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3 easy ways to increase your credit score

Sep 4, 2008
Once upon a time you could walk into a bank and get a loan on a handshake and your honor. This was when you actually dealt with a person and were seen as more than a number on a spread sheet. Now it?s all about your FICO score.

Several credit models can be used for this article, however we are going to focus on the Fair, Isaac Company model. Better known as FICO.

A FICO score is one of the main factors used to determine your interest rate and the amount of a loan you will be offered. A good score makes you a more attractive loan then say someone who has a less then stellar credit history.

Keeping your credit history in good order and improving your rating is not a hard thing to do...but it will take time. Here are a few ideas how to do just that.

FIRST: You need to get a copy of your credit history

You may not have a history for several reasons. Maybe you pay all your bills with cash, maybe you?re a student, maybe you have never needed a loan for anything. All this will have an effect on your history. Don?t be upset...if you?re like most people you will get a credit history far sooner than later.

The easiest way to raise your score is acquire a loan, and pay it off on time. In general, installment loans are weighted more heavily than credit cards. In other words, you will improve your credit score faster if you buy goods with an installment loan, rather than acquiring a credit card.

Another way to acquire a better credit history is to take $1000 and open a 6 month CD account at a financial institution. Now, get an installment loan for $1000, using that CD as collateral. Now, here's the trick. Take the $1000 loan, and open another 6 month CD account at another institution. Take another loan for the $1000 at the second institution. Do this one more time.

In the end you have 3 loans. Pay the minimum payments for 6 months...then cash out the CD's and pay off the loans in full. Now you have a credit history.

SECOND: Keep your credit history clean.

Good job - you have paid your bills on time, and do not have high credit card debt. Here's some ideas to keep your FICO score as high as possible.

Don't close your old accounts. One part of your credit score is based on the amount of credit available verses amount of credit used. Closing old accounts can lower this part of your score.

Here is a thing to think about. Paying off your credit cards every month is good money management, but you may be able to improve in this area. Here's the scenario: you have a $2000 credit card. Every month, you charge about $1800 to that card. And, every month you pay it off. But here's what happens - your credit card company reports your credit information monthly to FICO. If they report it before you pay off your card, it looks like you carry a balance on your credit card every month. You may find your FICO score improves if you pay off your credit card at a different time of the month.

THIRD: Fix your bad credit

For whatever reason, if you have a poor credit history, there are things you can do to improve your score. Some of them take time, and you will probably be best served by talking to a credit counselor to be sure that you not only repair your credit history, but also eliminate what caused that poor credit history in the first place.

The FICO score is most affected by your credit history. To repair a low credit score start paying your bills onetime. In order of value you need to pay your Mortgage, Installment loans, and last your credit cards.

The next largest portion of your FICO score is based on how you use credit. The fastest way to improve this is to pay down your credit cards.

One final thing to look for is errors in your credit report. Get a copy of your credit report from all three primary agencies, and look at all the entries. You can find the agencies here: experian.com, equifax.com, and transunion.com. If there are any errors, start the process to have them removed. Call your creditors - sometimes they will remove negative information.

Your FICO score is an important part of your financial life, and using these strategies may help improve your FICO score. Before making any drastic changes to your finances, consult with a financial advisor.
About the Author
Doc Schmyz has invested in Real estate all over the nation. His website gives hundreds of investors up to date real estate investing information Get more info from across the nation on Doc's real estate investing resources page.
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