Strategies for Managing Your Credit Score
Your credit score can open—or close—a lot of doors for you. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what they need to do to build and maintain a good credit score, so they make easily avoidable mistakes that end up harming them financially. As a member of a credit union, you have access to financial information from qualified advisors whose only interest is seeing members thrive financially. Take advantage of this important asset of credit union membership that bank customers don’t get since their institutions are for-profit and not member-driven. In addition to seeking advice at your credit union, these tips will help you take control of your score.
Check Your Credit Report—Often
You can’t manage your credit score if you don’t know what is on your credit report. Your credit report lists all of your credit accounts for the past seven years and how you managed them, and often, people find incorrect information on their reports that are dragging down their scores. You should monitor your report multiple times per year and petition to have incorrect or outdated information removed. Note that, contrary to popular belief, checking your credit does not lower your score. Only hard credit pulls from lenders affect your score.
Reduce Your Debt When You Can
The amount of debt you have versus the amount of credit you have available plays a big part in your credit score. Reducing your debt is a great way to increase your credit score. Pay as much as you can each month towards your debt, but never pay less than the minimum payment, so you don’t have late payments reflected on your credit report. For a similar reason, don’t close old accounts, since it will reduce the amount of credit you have available and cause you to update your debt-to-credit ratio.
If you need help managing your credit, call GCS Credit Union and set up an appointment to talk to a representative. We’re invested in your financial success, whether you’re just getting your first credit card or trying to dig your way out of debt for retirement. For more information about our checking accounts, Visa Rewards credit card or other credit union service in O’Fallon, call (618) 797-7993.