When you want to buy a house, get a car, or apply for a job, your credit score will play a role in the outcome. If you are like many people, you don’t fully understand your credit score or how it works, which can lead to problems if you don’t address the issue. Taking steps to monitor and enhance your credit score will provide you with many great benefits.
What Is Your Credit Score?
Putting in the effort to learn what your credit score is and how it works is a smart step in the right direction when your goal is to boost it to the next level. In simple terms, lenders look at your credit score to decide whether or not they should give you a loan.
People with low scores are considered more likely to miss their payments or to make late payments, so lenders will either deny their application or force them to pay higher rates than those with good credit. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the main reporting agencies to which lenders look when they run your credit report.
How to Check Your Credit Score
Before you can take steps to improve your credit score, you will need to see where you stand. Many banks and other finance companies will give you a copy of your credit report when you apply for a loan, but you can also review your report by using one of these services.
When you want to use a reliable credit monitoring service that comes with tons of great features, you can’t go wrong with Credit Karma. The site will let you see your score and everything that your credit report contains, such as loan and payment information.
You will get free credit score updates if you become a member, meaning that the company will update you when new loans show up on your report. Credit Karma will also show you loans and credit card offers that match your score, earning a commission if you sign up.
Credit Sesame is another free service that you can use when you need to review or monitor your credit score. If you choose this option, the site will give you tips on how to improve your score and match you with offers that make sense for you. They display your monthly payments, income, and more.
The goal of IdentityForce is to help consumers track changes to their credit report, so they can detect identity theft in the early stages, improving their odds of stopping the threat in its tracks. Those who sign up will have many options that they can use to protect themselves from the unthinkable. The service comes with several price tiers to help customers find a plan that fits their unique needs.
How to Raise Your Credit Score
Now that you have an idea of how your credit score works, it’s time to explore the things that you can do to optimize it. The exact path that you will need to take will depend on your situation, budget and a few other factors.
Reduce the Balance on Your Credit Cards
The amount of credit that you use will impact your credit score, so paying off your credit card balance is a quick way to take your credit score to the next level. If you have a tough time resisting the urge to use your credit cards, place them in a safe so they are out of your sight.
Get a New Credit Card
If paying off your current credit cards is not an option, taking out a new credit card could also help as long as you discipline yourself. If your bank approves your application, your new line of credit will reduce your credit utilization and improve your score.
Check for Errors in Your Credit Report
Even though the credit reporting companies do their best to provide accurate information to lenders, mistakes happen. If you review your credit report and find an error, writing a letter to the reporting company can help. Depending on your situation, getting errors off your record might be challenging.
Communicate with Your Lenders
While your best option is always to make your payments on time, unexpected events can occur when you least expect them. If you find yourself in a tough situation that prevents you from paying your bills when they are due, reach out to your lender.
In some cases, they will be willing to work with you if you let them know why you are going to be late, which can prevent your credit score from taking a hit.
Credit Repair Services
While everyone can strive to improve their credit scores, doing so won’t always provide them with the best possible results. If you want to enhance your score as quickly as possible, turning to a team of experts is always a safe bet and will allow you to notice positive changes in no time.
Lexington Law is a viable option for anyone who wants to achieve an impressive credit score. The site offers several packages that you can use to address problems with your report, and they can even send letters to lenders on your behalf. If you opt for this path, you will have a team of lawyers in your corner. Depending on the package you choose, you will pay $79.95, $99.96, or $119.95 per month.
If you need a hand repairing your credit score and want a team that won’t let you down, SkyBlue could be the right company for you. After you pay $59 to open your account, you will only need to pay $99 for each month of service. The team will review your report and tell you specific steps that you can take to improve your score without stress, and you will be moving in the right direction before you know it.
Pyramid is a credit repair company that provides an account manager to each client, and you will know that you are in good hands when you see what it can do. The first two weeks are free, and you will only need to pay $99 per month for dedicated advice on how to get the most from your credit score. Pyramid’s focus is on helping consumers address harmful errors in their reports, and an agent will call you a few minutes after you complete the form.