We all work hard to maintain a decent credit score. But it doesn’t take much to put a dent in it. We’ve got a few tips on how to fine tune your credit before the speed bumps of life affect it.
- All Debt is Equal
When it comes to your credit report, agencies look at both your revolving debt like credit cards and installment debt like loans. That means that one isn’t more important than the other when it comes time to pay your bills. Make sure you make the minimum credit card payment (at least) and your loan payments each month.
- Get Consolidated
If you have a few higher rate credit cards, you’ll save money and simplify your life if you consolidate them into one low-rate card. This will also help you pay your debt down sooner. This isn’t as easy if you have a few store credit cards, you may want to consider getting a consolidation loan to lower your rates and minimize your monthly payments. WWFCU’s Visa Rewards card offers fee-free balance transfers and 0% financing for the first six months. Learn more here.
- Card Age Matters
Keeping the previous bullet in mind, be sure to keep some of your older credit cards as well as opening new lower rate cards. Credit reporting agencies like to see that you have a solid credit history and it can account for about 10% of your score.
- Keep Balances Low
While it’s tempting to spend up to your credit limits on your cards – don’t do it! Unless you have an emergency, keep your balances low. Having a low debt ratio (compares the amount of debt you have to your overall income) makes credit reporting agencies happy as well. Ideally, you don’t want your credit debt to be more than 20% of your income.
- Group Applications
If you’re shopping around for a new credit card or maybe looking to get a car loan, be sure to group your applications into a month’s time. Credit reporting agencies will group these similar credit inquiries from creditors and only ding your credit for a single inquiry.
- Contact Creditors
If you’re behind on your loan or credit card payments, it’s natural to want to avoid speaking to them. But we recommend you answer the phone when they call. Or, better yet, call them first and work out a payment arrangement. They’ll be much more likely to work with you if you’re proactive and receptive to communicating with them.
- Monitor Your Credit
We can’t watch everything all the time. This goes for your credit. Keep an eye on your credit report. Go to com to get a free copy of your credit card. You can get one per credit reporting agency per year, so check it every four months. You can also get a credit monitoring company to help you watch your credit. They’ll alert you if you get a dip or rise in your credit score. Good news if you already have a WWFCU Visa Rewards credit card, it already comes with free credit monitoring.
Need help understanding your credit report? Learn more here. Want to learn more about consolidation loans or our Visa Rewards card, speak to a WWFCU Member Service Representative at (734) 721-5700 or stop by our branch today.