August 2, 2011
Save My Score!
When it comes to big purchases, loans and even job prospects, your credit score can make or break you. But don’t fear if yours is less-than-stellar.
Where to begin? “Get familiar the numbers, educate yourself, then come up with an action plan,” Linda Ferrari, finance expert and author of The Big Score, tells PINK. She suggests using sites like FTC.gov to get familiar with credit laws and the consumer credit industry rather than TV shows about finance.
When seeking a credit consultant, Ferrari advises clients to look for experts who can answer questions on the spot and who have years of experience helping people improve credit – “not just during a down economy.”
Next, you can start rebuilding credit, says Ferrari. “Five factors make up your credit score: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, mix of credit and new credit.” She adds that joining a credit watch program and checking your score every 30 days through a reliable site will help.
Plus, combing your report to correct inaccuracies, like collections that are already paid or outdated transactions, may raise your score, says Liz Weston, author of The 10 Commandments of Money.
What to avoid? “Revolving loans or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account won’t help your credit,” explains Ferrari. You can being rebuilding by getting a major or secured credit card (not a department store card) and, according to Weston, keeping the balance “below 30 percent at all times.”
Bonus PINK Link: Here’s how entrepreneurs stay on top of their business credit.
By Caroline Cox
"If you want to feel rich, just count the
things you have that money can't buy." Proverb
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Grant Cochrane, Andy Newson and Sujin Jetkasettakorn.