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5 Minutes To Better Credit

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It is important to understand how the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion calculate your credit scores. This is not something that a lot of people know, and I am sure you have never been taught this information.

To explain what makes up your credit score in as simple terms possible, this is how it works

Your Payment History (35%) Makes up the largest factor in determining your score. This is a picture of how you pay your bills.

Credit Utilization 30%: The percentage of available credit used. Keeping your account balances below 50% of the available credit limit will maximize your scores. For the purpose of this article, this is where we will find the most room to quickly increase your scores.

Credit History 15%: A more seasoned account carry more weight than one that was just opened.

Inquiries 10%: When you apply for credit, an inquiry is made to your credit. If you have too many inquiries, your score can be negatively effected.

Type of Credit In Use 10%: Type of accounts, and number in use. Mortgage loans are the best, and finance company accounts are the worst.

Now that we have a little knowledge under our belts, here are the 2 things you can do in the next 30 minutes to gain some points very quickly

Get an increased credit limit. This is very simple to do, and I think you will be pleasantly suprised by the success rate if you just make a couple easy phone calls. Just pick up the phone and ask to raise your credit limit. Now you can also use my favorite strategy and say something like, "I am considering a balance transfer to another card with a higher limit and better interest rate, but thought I would see first if you would increase my limit and possibly lower my interest before I cancel this card.". I have found this to be successfull nearly all the time, both personally as well as with my clients.

As an example scenario, let's pretend that you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, and a balance of $4,000 (80% utilized). You make a 10 minute call and get you limit increased to $6,500 which means now you are only 62% utilized. Much better, and immediately, your scores increase. Now we can do even better, which brings us to the next technique.

Lower Your Balances! Continuing from the example above, you are now 62% utilized on your credit card. This means you still have some room to further maximize your scores. If you pay $750 on this credit card, you will bring the balance down to 50% of the new credit limit ($3,250 balance on $6,500 credit limit). Now, you might be saying that you don't have $750 to pay down your credit card. That's ok, you could stop here, you have already increased your scores, and you can get the limit raised for all your credit card accounts. However, if you are trying to buy a home, or even a car, you can potentially save thousands in interest on your new loan and get a lower monthly payment, just by paying a little down on your current accounts. When that results in higher credit scores, you may qualify for much better loan terms.

Both these techniques are fast and easy, and have been proven to work time an time again. I have used them personally, as well as assisted clients with them. I am confident they will also work for you.

Keep in mind that these techniques work best for those who have a good credit history, and at least 3 open, established credit accounts. For those with more challenged credit or a negative credit history, a more aggressive approach and credit repair strategies may be more appropriate.
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