paying your bills on time.

Creditors look at that more than anything to determine whether they should give you credit or not. Credit history covers the past 7 years, but you have to constantly make payments on time to keep your credit score from getting lower. Bankruptcy holds in your credit report for 10 years.

There are a lot of companies out there claiming to fix your credit report in an instant. Be careful because many of these companies are scams and do not have your best interest at heart. The best way is to clean up your credit report yourself. Be honest with the people you do business with and work out payment plans so you will not delay on a due payment.

Lack of Credit History

If you are too young to have temporary credit history or you just never made any major purchases or committed to any loans, this may be reflected in your credit history. One way to make sure you have some credit history is by asking the credit reporting companies to add credit accounts that may not typically be included such as department credit cards or gas cards. Some companies charge for this service.

Credit Counseling

There are credit counselors who can find you ways to improve your credit and finally pay off your debts. They can advise you on how to approach your creditors to propose a more manageable payment plan. They can also help you establish a structured budget and show you how you can stick with it.

Credit Level

Credit Card companies determine whether they will accept your application for certain credit cards. There are 4 categories you might fall under:

1. Great credit -You have no missed or late payments or have no debt. If you do have debt, the debt is smaller than your income.

2. Average to good credit – You have 1 or more late payments but no missed payments.

There are certain companies that are most recommended by us for the last 2 categories:

HSBD Bank cards

American Express cards

Discover cards

Chase Bank cards

Citi Cards

Advanta

Bank of America

3. Bad credit – You have high debt, missing and late payments and / or bankruptcy. Certain banks cater to people under this category.

4. No Credit – Certain credit cards cater to people in this category. This category means no credit history. It is usually young people under this category. Your income, your credit history, and your debts are an important factor for the next 3 items:

1. The credit limit you qualify for.

2. The card you qualify for (Gold, Platinum, Standard, etc.)

3. Depending on each card's term and conditions, some cards APR (Annual Percent Rate) is higher depending on your credit history.

Do You Have Too Many Credit Cards? The Following Are Five Ways To Organize Your Budget.

In today's society and lifestyle, Americans are used to the latest and greatest electronic gadgets and modern luxuries. Credit cards are no exception. The typical American has between 5 to 10 credit cards. Using and keeping up payments for all these credit cards can be a daunting task and stressful situation, especially if you have other bills to pay. Even if you think you've already paid, you might sometimes be shocked when you get a late payment with your credit card bill. But if you do things right, you can pay on time by using these five simple methods that can greatly reduce headaches in the future.

Step 1: Simplify Due Dates.

When you have different due dates for different bills, it can cause financial chaos and harder to keep track of paid or unpaid bills. This is particularly true if you're traveling. To avoid overlooking a payment, make sure all of your bills are due on the same time. For example, make your payments fall about one week after you get paid every month. Several credit card companies will coordinate the due date with your other bill's due dates, making it easier for you to pay each month and keep track of your finances.

Step 2: Online Credit Card Payment

Paying Online is a quick and easy way to pay your credit card bills. While normal mail is an also an option, is it more time consuming and expensive. You can set up your internet payments by registering once online with credit card company. This will take a few minutes. After that, all you have to do is pay your credit card bills every month. Depending on how many credit cards you have, this process should only take a few minutes as well. It is also a great idea to pay all your other bills this way.

Step 3: Automatic Payments Are Sometimes the Best Choice

When opening a credit-based account, numerous companies give you the option to take your payment automatically from your bank account each month. It is a great choice to take this offer up so your balance does not fluctuate and the payment due every month lasts the same.

Tip: When applying for a credit card, always be sure you read the fine print on the paper that you sign. Most, if not all, credit card companies make your card to higher interest rate after a particular amount of time has passed. Even if your card is getting automatically paid for each month, always be aware of any changes.

Step 4: Always Have an Online Account for Your Card

Again, the technology we have today has come in handy when paying for our credit cards. We can simply go online, look up the card's website, and sign in from there. An even easier way to do this is by staying organized. You can make book mark all the websites you need to sign in at, and make a folder using the Favorite's option on your browser menu. This way, you can have easy access to all of your cards' companies website addresses.

If you happen to be someone who forgings your username and / or password frequently, it's recommended to use Norton Internet Security (TM). Using the Norton Identity Safe feature, it can easily fill in the website's login sheet with your information, with safety.

Tip: You will never find your financial accounts in any computer but your own. It's not very recommended to access your financial accounts from a public computer because this way, hackers have more than a chance to get your account information, without you even knowing.

Step 5: Automatic Reminders Are the Best Way to Go

When signing up for one of your cards' websites, it's best to take the option of receiving e-mails about when your bill has been issued, when your payment was due, or / and if your payment was late. If you do not so much e-mail clutter, you should at least sign up for the automatic payment reminders only.

Tip: Though it would be nice to stay paperless and receive statements by e-mail only, there are some risks you would be taking. You could miss an important e-mail from the card company. Or if your computer crashes, you may loose many important e-mails. Some people like to stay with paper statement, which is completely fine, if you feel more comfortable that way.

Visa® Credit Card

You'll notice that reading and understanding all the terms of a Visa credit card application will make things better on the long run. There will be less or no unpleasant surprises like change of interest rate, annual fee or other type of fee that may be hidden in an offer's fine print.

Want a Credit Card and have Poor or No Credit?

If you have no or poor credit, there is a great chance you might be charged a membership fee for a credit card. If the company does charge a membership fee, it's ok. Once you pay for that fee, you probably will not be charged a membership fee for any other credit cards you want to get in the future.

Interest Rates

There are different types of interest rates. You have to be aware of annual percentage rates that apply to your particular credit card. Many credit card companies offer separate rates such as: introductory, cash, customary, default, and balance. Most of the time, your introductory rate will expire and your card will go to the usual retail APR. Make sure you thoroughly complete the application. In doing so, you increase your chances of being accepted. Otherwise, you may delay the application process or risk being denied.

Source by Martin Ll Jones

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