Yes, “money matters” and money matters must be taken very seriously. Getting your finances in order will not only secure your future but also give you peace of mind in the present. One of the ways to secure your finances and ensure there are no major financial hurdles in the future is to have a good credit score.
Having a good credit score indicates your credibility to pay back the money on time. If you are frustrated by your loan applications being constantly rejected and you cannot figure out why the reason is most likely s a poor credit score.
Our credit score is basically a rating that determines our financial reliability and/or the ability to pay our debts. It could be that in the past you were unable to pay back a loan on time or defaulted on it which is why your credit rating may have taken a beating. Worry not! We got you covered. Let’s know more about credit ratings or scores and ways to improve them.
According to Equifax, 2020:
“A credit score is a three-digit number, typically between 300 and 850, designed to represent your credit risk, or the likelihood you will pay your bills on time.
Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit reports, including your payment history, the amount of debt you have, and the length of your credit history. Higher scores mean you have demonstrated responsible credit behaviour in the past, which may make potential lenders and creditors more confident when evaluating a request for credit.”
Ways To Improve Your Credit Score
1. Timely Payment Of Bills
If you want banks, friends, lenders, etc. to trust you and credit rating companies to give you a high rating, please ensure you pay your bills on time. These may include your utility bills, credit card bills, loans, etc. You can get a little leeway if due to some circumstances you cannot pay the bills. In these cases, borrow the amount from a friend or family member but try not to miss the deadline by a long margin.
2. Get Credit Cards
Although credit cards are helpful to build a good credit score. In fact, getting a credit card(s) is one of the easiest ways to increase your credit rating by a number of points. Use credit cards to not just spend on things blindly but to ensure timely credit card repayment. This goes on record and helps credit rating agencies to evaluate your credit score.
3. Become An Add-On Credit Card User
If you don’t want to spend time applying for a credit card then becoming an authorized add-on user of someone else’s credit card is also a great way to improve your credit score. You could easily become an add-on user on your spouse’s credit card, or that of your brother, sister, parents, etc. Check with your credit card company for more information.
4. Do Not Close Credit Cards
Closing credit cards is a bad idea if you want to improve your credit score. Closing a credit card voluntarily or having it closed due to non-usage can have adverse effects on your credit score. According to Nerdwallet.com, “Closing a credit card means you lose that card’s credit limit when your overall credit utilization is calculated, which can lead to a lower score.” It is therefore advisable to keep your credit cards functioning and use them occasionally. This way you won’t end up drowning in credit card bills and also maintain a good credit score.
5. Mixed Bag
It is always good to have different types of loans both long-term and short-term, secured, and unsecured. These could be a car loan, housing loan, personal loan. Secured loans are those where the borrower provides some collateral e.g. property to the lender against the loan. Unsecured loans are provided on the basis of the creditworthiness of the borrower which is a sure-shot way of boosting your credit score. Unsecured loans instill confidence in your lenders and also increases your chances of getting access to loans in the future. A mix of both these types of loans is necessary to enhance your overall credit rating over time.
6. Increase Credit Limit
Ask your credit card to upgrade your credit limit. This does not mean you have to spend more simply because you get a higher spending limit. Increasing your credit card limit will have a positive impact on your credit rating.
7. Make Frequent Payments
Unforeseen expenses can come up anytime. In case you have multiple loans going on, this could be a problem as the loan due dates approach. If you think there could be an emergency coming up or an additional expense that you didn’t plan for e.g. a major car repair work, it is advisable to make micropayments towards your loans. Making micropayments frequently also indicates you are sincere towards paying back your debts and this boosts your credit score significantly. This also means you are unburdened and less stressed when it’s time to pay loans.
8. Correct Your Credit Report
It is possible your credit report may have certain mistakes due to delays in updating your records, negative information e.g. defaulting on a loan several years go that is too old to be mentioned in your latest credit report and/or faulty reporting of non-payment despite having paid on time and other errors. Keep a yearly check on your credit reports which can be obtained for free. If you see any false information or information that is irrelevant, act on it at once. Contact your credit rating agency and let them know what needs to be changed or updated.
Improving your credit score must be a priority. Our credit score is an indicator of our financial stability and capability. A higher credit score will give you access to loans, credit cards, and other financial tools. In the case of emergency loans, it is vital to have a high credit rating. This instills trust in money lenders, banks, and other lending agencies.
Do try your best to incorporate the above-mentioned tips into your financial plan. Make your credit score a priority and act wisely. Manage finances sensibly and don’t take on more than you can in terms of loans. Also, feel free to consult independent financial consultants or wealth managers in your bank — they will be able to answer all your queries and point you in the right direction.
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