Here are some tips that can improve your credit score:
- Request a copy of your credit reports and review it for accuracy. You can request a copy of your credit report free from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.
- Pay your bills on time. Even if you have had late payments in the past. Many lenders place greater importance on more recent credit history.
- Use credit cards responsibly. Showing that you can manage credit cards responsibly; you will appear less risky than someone who does not use a credit card.
- Reduce your credit card balances. Having a lot of outstanding credit card debt or being at or near your credit limit can lower your score.
- Open new credit cards only as needed. Opening many new accounts will lower your average account age, which can have a negative effect on your score if you don’t have enough other credit information.
- Avoid opening new accounts when you're applying for a loan. If you have a short credit history or very few accounts, opening a new credit line may lower your score.
- Shop for a loan within a focused period of time. When you comparison shop for a single loan at various financial institutions, your potential lenders may request your credit score. Each inquiry will appear on your credit report. The inquiries that occur within a short period of time won’t lower your score, but those that occur over a longer period of time could.
- Re-establish your credit history. If you have missed payments or had credit problems in the past, opening new accounts responsibly and paying them in a timely manner will raise your score over time.
- Consult a credit counselor. If you are in danger of falling behind on your payments or if you already have, a legitimate, non-profit credit counselor can negotiate lower interest rates on your behalf and set up a debt repayment plan.
- Stay away from bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy can lower your score by 200 points or more. In addition, bankruptcies are reported for up to ten years, so your ability to get a loan could be decreased during that time period.
Call or stop in to speak to one of our Member Service Specialists to discuss how to improve your credit score.