August 7, 2012
Give Yourself Some Credit!
Nearly 60 percent of Americans have never reviewed their credit score.
“Three things determine 80 percent of your credit score,” says Manisha Thakor, a personal finance expert.
What are they?
Paying your bills on time, balancing how much you spend with what you owe, and proving long-term credit history.
To ensure you’ll pay all your bills on time, Thakor suggests signing up for automated online payments so your account is debited without you having to worry about it.
Next, having a low debt utilization ratio means making sure you spend less than all the credit extended to you. Third, hang on to your longest existing credit card. Having accessible credit over a long period shows stability.
Once you accomplish all of this, have a look at your credit report or credit “file”. Annual Credit Report allows you to have a free copy of your report from the three major consumer credit reporting companies.
A healthy credit score is anywhere between 600 and 750, while the national average is 688.
Ironically, making charges to your credit cards is healthy – as it shows you can pay off those bills. Thakor says responsibly using credit creates a strong history.
Discouraged by taking these three steps immediately? Thakor says not to worry!
She says to think of improving credit scores just as you would think about getting physically fit. “The only way you’re going to get results is small steps over time.”
Bonus PINK Link: Read what's the difference between good and bad debt.
Sustaining a healthy credit score isn’t easy. Tell us how you did it.
By Shaina Ali
“When you own your finances, you own your life.”
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, imagerymajestic, Ambro, and Pixomar.