Understanding Credit Scores

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Looking for the ability to improve your attractiveness to lenders by improving your credit score? There's good reason to do so -- a higher score can provide you a greater array of financial options and more favorable credit offers. Even if you already have a good score, there's always room for improving your creditworthiness by understanding your credit score. Keep in mind, however, that your credit score is based on your history of borrowing and repaying money, so there's no way to instantly change it. But here are some effective strategies that can help to strengthen your creditworthiness over time.

Top 10 Strategies That May Help You

10. Learn what your current FICO® credit score is and what appears on your credit report. Score Power® gives you immediate access to your Equifax Credit Report and includes your current FICO® credit score.

9. Don't open new credit cards that you don't need just to increase your available credit. This approach could backfire and actually lower your score.

8. Try to keep your total account balances as low as possible. High outstanding debt may negatively affect your score, as you have a greater chance of missing payments.

7. Correct any incorrect information that might appear on your credit report. Visit Disputing Information on Your Report for more information.

6. If your credit is severely damaged, or you have a very short credit history, there are still ways to improve your creditworthiness over time. Consider opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time.

5. If you fall behind on paying a bill because of illness, unemployment, or family issues, write a short explanation to the credit reporting agencies. They will add it to your credit report. Also, call your creditor to explain the circumstances and, if possible, work out a payment schedule you can meet.

4. If you need help managing your credit, contact a reliable nonprofit agency, such as:
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS)
800-388-2227
www.cccsintl.org

3. To minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report, don't apply for multiple credit cards over a short period of time, or for a card you're not likely to get. Apply for new credit accounts only as needed.

2. Make all of your payments on time. If forced to miss a payment, be sure to pay the missed payment the following month along with the current payment. Accounts more that are past due will be indicated on your credit report. If you have missed payments, get current and stay current. As a general rule, the longer you pay your bills on time, the better your score.

And the number one way...?

1. Continue to check your credit report regularly, charting your progress along the way. Get your FICO® score and your Equifax Credit Report today with Score Power®!

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