A credit report is a history of how well you pay debts and other bills. A credit score is like a grade that’s given to your report. Both are used by lenders, landlords, and other service providers to determine your creditworthiness. If your credit report or credit score aren’t working in your favor, now’s the time to take action. These baby steps will get you started on the road to improvement.
Check your credit report
You won’t know how to fix your credit report if you haven’t seen it. Through annualcreditreport.com, you can check your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. We recommend reviewing your Experian report in January, Equifax in May, and Transunion in September so you can keep an eye on things.
Review your credit report for errors. If you see any accounts that you didn’t open or discrepancies, you should contact the credit bureau and the reporting business to initiate the process to correct them. Doing so could improve your credit history and score.
Pay bills on time
If you don’t already, start making on-time payments for your obligations every month. Consecutive late payments will negatively impact your score. Turn the trend around by paying on time over several months. Consistent, timely payments will yield consistent improvement.
30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization which considers the amount you owe compared to how much credit you have available. Pay down debt so you aren’t using too much of the credit available to you. Consider a debt management program to help ease this burden.
Understanding credit and building a plan to improve it can be daunting. But there is help. Schedule an appointment with one or our local 1st United branches and a staff member will help you read through your report.
Additionally, 1st United has partnered with BALANCE, a financial education and counseling service that can help you with free financial counseling. Services to help you get out of debt include reviewing your credit report, setting up a spending and savings plan, and even helping you to prepare to buy a home. Learn more about the services offered by BALANCE on our BALANCE Financial Fitness webpage.