Keeping Credit Clean
How can you make sure that your credit report is painting a positive picture of you? Just follow these simple rules for establishing good credit and ensuring that you are a good credit risk.
Rule 1: Pay your bills on time
It sounds simple, but we all know how life’s curve balls can make things difficult. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage your money wisely. The CCCS-OC’s Financial Literacy Education can help you accomplish this goal with plenty of classes on money management, budgeting, purchasing a home, and more.
Rule 2: Avoid having too much debt
You can accomplish this by reducing the number of credit cards you have and keeping your balances low. A good rule of thumb is to have only one or two major credit cards and use them for emergencies only. If you must charge something, make sure you can pay it off at the end of each month. If you would like an assessment of your current debt situation, go to the CCCS-OC Online Debt Assessment.
Rule 3: Limit the number of inquiries into your credit and don’t open several new accounts at once
Too many inquiries in a short period of time may be seen as an indication that you are actively seeking credit, perhaps because of financial problems or desperation. In the same way, opening several new accounts at the same time may also be interpreted as a sign of financial trouble. To avoid this perception, be selective when you shop around for credit. Limit the number of inquiries by creditors and keep your credit accounts to a minimum.
Rule 4: Check up on your credit report at least once a year
Even if you have been careful to follow all the rules and pay your bills on time, there may be incorrect or outdated information on your credit report that is hurting your credit profile. To ensure the accuracy of your credit report, contact one or more of the reporting agencies listed below to obtain a copy. The cost is usually less than $20.
Equifax Credit Information Service
P.O. Box 105783, Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013-2104
P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064-0390
If you live in California, you can also order a copy of the Consumer Guide to Good Credit for only $10, including shipping and handling. This informative 44-page booklet contains vital information on correcting credit reports, learning to use credit wisely, a special section for divorced couples, and forms to use when contacting the credit reporting agencies. For a copy of the booklet, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org