Have you missed a credit card payment? If you have made credit card payments on time in the last year, you can call the company and ask them to remove the fees and to keep a clean credit.
Whether you’re about to get a credit card or you’re now ready to buy a home, keeping your credit score high will make your life much easier and help you get closer to the things that you might not be able to finance by yourself right away.
7 tips for a good credit score:
- Get your free annual credit report and check for mistakes. Mistakes happen and they could happen to your account. But you can keep a close check on mistakes by getting one free credit report from each bureau once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com and if you find an error, correct it, and improve your score!
- Avoid interest charges—pay off your balance every month.If you only pay the minimum, the interest will grow and you’ll always be paying back much more than you borrowed! If you can’t pay the full balance, pay as much as you can. Pay off balances with higher interest rates first. Use this calculator to see how long it will take you to pay back your loans
- Avoid late fees – pay on time.When you pay your car, school and house loans on time, you build good credit and you avoid higher interest rates and expensive late fees (some as high as $30). Paying them consistently late is never good. Try your hardest to pay all of your bills on time, even if they are small. If you are more than 30 days late, a negative report is sent directly to the credit bureau. Missed payments can lower your score by as much as 100 points!
- Keep your older credit cards open. The length of your credit history can help you. The longer you have had credit, the more points you get.
- Don’t apply for too many loans, credit cards or cell phone plans. If you have too many loans, you’re probably only paying the minimum and never paying them off completely. Especially if you’re trying to qualify for a house, it’s bad to open new credit card account because this can lower your credit score 3-5 points per application.
- If you need a credit card, shop around for the best deal before applying. Many cards don’t charge an annual fee and many offer extras like cash back on purchases or discounts on travel. Try to get a credit card with an interest rate of 15 percent or lower. And compare the fees that credit cards charge, like late fees or spending over your credit limit.
- Beware of scams! There is no easy, pain-free way out of debt and into good credit. Don't believe the scams. But do believe that with some free help from credit counselors and some hard work on your part, you can find financial freedom.